Replacing Terra Cotta Shingles

Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated May 8, 2020)

Replacing terra cotta shingles is a somewhat easy project, and one that won't have to be undertaken very often (if at all) if you are lucky. These types of shingles are particularly durable and even somewhat free from maintenance. If you are thinking of doing the work yourself follow these directions to ensure you get the job done correctly. These directions assume that you have already removed the old shingles, and are starting from a blank structurally sound roof.

Materials needed:

  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • S-shaped terra cotta shingle
  • Bird stops
  • Rounded ridge terra cotta shingles
  • Chalk line
  • Carpenter's square
  • Rake tiles
  • Ladder
  • Flashing
  • Hammer
  • Galvanized nails
  • Two inch by six inch ridge boards
  • Circular saw
  • Drip edges
  • Roofing felt
  • Hamer Hacker
  • Tacks
  • Two inch by four inch boards
  • Two inch by two inch boards


  1. Fix the flashing. Lay, and nail, the flashing where it needs to go. Typically this means that the flashing needs to be nailed in place along the valleys, chimneys, vent pipes, and any and all seams or openings that may be found on the roof. When you are doing this, make sure that you galvanized nails to help hold this flashing in place.
  2. Attach the two by sixes and drip edges. Along the peaks and joints of the house you will want to attach the two inch by six inch boards. You will need to cut the boards so that they fit properly. By attaching the boards in this manner you will be adding the necessary lift to those sections of the roof for the half-round ridge tiles that will fit over the terra cotta tiles. Wherever the corner metal strips and horizontal roof edges you will want to nail the drip edges as well.
  3. Attach the roofing felt. Before you can begin laying down the terra cotta tiles, you need to lay down and attach the roofing felt. As you do this attach the heavy grade roofing felt over the entire roof using a roofing tacker and tacks. Be sure that you also apply the felt to the two by six inch boards as well.
  4. Nail remaining boards. Along the outside top vertical edges of the roof, nail your two by four inch boards, and then the two by two inch boards so. This will create a nice, steady series of steps that you can use to create the necessary lift for the rounded part of the first tile in the row to lay over.
  5. Snap a chalk line. Starting at an outside edge and working your way in begin laying down vertical chalk lines every three or four feet. These lines will allow you to verify and ensure that your tiles are laid down in an orderly manner.
  6. Start laying tile. Starting at one of the outside edges of the roof, nail a half-round rake tile to cup over the edge of the roof. You will want to attach the two by four to this tile to help hold it in place with a bird stop (one of the half round pieces) that was molded to fit in the curved part of the tile. Over this rake tile yow ill want to begin laying the s-shaped tiles, making sure that you fit in the bird stops to ensure that no birds can begin nesting where they shouldn't.
  7. Snap a chalk line. With the first set of tiles in place, snap down a horizontal chalk line. Use this line to help guide you as you are laying down your tiles. Continue laying your initial row of tiles until you have finished it.
  8. Start second row. Begin laying the second row, and other subsequent rows, using the same steps outlined in steps six and seven.
  9. Finish by covering two by six. Continue to lay the tiles until you are ready to reach the peaks. Carefully cover any peaks (and the two by six boards that are there) with the regular rounded tiles. Fill any and all gaps that may be along the ridge line with mortar that you have tinted to the same shade as the tile.

Whenever working on a roofing project, it is a good idea to have a rented dumpster brought in. This will allow you to properly dispose of any unused, unwanted, damaged, or removed materials. With this dumpster in place, and your roofing project now finished, all you need to do is some simple cleaning. Additionally, you may want to consider having some help while you are doing this project since it can easily overwhelm anyone who attempts to do it themselves.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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