How to repair a roof tile – when you don’t have a spare

DIY repair cracked roof tiles
What if you don’t have a spare roof tile to replace this cracked one?

If you have a tiled roof – then sooner or later, you will have a broken roof tile. As a rule, tile roofers in Sydney leave behind spare roof tiles on every roof that they do. So, if this is the case, then you can simply change the roof tile.

But older roofs and even some of the newer roofs don’t have a stack of spare roof tiles stored in a corner. So, what happens if you get a cracked roof tile?

Well, a properly executed silicone repair can be effective as a temporary (or even permanent) solution to this problem. However, I have seen so many broken roof tiles repaired with silicone and still leak. This is because the roof repairer did not know the basics of how a roof tile functions.

Most unsuccessful roof tile repairs are done without removal of the broken tile. This means that the visible crack is siliconed up but the all important drainage course that is hidden under the lap is left broken and un-sealed. This means that while the roof tile does not leak as bad – it still leaks.

It is critical that the full width of the roof tile is repaired – not just the exposed portion. If done correctly, the repair will be serviceable for a long time. It may not look great – but it is effective.

For more details check out the video below:



By Jack Yuen

Now in my early 60's, I started work as a civil engineer specialising in building things. In 1999, the Sydney hailstorm struck and I was asked to fix all the broken roofs in the eastern suburbs. Today, I have a great bunch of roofers and we go around Sydney tracking down roof leaks and fixing them or putting on colorbond metal roof replacements...

4 Responses to "How to repair a roof tile – when you don’t have a spare"
  1. Hi how can you tell the difference between a tile that’s been broken from the inside rather then the outside? Why i ask is that my wife says that the tiles on the roof where broken from the inside not the outside, how can i know if this is true. Do you have pictures that you could show me the difference between standing on a tile and cracking it and a broken tile that’s been damaged from the inside. I’m finding this quite confusing, could you shine some light on this being a professional thanks toni.

    • Hi Toni,
      There is no sure way of telling the difference between a roof tile broken from inside the roof cavity and one that has been broken from the outside.
      If no one has been inside the roof cavity – then it is obviously broken from the outside. It is also difficult to break a roof tile from the inside ‘accidentally’….

      Hope this helps,

      Jack Yuen

  2. Hi Jack My name is Rose and I am inquiring if you do insurance work? Could you please email me if you do thank you. Your utube videos are very informative you have a lot of knowledge. Our home is federation built 1920’s and we have terracotta roof tiles.
    Thank you
    Kind Regards

  3. Hello Jack. I live in Phoenix Arizona on a golf course….my home is hit monthly with golf balls, I agree, a good tube of silicone calk is my roofs best friend, really easy to use, simple and solves the problem. Just today was on roof, silicone repairs I did 5 years ago look great, still holding, even in 120 degree temps…

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