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Specialty Home Products » Roofing FAQs

#15 Can I walk on my tile roof?

Walking on Roof


While walking on any roof surface should be avoided or kept to a minimum, occasionally it may be necessary. Caution should be exercised not only to ensure your personal safety, but also because most manufacturers specifically do not warrant tile breakage due to foot traffic on the roof.

If tiles are broken during trafficking, they should be replaced as soon as possible to avoid damage to the underlayment from water or exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

To avoid breaking tiles, there are certain methods of traversing the roof that may minimize damage. Typically, it is recommended to step at the bottom three inches of the installed tile. This is the portion of the tile that is supported by the lapped tile beneath it and the weight is then transferred through it to the deck below.

Orient your feet in a direction parallel with the ridge and try to distribute your weight evenly and walk as softly as possible.

On S shaped tiles, it is recommended for you to distribute your weight with the heel and toe on the high points of adjacent tiles.

Another option that proves helpful, particularly when a work task may distract you, is to use walk pads to distribute weight over a larger area you may be working on.
Pads may be fabricated in a number of ways but are typically made from sheets of plywood cut into 2' X 2' sections. The underside of these pads can then be fitted with softer material such as carpet or rigid foam that willhelp spread the weight and prevent slippage.

It is also recommended to stay away from hips or valleys to avoid breaking specially cut tiles that would be more difficult to replace. The exception to this would be in situations where the hips and ridges are attached by being bedded in either mortar or foam, in which case, they may be preferred walking paths.

Valleys can also be ideal access paths, if the tiles are cut away from the center of the valley wide enough to allow foot traffic on the valley flashing instead of the tile. Take special care when walking on valley flashing, as the metal can be slippery.

Keep in mind that activities such as gutter cleaning and holiday light hanging can be accomplished by ladder from the ground up, rather than walking your roof. Ladder braces may be attached to avoid damage to your gutters and tile.

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