A roof is a long-term investment, which means that careful consideration must be put into choosing one. In the state of Florida, the longevity of a roof is a major factor. One of the major reasons for this is the specific conditions that the roof needs to be able to withstand the elements.
Florida experiences what is known as a humid subtropical climate in its northern and central areas, while it experiences a tropical climate in its southern sections. Both climates result in defined rainy and dry seasons. During the rainy season, thunderstorms and cyclones are not uncommon, and both can give a roof a serious beating.
Furthermore, Florida doesn’t experience snowy winters like most other states do. During the season, the climate becomes severely dry and hot.
It’s not feasible to be replacing sections of, or an entire roof regularly and, therefore, with the climate conditions mentioned, one needs to ensure that any selected roof can stand up to the harsh weather patterns.
Roof Lifespan Considerations
Determining the lifespan of a roof means considering a few factors, which are outlined below.
First, there is the climate, which was discussed above. The climate indicates the severity of the conditions that the roof must face. Unlike the weather, which is a day-to-day estimate, climate is a pattern observed over several years. It gives a general idea of how severe weather patterns should be each year. In Florida, not only are there sporadic natural disasters, but there are also periods of high moisture and intense heat. Heat and moisture have damaging effects on roofs, which accumulate over time.
The second factor is maintenance. No matter how great a fixture is, improper maintenance results in speedy deterioration. Roof upkeep is an underrated necessity for many home owners and lessees. Professional routine maintenance is a must. A lack of upkeep is the reason why some small issues become larger ones over time. If you are not the one that had a roof installed, it’s important to attempt to find out what the maintenance schedule has been. This helps to give an idea of the time you have left with the roof.
Third, there is the quality. This applies to most products that people purchase. Some manufacturers offer a higher quality product because of the materials used, as well as the construction process in putting it all together. Higher quality roofs can be more costly than their inferior counterparts, however, this is one aspect of your home’s value where you shouldn’t be cutting corners. A solid foundation and strong walls are great, but they don’t mean much when a strong wind has taken a chunk of your roof. Since the materials used play a huge part in the equation, have a look below at a few roofing materials, and how they stand up to the test of Florida.
How Long Does a Shingle Roof Last in Florida?
There are several kinds of asphalt shingles available and their unique properties give an indication of the kind of time you can expect from them in Florida.
- Three tab – This is the least costly kind of asphalt shingle option available for slopped roods. The thickness of these shingles are standard, and they tend to last anywhere from 10 to 20 years. The variance depends on the conditions they are exposed to, and it also depends on how sound the installation process is. It is important to note that this type of shingle is not recommended for storm prone areas as the maximum wind uplift it can endure is 70 MPH. Furthermore, the dry and hot climate in Florida provide a recipe for cracks developing in the shingles, which decreases their lifespan.
- Dimensional – This shingle type is the next step up from three tab in both quality and price. These are on the thicker side and have a general life span of 15 to 25 years. Should roof frame bracing be combined with special installation methods, dimensional shingles can endure almost twice the wind of three-tab ones, resulting in better longevity.
- Premium –This is the most expensive, but it tends to look the best. These shingles are usually designed for premium homes and can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. While they have the same wind resistance as dimensional shingles, they can last longer in the Florida climate as they can be equipped with solar reflectance if desired. This reduces the immense heat’s impact on the material.
Typically, you can tell shingle roofs require replacement when there are major cracks on the shingles, when many sand granules have been lost, and when they look dry.
How Long Does a Tile Roof Last in Florida?
There are numerous factors that affect the lifespan of a tile roof in Florida. However, the typical timeline ranges from 25 to 30 years.
Tile roof longevity is heavily dependent on maintenance-based factors. Blowing away leaves and branches where applicable is very important for these roofs. This is because tree debris, which includes leaves and seeds, accumulates under tiles and cause the felts to deteriorate. Additionally, when the debris builds up in your roof’s key points such as its valleys, water flow becomes restricted. When water rests on a tile roof, it contributes to premature failure. This is one of the reasons that pressure washing tile roofs is discouraged, especially after the roof has been installed for over 10 years.
It is best to hire a roofing contractor for cleaning. When doing this, you should request that no high-powered machinery is used, and that pool chlorine, Formula 88, Gaco Wash, or Hydro-Stop be used to complete the stain removal process. Contractors are also recommended for maintenance as they tend to be better at navigation without destruction. The heat in Florida can cause tiles (especially clay ones) to break if they are walked on as they tend to get brittle. Contractors can replace failing tiles and tighten loose parts without causing damage to the rest of the roof.
How Long Does a Tile Roof Last in South Florida Hurricanes?
Tropical storms always have the potential to become hurricanes. As the southern region of Florida has a tropical climate, it is susceptible to these. In fact, many hurricanes terminate around South Florida after passing through the Caribbean in the months of June to November. Some areas in the southern sections of Florida have up to 90 thunderstorm days yearly, which is one of the reasons why the state has the highest storm count yearly. Furthermore, it has the highest lightning density in the USA. Some hurricanes such as Hurricane Michael have reached winds of 155 mph!
This means that tile roofs located in South Florida take more of a beating in this regard than those in the northern and central regions. As was mentioned above, maintenance is one of the key factors at play. Whenever hurricanes are approaching, people tend to do all they can to get their houses in the strongest state possible as hurricanes provide a constant battering over one or more days. Houses that cannot endure the harsh weather either partially or completely collapse, and roofs are usually one of the first areas to give way.
If a tile roof is not maintained well, then it becomes an easy target for hurricanes to destroy as compromised tiles are lifted away and weak felts come apart. Therefore, some tile roofs in the state prematurely fail before the 10-year mark, while others can last up to 30 years. Maintaining a structurally sound tile roof is the only way to stand up to the stormy winds and heavy rains.
How Long Does a Cement Tile Roof Last in Florida?
Cement roof tiles are typically used by those who desire the appearance of traditional tile roofs without having to bear the associated costs. Innovations in machinery and production have led to the cost of these tiles becoming very competitive.
It’s hard to beat the durability of concrete tiles as they are Class A fire rated and high wind resistant. This means that there is resistance to both the stormy and the dry climate conditions associated with Florida. When built to building code standards, concrete tile roofing systems also exceed the current seismic load requirements for building materials, which means there is a layer of earthquake resistance.
Cement tiles tend to last for a building’s lifetime. Therefore, they usually carry a non-pro-rated, limited lifetime, transferrable warranty. In fact, roofs that were made of the initial cement roofing tiles in the early 1900s still have their roofs intact today.
Unlike other tiles, these are not degraded by power washing or by being walked on. However, leaf debris in the valleys can become an issue over time and, therefore, at least a yearly inspection should be completed.
How Long Does a Built-up Roof Last in Florida?
Built-up roofing, which is also known as BUR, is the most popular roofing material found on low-slope roofs. The roof is built using an alternating layered style. Layers of asphalt and reinforcing fabric are alternated, and then a top layer of aggregate is used. This results in a continuous sealed surface.
The lifespan of a built-up roof depends on several factors such as the materials used and the climate conditions. However, the typical lifespan ranges from 15 to 30 years. This roofing type is good for the Florida climate as the composition is better suited to warmer conditions than colder ones.
The aggregate top layer provides UV resistance, which is great for facing the intense Florida sun. Additionally, this layer provides fire resistance. These properties contribute to a longer lifespan provided the roof is adequately cared for.
The biggest downside of built-up roofs is the installation process. Not only is it slow, but it also involves hazardous fumes, which have detrimental effects on the human body. Note that some types are susceptible to water and wind damage, therefore, it’s important to check with the manufacturer/installer so you can avoid those types with the kind of climate Florida has.
How Long Does a Metal Roof Last in Florida?
Metal roofing is an attractive option as it provides a durable, energy efficient solution that does not require much maintenance. Furthermore, there are numerous material options, which include zinc, aluminum, tin, galvanized steel, or copper. Once installed well, metal roofs have one of the higher longevity statistics as they can last between 40 and 70 years. This applies even when they face wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour. To ensure you are getting quality metal, it is recommended that you use the ones that are both tested and labeled by FM Global, UL, or an equivalent entity.
Metal roofing is advantageous in a state like Florida as some of its properties are perfect for the harsh climate.
First, there is the durability. Many metals are corrosion resistant and they don’t crack. This means certain factors, like tree debris, are not as dangerous to these roofs as they are to tile roofs. Some metal roofs are also impact resistant, which is great when your roof is susceptible to various impact sources such as random objects brought along by hurricane breeze.
Second, there is the safety factor. As stated before, Florida has an unusually high lightning density. One of the huge downsides of this is the sparks created that can result in fires being started. Metals are not conducive to electricity conduction and, therefore, do not spark and/or ignite into flames.
The third benefit is the potential for energy savings. Solar radiant heat is reflected off metal roofs, which not only provides a natural shield from the intense Florida heat, but it also results in up to a 25% reduction in cooling costs.
Finally, metal roofs provide an energy efficient roofing solution as they are made up of recycled materials and are recyclable themselves when they are taken down.
How Long Does a Metal Roof Last on Mobiles in Florida?
Metal roof longevity on mobile homes is like its longevity on regular homes. In fact, as mobile homes have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, it is not uncommon for metal roofs to last for their lifetimes.
As always, this depends on several factors including the type of metal used and its distinct properties. Also, the concerns with mobile homes tend to surround the materials used in the homes such as the wood used for floorboards.
Aluminum is a great choice for mobile homes as the salty air and consistent rainfall can pose a problem for the home’s contents and components if it were to get inside. Aluminum roofing is more resistant to the rain and salty air than some other metals and, therefore, provides a great protective layer.
Though metal roofs do not require frequent inspection and maintenance, ensure you get it done from time to time to verify the integrity of your roof.
How Long Does a Membrane Roof Last in Florida?
While flat roofing is used in some homes, they are mostly seen on commercial buildings. These roofs have the largest life span variance as depending they last anywhere from 10 to 50 years.
There are several flat roof membrane types, but this article focuses on the three most common ones, which are:
TPO – TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin. This is a single ply membrane type that is either ballasted, fully adhered, or mechanically fastened. As there are no plasticizers used, TPO membranes offer a “greener,” yet less durable option. It appears that roofs with these membranes last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, however, this is a newer and more experimental membrane type and, therefore, information on it is not yet conclusive.
PVC – This is a vinyl-based membrane type that has the highest price tag of the three. The price tag is well worth it when you consider that these membranes offer both energy efficiency and UV resistance as a result of its reflective property. This means that even in Florida’s heat, cooling costs can be reduced and heat damage to the roof is a non-factor. PVC roofs last a minimum of 20 years.
EPDM – This is the final membrane type to be covered, and it is also known as the “rubber membrane.” Of all three variations, this type has been around the longest and is cost effective. Application is easy and it boasts an insulative property, which is great for keeping the heat out. Furthermore, the rubbery material helps to prevent lightning from causing damage to a building’s internal contents.
The lifespan of the EPDM membrane roofs is usually 25 years or more, however, this number can fall below 20 in the unique and harsh conditions that are synonymous with the climate of Florida.
How Long Does a New Roof Last in Florida?
Now that all these roof materials have been covered, there’s the big question of the lifespan of a brand-new roof in Florida.
With all that has been discussed, you can see that there are several key factors that go into answering this question, which are:
- Material – Metal roofs have a naturally longer lifespan than shingle roofs for example
- Maintenance – Most roof encounter small to large issues and these can usually be caught and remedied via maintenance.
- Resistances – Some materials are more resistant to the harsh elements of Florida’s climate such as the heat.
Your new roof could last 10 years, 30 years, or even a lifetime. What is important is that you choose your material carefully and have it professionally maintained when necessary. Homeowners should take appropriate measures after they get a new roof.
About Prime Roofing
Prime Roofing is a roofing contractor in Jacksonville, Florida that serves the Northeast Florida region. Our core service is replacing and installing The Prime Roof on residential properties. The Prime Roof is guaranteed for a lifetime. It has shingles that are durable enough to endure Florida’s toughest storms.