The type of roof that you have for your home can influence many other factors and costs, such as aesthetics, insurance premiums, repair costs, ease of maintenance, and more. Here are the different types of roofs that you might have for your Florida house, sorted by material and shape. We will also look at how you may be able to reduce your homeowners insurance costs by leveraging certain roof qualities.
Common Roof Materials In Florida
The rooftop material of a home can vary greatly. Each type of roof material has different characteristics. Here are the various advantages and disadvantages of each type of roof.
A roof made from concrete is both modern and durable, and roofs made from concrete may be found all over Florida. They typically provide a very good value in terms of pricing, protection, and attractiveness.
Durability-wise, concrete is quite resistant to the elements. Fire and heavy rains may not easily damage concrete roofs. As a bonus that is crucial in Florida, concrete roofs can sustain strong hurricanes fairly well, as it is durable, heavy, and do not absorb water.
It is important to note that concrete roofs tend to be coated in protective material, either plastic or enamel. This outside layer may suffer from chipping or natural degradation over the years.
Florida Metal roofing is often used for its low maintenance and high durability. It is easy to maintain a metal roof compared to more traditional forms of roofing and can be very durable depending on the exact type of metal.
Florida is known for some of the wildest weather circumstances in the world. From hurricanes to lightning storms, Florida’s subtropical climate encounters plenty of extreme weather. A metal roof can withstand winds up to 160mph. Its durability to elements might be able to help your building survive better through extreme weather conditions.
Another benefit to a metal roof is that the material is resistant to bugs, which means that you might not run into insect infestations and damages that wood roofs might experience.
In terms of warmth, metal roofs can also provide your home additional insulation by reflecting sunlight, which might be desirable in colder weather.
One disadvantage of metal roofing is the potentially expensive costs associated with metal. A roof designer company might charge you extra for the material. Another weakness is that metal can still sustain physical damage from dents caused by debris from whatever cause. If there is hail, for example, the entire roof may need to be replaced.
This kind of wooden roofing is used frequently for its attractive, natural appearance. Wood shakes can bring out the rustic, charming look that only this kind of roof can provide for homes.
The aesthetic comes with a certain cost, though, since wood shakes have their distinct disadvantages. They require additional maintenance due to their vulnerability to bugs and poor weather conditions.
On the bright side, a roof made from wood shakes can last forty years if it is properly maintained during the period. Of course, this comes with the likelihood of relatively high costs, making wood shakes more expensive than shingled roofing.
Unfortunately, wood shakes are also lacking in fire resistance. The elements can bring great wear and damage to a roof made of wood shakes, and the roof will certainly suffer when it is hurricane season. That is why wood shakes may be more often found in inland communities and areas.
If you are worried about repair costs, wood shakes might not be the choice for you. They also tend to be individually underwritten in terms of insurance policy costs and expectations, so you may wish to be wary of maintaining wood roofs in a state like Florida.
Slate roofs can be highly customizable and look wonderful, earning them a place in many Florida homeowners’ hearts who prefer this more niche choice of material. Another main advantage of slate roofing is its environmentally friendly quality.
They can be very heavy, though, so not all homes can withstand the extra weight put on by a slate roof. While they rate highly in terms of fire resistance, they may also crack, similar to clay tiles.
Repairs for damaged slate roofs can be a costly problem since, due to the slate’s high customizability, finding the matching roof color as the original could feel like a wild goose chase.
The shingled roof is one of the most popular styles in America due to its affordability and ease of maintenance. Shingles tend to fit well with all sorts of architectural styles, which means they have a quintessential aesthetic appeal.
The downside of shingle roofing is that the tiles may not be able to withstand the brutal force of storms. They can get carried away by hurricanes or damaged by hot climates, making shingle roof damage a potentially frequent insurance claim.
However, the asphalt, fiberglass, and other materials used to make shingles are relatively easy and inexpensive to source. This means that you may be able to file for repairs with relative ease.
Clay roofs give off a warm, earthy look and are a very popular choice in South Florida and other coastal areas. They are extremely durable, meaning that clay tiles will never rot.
They’re resistant to bugs, salt (from ocean water), and in general resilient against the elements. In addition to their long lifespan of up to fifty years, all of the good qualities of clay tiles make them the ideal choice for many homeowners.
Downsides to clay tiles include being vulnerable to cracks, such as ones caused by trees crashing down on them or brushing against them in howling winds. They can also be on the expensive end of roofing options.
Common Roof Shapes
A few of the most common roof shapes are gable, gambrel, mansard, hip, shed and flat.
Gable roofs are probably what you think of when you think of a roof: two sides sloping upward at an angle to meet as a ridge in the middle. These roofs are easy to install, and the sloping angle helps snow and rain slide off the roof before collecting too heavily.
Gable roofs also have fewer corners and angles for wind to get trapped in. This smaller amount of surface area means that they are less susceptible to high winds. Thus, a gable design is a good option for a Florida roof.
Gambrel roofs are most often found on barns. They have segmented pieces attached to each other that slope up and toward a ridge in the middle of the roof.
A roof like this has a lot of surface area and can easily be damaged in high winds. Gambrel roofs are not a great choice for a roof in Florida.
A mansard roof is a four-sided gambrel-style hip roof. It's characterized by two slopes on each of its sides. The lower slope is punctured by dormer windows at a steeper angle than the upper slope.
Hip roofs have four sloping edges that meet to form a ridge in the middle. A regular hip has two larger sides that meet in the middle and two shorter sides that join at either end of the ridge that the two larger sides create.
A pyramid hip has four sides that are equal in length and meet at a point at the top of the roof. Hip roofs are sturdy and a good choice for windy Florida.
A shed roof is a single sloping roof, commonly set at a steep pitch. It's also called a pent roof or skillion roof, and it creates lots of usable space inside the building.
A flat roof is just that — flat, with only a slight incline, if it has one at all. Flat roofs make sense in dry climates; they can even provide extra space for storage, dinners or gardens.
They are usually quite wind resistant. But in Florida’s wet climate, they also act as a repository for rain water, which could do severe damage. Thus, flat roofs are not recommended for Floridians.
How susceptible or resistant your roof is to wind damage is a big consideration for an insurance company. If your roof is highly susceptible to wind damage, your insurance premium will, at the very least, be much higher. An insurance company may not insure you at all.
Thus, one of the major roof requirements for homeowners insurance in Florida is that your roof be wind resistant. This means that when it comes to roof shapes, your best options are gable and hip roofs.
The shape of your roof can play a big part in what kind of roof your home has. It may affect how your insurance company decides your homeowners policy rates because different shapes can withstand harsh weather conditions and airflow more easily.
There are six common types of roof shapes:
How does roof shape affect your insurance policy?
Some of the most common roof shapes in Florida are the Gable and Hip roofs if you live in a high wind zone. This is partly because a Hip roof can remain more stable against strong winds due to its lower inline roof slopes and fewer sharp corners.
Florida has certain building codes, including one that says that a building should be built to withstand winds of at least 120mph. Newer construction standards these days have gone all the way up to around 175mph.
A flat roof, in particular, is one of the more egregious types of roof shape. A flat roof builds up water in case of heavy rain or storm and suffers during the hurricane season. Thus, flat roofs will likely be more expensive to insure than other kinds of roofs.
Other Roof Requirements for Homeowners Insurance In Florida
Insurance companies will take several requirements into consideration when deciding whether to insure your home or not. Roof shape and roof materials, covered above, are two of these requirements.
Another is roof overhang. This is referring to how much your roof juts out over the house beneath it. A larger overhang will rate lower in your insurance company’s eyes because it gives wind more area to gather beneath your roof and potentially strip it right off of your house.
When that happens, the shape of your roof or the materials it is made of can make little difference. Thus, in Florida, it is best if your roof provides little to no overhang.
Another roof requirement for homeowners insurance in Florida is proper roof deck attachment. A roof deck is the material between the foundational rafters and the outer layer of shingles, tiles, panels or sheets. It is what your outer roof materials are placed on. This material can be made of wood, steel, cement or concrete.
The key factor in lowering your insurance premium when it comes to the roof deck is how it is attached to the roof’s trusses — the rafters, posts and struts.
The biggest insurance discount will be awarded to the roof deck that is nailed to the trusses every six inches with a nail that is two-and-a-half inches long.
One more roof requirement has less to do with the roof itself than it does with how it is attached to the rest of your house. There are several ways to attach the roof to the house.
One is with toe nails, or nails driven straight from the roof rafters into the walls. This offers the weakest connection and thus the lowest insurance discount.
Another way to attach the roof to the walls is with clips. This adds a metal connector between the rafters and the walls, the connector being attached by at least three nails. This is slightly better in an insurance company’s eyes and will provide a higher discount than toe nails.
The next way to attach the roof to the walls is with a single wrap, or a piece of metal that actually wraps around the rafter and attaches to the wall with several nails.
The last and best way to attach the roof to the walls is with a double wrap, or two separate pieces of metal that wrap around the rafters and attach to the wall on both sides. The double wrap is what the insurance company considers to be most secure, and it will offer the best discount for it.
Roof repairs and damage
On average, roof repairs can cost homeowners around $884. However, this cost can rise drastically depending on the type of roof repairs and damages, going over $2,000. An entire roof replacement cost can go into the tens of thousands of dollars and can also be a time-consuming process.
How does roof failure and damage happen?
As we have mentioned above, the durability of your roof can depend on the roof material, as well as its overall shape.
Not every building’s roof is created equal. Even if you have a very strong and durable roof material and shape, there are plenty of other factors that could still affect how well your roof stands the test of time and the elements.
For example, if your roof overhang is large, it might increase the chances of your roof being blown off during strong wind conditions.
A roof-to-wall connection, also known as the roof deck, can also be a contributing factor to how well-attached and stable your roof is. Some common roof deck attachment materials from weakest to strongest are: toenails, clips, single wraps, and double wraps.
Toenails are the weakest way to attach a roof to a wall, thus potentially requiring more repairs or replacements, but they will likely be the cheapest. Meanwhile, double wraps are one of the strongest methods, but they may be rarer and more expensive than the other options.
How long does a roof last?
Florida has bouts of extreme weather that shorten the average roof lifespan. Even if roof material is advertised as lasting for many decades, an insurance company providing coverage for a roof in Florida will typically not recognize this type of warranty. Many homeowners might end up having to follow special mandatory roof replacement schedules and maintenance updates.
Even clay and concrete roofs that typically can last for fifty years might not be able to withstand the extreme weather conditions of Florida for that long. Heat, humidity, rain, storms, and hurricanes can drastically reduce a roof’s lifespan.
Here is an example of a general Florida roof insurance schedule.
Wood: decided on an individual basis
Flat roofs: under 10 years
Shingle: up to 20 years
Clay and concrete: up to 40 years
Metal: from 15 to 40 years
Getting the best roof insurance coverage
When obtaining homeowners insurance coverage, the insurance company will typically send an agent to come and check your home out to assess its status and any pre-existing conditions to the building.
When it comes to the roof, many factors might influence your overall homeowners insurance premium. For example, the older your roof is, the more it might negatively affect your premium.
Obtaining roof financing and roof loans
Sometimes, you might want to consider a roof loan for replacement and repair of your roof in cases where you do not have adequate insurance coverage. There are several ways that you might wish to finance your roof replacement and repairs, and a loan could be the option. This may be harder to achieve if you have bad credit since certain personal loan lenders might make that a disqualification factor or bump up certain fees and expectations.
How is a roof inspected for insurance?
When undergoing an inspection by your homeowners insurance company, your licensed insurance agent will ask for plenty of information about your roof. Take note of your roof’s type, age, as well as any other information that might be relevant to the structural integrity and status of your roof.
Depending on how old your home is as well, you may be required by your insurance company to get a four-point inspection, which is more comprehensive. It can help provide you and your insurance carrier with a deeper understanding of your rooftop situation. If there are any particular issues to the roof that may arise or pre-existing damages and conditions, you may be able to find out from this inspection.
As you can see, the insurance policy for a wood roof is typically individually underwritten so that the coverage makes sense for the type of roof material you have.
A homeowners policy may have its premium adjusted considerably due to the type of roof you have, so being aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each roof type can help you score the best possible coverage.
It is important to note that each insurance policy and company may have different terms of usage or ways of providing coverage for roofs.
Our team of expert insurance agents at Worth Insurance is always here to help you get a quote for the insurance that you need. We can help ensure that your roof is adequately covered and that your homeowners insurance is affordable and suits your individualized needs.