Florida, with its abundance of sun, sand, and surf, is truly a summer paradise. This place faces extreme heat and humidity along with a wet season with frequent rain showers. But that is not all weather-wise, Floridians have to face their share of hurricanes and tropical storms as well.
Imagine how much a house has to bear in such extreme conditions. They face a healthy dose of salt spray (if located on the coast) in addition to heat, humidity, and high winds. More than the walls itself, it is the roof that bears the brunt of nature’s fury and changing moods.
Constant exposure to nature’s elements can degrade the roofing materials. If due attention is not paid the damage can extend to the underlying structure of the roof as well.
According to the Florida Divison of Emergency Management, the age of the roof plays a determining role in its ability to resist damage. The newer the roof, the higher its capability to withstand damage. But, just because your roof is a couple of years old, it does not mean you have to change it.
The roofing materials have a lifespan. Usually, this lifespan is determined by the warranty extended towards it. Even then, under extenuating circumstances, the warranty does not equate the lifespan. So, how long does a roof last in Florida? To answer this question, continue reading this post.
How Long Does A Roof Last In Florida?
The most commonly used roofing material in the whole of the United States, including Florida, are asphalt shingles. They come with a warranty of almost 20 to 30 years. However, their lifespan in Florida is not the same. It is mainly because of the extreme weather conditions.
1. Asphalt Roof – As per the IACHI or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, high-quality architectural shingles are more durable with a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years. On the other hand, the more commonly used 3-tab asphalt shingles will last a mere 10 to 12 years. However, due to the persistent demand for better roofing materials, there have been changes in the market and all for the better. Nowadays, roof shingles are graded. They go from Class A (resisting wind speeds up to 60 mph) to Class H (resisting wind speeds up to 150 mph).
2. Slate Roofs And Wood Shakes – For Florida homeowners, good news comes in the form of slate roofs and wood shakes. According to IACHI, their life expectancy is even better, making them more durable. Slate roofs are known to last for more than 50 years while wood shakes approximately 25 years. If installed properly, they both have very good wind resistance. However, the fact remains that slate is expensive and can damage easily on impact, while wood shakes are susceptible to rotting and require constant maintenance against other environmental elements.
3. Metal Roof – The life expectancy of a metal roof is slightly better than asphalt. As per IACHI, in Florida metal roof will last for anywhere between 17 to 20 years. Amongst metals, aluminum, and zinc roofs are known to have higher and better wind resistance. They can resist wind speeds between 110 to 160 mph. These are also known for better resistance to damage by impact. The reason behind the metal roof gaining popularity is that they require minimum maintenance.
4. Clay Tiles – The best option comes in the form of clay tiles. However, these two are not entirely foolproof. Clay tiles have a lifespan of anywhere between 50 to 100 years and come with a warranty of almost 30 years. When installed correctly these too can withstand wind speed of nearly 100 mph. But clay tiles are also prone to impact damage and can crack easily if walked upon. The good news is that they are pretty much resistant to UV exposure and damage from salt spray.
Which Roof Is Best For Hot And Humid Climate?
As we already know, Florida has a hot and humid climate, so the roof that you choose should repel heat and at the same time keep the inside of the house cool. Light shades of asphalt shingles and clay tiles are best suited for this purpose. Considering that these two have fairly good wind resistance, it all boils down to what suits your pockets the most.
Right Roof Lowers Energy Costs
In summers the most significant expenditure is the electricity bill. This is mainly because the air conditioner runs continuously for hours, in the end, to keep the home cool and comfortable.
The right kind of roof will help keep your electricity bills in check. By repelling heat and UV rays, the asphalt shingles and clay tiles prevent the house from heating up uncomfortably. When no additional heat is absorbed by the home, the air conditioner has to work for less to maintain a cool atmosphere inside.
If you are willing to spend a little extra, you can go for roofing materials that have a high solar reflectance. The higher the reflectance, the better it is. The surface temperature of reflective roofs is nearly 30% less. Also, adding a layer of insulation makes it even better.
The Final Verdict
A roof lasts longer if the owner takes good care of it. Timely inspections, repairs, and keeping the gutters clean go a long way in increasing their life expectancy.
If you need a new roof, the choice of the roof should always depend on the weather and topography of the area. With the advances made in roofing materials, there is always something that suits the specific needs of a given area. Important is to research all the options available at your disposal and consider their pros and cons. After that, it’s more about deciding what suits your requirements and budget the best.
If you live in a hot area, you need to think of a roofing material that will suitably complement your HVAC system. The two cannot work at cross purposes. With the right roofing material, you can bring down the cooling costs dramatically.