YOUR SOUTH FLORIDA ROOF
By Michael Slattery
Many South Florida residents don't think about roofing until they see those telltale stains on the ceiling. By then, the damage to the sheathing and structure can be extensive. Under certain conditions leaks can cause considerable damage long before it’s noticed inside the home. If a roof repair or replacement is not done, the damage can extend to other areas. It is vital to understand how essential it is to have a dependable roof. Home ownership is probably the most important long term investment most of us will make. Cost efficient maintenance insures the integrity of the roof, extends its’ life cycle and gives the homeowner full value for their roofing dollar.
Maintenance & Roof Repair
All roofing systems present their own maintenance challenges and require an expert Miami roofing contractor to address those problems. All roofs, over time, will require leak repairs. If still under warranty, a reputable roofing company would make the necessary roof repairs when workmanship defect is the primary cause. If the contractor attributes the leak to other causes a call to the local building department may be in order. When the warranty is expired, a licensed and insured residential roofing company should be called to make the necessary repairs.
Most leaks are due to the improper installation of metal flashings and can be repaired. Other causes include falling tree branches, flying debris, lightning strikes and even bullets. AC technicians, fumigators and the cable guy can cause damage. A clay tile roof, for example, breaks easily when walked on incorrectly. When leaks occur due to material failure, the roof is near the end of its’ useful life and re-roof options should be considered. A reliable roofing professional can help determine whether you should repair or replace.
The American roofing industry is regional in nature. The Miami market is unique due to its tropical climate and features its own methodology and range of systems. Fiberglass shingles, concrete tile and clay tile roofs, metal roofs and various low slope applications are the most common residential systems available. Browsing the websites of roofing companies, materials manufacturers and related search engines is helpful when exploring your replacement options.
Due to rising energy costs, South Florida homeowners are increasingly focused on energy efficiency. Efficient assemblies are an effective way to reduce cooling costs as well as extend the life of your roof and should feature Cool Roof concepts such as ventilation, insulation and reflectivity.
Choosing a Roofer
Obtain at least three estimates before hiring a roofing company. Search for contractor complaints at miamidade.gov. Verify licensing at myfloridalicense.com and read customer reviews from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and Angie's List. Obtain and verify liability insurance certificates with a call to the carrier or agent. Read the scope of work description in each proposal carefully to ensure they accurately describe the work and materials used. Prices for an insulated flat roof, for example, can vary greatly when different systems are used. Compare the workmanship warranties offered by each roofing contractor as well as the contract price and payment terms. Make sure the contractor pulls the applicable permits per the local code and don't ever make final payment until the job passes final inspection.
Warranties offered by manufacturers only cover materials. Manufacturers' warranties are actually sales tools. Like car battery or tire warranties, they are overstated to stimulate sales. 25-Year shingles that usually last 15-20 years are a good example. The manufacturer wants you to file a claim. They then pro-rate the value and apply a modest deduction towards the cost of a new roof – with their shingles! Having a manufacturer's warranty is a good idea in the rare case of defective materials but, the more important warranty for homeowners is from their roofing contractor.
Hopefully, this information will be of assistance when requiring the services of a roofing company.