Skip to content

How to walk on clay roof tiles without cracking them.

Today we’re talking about clay roof tile, sometimes referred to as Mexican tile. We have about, less than 1%, maybe a half a percent of our jobs have this kind of a tile. We’re going to give you a photo of it. And some demonstrations here in just a minute of what it is and what it looks like and what some of the challenges are with it.

The primary challenge with it is, on most homes we have to walk on the tile, at least at some level. This kind of clay roof tile is extremely fragile. And you can have significant breakage with it so you have to adapt and modify. We use some things called bumpers. There’s some homemade pieces of foam with some plywood on top of it to help distribute the weight. And then we just get a painter that’s typically a little smaller that can walk on there so we don’t have any weight issues on there. I’m going to go over to Juan, who’s our crew leader who’s going to be putting this up here in just a second, and we’ll be seeing how all that works and what these tiles look like. So stand.

All right, we have Juan getting up on the roof here. We’re just going to make sure everything’s safe and secured, so he’s being handed these foam bumpers, is what we call them. The goal is lay one down, kind of get up there a little bit closer, put the other one down. And we normally work with two or three of them, is typically it, and you just move from one to the other, and back and forth. They do a pretty good job of preventing any breakage in this area.

using a bumper to walk on clay roof tiles

We do give a caveat within our company that this is not something that we guarantee. But you can see him just walking right straight up on there, and we’re not having any issues. I’m going to give a little bit of a zoom here in there. You can also see there is a bit of cement between each unit there, so it’s very difficult. And if these get broken it’s very hard to work with, and you have to have a roofing company come back out. It’s not simply just replacing one of those tiles. He’s moving up. He’s going to get up there, and already he’s 80% the way up there. And he’s going to start laying paper down and then we’ll get painting. So back in just a minute after he gets everything papered.

foam with plywood so clay roof tiles don't crack

He’s getting close to the middle here. We’ll try to give you a little bit. He keeps those bumpers about 12 inches away from the side that he’s going to be painting here as he lays down that paper. And again, you’ll notice as he moves back and forth, we’re having zero breakage on any of these, so it distributes the weight well. And because of the give within that foam, it doesn’t cause any damage to those tiles at all in there. Stand by for him to start painting in just a moment.

Masking house with clay roof tiles to prep for paint

All right, we’ve finished the papering, is what we call it, of this area right here, which is just going to protect that tile from any over spraying. Again, we’re about 12 inches away and we’re going to start spraying. And this is actually new stucco so this is actually a primer coat that’s getting on here. And just like when he was putting the paper down, he’s going to spray an area and get it completely covered, move down, spray. He’ll then secure the spray wand, move the bumpers down too. And then he’ll repeat until he gets all the way down. As you can see him moving them right there.

Typically two at a time, we’re doing it like that, and as he gets closer I’ll … And we will finish this all the way down. We’ll let that dry. And then we’ll put on our two top coats after that using the same methodology. That is clay roof tile, sometimes colloquially known as Mexican roof tile in this area. We’ve gone up and down a couple times on this. We’ve had zero breakage on the tile, and just really works well.

Painting a phoenix house with clay roof tiles

Once again, thanks for watching this video. And if you do have any questions about anything regarding an exterior paint project, feel free to give us a call here at Crash of Rhinos Painting. I hope you have a great day!