Florida features a unique climate that presents many challenges for your roof. The constant sun, rain, wind, and tropical storms make the weather especially hard on roofing materials. Florida homeowners should be aware of several different types of roofs and the differences between them to help choose the best roofing option.
Different Types of Roof Structures
There are several roof structures that homeowners in South Florida can choose from. The structure will determine the amount of protection and durability it provides to your home. Here is a list of some roof types structures:
A gable roof structure has two slopes that come together at the top to form a triangular shape. The three sides are made of either solid boards or slats. This is the most common type of roof structure. In addition to classic gable roofs, there are other variations that as just as popular, including dutch gable roof, cross gable roof, and front gable roof.
Gabled roofs have their advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, they offer excellent protection against winds and can withstand heavy rainstorms. They are also cheaper to build than other roof structures. On the other hand, they do not protect your home against water damage during high winds.
A hip roof structure has three slopes but it is not triangular like a gable roof. The three sides of the roof run parallel to each other and meet at the center, forming a ridgeline that goes from one end of the house to the other. Hip roofs are more durable than gabled roofs because they have less surface area.
Hip roofs are great for homes with wide façades because they use less material to build. However, if your home has a very heavy roof structure, it may require additional support, such as from wooden beams or structural steel.
Butterfly roofs can have a dramatic effect on the overall design of your home. Each slope of a butterfly roof is wider than the rest. This type of structure has four sides that are longer than they are wide and it can be flat or sloped in varying degrees.
A Butterfly roof offers excellent protection from heavy rainstorms and winds because water collects at the downspouts instead of being directed on the sides.
A flat roof structure does not use slopes. The roof is the same height from one side to the other with only a slight upward pitch. It can be made of solid boards, slats or any material that is water-resistant and strong enough to support the weight of your home.
Flat roofs are more vulnerable to damage during heavy rainstorms and winds. Leaks are common and can be difficult to spot. An added protection is usually required when using a flat roof structure for residential homes, such as the installation of gutters.
Tar and gravel roofs, also for flat roofs, are made out of tar, gravel, or any other waterproof material. They are better suited for shingle roofs because of their heavy weight and slippery surface.
Similar to flat roofs are shed roofs. The main difference is that a shed roof has more pitch than a flat roof.
A mansard roof is a four-sided structure that has two slopes instead of one. The lower slope is much wider compared to the upper slope. This type of roof uses less material and it can be cheaper than other structures but it requires more skill and labor to build.
Mansard roofs are known for their ornamental appearance. Because of its design, it is ideal for homes with balconies or patios.
Also known as the barn roof, the gambrel roof is characterized by its two slopes with the upper slope being steeper than the lower one. The structure is usually wider at the bottom and narrower towards the top, similar to a pyramid.
A gambrel roof provides additional living space inside your home while also increasing storage space because it is easier to install cabinets on a sloped ceiling. They are easy to spot because of their unique design.
Gambrel roofs are not ideal for homes with heavy weight, such as those made from brick or stone. They require additional support and bracing to keep them sturdy, especially if your home is built on a steep slope or hillside.
Different Types of Roofing Materials
One of the most popular types of roofing in Florida is asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingle roofs are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and repair, and fairly long-lasting (about 20-25 years).
However, they do have some disadvantages that homeowners should be aware of before installing an asphalt roof on their homes, including:
- Asphalt shingles are known for their relatively quick degradation in Florida’s high heat and humidity.
- They are susceptible to fire damage because of the large amount of flammable material that is used to make them.
- Certain types of asphalt shingles can be quite noisy when it rains or there is wind blowing against them.
- Heat buildup underneath asphalt shingles can cause warping and damage to the roofing material.
- Asphalt shingles offer little to no protection against fire, water leakage, or mold and mildew buildup underneath the shingles.
- If left untreated, ponding water underneath asphalt roof shingles can cause serious damage to your home’s interior.
Different types of shingles include architectural shingles, dimensional shingles, strip shingles, and many others.
Fiberglass shingles are another popular type of roofing in Florida.
Unlike asphalt, fiberglass is a synthetic material that resists the effects of weathering and lasts for about 35 years before needing to be replaced. Fiberglass shingles also have an advantage over other types of roofs because they can be installed on almost any kind of roof structure, including flat roofs. However, fiberglass shingles are not as affordable and easy to install as asphalt shingles, which makes them more expensive for homeowners on a budget.
Composite or synthetic roofing shingles are made of a mixture of several different kinds of synthetic and organic materials. These shingles are often referred to as “energy star compliant” because they’re more energy efficient than other types of roofs, such as asphalt shingles. They last about 25 years and are also environmentally friendly.
The biggest advantage to a composite roof is that it is resistant to fire damage and can even be used as a firebreak in homes with a wood frame structure.
The biggest disadvantage to composite roofs is that they are relatively expensive, costing about $4-$5 per square foot.
Many homeowners choose metal roofing because they provide practical protection against rain, wind, and fire damage. For this reason, many homeowners with waterfront properties will install metal roofs.
Metal roofs are also easy to repair and relatively inexpensive, which is an advantage when dealing with a roof that needs frequent repairs due to weather damage.
However, it’s important to note that metal roofs can be extremely noisy or even sound like tin during high winds or rainstorms.
Some common types of metal roofs include:
- Standing seam metal roof
- Corrugated metal roof
- metal slate roof
- Metal shingle roof
- Metal tiles roof
- Metal panels roof
- Sheet metal roof
- Rolled metal roofing material
- Patented rolled metal technology roofing system (RMT)
Clay Tiles Roof
Another type of roofing material is clay tiles. While clay tiles are not recommended for homes with high wind exposure, they can be a good investment if you live in a low to medium rainfall area. They tend to last 50 years or more and are relatively easy to install and easily one of the common roof tiles types in Florida.
The biggest disadvantage of a clay tile roof is that it can be very heavy, which means it would require a strong frame structure to support the weight. Another disadvantage to clay tile roofs is the cost. They are often more expensive than asphalt, metal, or composite shingles and do not last as long.
Similar to clay tiles, concrete tiles are very hard, durable, and long-lasting.
concrete tiles can be a good investment if you live in a low to medium rainfall area. They tend to last 50 years or more and are relatively easy to install.
If you are looking for a roof that adds an artistic touch to your home, ceramic tiles may be right for you. Ceramic roofs can last up to 75 years and are quite affordable.
However, ceramic roofs tend to break easily in high humidity and rain exposure areas because the roof is not thick enough to resist weathering.
Metal Shingle Roofs
Metal shingle roofs are also a good option because they can last for 80 years or more. However, these roofs have to be manually installed and may hold moisture underneath them if not properly protected.
Additionally, metal shingle roofs often fade over time due to exposure to the sun and should be regularly repaired or replaced.
Another option is cedar shingles. Cedar shingles are made of virgin wood and can last from 40 to 60 years. They are easy to repair and also environmentally friendly, so they do not leach chemicals or toxins into the surrounding environment.
However, one downside to these shingles is that they tend to fade over time and may require repainting every two years. Additionally, cedar shingles are often quite expensive.
The Importance of the Right Roof
Deciding on the best type of roof is an important aspect of homeownership. According to HowStuffWorks.com’s Home & Garden section, a roof is the first barrier to the hot Florida sun. A quality roof should be releasing rather than absorbing the sun’s rays. Additionally, choosing a light-colored roof color can drastically save on your monthly electric bill. Former United States Energy Secretary Stephen Chu estimated that painting all roofs and roads light colors could reduce electricity costs by up to 15%. Much in the same way that black leather attracts the sun, a light-colored roof will reflect the sun’s rays keeping your home cooler.
Choosing your type of roofing material is a big decision to make. Luckily, we here at Allstate are here to help you with this decision. We handle all types of residential and commercial roofing systems including tile, shingle, metal and flat low slope roofing.
We work with your insurance company to get your roof covered under your homeowner’s policy. We operate at several locations in Florida give us a call today! To see how we can help!