Starting a roofing project sounds intimidating, especially if you’re in Florida. The state’s climate requires special attention regarding roofing: hot and humid summers with chances of thunderstorms and hurricanes can make it difficult for homeowners to decide where to start their roofing projects.
Consulting a roofing contractor seems to be the best idea. However, you are unsure where to begin. You don’t even know if your roof needs repairs or replacement!
We understand how stressful it is to start a roofing project. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve put up a guide to aid you with your roofing needs: from finding a contractor to choosing the materials your home needs.
The guide provides you with the how-to’s of roofing in Florida.
Finding and Hiring a Roofing Contractor
How to Find a Roofing Contractor?
The most convenient method of locating a roofing contractor is conducting a quick Google search. If you search the term “roofing contractors near me” on Google, you’ll quickly find a list of the local roofing contractors nearest to your location.
You can also do area-specific searches using keywords like “roofing contractors in Miami” or “roofing contractors in Florida City” to browse for service providers outside your local location.
The second way to look for contractors is to use online roofing directories. Angi (formerly known as Angie’s list) is an active home service website that can connect you to the many roofing contractors by simply typing in the service you need and the ZIP code of your area.
Some of the other popular roofer listings are the following:
As you go along the list of roofing contractors, keep an eye out for their online reviews. How well they’ve done their previous projects will reflect on the reviews given to them by the clients they’ve previously worked with. If they practice excellence in what they do, their clients will remember it and leave a great review.
Another way to find a contractor is to, of course, get a referral. If you have a relative or a friend who knows a trustworthy and reliable contractor for your roofing project, you should consider their advice. A referral from someone you know and trust has more weight than the online reviews you’ll see on the contractor’s website.
How to Hire a Roofing Contractor?
Finding a roofing contractor is one thing – hiring one is another. Before hiring a roofing contractor, you must examine several variables because the quality of their work will affect the outcome of your project.
So, how do you hire a contractor?
Find Reliable Roofing Contractors
You can find a roofing contractor using three ways: do a local Google Search, consult some roofing directories, or get a referral. Make a list of the contractors you feel can do an excellent roofing job.
Compare One Against The Others
Now that you have an initial list of your preferred roofers, it’s time to vet each one. After vetting them, make a list of at least 2-3 contractors you like the most. Afterward, you can show the estimates you got and deliver them to your insurance adjuster.
Choose Your Top Contractors and Test Them
Now that you’ve filtered the best from the rest, you should now invite your prospective contractors to your home. Let them inspect your roof to scope out the job.
Discuss relevant topics such as what roofing materials are the best for your home and how difficult the installation would be. Ask many questions to see if they’re confident enough to deal with your project.
Keep Your Eyes Out for Red Flags
Remember that not all roofing contractors are honest professionals, even if you’ve carefully vetted them. While consulting with them, you should watch out for red flags that indicate whether they’re perfect for the job or not, such as requiring a huge upfront payment.
Choose Your Best Contractor
After careful planning, you now have a single roofing contractor on your list. You can now hire this contractor for your project.
Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor
Don’t be afraid to ask any questions to your contractor. A good contractor will be more than willing to answer any questions you may have because they have the experience and expertise to back their response.
Here are some questions you can ask your contractor:
- “How long do you think my roofing project will take?”
- “What safety protocols should your workers follow?”
- “How will you protect the safety of my property during the project?”
- “Do you need a permit before you start the project?”
- “How is your roofing company doing?”
What Makes a Roofing Contractor Credible?
Choosing a roofing contractor in Florida is no easy feat, but you can make it easier by knowing what to look for. Having a criterion for selecting a roofer will help you get the best for your needs and assure you that you’ve chosen the right contractor.
When looking for a roofing contractor, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do they have a roofing license to operate?
- Do they have an established presence and reputation in the roofing industry?
- Can they handle your urgent roof repair/replacement?
- Do they offer other related services aside from roofing? (Ex. Inspections, assessment, etc.)
- Do they have certifications for the products and brands they use?
- Are they comfortable with roofing customization?
What Insurance Should a Roofing Contractor Have?
Below are the two most important insurance a roofing contractor must have
Worker’s Compensation Policy
A worker’s compensation policy is insurance that will cover the medical bills, lost wages, and death benefits of the workers if they get into any tragic work circumstances.
This insurance will protect you from being held responsible for the worker’s hospital bills and even funeral costs. It also serves as protection if the affected family tries to hold you accountable for the accident since it happened on your property.
General Liability Insurance
Businesses with occupational hazards like roofing must have a way to protect themselves from the consequences of third-party accidents. General liability insurance will cover a roofing company from:
- Damage done to the homeowner’s property during operations
- Expenses from third-party or customer injuries/accidents
- Third-party injuries or property damage done from completed jobs
When Should You Replace Your Roof?
The roof is one of the most underappreciated parts of your home, and you most likely won’t notice that it needs care until you have no choice but to break out your buckets because of a leak.
And we can’t blame you for that! Conducting preventative maintenance for your roof is challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start.
How to Determine When Should You Replace Your Roof
There are times when your roof will signal that it’s in dire need of repair. However, it won’t always show any obvious signs at all. So how do you know when to replace your roof?
Here are some of the most common signs that your roof needs replacement.
Shingles with turned-up edges can negatively affect your roof’s aesthetics. Curled shingles have a sinking appearance and are commonly due to poor material quality, absorbing moisture, or wear and tear.
If you see exterior damage on your roof, you should get it checked. Damages like missing granules, damaged shingles, exposed nails, and heavy tar patchwork can cause more preventable issues in the future.
No matter how long-lasting your roofing materials are, they’re still no match against time. Check your paper trails to see how old your roofs are and if they’re due for replacement.
Another factor to consider is if your neighbors are starting to replace theirs, which could mean that your roof is near its useful life since they experience the same weather condition.
Vegetation growth on your roof doesn’t necessarily require a replacement, but taking it for granted can cause water damage and shingle degradation.
Daylight is Passing Through
You shouldn’t see any daylight passing through your roof boards at all. If you do, then your roof has a problem. The holes that allow sunlight to streak inside will likely allow moisture to enter your house, quickly escalating to water damage.
The Best Time of the Year to Replace a Roof
Florida may be known for dry, lasting summers, but not all seasons in these states are equal. Thunderstorms and hurricanes make it difficult for contractors to install roofs, so correctly timing your roofing project is crucial.
It would typically take two to three days to install new roofs, but the timeline isn’t always the same for everyone. Planning your roofing project ahead of time will save you and your contractor time, costs, and unwarranted stress.
So when should you start your roofing project?
The mild weather and temperature during the spring would make roofing installations more comfortable. The rain and wind are out of the equation, and the weather is excellent for conducting a roofing project.
However, spring is usually the busiest time for contractors. And depending on their workload, they may push your project way back from your deadline.
Some roofing companies recommend their clients schedule their projects during wintertime. Since the hurricane season has passed and their workload has dwindled, these roofing contractors can prioritize your project.
Winters in Florida are mild and come with cold air, which allows for quicker installation and faster delivery of materials.
Financing Your Roofing Project
Will Roofing Companies Finance?
It’s no surprise that roofing projects are expensive, but roofing companies offer financing options to help homeowners with their budgets or lack thereof. Some established roofing companies know that roofing project costs can be too high, so they provide an ideal option for clients that allows payment over time.
These roofing companies will either offer financing directly or through a third-party financing vendor. During this financing, they will most likely give you several loan options.
These options will allow you to choose what’s best for your current financial circumstances. This process is more straightforward and uncomplicated than loan equity and personal loans.
A roofing contractor that offers financing signals a good relationship with their lenders. It can also mean that they’re more reputable than those who don’t provide financing, and you can put greater trust in them to deliver an impressive job to your roofing needs.
Will Roofing Prices Go Down?
According to RoofCal.org, roofing materials have been steadily increasing throughout the years.
- In 2008, a gallon of EPDM Primer cost around $18-20, but now it’s $36
- In 2007, metal shingles cost about $250-275/square, but now it’s $350-400
- In 2007, GAF DeckArmor underlayment (10 square roofs) cost about $130, but now it’s $195-220
These are just some of the price increases roofing contractors face in procuring the materials necessary for their businesses. Contractors can compromise and pass the added costs to their clients – homeowners and commercial building owners or suffer the consequences.
To answer the question, no, the roofing prices will not go down. And it’s even unlikely that it will be possible in upcoming years, considering how the trend in roofing material pricing keeps on going up and the cost of a new roof these days.
How to Pay Roofing Contractor
There are several proven-and-tested ways you can pay your contractor. These methods have pros and cons, both for you as the homeowner (buyer) and the contractor (seller).
Here are some payment options available for you.
Cash or Check
Paying with cash or check is arguably the easiest way to pay for a contractor’s services. There won’t be any complicated paperwork or approval process you have to deal with, aside from the contract the two parties agreed upon.
Most contractors require a deposit to ensure that the deal is real and you won’t back out from the contract. The deposit is usually around 15-50% of the entire roofing job. Deposits serve as a mutual assurance between you and the contractor.
Is it possible to pay for a roofing project using your credit card? It is!
There are a lot of benefits to using your credit card as a mode of payment, like leveraging the card’s rewards and incentives. Another advantage is if your credit card offers 0% interest over 12 months. This benefit enables you to charge the entire roofing project on the card and pay it off throughout the upcoming year.
The caveat with using a credit card is that you may shoulder the processing fee the contractor may face. Most roofing companies will pass the transaction fees from the credit card company to the client, which can range from 3-5%, depending on what credit card you’re using.
Roofing Company Financing
As mentioned earlier, roofing companies offer financing options. You can leverage this if your budget is limited or if you have bad credit.
The different types of loans below can help you pay for your roofing project.
Personal Loan. This loan allows you to pay for the project with a fixed sum, which you can repay throughout an agreed period.
Home Equity Loan. This loan can help you acquire borrowed money from the equity your home has built over time.
Government-Funded Loan. You may qualify for a government-insured loan offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but you must meet their requirements first. You can also apply for Florida’s PACE Program – a federal program that offers financial aid to homeowners who want to integrate renewable energy into their homes.
Relying on insurance claims is amongst the trickiest and most challenging payment options to pull. Since all homeowners have to purchase a homeowner’s insurance, you can be eligible for an insurance-backed roof replacement financing. You can only do so if an “act of God” (severe weather events) is the cause of your damaged roof.
Unfortunately, insurance payouts don’t cover wear and tear. In such circumstances, insurance companies will simply refuse your claim by citing the roof’s age or lack of maintenance.
Roofing Repair/Replacement Process
You’ve come this far in this article, so we’re sure that you either need to repair or replace your roof, but you don’t know which action to take. This section will help you come up with a decision.
Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof?
Below are some questions you should answer first to help you understand what service your roof needs.
How old is your roof?
Do you know your roof’s age? If it’s old but still reliable, you can opt for the repair route. Repairing your roof while old will increase its lifespan and get you through enough natural punishment before it inevitably needs a replacement.
However, if the roof is old and has significant damage from storms or any other problems, you’d want to replace it as soon as possible. Replacing an old roof is a long-term investment that will let you enjoy a new one and help you avoid the recurring costs of roof repairs.
How long are you planning to stay in your house?
If you intend to remain at home whose roof has previously been repaired, you need to ask a home inspector or a roofer to inspect it. Depending on their judgment, you need to repair the roof and extend its useful life or replace it entirely.
But if you’re planning to sell it in the immediate future, you should consider replacing its roof. This solution will simplify the selling process since the roof’s new curb appeal will help you sell your house.
What is your budget?
Roof replacement is undoubtedly expensive, so you need to prepare your finances first. If you’re confident about your budget, then you can proceed with replacing your roof with a brand new one. But if you’re not, you and your roofer should be able to work together as they help you dally with some repairs until you’re finally ready.
How Bad is the Damage?
The extent of your roof’s damage is a “make it or break it” point. You should seek the roofer’s help to identify whether your roof only has aesthetic damage or structural damage.
Aesthetic damages include the roof looking old and worn out and the presence of vegetation like moss or algae. Structural damages include severe impairments like curled shingles, bald spots, broken and perforated materials, and rusted metal shingles or panels.
Your roofer’s assessment will determine whether you need to repair or replace your roof.
Step-by-Step Roofing Replacement Process
Roofing replacement is not a quick process. It will require your roofing contractor some time to plan, execute, and inspect the entire process. Roofing companies have different ways to get the job done, but most fall into the same process.
Here are the seven steps on how roofing contractors deal with roofing replacement.
At Century Roofing Specialists, we have an 8-step process when dealing with a roof replacement project.
- Roof Evaluation. We will send a contractor to your residence to inspect and evaluate your roof’s conditions. The inspector will take measurements and inspect the deck and other parts of the roof.
- Roof Repair/Replacement Proposal. We will send you a proposal for roof repair/roof replacement after the inspection, covering the scope of work.
- Selection of Roofing Products. We’ll involve you in the decision-making process by letting you choose the brand, type, and color of the roofing product we’ll use.
- Obtain the Required Permits. Once the project has been approved, we will begin filing all of the paperwork required to start the project.
- Delivery of Roofing Supplies. We will start the project by delivering the new roof materials you’ve chosen and dumpsters to remove the old roofing.
- Work Initiation. The project officially begins and will continue until it’s done.
- Clean Up. Once we finish the job, we will haul the debris away and thoroughly clean the area using magnets.
- Final Inspection. Once we finish the project, we will give you a final inspection report and the before-and-after photos of your roofing.
Best Roofing Types for Florida
Roofing companies will offer you different types of roofing materials depending on what you want and need. Some provide better protection, while others will look more aesthetically pleasing.
Understanding the technical parts of your roof will also help, but that will be a topic for another time. Ultimately, the type of roofing material you’ll have on your house will entirely depend on your choice.
That being said, here are the best roofing materials available in Florida.
The most common roofing material you’ll find. It’s strong, durable, and has a longer lifespan than the typical asphalt shingles.
- Wind and fire-resistant
- Low maintenance
- It has a lifespan of 50+ years
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Difficult to install
- Slightly expensive
The perfect alternative to clay tiles. Concrete tiles are resistant to molds and share many similarities with clay tiles.
- Fire resistant
- Have a lifespan of 50+ years
- Not very aesthetically pleasing
- Slightly expensive
- Prone to color fading
Dubbed as the “forever roof,” this roofing material is perfect for withstanding the hurricane season.
- Extremely durable
- Fire resistant
- Have a lifespan of 50+ years
- Good for all seasons
- High initial costs
- Prone to dents
- Can be noisy
- Prone to color mismatching
- Difficult to install
This type of roofing material is cost-effective and eco-friendly. Wooden roofs also offer a unique curbside look that many homeowners admire.
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Relatively affordable
- Have a lifespan of 20+ years
- Easy to install
- Prone to rotting
- Prone to insect infestation
- Susceptible to moisture
This roofing material is ideal for homeowners who want something sustainable, elegant, and long-lasting.
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Have a lifespan of 40+ years
- Low maintenance
- Significantly increases your home value
- Premium price
- Difficult to install
- Difficult to repair
Also known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), this roofing material is gaining popularity because of its eco-friendly properties.
- It has a lifespan of 40+ years
- Low repair costs
- Low maintenance
- Not very aesthetically pleasing
- Prone to punctures
- Must be installed properly
- Prone to corrosion caused by petroleum-based products
Careers in the Roofing Industry
What do Roofers Do?
The word “roofer” refers to trained professionals who can install, repair, and maintain roofs for various structures – residential homes or commercial buildings. It’s a broad term for someone who works on roofs.
Below are some of the roofer’s responsibilities:
- Build, replace, or repair roofs using various materials and equipment.
- Complete projects within a given timeline
- Examine damages and calculate the labor costs
- Remove debris from rooftops and replace it with new roofing materials
- Use tools and equipment necessary for roofing jobs (e.g., scaffold, ladder)
- Install vapor barriers, vents, insulation layers, and solar energy systems
- Follow safety protocols
- Stock up on roofing materials like clay and cement
What are the Careers in the Roofing Industry?
Being a roofer is not the end-all-be-all when it comes to roofing. Many careers encompass the roofing industry, often assigned to those with different but valuable skills needed to run the business.
Here are some of the careers involved in the roofing industry.
These employees mainly work on the project site and are responsible for executing the roofing project.
Employees who work primarily on the project’s site include the following:
- Service Technicians
- Roof Mechanics/Journeyman
Being skilled with your hands does not necessarily imply that you must only work on-site. You can also work in the machine shop and use your talent to fabricate metal sheets and organize vehicles. There are also careers in the machine shop that manage and oversee the yard.
Roofing employees who work in the shop include the following:
- Warehouse Helpers
- Warehouse/Yard Manager
- Fleet Manager
- Sheet Metal Mechanic
- Sheet Metal Worker/Fabricator
There are still opportunities in the office that are equally important as on the roofs. Office roofing employees deal with administrative tasks like project management, bookkeeping, management, etc.
Office-based roofing employees consist of the following:
- Administrative assistants
- Operations Managers
- Office Managers
- Safety Directors
- Service Managers
Sales and Estimating
Those who are good with numbers and have people skills are tasked to talk to the company’s clients. These employees either sell or help the client by offering them the company’s roofing services.
Roofing employees in the Sales and Estimating department include the following:
- Roofing Estimator
Manufacturing and Distribution
This area in the roofing industry has the most comprehensive range and covers many career opportunities. These opportunities revolve around manufacturing processes and effective distribution.
People involved in this area include some of the following:
- Quality Control Technician
- Human Resources
- Logistic Specialists
- Warehouse Material Handler
This guide will help you find and hire a roofing contractor in Florida. We’ve also included some tips on properly securing your roof, when to replace it, our 8-step roofing process, and the types of roofing materials you can choose from. We’ve also given you a brief insight into the careers involved in the roofing industry.
The information we’ve provided above can help you make informed decisions if you decide to start your roofing project or delve into a roofing career.
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