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Installing Tile

With the hot mopping done, the roof is weatherproof; it's time to install tile. Our supplier stocks the roof, distributing the tiles to spread out the weight.

At roof edges, code requires two screws per tile. In the field, we're allowed to use either screws or an adhesive foam. Our preference is to use both adhesive and screws at the edge but adhesive alone in the field. Testing has shown that the adhesive holds better than screws in a high-wind situation; and after doing all that work to apply the underlayment, we don't like putting a lot of screw holes in it.

We use a two-part foam from Polyfoam (www.polyfoam.cc). Our crew are certified installers; they've been trained to calibrate the applicator guns, because the foam won't perform properly if it's not mixed in the right proportions.

Launch Slideshow

Reroofing with Concrete Tile, Images 17-23

Reroofing with Concrete Tile, Images 17-23

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    At roof edges, the crew attaches the cement tiles using redundant methods: First, a thick dab of two-part polyurethane adhesive foam.

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    Second, two galvanized screws per tile, driven through a strip of cold-applied asphalt cement.

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    In the field, only the foam is used to avoid screw holes in the newly applied hot-mopped underlayment.

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    Setting roof tiles in the adhesive foam.

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    Under South Florida's upgraded codes, hip tiles must be attached to a metal reinforcing channel, which is nailed to the deck.

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    The roofers apply foam adhesive to the channel, as well as to the tile.

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    The tile is set gently in place on the channel.

Hips and ridges require special treatment under the new codes. Research done after several severe storms showed that hip tiles were likely to get pulled loose and fly off the roof. So now, hips and ridges have to be reinforced with a metal channel - basically an upside-down "U" with flanges on the bottom. We nail the flanges to the roof deck with ring-shank nails and glue the tiles on top with the foam. Ridges are installed the same way.

Selling the Job

Even though the tile is not the primary means of water resistance, it's what the homeowners and neighbors will see, so we pay attention to the way it looks. When we sell a roof, we give the customers an array of choices and help them select a color and style that fits their house and the neighborhood. There's a wide range of solid colors available, as well as some popular blends where the color varies slightly from tile to tile. With the blends, the crew has to pay attention so that the roof doesn't end up with "hot spots" - areas with too much of one color. We've been lucky in that respect: Besides being highly skilled at the technical aspects of tile setting - including dry-in and hot mopping - our crew is gifted at the visual part. (They were awarded "best distribution of a blend" from Eagle Roof Tile, an award we're proud of.)

In fact, our crew is one of our company's biggest assets. Their efficiency and good humor on the job make it a lot easier for us to sell our services in this tough market.

Pat Hogan and Bill Moore are vice president and president respectively of Legacy Contracting Solutions, a licensed roofing and remodeling company based in West Palm Beach, Fla.