This comprehensive guide is designed to help property owners in Southwest Florida maintain their roofs and avoid costly repairs or replacements.
Anything Blue and Underlined is a link for videos, product information, or other tips, all included for FREE in this guide.
“Roof integrity is not a choice; It is essential. To you and your family’s comfort, structural integrity, and your belongings. Roofing ranks among the largest and most expensive projects property owners can undertake, so selecting the right roofer is vital to ensuring value.” - Connery Schiebel; Universal Representative Cape Coral Home Owner
Inside, you'll discover:
Section 1 - The most common roofing problems in Southwest Florida and how to prevent them
Section 2 - Tips for extending the lifespan of your roof
Section 3 - How to choose the right roofing materials for your property
Section 4 - The importance of regular roof inspections and maintenance
Section 5 - 11 points to look for when selecting a contractor
Section 6- And much more!
The top 4 most common roofing problems in Southwest Florida and how to prevent them.
Roof Leaks: The most common roofing problem in Southwest Florida is leaks, caused by heavy rains, high winds, and extreme weather conditions. To prevent leaks, make sure your roof is properly sealed, and check your roof regularly for any signs of damage. Roof leaks are commonly found along flashing areas on your roof, you’ll notice “yellow staining” on your ceilings or worse. Mold.
Wind Damage: Southwest Florida is prone to high winds that can cause shingles to blow off and cause structural damage to your roof. To prevent wind damage, make sure your roof is properly installed and maintained, and consider investing in wind-resistant shingles.
“We were ground zero, in the eyewall for 12 hours, and these roofs didn’t lose a single [Titan XT] shingle.” – James Rodriguez, Universal Contracting & Solar
Hail Damage: Hail or Golf balls can cause significant damage to your roof, including dents, cracks, and holes. To prevent hail damage, consider installing impact-resistant roofing materials. I know what you’re thinking. “Hail isn’t that common in SWFL” Last year alone Fort Myers and the surrounding areas were hit by inch sized hail. I think we all can agree that the weather is changing for the worse, it’s better to be prepared for it now!
Algae and Moss Growth: Algae and moss can grow on your roof, causing discoloration and damage to your shingles. To prevent algae and moss growth, keep your roof clean and trim any overhanging trees or branches. Any tree that is above the roof line on your property will contribute to algae and moss growth.
Tips for extending the lifespan of your roof, including the best cleaning and maintenance practices
Regular Cleaning: Regular cleaning is essential to maintaining your roof and preventing common problems like algae and moss growth. DO NOT use a brush to remove any dirt or debris from your roof. Spending a few bucks on a soft wash option that can attach to your hose would be a better option. Using a brush can break away granules causing your roof to deteriorate faster.
Proper Maintenance: Proper maintenance includes regular inspections and repairs, keeping your gutters clean, and making sure your roof is properly ventilated and insulated.
Regular Inspections: One of the most effective ways to spot potential roofing issues is by conducting regular inspections. Ideally, you should conduct an inspection at least twice a year, in the fall and spring, and after any major weather event like a hurricane or hailstorm.
Look for signs of wear and tear: During your inspection, look for signs of wear and tear on your roof. This can include cracked, missing or damaged shingles, rusted flashing, or a sagging roofline. These are all signs that your roof may need repairs.
Inspect the Attic: Take a look inside your attic to see if there are any signs of damage or deterioration. Look for sunlight coming through the roof, moisture or mold, and damaged insulation.
Monitor Your Energy Bills: Your energy bills can also be a sign of potential roofing issues. If your energy bills are increasing dramatically, it could be due to a lack of insulation or damage to your roof, which is causing your HVAC system to work harder than necessary.
Choosing the Right Roofing Materials for Your Home
When it comes to choosing the right roofing materials for your home, there are several factors to consider:
Climate: In Southwest Florida, you need a roofing material that can withstand high temperatures, strong winds, and heavy rainfall.
Budget: Your budget will determine the type of roofing materials you can afford. Keep in mind that cheaper materials may require more maintenance and repairs in the long run.
Aesthetic appeal: Your roof is a prominent feature of your home, so you want to choose a material that complements its overall look and style.
Durability: You want a roofing material that is durable and long-lasting, so you don't have to replace it frequently.
Some popular roofing materials in Southwest Florida include:
Asphalt shingles: Affordable, easy to install, and durable, asphalt shingles are a popular choice for many homeowners in Southwest Florida.
Metal roofing: Strong, durable, and energy-efficient, metal roofing is a great option for homes in Southwest Florida.
Tile roofing: Tile roofing is known for its durability and aesthetic appeal, but it can be expensive and heavy.
Stone Coated Steel Roofing: Easily one of the best roofing materials in the market, it’s resistance to breaking, fading, wind-uplift, fire resistance, ect… make it the best roofing material in the industry.
Importance of Regular Roof Inspections and Maintenance
Regular roof inspections and maintenance are essential for ensuring the longevity and safety of your roof. Here are a few reasons why:
Identify potential problems early
Regular inspections can help you identify potential problems with your roof before they become major issues. By catching these issues early, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.
Extend the lifespan of your roof
Proper maintenance, such as cleaning and repairs, can help extend the lifespan of your roof. This means you can avoid costly replacements and enjoy your roof for longer.
Protect your home and family
A damaged roof can pose a safety hazard to you and your family. Regular inspections and maintenance can help ensure that your roof is safe and secure.
11 points to look for when selecting a contractor
1- Finding the Right Professional for the Job
When it comes to roof inspections and maintenance, it's important to find the right professional for the job. Here are a few tips to help you find the right person:
It’s safe to assume your front door hasn’t had a rest, each day or every other hour it’s a new contractor looking to earn your business. Unfortunately, many people will be caught in a web of lies, scams, and blatant disregard for Florida Building Codes and Insurance Regulations. Follow these steps to help ensure you’re picking the right contractor for the job.
2 - Be Weary Of Storm Chasers
Storm Chasers or “Chuck in a Truck”, even if they MIGHT be licensed in the State of Florida, they might not know current Florida Building Codes or Insurance Laws. Along with that they may offer you a LIFETIME labor warranty. That warranty won’t be honored if they work here for a year and leave the state to chase the next storm. Find a local roofing contractor that has been here years before the storm and will be here years after and has a record of following up on workmanship warranties. Verify that they have a dedicated in-house service department.
3 - Be Weary Of “FEMA” Inspectors & Contractors
A rampant scam we have seen are out of state contractors with magnets on their work vehicles reading “DISASTER RELIEF” or “FEMA CONTRACTOR”, both of these magnets can be bought for $20 on Amazon. Always verify that the person is who they say they are. Here’s how you can identify that the person at your door or on the phone is a FEMA inspector.
4 - In-person inspection: All FEMA personnel and contractors carry official identification. Applicants should always ask the inspector to show you their official badge, which shows their name and photo. Contract inspectors for FEMA may carry a badge issued by their employer. It, too, will show their name, photo and possibly, an ID number.
5 - Remote inspection: Inspectors verify they have reached the right applicant by asking for the last four digits of the applicant’s nine-digit FEMA registration number. The inspector provides the first four digits of the applicant’s registration ID. Applicants receive the registration number when they complete a FEMA application.
A few other points to keep in mind about FEMA inspectors:
They do not request money to complete an inspection and they do not promise that you will receive a grant.
They have your address from your FEMA disaster assistance application, but they may contact you for directions to your property.
They may use phone calls, text messages and emails—contact information you provided in your FEMA application.
Inspectors may call from FEMA-issued phones or personal cell phones, and the area codes could be from somewhere outside New York state.
Someone wearing a shirt or jacket that says FEMA does not constitute an official ID. Ask to see their FEMA photo ID badge. Federal law prohibits taking a photo or photocopying U.S. government identification cards. It is a violation that is punishable by fine and imprisonment.
6 - Check The Certifications and Contracts
A qualified roofing contractor will display their license number (CCC#######) on their contract, business cards, marketing materials, and vehicles. Verify that this license number belongs to the company that is operating the business. This information can be found at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/. All contracts should have the company's office location, phone number, license number as stated above, and email address. If this information is not provided, that is a RED FLAG.
7 - Ask For A Estimate
If you have an open insurance claim, as of July 1st, 2021, new statues from Senate Bill 76, a contractor is REQUIRED to provide you a Good Faith Estimate. A majority of contactors that are from out of state are not familiar with these laws. Below is an excerpt from SB-76 explaining the breakdown.
(e) Providing an insured with an agreement authorizing repairs without providing a good faith estimate of the itemized and detailed cost of services and materials for repairs undertaken pursuant to a property insurance claim. A contractor does not violate this paragraph if, as a result of the process of the insurer adjusting a claim, the actual cost of repairs differs from the initial estimate. A contractor who violates this section is subject to disciplinary proceedings as set forth in s. 489.129. A contractor may receive up to a $10,000 fine for each violation of this section.
8 - Scope of Work
The Good Faith Estimate as described above is a generalized estimate based on the size of your roof and a breakdown of what the project will entail, once you sign with a contractor and allow them to work with you and your insurance company to restore your property to pre-loss conditions. The contractor should use the same software as your insurance company to mitigate price discrepancies going forward. The software a majority of insurance carriers use is called Xactimate. An Xactimate estimate is created utilizing regional market pricing at the time the estimate is created. Due to the nature of fluctuations in market conditions, the costs and pricing contained in the Xactimate are subject to increases or decreases at any time and may not accurately reflect the actual costs necessary to repair or replace your property.
9 - Say NO to AOBs. (Assignment of Benefits)
An AOB is an agreement that gives your claims benefits, and in some instances complete control of your claim, to someone else. It’s usually used so that a contractor can “stand in your shoes” and file a claim, make decisions about repairs, and collect insurance payments from your insurance company directly for covered repairs. In some states, the contractor will even file a lawsuit against your insurer as your assignee.
Because the assignment of benefits takes control out of the homeowner’s hands, insurance fraud is a major concern. Some contractors may take advantage of the situation and inflate repair needs and costs or bill for work that was never completed. They may also hire attorneys to sue the insurance company if it does not pay the full amount of their estimate or denies claims. Universal Contracting & Solar does not use AOBs for the work required as our reputation, communication and software can resolve a majority of all insurance claim roof restoration projects.
10 - Liability and Insurance Documentation
Make sure that the contractor you're selecting has Full Liability Insurance of $2,000,000 and Workman Comp coverage on the Company and the Crews.
11 - In-House Labor
Florida Contractor Laws allow subcontractors to place a lien on your property if the company does not pay them. Finding a contractor that uses in-house labor negates the concern for a lien to be placed on your property from a subcontractor. Not only that but in-house labor is usually fully supervised and quality control is strictly enforced. Giving you peace of mind on your project knowing the work is not being rushed.
ACCORDING TO FLORIDA’S CONSTRUCTION LIEN LAW (SECTIONS 713.001-713.37, FLORIDA STATUTES), THOSE WHO WORK ON YOUR PROPERTY OR PROVIDE MATERIALS AND SERVICES AND ARE NOT PAID IN FULL HAVE A RIGHT TO ENFORCE THEIR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT AGAINST YOUR PROPERTY. THIS CLAIM IS KNOWN AS A CONSTRUCTION LIEN. IF YOUR CONTRACTOR OR A SUBCONTRACTOR FAILS TO PAY SUBCONTRACTORS, SUB-SUBCONTRACTORS, OR MATERIAL SUPPLIERS, THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE OWED MONEY MAY LOOK TO YOUR PROPERTY FOR PAYMENT, EVEN IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PAID YOUR CONTRACTOR IN FULL. IF YOU FAIL TO PAY YOUR CONTRACTOR, YOUR CONTRACTOR MAY ALSO HAVE A LIEN ON YOUR PROPERTY.
Senate Bill 76 - https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/76/BillText/er/HTML
FEMA Inspectors - https://www.fema.gov/fact-sheet/how-identify-fema-inspector
Contractor Lien Laws- http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0713/0713.html
By following these tips, you can ensure that your roof is properly inspected and maintained by the right professional. Regular inspections and maintenance are key to protecting your home and family, and can help you avoid costly repairs and replacements in the future.
About Universal Contracting & Solar
In Business since 2009 | 300 years of combined experience
On Site OSHA Certified Supervision
Workmans Comp on Company and Crews
An active relationship with our Vendors and a great reputation with our References.
We follow Fortified Multi-Family Installation methods to construct a roof that exceeds Florida Building Codes and wind uplift standards.
We are proud to offer a full lineup of premium sustainable products
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