If you live in the greater Miami metropolitan area (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties), the Glades, the Florida Keys (Monroe County), and the Treasure Coast, you need a South Florida Roof contractor. A local contractor knows the best roofing materials and roofing methods given the unique weather of South Florida.
Roofing fit for a Hot Tropical Climate
South Florida is the only place in Continental U.S. that has a tropical climate. This means that the type of roofing used in other parts of the U.S. may not work in South Florida. South Florida is characterized by hot and humid summers and short and warm winters. The winters are marked drier. This means the roof should help keep a home cool during hot days and should not focus much on winter/snow protection.
South Florida receives abundant rainfall and has some of the highest rainfall levels in the U.S. at over 61 inches (and as high as 66.5 in Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale areas). Most of this rain falls from mid-May to early October. The roofing should, therefore, be waterproofed to keep water away from the home.
Strong to withstand hurricanes
Being on the Atlantic Ocean coast, it is not surprising that South Florida has a hurricane season. The Florida Atlantic Hurricane season starts from the 1st of June to the 30th of November. Tropical storms sometimes occur outside these dates, but statistics from the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) show that 97% of all tropical storm fall within this period.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew had winds with speeds of more than 165 mph. This caused over $25 billion in damages. Adequate roof protection to withstand tropical storms is a must in South Florida. If shingles have to be used, ensure they are not lightweight shingles. You should also avoid:
- Overhanging eaves which “catch” wind and allow for easier lifting of the roof from the home
- Insufficient bracing and lack of hurricane straps
- Use of staples to connect roofs to walls (instead of nails)
- Steep roof pitches (they work like sail in strong winds)
Coastal roofing to withstand corrosion
Given the proximity of South Florida to the Atlantic Ocean, it follows that corrosion levels on metals are high. You should, therefore, insist on roofing that is corrosion resistant. The high salt content in the moisture also affects the color of some non-metallic roofing materials with time. Consult your consultant to determine what works and what does not.
Your roofing should abide by roofing code so you are not penalized and forced to pull down your roof. These codes take weather and other factors into consideration, meaning you will be protecting your investment with them. Note post Hurricane Andrew, Florida has adjusted building codes throughout Florida, particularly in the High Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZs) of Broward County and Miami-Dade.
Tried and tested roofs
Some of the most popular types of roofing in South Florida are clay tiles, concrete tiles, and metal (zinc, copper, and lead). You will never go wrong with what has been tried and tested over years, but the method of installation is just as important as the roofing material.
There are many building contractors in South Florida, some better than others. You should go for contractors that are insured, licensed (state and county license), and bonded and that carry worker’s compensation insurance. Cost considerations should be secondary if you want the best contractors, but more important is the number of years in business, technologies and materials used, and warranties.