Tile roof ? re: age of felt

I’m not much of a tile roof guy unless it’s repairs to selected tiles (golf courses are a constant source of revenue for cracked pieces if the house is located near a dogleg or in good proximity for shanks or slices).

I got this question from someone on a football forum that I frequent:

[quote]Hi, I’m from the internet.

I’m sure you get a lot these but wanted to get your take on this.

we are looking to buy a house (built in the 20s) that has a tile roof. After the inspection was done, the inspector brought up that even thought the attic and inside of the roof was very dry (after very heavy rains in Dallas) with no major leaks and no discernible water marking on any of the ceilings, that if the felt lining under the tile was original, it could be in danger of ‘falling apart’ at any time. He said that the working life of that felt was around 75 years, so doing the math, it is over 85 years old.

We are trying to track down the roofer who did some work on the roof in 2003 to try and get a better feel for the condition of the roof at that time.

My main is whether or not this is a time bomb in the waiting? If so, we are going to ask for big concession on the price, since removing the tile and re-felting would be a huge expense.[/quote]

Obviously when doing a re-roof on a shingle job we are either removing all the felt to a bare roof & laying down new OR laying new felt over the old (all off / all new being the optimal process).

So, tile guys, what can you tell me?

I removed a tile roof in june, and the underlayment was in pretty good shape.There were a few spots where the tiles were leaking.In those spots the underlayment had holes where the water wore the paper out.The roof was only 35 to 40 yrs old.

a 75 yr old roof probably isnt even felt, probably red rosin paper. whatever it is its dust now. get your roof done now well the economy is slow because once the economy picks up the prices will be skyhigh.

done a couple that old and the felt was in good shape where it had stayed dry since installation, not sure what it was , heavier then 30# but not as heavy as base sheet. Like dave said though, anywhere tile had been broken and water penetrated the felt was ate up bad. I&W the whole thing and synthetic over that they won’t have to worry about a roof again for several generations of thier family

I work on 70-90 year old tile roofs quite a bit. The old underlayment runs from heavy 30# to 45 and 90#.
Most of the time it is worn out, or completely dust.
If the tile is not broken, or the flashing worn out, a well laid tile roof will not leak. Even without underlayment.

But this is Northeast Ohio. Snow and ice, and rain, but no hurricanes.

Dennis is right. Broken tiles cause the leaks. They’re pretty much like slate and will outlast any felt that put down to keep the house dry until the roof is installed.

Not much in the way of hurricanes will make their way to Big D (Dallas); by the time they get that far, any weather system will @ most be a tropical depression.

Anyhow, his concern is that the underlayment might be toast by the age of the roof.

Obviously any recent roofer (i.e. within 10 years if a tile roof) is going to be the best resource when it comes to knowing the condition of the roof, but if it was truly as far back as 10 years, memory is going to be strained in trying to remember the roof work as it happened & the conditions therein.

I’m gonna suggest that if the tiles aren’t nailed in that he do a tile extraction from selected slopes (not too hard with a kit of 5 or 6 wedges cut from 2x4’s) & then examine the condition of the underlayment… the trick is to stay away from hips, ridges & flashings.

Thanks, guys.

its doughtfull you have an 85 year old roof on your house. its probably the second or third roof.

no matter what roof it is, if your diein to get
it redone then do it.
and if you dont, then leave it alone until
it leaks.


Some of y’all aren’t paying attention to the detail that this is a real estate transaction; the buyer’s inspector said that given the age of the building & tile roof system, there is a good chance that the underlayment is suspect.

Personally, I haven’t looked @ the roof as I’m 175 miles away & doing all of this for him remotely via Email & Google maps.

I think most of people agree with Dennis if there is hole or tiles seems broken always causes leaks so need to be remove or make it with proper procedure.


Also, the south and west side felt will be in much worse shape than the north and east sides.

True, Denis.

& The North & West sides will have the most algae buildup.

There isn’t a lot of tree coverage & from the maps.live image, it appears to be a flat topped house with sloped roofing leading up to it; the slopes look to be 12:12 or more.

That would make for some fun tile work.

& By “fun”, I don’t really mean fun.