replace tile roof with colorbond metal

We should start with a few stories first then end with some videos of tile roof failures to give the colorbond Vs tile roof argument a send off…

Replace tile roof with Colorbond – why would you do it?

The debate of colorbond Vs tile roofs is an on-going one and it seems like the colorbond has got a lead…

We should start with a few stories first then end with some videos of tile roof failures to give the colorbond Vs tile roof argument a send off…

Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Replace concrete tile roof with colorbond metal roof
This is what Tom did to transform the look of his problem roof.

Tom had an old leaking tile roof.

It happened to be old concrete roof tiles and he often wondered about its age and whether it was time for a new roof. Initially, it was a low priority item for him because he had just spent a few bucks on a new kitchen.

… Until a storm showed up.

The kitchen ceiling started to drip. It was an emergency but there were no roofers to be found.

“… it is against Occupational Health and Safety regulations to send a roofer up on a wet roof in windy and wet conditions…” – was a typical response.

Only the SES could help (apparently they worked under a different set of laws?).

“ An old dried up tree branch fell off the back gum tree. It cracked a couple of roof tiles. We have put a tarp over the area and you will need to get a roofer out when the weather gets better…” The SES guys were great.

Storms keep roofing crews busy – and it was a good two weeks before a roofer was able to peel the tarp off and take a look.

“…Yep. A couple of cracked roof tiles. They are ‘Boral Windsors’. Bloody hard to find replacement for these now since Boral stopped producing Windsors a few years back…

Lucky for you I have about 5 in my yard”

This was the good news.

The roofer had more to say….

“ You will need more work on your ridge capping because the broken tiles are directly under the ridges… Also, there are quite a few loose ridges. Maybe the SES or just a maintenance thing…

Probably about $3000 to do a proper fix.”

Time to make an executive decision.

For Tom, it was decision time.

He had a healthy balance on his line of credit.

The roof showed multiple dips (maybe because the roof tiles were too heavy?)

The roofer had said that if there was sarking under this roof tiles, then maybe it would have kept the kitchen dry.

The roof was hot – even though he had put a couple of whirly birds in a couple of summers before…

So Tom started researching.

He was after a roof that could withstand a falling branch. Looked good and straight. Had less maintenance issues …and a bit cooler.

Initially, he was looking for a new replacement tile roof. Then he read all the talk on the internet about colorbond roofs.

He Googled ‘replace tile roof with colorbond roof’…. And up popped a whole page published by a roofing materials supplier called ‘No 1 Roofing’.

All the pros and cons of tile vs colorbond roofs.

Tom made a decision. It was too easy…

It was going to be a new colorbond roof!

… Now, all he had to do was find a good roofer.


Terry had always dreamt of a good looking colorbond roof to replace his crap looking tile roof

Replacing terracotta tile roof with colorbond metal roof
It is always nice to have a dream come true. This is even better than the colorbond ad!

It was 2014 and Terry saw the Colorbond ad on TV.

One day…. He was going to be able to run out in his pyjamas and admire his new colorbond roof. His old terracotta tiled roof looked crap, the tiles were very fragile. And the look of the tiles did not match with the other metal roofs that were hanging off it…

Terry also thought: “Maybe new guttering…and colorbond fascia covers… That front porch sticks out like a ‘sore thumb’ – maybe Jack the roofer and his crew can do an upgrade?”

That was Terry’s dream.

In 2017, It came true…


When roof tiles leak badly and just don’t work on a roof…

Replacing leaking low pitched terracotta tile roof with colorbond metal roof
It is either a low pitched tile roof that continues to leak – or a colorbond roof replacement that always stay watertight!

“… it is just criminal how builders and roof tiles get away with their ignorance and laziness about where tiles just don’t work!” – my roofers regular rant.

It is a fact that most roof tiles struggle to keep the heavy rain out when they are laid at anything less than 20 degrees.

Roof tile manufacturers say that putting sarking under their tiles will stretch the minimum tile roof slope to as flat as 15 degrees. If you read between the lines, this reads: “We know that the tiles will leak – but the sarking will catch the leaking water and carry it to the eaves. Hopefully, no water will reach the internal ceilings…”

… And they are mostly right.

Until 10 or so years go by.

The battens that sit on the top of the sarking, goes through hundreds of wet/dry cycles and start rotting. The roof tiles lose their support and collapse to a flatter position and cause more leakage. This is when water starts dripping onto the ceiling.

When it comes to roof pitch versatility, Colorbond metal roofs come out the clear winner over roof tiles. You can build a colorbond metal roof from 1 degree to a 90 degree pitch. You just cannot do it with tiles.


Some tiles are better than others at resisting roof leaks…

Terracotta tiles are generally better at handling the lower pitches. The interlocking upstream edge will prevent water from overflowing the top edge of the tile.

Concrete roof tiles do not come with any ridging on the upstream edge. Water will run over the top edge as the roof pitch dips below 20 degrees.

The flat profile concrete tiles tend to be worst. They leak everywhere…

…. And then you have leaves.

Trees are great.

But they drop leaves on the roof.

Leaves clog up the water courses of roof tiles and block the natural flow of water down the tiles (especially flat concrete tiles).

Replacing leaking flat concrete tile roof with colorbond metal roof
Leaves will cause leaks on flat profiled, low pitch tile roofs. But a colorbond roof does not care about leaves. It keeps working to keep the water out!

Why are tile roofs more common that colorbond roofs?

If in some roofing situations, roof tiles are vastly inferior to colorbond metal roof sheeting. Then why are there so many roofs in Sydney covered with roof tiles?

Well, for most well pitched roofs, tiles work satisfactorily. Besides, tiles can be a bit cheaper to put on a roof (not because of the cost of the material, but for various installation and industry factors). And there is the traditional way of thinking that roofs must be tiled.

For a standard pitched roof in Sydney, tiles will be more prone to leakage than a colorbond metal roof. Ridge capping problems, cracked roof tiles, overflowing at base of valleys and downpipe discharges, and leaf blockage are very common with tiled roofs. But are non existent with metal colorbond roofs.

For some other types of roofs, roof tiles just do not perform as well as metal roof sheeting. In fact, I would not even attempt to install roof tiles on some roofs because tiles just will not keep the rainwater out.

In these instances, there is a clear winner in the colorbond vs tile roof debate.

People do have ‘colorbond’ moments

The owners were delighted…

The outcome itself was marvellous. I have those kind of colorbond moments they show on tv.

More on low pitched tile roofs leakage problems…

One of the common problems with tiled roofs is the belief by some Sydney builders and roofers that tiles can go on any roof – even on minimal pitch.

Tile manufacturers stipulate the use of sarking under low pitched roofs (because they know that their tiles will leak) to try to extend the useability of their tiles. But while good sarking will keep out the water from the roof cavity – it does not prevent the tiles from leaking and soaking the timber roof battens.

With enough cycles of wetting and drying, the timber battens will eventually rot out. Not a good situation to have. And because the battens are hidden, you cannot tell their condition without removing the roof tiles.

Check out the video below.

And when you have overhanging trees, the situation gets worst. Over time, the leaks will rot the battens and cause the tiles to tilt over and the leaks starts getting worst:

Another video below shows another leaking flat tile roof in dire straits:

In our many years of replacing tile roofs with colorbond roofs, we consistently come up against the two main enemies of roof tiles.

Trees and low pitches.

So when you are considering a tile roof, you need to take these into account first. You may end up going with colorbond.

I often tell people that I am extremely biased towards colorbond – BUT they need to take it with a grain of salt because we only do colorbond roof replacements  – and resist replacement tile roofs.

The No 1 Roofing post I mentioned earlier is an independent view about replacing tile roofs with colorbond. It does have a lot more information about the topic than I have covered above.

Pop over there for a read: No 1 Roofing post on advantages of colorbond roofs

Then come back and make contact if you are thinking of a colorbond roof replacement.


Jack the Roofer

Jack Yuen

Jack Yuen (Jack the Roofer) started roofing work in 1999 and have built a career in "roof repair expertise" on Sydney roofs. Jack is a leading voice on how roofs should build, maintained and repaired to provide the best outcomes for both roofers and property owners

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Robyn Herrewyn
Robyn Herrewyn
6 years ago

My roof is leaking effecting one bedroom

Cory Wilkinson
Cory Wilkinson
2 years ago

I agree with most of what you said about tile roofs however you neglected to mention that you can’t in most cases just change from a heavy tile roof to a colour bond roof without significant expense and council approval.

Taking tonnes and tonnes of roof tiles away from a structure and replacing it with light weight colour bond that it was never intended to have makes the roof vulnerable to wind uplift. This will mean in most cases significant engineering to strengthen and tie down rafters and or roof trusses to a structure to meet code, This process depends on building and roof construction methods used. Not to mention many council controls over colour and type of roofing material allowed.

Many roofing companies just do it without approval, it needs to be engineered and approved otherwise good luck with insurance or council if a complaint is made, Its one of the reasons insurers ask what is the roof covering?.

I do love a colour bond roof though, so much better!