Skip to content
Home > Blog > How to Safely Walk on a Tile Roof

How to Safely Walk on a Tile Roof

Learning how to safely walk on a tile roof is crucial to avoid damage and injury. This guide covers assessing risks, preparing with proper safety gear, employing safe walking techniques, and understanding when to hire a professional roofer.

Common Risks of Walking on Tile Roofs

person walking on top of a tile roof

Walking on a tile roof can be very risky, and if you can avoid it, we strongly recommend that you do so. The risks involved are significant and can lead to severe consequences for both your safety and the condition of your roof. Here are some common risks to consider

Tile Breakage

Tile roofs are not designed to support the weight of a person. When you step on the tiles, you can easily crack or break them. Broken tiles can lead to leaks and costly repairs. Even if the tiles look strong, they can be more fragile than you think. A single misstep could result in multiple broken tiles, compromising the integrity of your roof and its ability to protect your home from the elements.

Personal Injury

Walking on a tile roof is dangerous. The tiles can be slippery, especially if they are wet or covered in moss. One wrong step, and you could slip and fall, leading to serious injury. Additionally, the roof’s slope can make it hard to keep your balance. Falls from roofs can result in severe injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, or worse. The risk of personal injury is one of the most compelling reasons to stay off your tile roof.

Potential for Leaks

Damaging the tiles while walking on them can create gaps and cracks. These gaps allow water to seep into your home, causing leaks and water damage. Fixing these leaks can be expensive and time-consuming. Water damage can lead to mold growth, which poses additional health risks to you and your family. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to water can weaken the structure of your home, leading to more extensive and costly repairs.

Compromised Roof Structure

Repeated walking on a tile roof can compromise the overall structure of the roof. Over time, the stress from walking can cause tiles to loosen and underlayment to deteriorate. This can shorten the lifespan of your roof, leading to more frequent and expensive maintenance or replacement.

Preparation Before Walking on a Tile Roof

Before you even think about walking on your tile roof, it’s essential to prepare properly to minimize risks and ensure your safety. Here are some important steps to follow:

  • Checking for Damaged Tiles: Before stepping onto your roof, take a close look at the tiles from the ground or using a ladder. Look for any cracked, chipped, or broken tiles. Damaged tiles can be more prone to breaking under your weight, so it’s crucial to identify and avoid these areas.
  • Identifying Weak Spots: Weak spots on your roof can be dangerous. These spots might not be immediately visible, so pay attention to any areas that look worn or uneven. If possible, gently tap tiles with a long tool to check for any that sound hollow or loose, indicating potential weak spots.

Safety Gear

  • Appropriate Footwear: Wearing the right shoes is critical. Choose footwear with soft, rubber soles that provide good traction. Avoid hard-soled shoes, which can slip easily on tiles and cause damage. The goal is to have a firm grip while minimizing the risk of slipping.
  • Safety Harness and Ropes: A safety harness is a must when working on a roof. Secure the harness to a stable anchor point on the roof or the structure of your house. Use ropes to ensure you have a fallback in case you lose your balance. This equipment can prevent serious injuries from falls.
  • Gloves and Helmet: Wearing gloves will protect your hands from sharp edges and rough surfaces, while also giving you a better grip. A helmet is essential to protect your head in case of slips or falling debris. Always prioritize your safety by wearing appropriate protective gear.

By thoroughly assessing the roof and using proper safety gear, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with walking on a tile roof. Remember, your safety is paramount, so take these precautions seriously.

Steps to Safely Walk on a Tile Roof

Walking on a tile roof requires careful planning and technique to avoid damage and injury. Follow these steps to ensure your safety

  1. Identify the Safest Route: Before you step onto the roof, take some time to plan your path. Look for areas with the least amount of damage and the strongest support. Identify a clear route that avoids obstacles like chimneys, vents, and skylights. Planning your path helps minimize the risk of stepping on weak or damaged tiles.
  2. Avoid the Edges: Always stay away from the edges of the roof. The edges are often more fragile and can break easily under pressure. Plus, being close to the edge increases the risk of falling. Stick to the central areas of the roof where it is usually more stable.
  3. Distribute Your Weight Evenly: To prevent damage to the tiles, distribute your weight evenly. Avoid putting too much pressure on any one tile. Move slowly and carefully, keeping your balance and using your hands for additional support if necessary. Try to maintain a low, steady stance to reduce the risk of slipping or falling.
  4. Use Roof Ladders and Crawling Boards: Roof ladders and crawling boards provide extra support and help distribute your weight more evenly across the roof. These tools can significantly reduce the pressure on individual tiles, minimizing the risk of breakage. They also provide a stable platform to walk on, enhancing your safety.
Video by Mike Cannon

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Walking on a Tile Roof

When walking on a tile roof, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that can lead to accidents or damage. Here are some key mistakes to watch out for

Stepping on Unsupported Tiles

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is stepping on tiles that aren’t supported by the structure underneath. Unsupported tiles are more likely to crack or break under your weight. Always try to step on the lower third of the tiles, where they are better supported. Avoid stepping on the edges or middle of the tiles, as these areas are more vulnerable.

Ignoring Safety Gear

Skipping safety gear can be a dangerous mistake. Safety gear like harnesses, ropes, gloves, and helmets are essential for protecting yourself. Without them, you increase the risk of serious injury if you slip or fall. Always take the time to wear the proper safety equipment before getting on the roof.

Rushing the Process

Rushing while walking on a tile roof can lead to accidents. Moving too quickly increases the chances of losing your balance, stepping on weak spots, or missing potential hazards. Take your time and move slowly and carefully. Plan your steps and make sure each one is secure before moving on.

Hiring a Professional Roofer

roofer installing/repairing a tile roof

Hiring a professional roofer is often the safest option for handling tile roof inspections and repairs, given the risks involved in walking on such roofs. Professional roofers possess the necessary experience, tools, and knowledge to safely manage roof-related tasks. Instant Roofer simplifies the process of finding and connecting with top-rated roofers in your local area. Our expanding and regularly updated database ensures that you can quickly locate the highest-rated roofer near you, saving you time and effort.

With Instant Roofer, you can avoid the lengthy process of researching and contacting roofers yourself. Simply enter your address on our find a roofer page, and you’ll be connected with the best roofers in your area. This service ensures that the professionals handling your roof are highly rated and trusted by others in your community. By hiring a professional roofer through Instant Roofer, you can ensure the job is done safely and correctly, protecting both your roof and your personal safety.


Walking on a tile roof involves significant risks, including tile breakage, personal injury, and potential for leaks. Proper preparation, such as assessing the roof and using safety gear, is crucial to minimize these risks. Employing careful walking techniques and using support tools like roof ladders and crawling boards can also enhance safety. However, despite all precautions, it’s often best to hire a professional roofer who has the expertise and equipment to handle roof tasks safely and effectively.

Using services like Instant Roofer can simplify finding and connecting with top-rated roofers in your area, ensuring the job is done correctly without compromising your safety or the integrity of your roof. By taking these steps and understanding the importance of safety measures, you can protect your home and yourself from the potential dangers associated with walking on a tile roof. Prioritize safety and consider professional help to maintain the longevity and functionality of your roof.

Fact checked by Adrian Catolico – 5/21/2024