Home Insurance

What Roof Type Do I Have? Roofs In Florida

Florida's weather can be a rollercoaster – from scorching sun to hurricane-force winds. The roof over your head is your first line of defense, but not all roofs (even a new roof) are created equal. Whether you're a homeowner, considering buying a home, or just curious about those unique Florida rooflines, this guide has you covered. We'll dive into the most common roof types in the Sunshine State, uncovering the pros and cons of each material, roof pitch, and each type of sided roof. You'll learn how your roof's shape and design can actually impact your insurance premiums, and discover the hidden factors that insurance companies scrutinize when assessing your roof. Plus, we'll tackle the thorny issues of roof repairs, damage, and even financing options – so you're prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Ready to become a Florida roof pitch expert? Let's get started!

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. From an asphalt roof, slate roof, rubber roof, hip roof, to a standing seam metal roof, each type of roof material has different characteristics. Here are the various advantages and disadvantages of each type of roof.

common roof material types

Concrete roof

concrete roof material

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.

Metal

metal roof type

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.

Wood shakes

wood shakes

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

slate roof

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.

Shingled roof

Shingled roof

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 tiles

clay tile roofs

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.

Common Roof Shapes

Gable Roofs

gable roofs

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

gambrel roofs

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.

Mansard Roofs

Mansard Roofs

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

hip roofs

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.

Shed Roofs

shed roofs

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.

Flat Roofs

Flat Roofs

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:

  • Gable
  • Hip
  • Flat
  • Shed
  • Gambrel
  • Mansard

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.

If you live in a newer building, chances are you do not have to worry so much about severe wind damage. However, a more suitable roof type can help to give you a cheaper policy on your home insurance in Florida.

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 Shapes and Your Insurance Premium in Florida

When it comes to protecting your home in Florida, the shape of your roof plays a crucial role in how well it can withstand the state's notorious storms and high winds. Understanding the relationship between roof design, materials, and insurance can help you make informed decisions for both your home's safety and your finances.

Wind Mitigation and Roof Types

Not all roof types are created equal when it comes to wind resistance. The shape, pitch, and materials of your roof can significantly impact its ability to withstand hurricane-force winds. Here's a breakdown:

  • Gable Roofs: These classic triangular roofs are generally wind-resistant due to their simple, streamlined design.They offer less surface area for wind to catch, reducing the risk of uplift. However, the pitch of the roof plays a role – a steeper pitch is generally more wind-resistant than a shallow one.
  • Hip Roofs: Similar to gable roofs, hip roofs have sloping sides on all four sides, meeting at a central ridge. This design is even more wind-resistant than gable roofs, as the multiple slopes distribute wind forces more evenly,making it less likely for the roof to be lifted or damaged.
  • Mansard Roofs: These roofs have a distinctive four-sided design with two slopes on each side. While they may be aesthetically pleasing, mansard roofs are less wind-resistant due to their multiple slopes and angles, which can trap wind and create pressure points.
  • Other Roof Types: Other roof types like gambrel, shed, and flat roofs are generally not ideal for high-wind areas like Florida. Their larger surface areas and less aerodynamic shapes make them more vulnerable to wind damage.

Roofing Materials and Wind Mitigation

Beyond shape, the material of your roof also plays a significant role in its wind resistance. Here's a look at some common options:

  • Asphalt Roof: This is the most common roofing material in the US, but it's not the most wind-resistant. While asphalt shingles are affordable and easy to install, they can be susceptible to damage in high winds, especially if not properly installed or maintained.
  • Slate Roof: Slate is a natural stone tile that offers excellent durability and longevity. However, it can be heavy and expensive, and not all homes can support its weight. While slate roofs are naturally wind-resistant, improper installation or deterioration can compromise their performance in high winds.
  • Rubber Roof (Flat Roofing): Typically used on flat or low-slope roofs, rubber roofs (also known as EPDM or TPO) can be wind-resistant if properly installed and maintained. However, their seams can be vulnerable to peeling or separation in high winds.

Insurance Discounts for Wind Mitigation

Florida recognizes the importance of wind-resistant roofs and offers insurance discounts for homeowners who take steps to mitigate wind damage. These discounts can vary depending on the specific roof type, materials, and additional features like:

  • Roof Shape: As mentioned, gable and hip roofs generally qualify for discounts due to their inherent wind resistance.
  • Roof-to-Wall Connections: Stronger connections between the roof and the walls, such as hurricane straps or clips,can significantly reduce the risk of roof separation during high winds.
  • Roof Covering: Some roofing materials, such as certain types of metal roofing (like standing seam metal roofs) or impact-resistant shingles, may also qualify for discounts.

It's important to consult with your insurance provider to understand the specific discounts available and the requirements for your roof type and materials.

Florida Building Codes and Wind Mitigation

Florida has stringent building codes designed to ensure that structures can withstand the state's harsh weather conditions.These codes are regularly updated to reflect the latest advancements in wind-resistant construction techniques.

When building or replacing a roof, it's crucial to adhere to these codes to ensure your home is protected and eligible for insurance discounts. Newer building codes often require specific roof shapes, materials, and attachment methods to meet wind mitigation standards.

Understanding the impact of roof types and materials on wind mitigation and insurance can be a complex topic. By choosing wind-resistant roof designs and materials, and taking advantage of available discounts, Florida homeowners can protect their homes and their wallets.

If you're unsure about the best roofing options for your home, consult with a qualified roofing professional and your insurance agent to make informed decisions.

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.

FAQs: Roofs and Insurance in Florida

Which roof types are most common in Florida?

Gable and hip roofs are the most common roofing styles in Florida due to their wind-resistant properties.

What is the most common roofing material in Florida?

Asphalt shingle roofs are the most prevalent roofing material in Florida due to their affordability and versatility.

Are there any roofing materials considered more wind-resistant than others?

Yes, metal roofs, particularly standing seam metal roofs, and concrete or clay tile roofs are considered more durable and wind-resistant than asphalt shingle roofs.

What is the impact of roof pitch on wind resistance?

A steeper roof pitch generally offers better wind resistance as it allows wind to flow over the roof more easily, reducing uplift pressure.

Which roofs are least wind-resistant and may lead to higher insurance premiums?

Flat roofing and mansard roofs are generally less wind-resistant due to their design. Their larger surface areas and multiple slopes can create pressure points and make them more susceptible to damage in high winds.

Are there any insurance discounts for wind mitigation features?

Yes, many insurance companies offer discounts for wind mitigation features such as hurricane straps, impact-resistant roofing materials, and specific roof-to-wall connections.

Do I need a new roof to qualify for wind mitigation discounts?

Not necessarily. While a new roof may offer the best protection, you can often retrofit your existing roof with wind mitigation features to qualify for discounts.

What is a four-point inspection and why is it important for insurance?

A four-point inspection assesses the condition of your roof, electrical system, plumbing, and HVAC. It's often required by insurance companies for older homes to evaluate the overall risk and determine eligibility for coverage.

How does the Florida Building Code impact my roofing choices?

The Florida Building Code sets standards for wind resistance and other safety factors. When building or replacing a roof, adhering to these codes is essential for ensuring your home's safety and potentially qualifying for insurance discounts.

Wrapping Up

Understanding the different roof types, materials, and their impact on insurance in Florida is crucial for homeowners.Whether you're considering a new roof or evaluating your existing one, factoring in wind mitigation can help protect your investment and potentially lower your insurance premiums.

While asphalt roofs are popular for their affordability, options like slate roofs and metal roofs offer superior durability and wind resistance. If your home currently has a less wind-resistant roof like a mansard or flat roof, consult with a roofing professional to explore retrofitting options or the possibility of a replacement with a more wind-resistant style like a hip roof.

Remember, a well-informed decision about your roof can save you money and provide peace of mind in the face of Florida's challenging weather conditions.

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