Florida is known for its sunny weather and access to beaches along its 1,350 miles of coastline. Its coastline is second in length only to Alaska, and its position between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico leaves it vulnerable to hurricanes and strong storms throughout the year. Florida hurricanes bring high winds, heavy rain, flooding, storm surges, and, at times, tornadoes.
As a result of its location and climate, Florida building codes seek to create requirements that will protect structures from damage that can result from these storms. Punta Gorda, Florida stands as a testament to what updated building codes can achieve in the face of severe weather. The community was devastated by Hurricane Charley in 2004, and many of the structures were rebuilt under new building codes. These new homes, many built to standards laid out in 2007 building codes, remained largely unscathed.
In order to withstand Florida’s climate and weather events, choosing the best roof material and adhering to building codes can protect homes from the devastation typically associated with hurricanes and other severe weather.
Known as the “Sunshine State,” Florida is home to hot and humid summers followed by warm and wet winters. Average temperatures in the summer months average in the low 80s while the winter months have an average temperature ranging from the lower 50s to the upper 60s depending on the region. Florida sees an annual average rainfall of 53.7 inches with more rain falling in the latter part of the year, typically June through September.
Florida Roofing Considerations
Florida’s roofing needs and installation methods are unique to their climate and weather events. Various codes and requirements dictate installation methods and materials. The following resources can help guide you to specific codes and requirements:
Florida High Wind Concrete and Clay Tile Installation Manual: 6th Edition
Installation requirements for a Florida roof include specifications for all of the materials used, including nails, screws, clips, and hurricane straps. There are also specific codes related to roofing materials, including asphalt shingles, clay and concrete tile, metal roof panels, and wood shakes, among others.
Due to concerns associated with hurricanes and wind events that can lead to water infiltration and cause damage to the roof and the interior of the structure, Florida’s building code requires a sealed deck, and underlayment materials are specified in the building code depending on the roof covering material.
A sealed roof deck means that any seams where roof decking meets are sealed with approved materials to reduce the amount of water that can seep through, that could potentially damage the roof, the interior, and the structure itself. An unsealed roof deck with a compromised roof can allow up to 60% of the rain that hits it to enter the attic, while a sealed roof deck can reduce water entry through a compromised roof by 95%.
Florida’s humid climate can pose moisture risks to roofing materials even when it isn’t raining. Moisture from humidity can seep into small (or large) cracks on the surface of the roof and cause mold and mildew growth in the roof tiles and the roof deck if the underlayment isn’t sealed properly. If mold and mildew reaches the underlying structure, it can compromise the integrity of not only the roof, but the building itself.
Heat And UV Exposure
Heat causes roofing materials to expand, with some materials expanding more than others. It can create small cracks that can allow moisture to seep into the roofing material, and lead to moisture related issues like mold and mildew. Materials also expand when wet and then contract as moisture evaporates. This cycle of expansion and contraction can create significant roof damage over time.
UV exposure also impacts roofing materials. It can cause the color to fade and damage the surface of the roof, leading to more than just a faded color. UV rays can compromise the integrity of the roofing material and cause it to crack or peel.
Best Roofing Materials For Florida Homes
With all of these factors at play, what is the best roofing material for Florida? There are lots of options, and here are a few of the best roofing materials for Florida homes:
1. Clay Barrel Tiles
Clay tiles are a popular material in hot and humid southern climates because of their durability and ability to withstand extended UV exposure. Because the tiles are curved, they allow air to circulate between the surface of the roof and the roof deck which helps keep the roof and interior of the home cooler.
Because of their weight, roofs often need to be reinforced to support their weight. It is also difficult to replace tiles and conduct roof maintenance and repairs because the tiles are difficult to walk on and can become brittle, which can cause them to break under the added weight. This is also an expensive option especially when lifetime maintenance is factored in.
2. Concrete Tiles
The thickness of concrete tiles means that they will heat up slower than other materials, which keeps the roof and home cooler for longer. The thickness also makes them extremely heavy, and they need roof reinforcement to support them.
3. Asphalt Shingles
Asphalt shingles aren’t the most durable option, but they are lightweight and can often be repaired by the homeowner in the event that they wear out or are ripped off in a storm. They are also an affordable option for homeowners who are working within a budget.
4. Metal Shingles
Metal shingles are lightweight and can withstand high winds up to 160 mph and they are resistant to hail damage.. They can also mimic the look of other types of roof tiles. They are often more expensive than other types of roofing.
5. Composite Tiles
Composite tiles by Brava are the ideal roofing material for Florida. They are lightweight and easy to install, and they also come with a 50-year transferable warranty. They are weather-resistant and UV resistant and don’t conduct heat, making them the ideal choice to stand up to the challenging Florida climate.
They are a maintenance-free option, and only need to be cleared of debris periodically, so you will be able to spend time enjoying your home rather than worrying about cleaning and maintenance. Brava tiles are tested and approved to withstand wind speeds of up to 188MPH with ring shank nails and up to 211MPH with high wind/screw installation and have a Class 4 impact rating that means they will stand up to hail as well.
Brava Offers A Trio Of Beautiful Roofing Options
Brava offers three different composite roof tile options in a wide array of nature-inspired and naturally variegated colors that allow you to achieve the perfect aesthetic and peace of mind.
Our Spanish Barrel Tiles offer the stunning and traditional aesthetic of clay barrel tiles, but without the weight and maintenance associated with the natural material.
Old World Slate captures a rustic and nostalgic feel while looking beautiful and timeless.
For a look that hearkens back to early America, our Cedar Shake Roofing gives you the beauty of natural cedar shake shingles that can withstand Florida’s climate in a way that natural cedar shakes simply can’t.
Contact the experts at Brava today to discuss the best roofing materials for Florida and begin planning your project. You can even request a sample to see and feel the difference!