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New Tile Roof vs. Paper Underlayment Replacement

Reroofing: Do you need an entire tile roof replacement or just an underlayment R&R?

If you’ve found your way to this page, then you might be wondering, “How long do tile roofs last?” Or, “Do I need a new tile roof?” The answer to either of those questions, like so many others, is: it depends.

Generally speaking, a tile roof can last 50 years or longer — with proper maintenance. Whether it’s made of clay or concrete, tile is a very durable material. Most of what you see here in Arizona is concrete roof tiling. Clay tile tends to have a longer life, but it’s also more expensive than concrete roofing tiles.

What won’t last 50 years is the felt underlayment that was installed when your home was built. After about 20 years or so, that felt underlayment will disintegrate to the point where all that’s left is dust.

Maybe All You Need Is a Tile ‘R&R’

In the roofing business, when we do an underlayment replacement, it’s sometimes called a tile R&R, which stands for remove and reset, or remove and reinstall.

What we do with a tile R&R is we remove the tile, replace the old paper or felt underlayment with a new, rubberized underlayment, and then lay the original tile back in place. While we’re at it, we’ll also repair any damage we find. We’ll also replace the old sticks, or bats as they’re sometimes called, and install new flashing.

It’s almost as labor-intensive to do a tile R&R as it is to install an entirely new roofing system. The advantage for you, as the homeowner, is that a tile R&R is considerably less expensive. You don’t have to pay to replace tile that’s still in perfectly good condition.

This is an especially great option if your HOA dictates that you have to keep the same tile color on your roof. Why pay for a whole new roof that’s going to look exactly the same as the one you already have? Do an R&R instead, and use the money you’d spend on new tile for something else.

Why Underlayment Replacement Is Necessary

The underlayment helps to channel water off your roof when it rains. Tile itself isn’t completely waterproof. Roofing tiles shed most of the water, but not all of it. Some water still runs under the tiling. The underlayment and metal flashing prevents that water from seeping into your home and causing damage.

After baking in the Arizona sun for a couple of decades, the old paper underlayment installed when your home was built is probably little more than dust. It’s no longer protecting your home from leaks.

Updated underlayment paper gives added protection

The newer paper used for underlayment is modified with rubber. Not only is the rubberized paper likely to last longer than the old felt-like paper they used to install. It also provides extra protection against leaks. If a nail or some other sharp object punctures it, the rubber component forms a seal around the puncture.

In most cases, especially in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas, we use what’s called a modified 40-lb paper. The term “modified” mean it’s infused with rubber. In Flagstaff, we use an underlayment paper that’s designed to protect against ice, as well as rain.

Common Questions About Tile R&Rs

  • How do I know my roof needs an underlayment replacement, since I can’t see it?
    There are two main indicators that you should use when considering a tile roof replacement or a tile roof repair that includes underlayment replacement.One is the age of your roof. If it’s still the original roofing system that was installed when your home was built, and it’s 20 years old or older, then it’s definitely time to have the underlayment checked. There’s a good chance that you’ll need to have it replaced.The other indicator is a leaky roof. Unless your roof has been damaged, leaks are a sure sign that the underlayment is shot. Either way, you’ll probably need to have at least certain portions of the underlayment replaced.
  • How long does a roof tiling R&R usually take?
    For a 1,500-square-foot house, we advise homeowners that it will take about a week. We do our best to start on a Monday and have the job wrapped up by Friday, so the house isn’t open over the weekend. Larger homes may take longer.
  • What will an R&R cost me?
    Naturally, we recommend calling us for an estimate. To get a general idea of what you’re looking at in terms of cost, though, you can figure it’ll be around $5 per square foot if we don’t need to do much besides replace the paper underlayment, sticks, and flashing.
  • Is there a warranty on an underlayment replacement?
    With a tile R&R, we can provide 10- and 20-year “no leak” manufacturer warranties. Know that if you properly maintain your roofing system, it should protect against leaks significantly longer than that.

A Few Words About Roof Maintenance

The average homeowner doesn’t think too much about their roof until something happens. Maybe a wind storm uproots a tree that falls on the house. Or maybe the roof starts leaking in the middle of monsoon season.

While there isn’t much you can do if a tree damages your roof, you can take steps to help prevent leaks, such as periodically having your roof checked. You can also look into foam and coatings that can extend the life of your roof.

These steps can be a lot less expensive than repairing the damage caused by a leak.

Why Behmer Is Your Best Choice for Tile Roof Replacement and Repairs

When it comes to having work done on your roof, from minor repairs to the installation of a whole new roofing system, you have dozens of options. But not all roofing companies are the same, as some homeowners learn the hard way.

Here are several key reasons you should choose Behmer Roofing:

  • We’ve been in the roofing business for generations. You can trust our experience, and you don’t have to worry that we won’t be around five years from now.
  • We do all of our work in-house. Our crews are all full-time employees who’ve been with us an average of 15 years. Other companies may subcontract jobs out to temporary workers or traveling laborers. We don’t do that.
  • We get the job done quickly. Because our crews are experienced, they can work quickly to repair or install your roofing system. As we mentioned earlier, we can do an R&R on an average 1,500-square-foot house in about a week, Monday to Friday.
  • We provide accurate estimates. We’ve done thousands of estimates all over the state of Arizona. With many decades of experience, we know what a particular job will involve. Unless we run into unexpected damage when we remove your old roofing materials, the estimate we provide you should be extremely close to your final cost.
  • We cover the Valley and Northern Arizona. With locations in Scottsdale, Flagstaff, and Sedona, we can typically come to your home within 24 hours of receiving a request. You’ll have a bid on the following business day.

If you think it might be time to have your tile roof replaced, don’t put it off. Monsoon season will roll around before you know it.

We’ll check the condition of your roofing tiles to see if you can save money by doing an underlayment replacement. The extra protection that rubberized paper provides may be all your roof needs.

Contact Behmer Roofing

Behmer is ready to take on your toughest roofing challenges. Located across Arizona, Behmer Roofing handles all projects from roof replacements, maintenance, new construction and commercial roofing. Contact us today for more information.