Residential Re-Roofing 2010: Meeting Florida’s challenges

Florida contractors usually pay attention to the heat and are aware that more storms hit Florida than any other state. Others may be aware the state has 663 miles of beaches, 2,276 miles of coastline.

Why do contractors care about these statistics? Because their jobs — building and renovating the homes of the millions of residents — are subject to salt-water corrosion, ultraviolet damage, wind uplift, hail damage and whatever else Mother Nature dishes out.

Bonnie Pierce, director of publications for the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, said Florida is set apart from other states by: “The continual and intense heat and humidity. And wind-related concerns, not just from hurricanes and tornadoes but also from the violent weather episodes we can, at certain times of the year, experience daily. As you probably know, we have our own set of building codes and a product approval system because of these factors.”

According to Neal Strickland, of Strickland Roofing, San Mateo, Fla., these issues are part of the reason why metal roofing has taken more market share in Florida. “In the areas we work we have to meet 120-mph wind resistance, and metal roofing can do that,” he says.

A recent Strickland Roofing example is a home in Palm Coast, Fla. The home had a deteriorating asphalt shingle roof, which was about 17 years old. Strickland’s proposal made the homeowner’s decision easy. “What we are able to do is we can either tear off a shingle roof and put back shingles or we can go over the shingles with a metal roof, if there is just one layer of shingles and they are in pretty good shape. The great part is I can do this for the exact same price. When a homeowner finds out about that option, they definitely are going to go metal.”

The roof selected is a 29-gauge Grandrib 3 with an Enduracote coating from Fabral, supplied by B&B Wholesale Metals, East Palatka, Fla. Grandrib 3 has a UL 2218 Class 4 hail impact resistance rating, UL 790 Class A fire resistance rating and UL 580 Class 90 wind uplift rating. Fabral is adding an aluminum Grandrib 3, which will be Florida tested and approved for wind-uplift, making it ideal for coastline applications.

When reviewing the colors, Strickland said he was surprised by the homeowner’s final selection — black. But he noted the color worked well, giving the home a clean look. Although the black metal roof may not be as energy-efficient as a white metal roof, the black one still brings energy-efficiency to the home. “It is true that a darker color roof will absorb more heat that a lighter color roof. But a cool metal roof doesn’t have to be white,” says Bill Croucher, Fabral’s director of engineering. “Advancements in coating and color technology have allowed us to offer energy-efficient metal roofing to our customers in a variety of colors. In fact, Fabral is in the process improving that efficiency even further by converting all Enduracote colors to be Energy Star rated. This means customers can get even higher initial reflectivity values from their Fabral roofs, including a new black from Fabral called True Black.”

“Energy efficiency” is a term Strickland believes helps him sell. “There seems to be so many incentives for people to be energy conscious that a lot of people are going with metal roofs because they know they are more energy efficient. And there is a tax credit.”

Strickland has expanded his company by installing metal roofs. For contractors who are leery of joining him, Strickland’s advice is to just try metal. “There are a lot of people who haven’t done much metal who are apprehensive about it. They think ‘we can’t make money in metal; it’s too slow.’ But it’s just a learning curve, probably like when they started with the shingle roofs.”  Fabral offers assistance with installation videos at www.fabral.com/videos.php, as well as an engineering team that is ready to answer questions.

With this help combined with metal roofing’s cost savings, energy efficiency, superior ratings and other attributes, no wonder metal roofing has become so popular in the sunshine state.

Daisy Lilley is marketing manager of Fabral, Lancaster, Pa.

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