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The 4-1-1 on Tile Roofs!

Some of the most common questions we get from clients in regards to tile roof cleaning, are:

- Will walking on my tile roof damage or break the tiles?

- Will the color of the tile be "bleached" or "faded" out after?

- Why are there still black lines?

in this article, we will address these issues, and then some!

Coloring of roof tiles

Color Through VS Slurry: These are two different methods used for adding color to the concrete roofing tile.

Color Through is the process of using a dye during the mixing process to give color through the entire tile. This method allows the tile to retain its coloration even after years of sun exposure, natural weathering, and acid/chemical washes. When cleaning this tile, either pressure or chemicals may be used. Although, using chemicals is always the best method for cleaning your tile due to the danger of breaking or leaving streaks while using a high pressure. *pressure washing a tile roof is NOT recommended, and pressures should never exceed 2100 psi.

Slurry tile is the process by which a natural colored tile is splattered with a mixture of dye, water, and cement during the curing process. This process can allow a wider variation of colors to be produced. This method of coloration gives a shiny appearance to the tile. The slurry coating on the tile will last for several years, but overtime it will begin to dry and form a powdery layer on top as a result of oxidation and sun exposure. When cleaning this tile, it is crucial to soft wash with chemical application, rather than high pressure as it will remove and the coating, leaving you with a bare cement tile. When using chemicals to clean this tile, it is normal for the run off to have a slight tint of color to it. Do not worry this is normal, as it is just the powdered/oxidized coloring being removed. The paint or coloring it self is not being stripped from the tile.

With either of these color application processes, the chemicals used and reccomended by the manufactures will not and can not "bleach" or "fade" the coloring.

Antiquing - Black streaks in the tiles

(see image below)

The black streaks that you see in the tile above is not a discoloration to the tile, or a spot that wasnt cleaned properly, but rather a technique used by many different roofing tile manufactures. The reasoning behind adding these streaks within the mixture of the tile is to mask the contrast between the individual pieces of tile, while adding an aged look. Since there are multiple days that a tile may be produced matching colors is very difficult, which is why these streaks you are seeing benefit the appearance of the roof.


The color variation of the tile (see photo to the right) is called a blend. A blend is where the roofing contractor takes several different colors of tile that compliment each others appearance. The use of a blend often brings a better appearance to the roof because it keeps people from noticing color variation of tiles of the “same” color as well as having its own pleasant appearance.


The whitish areas of the tile below is due to naturally occurring stage in the tile called efflorescence. This is caused by the calcium within the tile as it works its way to the surface. So when you begin to notice this forming on your roof, do not be alarmed, its natural and unavoidable. The whitish appearance will eventually dissipate on its own within 1-2 years which variates between tiles. While there is no way to completely prevent efflorescence from occurring, however there is a way to keep the appearance of the tile clean. By using a special chemical, the calcium can be washed off the tile. While this process may clean the tile at the moment, the efflorescence will continue to take place every so often until the excess calcium has been released. (see photo below)

Walking the Tile & Pressure Points

When the tile is installed on the roof, they are staggered so that the overlapping tile is centered on the seam of the one below it. This is used to give the roof a better appearance, draining the rain on the roof, and to prevent a domino effect when a tile is broken or damaged. Only individuals who are trained to walk on a tile roof should do so, but if it is necessary to walk on the roof there is a specific path that should be taken. When walking the roof, you should step on the bottom third section of the tile. This is because that is where the rows of tile overlap, meaning that is the strongest section of the tile. Also while walking on the bottom third of the tile, you should have your foot placed on two tiles at once (the ball of your foot on one tile, the arch of your foot over the seam of the tile, and your heel on the other tile). Walking a roof properly is very important because it is possible to break the tile from simply walking on it improperly. Although the breaking point of the tile ranges from 250ftlbs-400ftlbs, which is strong enough to hold someone who would be walking a roof, there may be pressure points that were caused during installation. These pressure points can be caused by a piece of tile that was broken being underneath the installed tile, or even just a defect in installation. These pressure points could make it possible for an individual who weighs around 170lbs to crack a tile that is rated to withstand 350ftlbs of force.

If you need professional roof cleaning in Central Florida,

call CentraFlo Pressure Cleaning in Orlando, FL


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