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Hurricane Proof Your Roof

By KATIE EGAN - | May 30, 2024

Hurricane season is here and after two significant storms in fewer than 10 years, many of us can’t help but wonder how our roof will stack up in the face of another major hurricane. The key is regular maintenance and inspections. If you’re thinking about replacing your roof, here is everything you’ll need to consider, including the pros and cons of each type of roof, for how long they typically will last and what you should do for regular maintenance.

Dan Martineau, owner of D.R. Martineau Roofing Construction Inc., said those with a roof that’s five years old or more should consider having a qualified inspector take a look, especially if the roof has been through both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Ian.

“They may want to consider a metal roof that can withstand winds a bit more,” Martineau said.

Metal is the most durable option, but the downside is that flying debris during a hurricane can create dents and cause other issues.

“But they’re more cosmetic issues than structural,” Martineau said.

The cost of a new roof depends on a few things, such as square feet, materials and the slope and complexity of the roof.

A tile roof has always been a popular option in Florida. However, the trend started to shift to metal roofs after the community was impacted after hurricanes Irma and Ian.

Tile roofs hold up better to sunlight and UV rays.

“They also tend to keep 10 to 15 degrees cooler than metal or shingle roofs,” Martineau said.

A title roof can last 20 to 30 years compared to a metal roof that lasts a bit longer at 25 to 35 years.

A shingle roof weathers easier than the other two options and should last 15 to 20 years.

The decision for which material to choose may also be affected by availability.

“The availability for tile is very tight,” Martineau said. “Metal is more readily available and seems to hold up to wind better. Tile doesn’t hold up to wind as well as metal.”

One of the most important things new customers can do is their due diligence and verify that the contractor has a license from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation for the type of work being performed.

“All roofs work well if put on correctly,” Martineau said. “It’s more the qualifications of the installers. Hire a licensed contractor with a good record.”

Another thing to consider is setting a budget.

“A professional inspector or roofing contractor should be able to help. Small things turn into large things over time,” Martineau said.

“As a rule of thumb – get your new roof checked every five years and every two years after that to make sure you are as solid as you can be.”

Trademark Roofing owner Doug Littler agrees that roofs should have periodic inspections before an issue like a leak occurs.

“Consider the age of the roof and the type of material you have to know the frequency of inspection,” Littler said. “Tile roofs will require more maintenance than shingle or metal.”

Different roofing materials have different life expectancies and exposure rates to sun, tree cover, proximity to brackish water, wind and general weather all affect the life of a roof.

“Unfortunately, insurance can also play a factor in the replacement timing as they can mandate changing a roof at a specific age to continue coverage,” Littler said. “General guidelines are approximately 12-15 years for shingles, ~25 years for concrete tile, and ~30 years for metal.”

Shingles are the most cost-effective option in the short term but, according to Littler, a shingle roof will need to be replaced three times for every one metal roof.

“So, over the life of the home, shingles would be more expensive than metal,” he said.

Tile is more energy efficient, generally durable, fire resistant, long lasting and aesthetically pleasing for a lot of homeowners. However, it is expensive and also requires maintenance and cleaning. Tile is not the waterproof barrier on the home, but rather the protective layer to the underlayment, which is the true watertight seal and preparation of the roof.

“It is very important for a quality installation,” Littler said.

Metal can also be expensive, especially on brackish water where a specialty metal product or an aluminum substrate must be used to have any warranty.

Metal is the most durable solution and there are also options that have a wind warranty up to 200 miles per hour, Littler said.

“Metal roofs that were installed properly held up better than any other material during Hurricane Ian.”

Owner and founder of Global Roofing & Contracting Mike Egan said he doesn’t think customers should be too concerned about replacing their roof if they’re not having consistent maintenance issues, such as leaking or obvious damage on the roof.

Other issues could be cracked or missing shingles, deteriorating flashing, sagging areas or pooling water. Addressing these issues early can prevent further damage during a storm. A roofing expert will know what to look for and can provide a knowledgeable evaluation of the roof.

Egan said the normal lifespan without the impact of any major storms of an asphalt shingle roof is 16 to 18 years, about 30 years for tile, and about 50 years for metal.

An asphalt shingle roof is the easiest material to get and the most ecological option in terms of cost. For a 2,000-square-foot roof, it will run a price tag of about $20,000 to $25,000.

The materials for a tile roof may take a couple of months or up to six months to get depending on the color and other details the homeowner chooses.

“It’s considered more aesthetically pleasing and gives the house a more polished look,” Egan said.

A tile roof will be about $75,000 for a 2,000-square-foot roof.

It is also more costly to fix if there is a leak or other issue.

For 2,000 square feet, a metal roof will be about $5,000 more.

If put on correctly, Egan said a metal roof should rarely leak. It’s also your best chance to withstand high wind speeds and flying debris.

“Your return on investment on a metal roof will last forever if water doesn’t get through the underlayment,” he said.

Regular inspection of gutters and downspouts is recommended to ensure they are clear of debris to prevent water buildup and potential water damage, especially before heading into rainy season.

Ensure the roof is properly ventilated, especially if you have an asphalt roof.

“If it’s properly ventilated, it will extend the lifespan of the roof,” Egan said.

Keeping trees and limbs off roofs will ensure they don’t dent, crack and scrap the material.

“Like anything else, you have to do general maintenance on it from time to time,” Egan said.

According to the 2022 Florida Statues, for a roof that’s at least 15 years old, an insurer must allow a homeowner to have a roof inspection performed by an authorized inspector at the homeowner’s expense before requiring the replacement of the roof of a residential structure as a condition of issuing or renewing a homeowner’s insurance policy. The insurer may not refuse to issue or refuse to renew a homeowner’s insurance policy solely because of the age of the roof if an inspection of the roof of the residential structure performed by an authorized inspector indicates that the roof has five years or more of useful life left in it.

It’s also a good idea for homeowners to review their insurance policy and take a video of their property before a hurricane is supposed to hit, in case they should need to file a claim months down the road.

Contact information for sources in this story:

• D.R. Martineau Roofing Construction Inc.

Where: 3591 Work Dr., #A, Fort Myers

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; Closed, Saturday and Sunday

Information: 239-332-1441 and https://drm-roofing.com/

• Trademark Roofing

Where: 1931 N.E. 10th Terrace, Cape Coral

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; Closed, Saturday and Sunday

Information: 239-900-9259 and https://trademarkroofingllc.com/

• Global Roofing & Contracting

Where: 2575 Northbrooke Plaza Dr., Suite 202, Naples and 2500 Quantum Lakes, Suite 203, Boynton Beach

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; Closed, Saturday and Sunday

Information: 239-758-9870, 561-658-4850 and https://goglobalroofing.com/