Q: My house is a 97-year-old Victorian with a concrete-tile roof. It was installed in 1929 to replace the original cedar shakes and has weathered hurricanes like a champ. How can I find matching replacements for some of the missing and damaged tiles?
—Patricia, Beaumont, Texas
A: Kevin O' Connor replies: A roof more than 75 years old? No wonder you want to keep it. To find an answer for you, I called Rick Olson, technical director at the Tile Roofing Institute. He says that you should look on the back of one of your tiles to see if there's a manufacturer's name cast into it. If so, then you can check the list of U.S. roof-tile manufacturers on the Institute's website, tileroofing.org. If there's no name on the tile, or the company isn't listed, perhaps you'll find similar tile patterns by going to each company's website. If not, you may be able to find a company that will custom-make the ones you need. You can also check with companies like thetileman.com, which sell salvaged roofing tiles, or search the Web for overseas suppliers; many tile profiles in this country were inspired by European designs. Importing tiles might seem expensive, but it probably will cost less than having new tiles custom made or installing a new roof.