Licenced Builder (and My Home Improvements’ MD) Greg Catton explains why they don’t make concrete roof tiles like they used to, and what you MUST do to prolong the life of your tiled roof.

You know you’re getting older when you start saying things like “they don’t make ’em like they used to” and “back in the day”.                

Not that I’m old of course, but it’s perfectly true about concrete roof tiles…they really DON’T make them like they used to.             

And it isn’t just me who thinks so.

I have worked as a roofing contractor in this industry near on 20 years, and over the years all my roof tiler mates have come up to me and said exactly the same thing.

Back when a Ford was a Ford and a Holden was a Holden, and I’m talking pre-1975 here, concrete roof tiles were as strong as an ox and as safe as…well, as safe as houses.

Whenever I go up on the roof of a house built in the Fifties, Sixties and early Seventies, I am gobsmacked at how well those little square top profile cement roof tiles (known as Monier 100) have done.

You rarely notice a broken roof tile, and even the roofs that have never been repainted and are now almost totally bare of all paint finishes, have surprisingly few leaks; nothing major at least.

The reason for this is that back in these eras in Australia we made everything ourselves, and anything Aussie-made was proudly produced to the highest level. 

This included the ratio of cement to sand in concrete roof tiles. 

Sadly, it’s a different story these days, isn’t it?

Broken roof tiles are the # 1 reason for a Tile Roof Restoration.

As we say in our popular new resource – 

Free “Repair, Restore or Replace” eBook

 – modern day tile roofs are more prone to breakdown and decay than any other building materials.

Why aren’t new roof tiles as good as their predecessors?

Well, it’s basically because they’ve been diluted, with less cement binders in the tile roof manufacturing process than even before.

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In some cases, it’s the bare minimum.

However, before you start pointing the finger at Aussie roof tile makers, put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

There you are, on the world stage, competing with long-run metal roof sheeting producers and several manufacturers from countries where materials and labour costs easily blow us out of the water here in Australia. 

How else are you going to keep costs down if you don’t cut back on materials? In the end, it becomes a balancing act between quality and cost per tile.

And that isn’t about to change anytime soon.

So here’s the alternative…

if concrete roof tiles aren’t as good as they once were, then the maintenance had better be, right?


Making concrete roof tiles last longer.

The ‘bare bones’ way cement roof tiles are made in the modern era, they are destined to break down.

As such they will require far more attention and maintenance than they did in granddad’s day. 

To compensate for any shortcuts taken by manufacturers, modern roof tiles need a strong, protective membrane; otherwise they definitely won’t have a very long lifespan.

I’ve seen cases where new roof tiles have experienced significant deterioration in just 12 years.

In fact, in this recent blog I cite the case of a mate of mine whose roof – barely 15 years old – needed more than 80 broken roof tiles replaced.

Luckily for him, he had a mate in the roof restoration business!

The trouble is that the older these ‘new age’ roof tiles get, the more porous they become IF they are not protected.

And as you know (because you’ve downloaded our eBook!) once the clear coating and oxidising paint wears off, concrete roof tiles are susceptible to breaking and chipping.

 Before they do chip or break, and provided that years of exposure to the elements hasn’t damaged the porous surface too much, they can be repainted and restored.

 There are likely to be lichens growing on the tile roof and hiding in the pores, so all the mould and algae will need to be removed first using a quality roof fungicide.

Following that, we may need a double viscous primer of (High Build) extra thick roof paint to smooth out the surface of the tiles.

I personally wouldn’t use anything less than a NuPrime or SupaPrime primer from Nutech Roof Coatings.

Then I would follow it up with a self-cleaning TileFlex paint, or better still, a top-of-the-range Nutech NXT Cool Zone roof paint offering the ultimate in heat reflection.

To prolong the life of your cement roof tiles, I strongly recommend a new coating every 10 to 15 years.

That way your new roof tile will at least stand a chance of lasting as long as the roof tiles they had…back in the day.

For more information about concrete roof tiles and how best to maintain them to extend their life, please call 07 3808 0700 and speak to one of our friendly, ever-helpful consultants, or simply click here to contact us.

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