Terracotta Tiles: An Overview

Terracotta, translating to “baked earth” in Italian, is a type of clay-based ceramic. Popular for its rustic charm and durability, terracotta roof tiles have graced Auckland homes for years, particularly in historic suburbs like Parnell. But as attractive and long-lasting as they might be, there’s a crucial question every homeowner should consider: should you seal terracotta roof tiles?

Benefits of Sealing Terracotta Tiles

Protection Against Elements: Auckland’s unpredictable weather can be a challenge. Sealed tiles are more resistant to rain, preventing water absorption and potential damage.

Enhanced Longevity: A sealed terracotta tile can last significantly longer, maintaining its colour and structural integrity.

Mould and Moss Prevention: Especially in moisture-rich areas like Devonport, roofs can be a breeding ground for moss and mould. A sealed roof is less hospitable to these growths.

Drawbacks of Sealing Terracotta Tiles

  • Cost Implication: Sealing terracotta tiles involves both material and labour costs.
  • Reapplication: Over time, sealants wear out and will need reapplication.
  • Possible Aesthetic Changes: Some sealants can alter the natural look of terracotta tiles.

Health and Safety Considerations

Working at heights always comes with risks. It’s imperative for roofers to use appropriate safety equipment, from harnesses to safety nets. Additionally, the chemicals used in some sealants can be hazardous, necessitating the use of masks and ensuring proper ventilation.

Alternative Roofing Options in Auckland

Terracotta tiles are just one of the myriad roofing options available in Auckland. Here’s how they compare with some popular alternatives:

Roofing MaterialProsCons
Terracotta TilesNatural aesthetic, durableCan be expensive, heavier
Concrete TilesCost-effective, durableLess aesthetic appeal, porous
Metal RoofingLightweight, long lifespanCan be noisy during rain, potential corrosion
Asphalt ShinglesAffordable, easy to installShorter lifespan, less environmentally friendly

To Seal or Not to Seal: Making the Choice

Given the pros and cons, whether or not to seal terracotta roof tiles boils down to individual preferences, the specific environment of the house, and budget considerations. If preserving the natural look of the tiles and reducing maintenance is a priority, sealing is a good option. However, for those who appreciate the aged look of terracotta or have budget constraints, skipping the sealing might be the way forward.

Common Mistakes with Resealing Terracotta Roof Tiles

Not Properly Cleaning Tiles Before Sealing Before any sealant is applied, it’s essential to ensure that the tiles are clean and free from dirt, moss, algae, or other contaminants. Applying sealant on dirty tiles can trap these impurities, leading to potential damage and an unsightly appearance.

Using the Wrong Type of Sealant Not all sealants are suitable for terracotta roof tiles. Using the incorrect type can result in inadequate protection, altered aesthetics, or even damage to the tiles. It’s crucial to choose a sealant specifically designed for terracotta surfaces.

Applying Too Much or Too Little Sealant Over-applying sealant can result in a thick, uneven layer that may detract from the tile’s natural beauty. On the other hand, under-applying might not provide sufficient protection. Achieving the right balance is key.

Ignoring Weather Conditions Sealing should ideally be done on a dry, calm day. Applying sealant during rainy, wet conditions can dilute the product and reduce its efficacy. Additionally, extremely hot conditions can cause rapid drying, preventing the sealant from soaking into the tiles effectively.

Not Allowing Adequate Drying Time Between Coats If multiple coats are applied, not giving each layer sufficient time to dry can result in a tacky finish. It can also affect the longevity and effectiveness of the sealant.

Neglecting Repairs Before Sealing Before sealing, it’s crucial to check for damaged or loose tiles and undertake necessary repairs. Sealing over broken tiles can lead to water infiltration and further deterioration.

Improper Application Techniques The method of applying the sealant can significantly affect the outcome. Using inappropriate tools or techniques can lead to streaking, pooling, or patchy results.

Failing to Test a Small Area First Before sealing the entire roof, it’s wise to test the sealant on a small, inconspicuous area. This ensures that the product is suitable and gives the desired result without affecting the entire roof.

Skipping Regular Maintenance After Sealing Even after sealing, regular roof maintenance is essential. Sealants can wear out over time, and periodic inspections can help detect and address issues before they escalate.

Not Seeking Professional Guidance DIY can be tempting, but when it comes to roofing, it’s always advisable to consult with or hire professionals. Experts, like those at My Roofers Auckland, have the knowledge and experience to avoid common pitfalls and ensure optimal results.

Auckland Roofer Recommendations

Engaging a seasoned roof restoration contractor, like the professionals at My Roofers Auckland, is always advisable. They can inspect your roof, consider the specific conditions of your Auckland suburb, and provide tailored advice on whether sealing your terracotta roof tiles is the best option for you.

In conclusion, while sealing terracotta roof tiles has undeniable benefits, it’s a decision that should be made after thorough research and consultation with roofing professionals.

Key Takeaways: Should You Seal Terracotta Roof Tiles?

Terracotta’s Unique Properties: Terracotta roof tiles, made from clay, possess a natural, porous nature that makes them both beautiful and vulnerable to the elements.

Benefits of Sealing: Sealing these tiles enhances their lifespan, reduces moisture absorption, combats efflorescence, and helps in retaining their vibrant colour.

Risks of Not Sealing: Unsealed tiles are more susceptible to water damage, moss and algae growth, and may deteriorate faster, especially in Auckland’s varied climate.

Safety Comes First: Always ensure safe practices when working on roofs, using the appropriate gear and equipment, especially in places like Ponsonby with steeper architectural designs.

Alternatives to Terracotta: While terracotta is a popular choice in areas like Remuera, other roofing materials such as concrete or slate offer different advantages and aesthetics.

Cost Factor: While sealing adds to the initial cost, it may result in long-term savings due to reduced maintenance and repair costs.

Technique Matters: Proper application ensures the sealant serves its purpose without compromising the tile’s appearance or functionality.

Environmental Considerations: Sealed tiles can have better water runoff, potentially reducing the risk of localised flooding or water pooling.

Suburb-Specific Regulations: Certain Auckland suburbs may have specific bylaws or guidelines related to roofing materials and processes.

Always Consider Professional Advice: Companies like My Roofers Auckland possess the expertise to guide homeowners on the best practices for their terracotta roofing needs.