Are Concrete Tile Roofs Ok?

I live in Colorado and we get a lot of snow and hail. The hail ruins the cedar shake roofs that most of the homes have in our area.
After a recent hail storm that left as much as 4 inches of hail on the ground we are getting an insurance claim check to replace the roof.
Cedar shake roofs also raise the annual homeowner's insurance as much as $500 a year due to the increased fire danger. The shakes also warp in the sun and seem to shed a lot of wood particles. And the raccoons and squirrels love chewing on them.
A contractor / adjuster that works with our insurance company is saying they can replace the roof with concrete tile made by Monier at http://www.monierlifetile.com/ . He will also replace our gutters to wider gutters which we have needed due to the occasional torrential rains we get that end up clogging our gutters with debris and overflowing over two window wells that end up filling up like fish tanks and drain into our basement.
I try to keep the gutters cleaned out but my recent effort ended up with me falling off the ladder, landing on the ladder, and shattering my L1 vertebrae - but I got lucky in that I wasn't paralyzed. I'm told that I should make a full recovery. Anyway I want to improve our roof and gutter system and avoid ladders at all costs.
The builder said he liked Eagle tiles even better but they stopped operations in Colorado. He said they are a lot more expensive, but maybe it would be worth paying the difference. They have a site at http://www.eagleroofing.com/main/index.php .
I'm also thinking about adding a couple roof fans that are solar powered since we have heat build up in both roof areas (one over garage and the other over the main second story living area).
I would appreciate any advice anyone can offer. I'm also going to check with neighbors that have switched to tile. I know a couple are rumored to have had trouble - one with tile that crumbled and another with tile that was supposed to stain a certain way and it didn't.
I did some searching on the web but many of the comments are a few years old now and the cement tile products may have improved since then.
Thanks for your help, and be very careful on ladders.
- Bob
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I live in Phoenix and tile roofs are common. They are not trouble free. My experience is that they do not like sharp shocks. Blowing anything can crack the tiles. Needless to say not walking on them is an excellent idea. I had one for a year and when I sold the home there were 6 cracked tiles that cost me $150 for a repair.
I would check with someone who owns one first.
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I have a concrete tile roof on my home here in New Jersey that's now 80 years old and still working. While they are not trouble free, they are quite durable and last a long, long time. You don't want to walk on them at all if you can avoid it, as they crack and then eventually leak, especially tiles as old as mine. I think they are worth it, because the house really looks great with this roof on it. Very distinctive.
The problems I've had, aside from finding people who truly know how to repair them, is that the roofing felt under them has disintegrated in spots over the years and the wooden stringers that the tiles hang from have rotted out in some areas. I guess you have to expect that after so many years. But when a tile cracks or even when it shifts a little, you get leaks during driving rainstorms because there is no felt under the tile to stop the water. This has happened twice in 25 years and the repairs were not cheap. They have to remove all the tiles from the area, replace felt and stringers, and put all the tiles back.
Again, thanks to the age of my roof, I've had to have four valleys replaced. They just rotted away. My roof takes a piece of copper flashing about four times wider than for an asphalt shingle roof, and it has to be crimped into a little ridge in the center of the valley to keep water from flowing down one side and up the other, under the tiles. Again, the tiles must all be removed and replaced.
The other problem, in my case, is finding replacement tiles, as the original company no longer exists. Fortunately, my neighbor is blowing out his house and rebuilding his garage, so he gave me all the tiles I could carry home. I now have a 500-tile "stash" behind my garage.
I'm also somewhat familiar with the tiles commonly used in Colorado, as my parents and brothers all lived in Boulder, where many buildings have tile roofs. My impression is that the low grade ones do crack and come loose easily. I've looked at them off my mother's balcony and they are thinner than mine are even after 80 years of erosion. My brother said that building repair people kept walking on them.
I'd get the best tiles you can find and make sure the installer doesn't take shortcuts.
I also have commercial-sized gutters and they catch a hell of a lot more water. My main roof is huge and high and a whole lot of water comes down it. They weren't much more than regular gutters. But you still gotta clean 'em out. Hire someone is my suggestion.
Hope this is helpful. I'm not a roofer, just a homeowner, but I have worked with the tiles myself and know how the roof is constructed and how they are installed.
On 26 Jul 2005 12:49:02 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@1800-mail.com wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@1800-mail.com wrote:

I have Monier tile on my roof, like it fine. A few things of which you should be aware...
1. Concrete tiles are made two ways: color through the entire tile and a color glaze. Color through cost more but if a tile gets a chip the grey concrete doesn't show as it does in a glazed tile. No big deal IMO, a bit of mold and you can't see the chips.
2. Tile roofs are basically a "pretty-pretty". They themselves don't make a roof leak proof. What does that is whatever is *under* the tile. I used 90# roll roofing set in mopped on hot tar. Doesn't leak.
3. My tiles aren't nailed on. First (bottom) course is, all others are mortared on. I personally wouldn't use battens...they catch water and rot. Harder to replace tiles that are nailed on should one get broken. Additionally, no nails = no holes = no leaks. I would presume that mortar vs nails would depend on the roof pitch. Mine is 5:12
4. I have no qualms about walking on my roof. Don't do it often but my 200#+ have never broken a tile.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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dadiOH wrote:
All the above was pertinent to barrel tiles. I'm so used to those that I didn't even think of flat tile which is probably what you are interested in.
-- dadiOH ____________________________
dadiOH's dandies v3.06... ....a help file of info about MP3s, recording from LP/cassette and tips & tricks on this and that. Get it at http://mysite.verizon.net/xico
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On 26 Jul 2005 12:49:02 -0700, in alt.home.repair RE: Are Concrete Tile Roofs Ok? snipped-for-privacy@1800-mail.com wrote:

If you are replacing cedar with concrete, you need to make sure that your roof structure is designed to hold the weight of the tile.
--
To reply to me directly, remove the CLUTTER from my email address.


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Thanks everyone!
You gave me some ideas to think about.
I should have mentioned my home is pitched roof and not a flat roof.
The installer I am talking to said they use a felt that has titanium in it so it holds up well to any exposure to sun light which tends to destroy the usual felt. I understand the felt is what prevents leaks.
I asked some local homeowners about their tile roofs and they seemed happy. One even installed concrete siding and it really looked good.
I plan on calling in a number of installers for estimates and that way I can learn more as they each explain their products and methods.
I talked to one person in California that was denied a home loan on a house because the house next door had cedar shake windows and the bank was concerned about the fire danger from the other house!
I might also check out some of the metal products but they don't seem as popular.
Thanks again, and please do add any comments or ideas you think might help.
- Bob
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