Expert advice on how to repair tile and masonry roofs, including fixing holes and cracks, and tips for replacing broken roof tiles.

The most common problem with tile, concrete tile, fiber cement, and other types of masonry roofing is cracking. For anything but an occasional cracked or broken tile, hire a roofer.

Man's hands holding a pried out red roof tile.
Broken roof tile is pried out and removed so that a new replacement can be slipped in beneath the course above it. Rob Bayer /

Small Cracks or Holes

Small cracks and holes can be repaired by filling the defect with plastic roofing cement.

1 Scrub the area with a wire brush.

2 Fill the area with plastic roofing cement to seal or join the crack.


Cracked or Broken Roof Tile

If a roof tile is cracked or broken and can be repaired as discussed above, you’ll need to replace the tile.

1 Carefully pry up the tile (or tiles) just above the cracked or broken one.

2 Break the faulty tile, and remove the pieces. Also pry or force out any nails.

3 Spread a small amount of roofing cement along the underside of the replacement, and slide it into place. Adhesive, rather than nails, will hold this tile.

A bucket of asphalt roofing cement over a pile of roof tiles.
If a tile roof leaks, you’ll need to remove the tile over the leak, repair the area with asphalt roofing cement, and replace the tile.

4 Press all tiles down gently but snugly.


Tile Roof Leaks

If a tile roof leaks, the problem is almost always with the membrane beneath the tile. In order to repair this, you’ll first have to find the area that is leaking.

Installed roofing felt, including metal flashing in a corner of a wall.
Beneath tile roofing, 30-pound roofing felt on a plywood deck sheds the water. ©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

For information on this, please see How to Find & Fix Roof Leaks. Then you’ll need to take-up the tile around the leak, patch the leak with roofing cement, and replace the tiles.


Featured Resource: Find a Pre-Screened Local Tile Roofing Contractor

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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” served as MSN’s home expert for several years, and is featured as Yelp's home improvement expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort