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What to Expect When It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

The life expectancy of your roof can vary based on the type of roofing material on your home or commercial property and the climate in which you live, but generally speaking, most roofs in South Florida last about 20 to 30 years on average. Life expectancy for roofs in South Florida is limited by our extreme weather, salt air, heavy rains, hurricanes, heat and humidity among other factors.

Roof replacement: choosing a roofing contractor

Whether your roof needs to be replaced due to hurricane damage or age, reroofing your home is a big investment that you want to last for years to come. Your roof is the most important element of your home or property, so it is critical that high-quality materials and skilled craftsmanship go into the replacement. To accomplish the job correctly, it is important to select a roofing contractor that is licensed, insured, experienced in your area, and with a long-standing reputation for excellence. Locally-established roofing companies not only have specific experience in the geographic region, but reputation local company is not a dishonest, fly-by-night roofing company that will no longer be in town a few weeks after your job is complete. Often times, low-cost roofers are uninsured and unlicensed. These companies must work without city permits and appropriate protections ,as they are unable to obtain permits without a license, leaving you open to liability in a variety of ways. Should an employee of an uninsured contractor experience an injury on a job, the property owner may become liable for the workers compensation claim. Many general contractors and “handy man” workers do not have the correct experience needed to ensure quality work on your property’s roofing system. Choosing a locally- based company with a reputation for strong customer service assures experience with the South Florida climate and its impact on roofing projects, and also guarantees that you will enjoy outstanding, ongoing service pre- and post-construction. Not all roofing companies charge the same amount for their work, but it is important to remember that you are not only paying for roofing materials, you are also paying for experienced workers, excellent craftsmanship, prompt customer service and a warranty or guarantee on the work performed. The lowest estimate rarely ensures the same quality of materials, experience of the labor, compliance with regulations and building code standards, warranty coverage, or best customer service. Selecting a roofing contractor to perform work at your home or property is the first step of the roof replacement process. Here’s what you can expect if you are planning to re-roof your home.

Roof replacement: the preliminary stages

Whether you are dealing with damage from a recent storm or simply need to replace your roof due to age, the reroofing process starts with meeting a representative from you preferred roofing contractor. An estimator will come to your property to perform a complete interior and exterior inspection of your home to confirm that you need a total roof replacement, and they will also identify any possible areas of damage that need to be corrected during the roof repair process. The estimator will provide you with a comprehensive proposal following the inspection and initial meeting based on your initially stated preferences for materials and the specifics of your property. Upon signing a contract with your roofing company of choice, you will enter the pre-construction phase. The roofing contractor will begin preparing the necessary permit documentation necessary for the job. You will also make some of the key material choices to be used in your roofing project, including which tile, shingle, metal, or flat roofing system to use. There are many additional product options ranging from a secondary water barrier or upgraded underlayment to premium finishes and trim metals which your estimator will discuss with you. Some companies provide physical samples, while other companies allow you to choose roofing materials from a vast printed or digital catalog of choices. Your estimator can be a valuable resource for explaining the differences between each respective system and the relative advantages of specific products.

Roof replacement: materials selection

Traditionally, asphalt shingles are the least expensive sloped roofing option tile is the next most expensive, and standing seam metal is the most expensive. Single-ply or built-up roofing systems may also be a consideration for low-sloped sections of your property, whether it be a part of or the entire roof area. The price for any roofing system or combination of roofing system materials will vary based the size of your home or business, the unique details selected, and the architecture of the building. When selecting roofing material for your project, it is important to consider not just price alone, but also the characteristics of your structure and the overall look you desire.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are a very cost-efficient roofing material. When applied correctly with synthetic felt underlayment, taping over joints and sheathing, and fastened with nails as opposed to staples, shingles can be a sturdy and long-lasting roofing system solution. A secondary water barrier is a popular option for additional underlayment that can further extend the life expectancy of a new asphalt shingle roofing system. While asphalt shingles can be a lesser cost roofing option compared to other systems, many companies now offer a wide array of premium shingles, such as dimensional and presidential shingles, that offer a high-end look. Dimensional shingles have a unique, layered appearance that mimics the look of wood shingles and adds a exceptional and distinctive look to your property. Presidential shingles offer additional beautiful choices, often mirroring the look of cedar shakes or slate tiles, for a fraction of the price. The biggest advantage of Architectural over 3-Tab is the wind rating. 3-Tab shingles are rated for 60 mph winds, while Architectural shingles are rated for 130 mph winds. This can be a critical difference when a hurricane or strong wind storm comes through our area.

Tile Roofing Systems

Cement and ceramic (clay) tile roofs are an excellent and sturdy roofing system option. Tile roofs are incredibly durable and are able to withstand high wind speeds and endure the humidity and heat of tropical climates. It is important to note that tile roofs are more expensive than asphalt shingles and are not suited to all structures due to their heavy weight. Tile roofing brings an individual and elegant look to your residence or business. Tiles are available in many colors and options to match the style and design of your home or business. Styles include flat interlocking tile, roll style mission tile and “S”-shaped Spanish tile. Other unique custom shapes and finishing pieces are available, as well. The various tile shapes and pieces include hundreds of colors, materials, blends, textures, and finishes, allowing your roof to make a statement of beauty, strength and elegance. In addition to machine-made tile, handmade clay tile offers a distinctive, premium aesthetic Tile offers an unmatched combination of design and durability, as well as the added benefits of being fire resistant, requiring little maintenance and being energy efficient and sometimes recyclable.

Metal Roofing Systems

A metal roof is a premium roofing system product that can be fashioned from a number of materials, but in South Florida, is most commonly fabricated from aluminum or galvalume, depending on the proximity to the ocean. Greater exposure to sea salt air necessitates use of aluminum that is more resistant to corrosion. In addition to the ever-popular standing seam design, metal roofing is now available in styles that resemble tile roofing materials, shingles, shakes or even slate. Metal is lightweight, so it is a great reroofing option for homes or businesses that were not designed to withstand the weight of tile. A properly installed metal roofing system can have life expectancy of up to 50 years. Remember that price is never the only factor of importance when choosing an expert roofing company. A whole host of factors may not be equivalent when comparing two proposals, ranging from the quality of the materials and the type of system installed to the strength of the warranty. Pay attention to the details of the scope of work and reputation of the contractor, not just the headline price. After materials are selected and all contract documentation is signed, your roofing contractor will file permit documentation with your city. The turnaround process can take two to three weeks, depending on the time of year, complexity of your project, and the municipality in which you live. Your roofing contractor representative will schedule a tentative start date for your project based upon city paperwork turnaround projections and the company’s workload and schedule. The start date may need to be changed due reasons out of company control – city delays, weather delays, delays in material delivery, or other factors. Should you require immediate control of leaking during the permitting and scheduling process, a high quality roofing contractor will provide temporary repairs so that your home or property remains watertight.

Roof replacement: day one

It is time to get started on your reroofing project. While the initial part of construction is the noisiest and messiest, your roofing contractor will ensure it occurs as quickly as reasonably possible and is as least disruptive as possible. As a homeowner, what are your responsibilities? Take time to let your close neighbors know that you will be having work done at your home, and let them know the expected time frame so they can move any nearby vehicles or plan other activities accordingly. It is courteous to let neighbors know about pending work, schedule changes and any delays so they can be aware that some neighborhood disruption may take place on certain days. Your project should have little impact on your neighbors, but it is always a good idea to keep them in the loop. Your roofing contractor will ask you to move your cars, boats and other vehicles and items away from your home, so they are not blocked, damaged or impacted by stored project materials, project traffic and falling debris. Some people choose to board pets remotely during what are expected to be particularly noisy days of roofing work in order to avoid stress for Fluffy and excessive barking from Fido. You may also be asked to remove artwork from your walls and to stow delicate items in your home as needed. Reroofing can cause vibration in the home, so carefully storing delicate or precious items before the project begins assures that nothing will fall off the wall or tumble from a shelf due to the vibrations caused by the work. The roofing contractor will place protective material over your driveway and determine if any other areas of your property need to be protected due to your home’s unique features. Then the old roof will be removed. No matter what type of roofing is being removed – shingles, metal or tiles or a combination of materials – be prepared for noise, dust and general disruption for one or two days during the removal process.

Roof replacement: day three

After all of the old roofing material is removed, the team of craftsmen working on your home will begin to prepare your home for a new roofing system. If any repairs are needed to the structure of your home, they will take place at this time. Replacement of rotten wood, the addition of hurricane straps or other needed work or repairs will happen during this phase. If you have selected shingles or a metal roof, underlayment and waterproofing will take place, then shingles or metal can be applied immediately. If you have opted for a tile roof, a waterproofing “dry in” phase including tile underlayment and hot asphalt application will take place at this time. Some tile products may take several weeks to arrive, depending on availability. Your roofing contractor should stay in close contact with you during this time and will either ensure that your roof is watertight in the interim or delay the start of construction until the tile has been delivered. Once the product arrives, tile roofing systems take one to two days to install, weather permitting.

Roof replacement: final stages

Once your roofing material has been installed and inspected, crews will clean up any project debris – including stray nails, fasteners, product wrappings and wood scraps – prior to departure. The roofing contractor will handle any final inspections, city permit needs and will then ask you to sign off on the project. The laws governing roofs, known as building codes, are particularly strict in the High Velocity Hurricane Zone, which includes Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. While this means more paperwork and inspections for you and your property, the goal with these laws is to ensure that your roofing materials and your home are sound and able to withstand the intense pressure and wind speeds that they frequently endure in tropical climates like South Florida. Should the customer have any “punch list” items to be corrected, now is the time that the roofing contractor will rectify those items. Otherwise, the construction is complete.

Roof replacement: payment process

Most roofing contractors require a deposit when you sign the initial contract retaining them to do the work of reroofing your home or property as they must begin ordering materials, scheduling production crews, and filing permit fees with the municipality. Some have a set fee, others require a percentage of the project as a down payment. Additionally, most roofing contractors ask for interim payments during the construction process, especially if it is a tile project that spans a longer timeframe, that aligns with the progress of construction. Your final balance will be due immediately after project signoff or within a short window following your final visit from the roofing contractor representative.

Maintenance following new roof installation:

Periodic repairs and regular maintenance are needed to keep any roof in good shape. Many roofing companies offer maintenance plans that include regularly scheduled inspections, minor repairs and other extended services that keep your roof in good shape, protect your home and help you avoid larger problems and more costly repairs. Many people only think to contact a roofing contractor if their roof is leaking following a storm. But homeowners and property owners should schedule periodic evaluations of their home at least biannually to monitor the overall condition of your home and your roof to ensure that areas needing repair are addressed quickly. Of course you should call a roofer if you see damage or leaking following severe weather, but it is a good idea to have a trusted roofer inspect your property regularly to ensure that your roofing system is in good order and correctly protecting your home. Extended service programs are a valuable tool to have scheduled maintenance on your roof and also guarantee that should you experience any leaking during the period, the roofing contractor will cover the costs of the requisite repairs. Although reroofing your home is not necessarily a glamorous home project, it is an important update that not only impacts the overall look of your home but also functions to protect your home structure and contents. Reroofing does not have to be an overwhelming process. Carefully choose a roofing contractor that does good work, intentionally select materials that fit your budget and the style of your home and be prepared for the temporary inconvenience that home reroofing can cause. With a little careful thought, detailed research and vigilant preparation, reroofing your home will go smoothly and yield outstanding protection and beautiful results.

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