Hurricane Zones

Structural Information

Living on the coast of Florida is a dream, unless a hurricane is barreling down on you. For those of us who live in Florida, hurricanes are an ever-present possibility from June through November. It is not just our state that is threatened though. From the southern tip of Texas around the Gulf Coast of Florida, up the East Coast to Maine, and extending over 100 miles inland along this border, the United States is at risk for serious hurricane damage. The American Society for Civil Engineers recommends certain structural standards for homes and buildings located in these hurricane zones, and their ASCE 7-05 map, collecting potential wind speeds, show those places with the most severe risk from Hurricane winds to be on the coasts from North Carolina to Texas. Florida is the only state where every square mile is under threat from Hurricane winds. This threat obviously poses a danger to our loved ones and ourselves, but it also poses an extreme threat to the homes we cannot evacuate.
Roofs play a very important role in maintaining the structural integrity of your home during a hurricane. If you can adequately protect your windows and doors from being compromised during a storm, you may only have to worry about your roof. But if you lose your roof structure during a storm, your walls will certainly follow. Your roof can be at risk of being damaged in even the weakest hurricanes (Categories 1 and 2), and risks complete removal during major storms (Categories 3, 4, and 5). The National Hurricane Center’s Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale shows just how much your roof is at risk in different hurricane strengths:noaa-hurricane-map

Category 1: “Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters.”

Category 2: “Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage.”

Category 3: “Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends.”

Category 4: “Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls.”

Category 5: “A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse.”

While there may be nothing you can do to save your roofs from a direct hit by the most severe storms, there are choices you can make that might help mitigate the damage. The Palm Beach Post informed its readers about how certain roofs faired during the storms of 2004 and 2005—extremely active hurricane seasons with multiple landfalls in Florida. The Post attributed the majority of roof failures to two causes: “Age and improper installation caused most roof failures in the 2004 and 2005 hurricanes.” They also provided other facts about roofs after the storms.

—“Metal roofs had the fewest problems, followed by tiles applied with concrete or foam adhesive.”

—“Nailed-on tiles didn’t fare as well.”

—“Shingle roofs came off in the thousands.”

—“Shingles become brittle and lose adhesion in the Florida sun after about 12 years even if they were properly installed.”

—“[S]ealants can make shingles more brittle.”

—“Roofs installed after the mid-1990s, when building codes began to change statewide after Hurricane Andrew, survived better than those installed earlier.”

Reading the Post’s reporting on the storms, we can glean our best choices for roofs in hurricane zones are metal roofs and tile roofs installed using concrete or foam adhesive. Although they faired better during the storms, metal roofs and tile roofs still run the risk of dents and chips from large hail during storms.

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Choose the Right Roofer the First Time, Choose an FRSA Certified Roofer

Choosing the right roofer is a vital step in fixing and installing your roof. Our roofs are sologo1 important it is little wonder professionals recommend using only approved roof inspectors and cleaners, and the consequences of choosing the wrong roofer, when roofing scams leave consumers high and dry and Florida hurricanes are an ever present possibility six months of the year, are so dire, how could you think of hiring any roofer that you don’t have compete confidence in?

The answer is simple: you can’t. If you’re looking to put a new roof on your house or repair damage left after the hurricane season, Choose an FRSA certified roofer.

The Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (FRSA) is a professional organization of roofing, sheet metal, and air conditioning contractors and industries. Representing Registered Roofing Contractors, Certified Roofing Contractors, as well as the manufacturers producing roofing materials, the FRSA represents everything you want in a roofer. Established in 1922, the FRSA’s mission is to “foster and encourage a high standard of business ethics” in the roofing industry. Contractors working under the FRSA’s Customer Assurance Program Seals certify their companies conform to all licensing regulations, hold valid worker’s compensation and liability insurance, and subscribe to a code of ethics. Every FRSA member is guaranteed to have their license through the Florida Construction Industry Licensing Board, but they’re also guaranteed to hold to a code of ethics that goes above and beyond.

For me, nothing says more for the FRSA as an organization or for their members than their determination to act as a watchdog for consumers. Their commitment is posted on their website, where they list the questions every consumer needs to ask when hiring a roofer:

1) Are you a member of a professional roofing organization such as the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (FRSA)?

2) Do you have a permanent place of business and for how long?

3) Are you properly licensed and insured according to the Florida licensing requirements? Please provide your license number.

4) May I see copies of your certificates of insurance for workers’ compensation and contractor liability insurance?

5) Can you provide me with a list of client references that I may contact?

6) Do you guarantee your work, and what type of written warranties will you provide?

7) Will I receive a written proposal with a complete description of the work and specifications, such as estimated starting and completion dates?

8) Will my property remain relatively clean and orderly during the project?

9) Who will be the on-site person in charge on a day-to-day basis?

You can also find important manufacturer and contractor warranty information on their website.

FRSA’s dedication to consumer education is only surpassed by their commitment to research and education for their members. This commitment is born out of the active involvement of their members, where “a number of standing and special committees work on various programs and projects while constantly developing or assessing new ones,” and demonstrated by the FRSA Educational and Research Foundation. They truly believe the only way to improve the quality of their industry is through research and education, for which they provide their members with a number of benefits that are professionally invaluable and also excellent for consumers:

—Access to a staff member for all codes and technical questions.

—“As it happens” knowledge of upcoming codes and legislative changes.

—Professional certification programs and quality education programs.

—Access to the FRSA library which houses instructional manuals covering basic and advanced roofing as well as safety.

—Florida Roofing Magazine.

The FRSA is also a charter member of the Florida Construction Coalition and maintains excellent communication with national organizations like the National Roofing Contractors Association as well as a host of other local and national professional organizations.

It is hard to believe that anyone would choose a non-FRSA member to work on their roof with all of this backing them up.

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Asphalt Shingles

Life Expectancy

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in Florida and in the United States. They are divided into two categories: fiberglass asphalt and organic asphalt. The key similarity in both types is there use of asphalt to waterproof another material. Fiberglass asphalt shingles use a fiberglass base, and organic asphalt shingles use an organic (i.e. wood fiber, waste paper, cellulose) base. Both types have a top coat of slate, schist, quartz, vitrified brick, stone, or ceramic granules that block UV rays which can deteriorate the shingles. Asphalt shingles are the cheapest roofing material, so while it can be the perfect choice for those of us on a budget, we should know they have a correspondingly shorter life expectancy.

While asphalt shingles as a general category do have a shorter life expectancy than other roofing materials, it’s valuable to look at the two different types to see

The roof of the house lined with gray bitumen shingles

their advantages and disadvantages. Organic shingles are more resistant to tearing and nail pull-though. They are also easier to install in cold weather with a lesser chance of blowing off. Unfortunately, organic shingles are more expensive, more prone to curling and blistering due to moisture and heat, and have a poor fire rating. They are most recommended for cold-weather installations. Fiberglass shingles are less expensive and less susceptible to cupping or curling, have a much better fire rating, and are lightweight. Unfortunately, they are less tear-resistant, more likely to blow off in cold weather, and have been reported for premature failures when low-end, lightweight products are used. Fiberglass shingles are most recommended for moderate and warm climates.

Organic and fiberglass shingles both have their comparative advantages and disadvantages, but they both share certain qualities that impact their life expectancy in Florida’s climate. Our high UV index degrades their protective granules much more quickly than in other climates, and they are also prone to warping (organic) or splitting (fiberglass) in extreme heat and weather changes. Our high levels of rain and humidity can promote algae growth—more cosmetic than dangerous in itself—but it can lead to mold and mildew that can rapidly deteriorate the shingles. Florida’s hurricanes and tropical storms also pose a serious threat because asphalt shingles are the least reliable roofing material against heavy winds. Even when you do not consider the threat of hurricanes, Florida’s environmental conditions can take a toll on asphalt shingles.

Asphalt shingles are warrantied between 20 to 50 years depending on quality and installation, but unfortunately, they are expected to last a much shorter time than that maximum, and in reality, they are believed to have a more probable life span of 12 to 15 years in Florida.

Of course, this does not mean that asphalt shingles should be avoided entirely. Instead, it is a warning that maintenance and upkeep on your roof will be a very important step to ensuring your roof lasts as long as its warranty. First, cleaning is an essential practice with asphalt shingles. You have to make sure that you keep mold and mildew at bay to preserve your shingles. Ask your roofer about asphalt shingles laced with copper that provide a defense against algae and mildew formation. You will also have to make sure that regular DIY roof inspections become a part of your routine. Those DIY inspections will also help you notice faulty shingles which you should be diligent about replacing so that the gaps do not compromise the rest of the shingles. You will also need to occasionally resurface your shingles to replace the UV fighting granules that you will lose more quickly in the Florida sun. Also, make sure to ask your roofer about reinforcing your shingles against high winds or about wind-resistant shingles when you are installing a new roof. If you follow these precautions and make inspecting and maintaining your roof a habit, low cost asphalt shingles may be the answer for you.

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How Commercial Roof Maintenance Saves you Money

It is unfortunate that a majority of times roofs on Orlando commercial buildings are often ignored until there is a large problem, such as a leak, missing shingles, or water clinging to the ceiling of the commercial building. Once a problem gets to be quite large, most businesses are unnerved to find out that it will cost a lot of money to have it repaired. (more…)

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How to Tell When Your Roof Shingles are Going Bad

The most common roofing material used on a majority of residential homes in any neighborhood around the United States is asphalt shingles. They are a lot less expensive than other roofing options and very easy to install. This makes them a very popular choice for homeowners looking to redo their roof.

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Finding a Good Roofer

When people are searching for an Orlando Roofer to complete their roof repair job, one of the biggest questions often asked is, “what are some factors to consider when buying/replacing a roof?” While this answer is not simple, there are a few guidelines we can provide to give you a general idea on what to expect throughout this process. (more…)

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Is your roof in good shape for Summer?

Rain, hail, and wind are often part of the weather system during the summer months. Therefore, now is the time to be proactive by performing simple preventative maintenance checks to ensure that your roof is in good shape for the summer. (more…)

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Regular Roof Cleaning Can Extend The Life of Your Roof

A clean roof is not only esthetically pleasing but it could put money in your pocket as well. Money can be saved from the cost of replacing or repairing the roof. Another money saving means is the reduced electricity bills due to a better functioning/more efficient roof. Many people might not realize it but keeping the roof clean extends its life. Firstly, a clean roof makes it quite easy to identify if there are any issues with the roof whether minor or major. (more…)

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