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Roofing Blog

Summer Fun: Tales of Roofing Across Time Part I

Nowadays roofing construction and the roofing business can seem mundane and often quite a hassle for those who have to deal with roof repairs or roof replacement. While that, in fact, may have always been the case throughout history, roofing does play a key role in a few tales across time, from mythological, to historical, to mundane. In the next few posts we will look at interesting ways that roofing has come up in ancient mythology and history while contextualizing these snapshots for those who may not be quite so familiar with tales from antiquity.

 

The Odyssey

 One of the world’s earliest works of literature is an epic poem in ancient Greek attributed to the fabled bard Homer. It is unclear whether an actual person named Homer existed who was associated with the poetry attributed to him, but two epic poems do survive from around 800-700 BCE that become foundational for world literature, particularly in Europe: the Iliad and the Odyssey. These two poems were part of what is called the Trojan cycle, which included several other narrative poems that no longer survive. They narrate events surrounding the Trojan War, a major event in Greek mythology. While the Iliad is a narrative of events surrounding the tenth year of the war, focusing on Achilles, the greatest of the Greek heroes, the Odyssey is a story of another hero’s wandering and return home after the war. Here we will address one particular, and very famous, episode in the Odyssey that involves roofs.

 

Aeaea

 In book 10 (of 24) in the Odyssey, the main character, Odysseus, tells a story about his travels when he is addressing the Phaeacians, a people who welcomed him toward the end of his 10 years of travels (during which he was trying to make it home after fighting on the Greek side in the Trojan War and being instrumental in capturing the city of Troy—he was the architect behind the plan of the Trojan horse). Participating in the ancient, revered art of storytelling, a major theme in the Odyssey, Odysseus tells about how in his travels he and his men accidentally landed on the island of Aeaea, ruled by Circe, after a series of unfortunate events that involved the likes of the Cyclops and the Laestrygonians—a mythological race of boulder wielding cannibals. In Greek mythology Circe was the daughter of the god Apollo and a witch. Odysseus sent half his men to explore the island, and Circe promptly turned them into pigs by feeding them magic food, allowing one to report back to Odysseus (a folktale motif—don’t eat food in mysterious places ruled by mysterious women). Odysseus sets out to rescue his men, and he is assisted by the god Hermes, who gives him a special flower (moly) that keeps Circe’s magical food from transforming Odysseus into a pig. When Odysseus confronts Circe, she tries to turn him into a pig anyway, but he threatens her with his sword, and she sleeps with him instead (that’s definitely how that works). Circe turns the pigs back into men, and Odysseus spends a year with her. They have a son, Telegonus, who in some versions of the myth (not the Odyssey) decades later kills his father. After a year, Odysseus decides to leave, but Circe tells him to go check out the Underworld first.

 

Elpenor

 The night before the journey, Odysseus and his men are invited to a banquet by Circe, who now serves as their hostess. During this banquet, using her witchy powers, Circe advises Odysseus that in order to find his way back home to Ithaca (his goal), he must consult the famed prophet Tiresias. Unfortunately, at this point Tiresias is dead. Thus, Circe instructs Odysseus on how to reach a gateway to the Greek underworld, Hades, and how there to summon the shades of the dead, particularly Tiresias, in order to get his advice. Odysseus plans to set out on this fact-finding mission immediately the next morning. Yet, also during this banquet, Odysseus’ youngest comrade, Elpenor, gets very drunk and decides to spend the night sleeping on the roof of Circe’s house.

 The next morning, setting out for their journey to the Underworld, Odysseus and his men notice that Elpenor is missing. Deciding that they do not have the time to search for him, they board their ship and sail to the west (the general direction of the underworld in ancient mythology across the world). Having reached the most western lands, beyond the limits of the world (in ancient Greek mythological understanding), Odysseus proceeds to dig a giant pit to the underworld with his sword—doubtless the best instrument for this—and then he conducts the ritual (involving libations of water, milk and honey, wine, and then animal blood) to summon the shades of the dead, including Tiresias.

 Before he can speak to Tiresias, however, Odysseus is confronted by the shade of Elpenor. After a short conversation, Odysseus learns from Elpenor that unbeknownst to the rest of the men, Elpenor was not just missing, but dead. He woke up on the roof the morning after the banquet and, forgetting where he was, in his confusion, fell off the roof, breaking his neck. Elpenor begs Odysseus to return to Aeaea and bury his body, since otherwise he cannot enter the underworld and proceed with the afterlife. Odysseus agrees to do so, and in fact does just that after returning to Aeaea following his conversation with the other shades of the underworld, allowing Elpenor’s shade to pass into the underworld.

 

 If you are interested in ancient tales, stay tuned for the next post!

 If you have any questions about roofs, we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Tile Roofing: Ancient and Modern
Roofing Blog

Tile Roofing: Ancient and Modern

Tile roofs are commonplace in Florida; they are aesthetically pleasing, durable, and an excellent choice for our hot and humid climate. But, did you know that tile roofs have been around for thousands of years? While roofing technologies are always improving and there are a few differences between ancient roofs and modern ones, the basic concept and the end result still remains the same. In this post we will be looking at the differences and similarities between modern and ancient tile roofs.

 

Modern Tile

Tile roofs are particularly evocative of Mediterranean climates, calling up images of Spain and Italy. In fact, most roofs in these countries, unlike in the US (where asphalt shingles are more popular), are still done in tile. But, just like in the US, modern tile in the Mediterranean has gone through some upgrades.

Modern tile is most commonly made out of one of two materials: either ceramic or concrete. Ceramic tile is shaped out of clay and then fired to harden it and give it durability. Concrete tile is poured into molds and then allowed to harden, achieving much the same effect. While both concrete and ceramic tile serve much the same functions and have the same longevity on a roof, concrete tile is significantly less costly because the process of making it is easier and the base materials required are much cheaper. Concrete can also be colored very easily by slipping a powdered coloring mixture into the concrete mix. Ceramic is much more difficult to alter in color and takes on the color of the clay that is used. In the US especially, modern tile roofs are mainly concrete tile.

 

Tile shapes

Modern tile generally comes in a couple of different shapes from which the homeowner can choose. Flat profiles are created from flat rectangular tiles which join together in specially crafted joints and overlap vertically. Another popular profile is the “S” shape, in which case the “S” tiles overlap when the convex part of another joins with the concave half of the tile next to it. Similar to the “S” profile, some tiles have a “W” profile which overlaps in the same way and results in a roof with softer curves. The most expensive type of tile roof is a barrel tile roof. For this type of roof semicircular tiles are laid out underside up and another course of semicircular tile is laid over the top where the first course’s tiles rest next to each other. This creates a waterproof layer. In any style of tile roof, semicircular tiles are used on the hips and ridges of the roofs as cover tiles.

 

Ancient Tile

Our example of tile roofing in antiquity comes from the ancient Romans, who perfected the tile roofing process, industrialized it, and made tile roofs ubiquitous across the Mediterranean territories that they conquered. The tile roofs of the Romans differed from modern tile slightly in both shape and composition, but overall were much like the tile roofs we see today in Florida. 

Ancient Roman building materials were generally made of stone or ceramic. Roof tiles were made of ceramic building material (CBM). Although the Romans did know how to make concrete, they generally used it in the form of hydraulic cement to line and waterproof floors, cisterns, and other such surfaces. Concrete was also used by the Romans in vaulted roofing, like barrel vaults and rotundas, as can be seen in the Pantheon in Rome. More frequently roofs were made out of ceramic tile.

Ancient Roman ceramic tile came in two shapes which were combined in an interlocking manner and joined with mortar to create a waterproof and weatherproof roof. These two shapes were pan tiles (tegula) and cover tiles (imbrex). Pan tiles were large, flat rectangles with a vertical strip (flange) along both of the longer sides of the rectangle. The tiles were placed next to each other in such a way that two flanges lay next to each other on each side. The cover tiles, shaped exactly like modern barrel (cover) tile, were then placed over the flanges in such a way that they covered both and prevented water from seeping between the two pan tiles. The tiles were also arranged in such a way that vertically the higher tile always overlapped the lower, just as they are today.

If you have any questions about tile roofs, we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Shingles: Architectural and 3-Tab
Roofing Blog

Shingles: Architectural and 3-Tab

If you spend as much time looking at roofs while driving around town as we do, (and honestly we imagine that you don’t, but bear with us) you will have noticed that the most common roofing material in our area is asphalt shingles. Now, you might not have known that this is what they were called (unless you’ve been reading our blog!), but undoubtedly you will have seen them, probably every day on your own roof. Shingles, however, do not always look the same, and in this post we are not talking about color. What we are referring to is that some shingle roofs look almost flat, with shingles in a grid-like pattern while others look more three dimensional with a rather checkerboard-like pattern. So, you might wonder, what is the difference between the two? And why are there so many of each intermingled throughout the Flagler Palm Coast area? Well, this post sets out to answer these exact questions.

 

3-Tab Shingles

First, we will go over the asphalt shingles that are laid out in a grid-like pattern and tend to give a roof a relatively flat look. These are called 3-tab shingles in our field, and that is how we will refer to them. 3-tab shingles were the preferred choice of homebuilders and contractors about 15-25 years ago. If you know the history of the Palm Coast area, you know that (roughly) half of the residential properties in the area were built in that time period, prior to the recession. While architectural (also called dimensional or laminated) shingles (the other kind) were available in the late 90s and early 2000s, they were cost prohibitive at the time and rarely used. For this reason, most homes built about 20 years ago have 3-tab shingle roofs. 3-tab shingles are still used occasionally nowadays, but only either at the insistence of the homeowner or if a builder can significantly save on the cost of construction material by using them. 

So, why is that the case? Well, it is because solely from a material cost point of view, 3-tab shingles are the cheaper option. This is due not only to the manufacturing process by which they are created, but mostly also to the fact that a single 3-tab shingle contains less material than an architectural shingle. The question naturally arises then, if 3-tab shingles are cheaper, does that mean that they are worse? And the answer is yes. 3-tab shingles almost always have a lower life expectancy and lower wind tolerance than architectural shingles. These numbers can be significant too. In life expectancy they are usually a decade or more lower than architectural and about 70mph lower in wind resistance. So why are they still around? Like I said above, most 3-tab shingle roofs were installed decades ago, when they were the best and most frequently used option. Nowadays, most new roofs and almost all roof replacements utilize architectural shingles.

 

Architectural Shingles

The other type of shingle is called architectural. You may also see it referred to as (three) dimensional or laminated. These shingles are thicker and are made up of more material, since each shingle is actually several shingles laminated together. When installed they give a roof a three dimensional look and form a somewhat checkerboard like pattern. Architectural shingles have better wind speed ratings (135mph) and higher life expectancy (30-50 years, usually called by manufacturers “limited lifetime”). They are the most common type of shingle in modern roof installations, for obvious reasons. Architectural shingles did exist 20 years ago, but they were cost-prohibitive at the time and only the more expensive homes were built with these types of roofs. 

It is not that architectural shingles are now cheaper or even as cheap as 3-tab shingles, but their price has gone down enough and builders have become familiar enough with them that the material costs and the labor costs involved in installation even out. What we mean by this is that while 3-tab shingles are cheaper in material cost, they rack up higher labor costs since they take more skill and more time to install (essentially because they all must line up exactly on the roof, so roofers must take a lot of time measuring this out). Architectural shingles, while more expensive, are much easier and faster to install. So, what is spent on material is saved on labor. For this reason, in the end, a new architectural shingle roof will cost just as much as a new 3-tab roof, and because architectural shingles are so much better overall, there is practically no reason to ever choose the 3-tab at this point, either for the contractor or the customer.

If you have any questions about roofing shingles, we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Roofing Blog

What is a Supplement?

If you have ever filed a claim with your property insurance company for a loss to your house, such as weather damage to your roof, you will have encountered references to something called a claim supplement in the correspondence with your insurance company. For those of us living in Florida, under a fairly constant threat of storm damage to real estate and other property, it is integral to maintain a current property insurance policy and useful to know how the claims process works, including the language associated with claims, policies, and all related factors. 

While we have addressed other aspects of the claims process in previous posts, this one will deal with an explanation of claim supplements, as they are typically a portion of the claims process that is handled not by the policyholder, but by the policyholder’s contractor. 

Toward what is typically the end of the claims process, anyone who files a claim will receive a document called a settlement letter, which is typically accompanied by an estimate of damages incurred and covered. While this document outlines the amounts granted by the insurance company to the policyholder as well as the method of disbursement, it is not necessarily the final word from the insurer about coverage. This is where the supplement comes in. The settlement letter will have language in it which amounts to the fact that if the policyholder or their contractor disagrees with the insurance company’s estimate, then they are free to file a supplement to the claim with a line-item estimate requesting additional funds. If the request is reasonable and properly filed, it will be taken under consideration by an adjuster and the claim will be re-evaluated. Upon evaluation of the supplement request, the insurer may grant additional funds up to the total amount requested in the supplement, although they may grant less money or none at all if they partially or wholly disagree with the supplement request and the reasons laid out in it.

It remains to explain the reasons behind filing a supplement and the process of doing it. We will tackle the reasoning first. You may think that the idea of a supplement creates a loop-hole of sorts for contractors to receive any additional funds they want from insurance companies. This is far from the truth. There are really only two reasons that a supplement can be filed and successfully go through the approval process resulting in the granting of additional funds. The first is if the insurer’s field adjuster missed some damage that was inflicted by the same peril (storm, for instance) in his or her estimate. While this is fairly rare, it is possible and easily rectifiable. For example, the field examiner might fail to note that a roof leak caused damage to the flooring or fail to see storm damage on the gutters in addition to the roof. In that case the supplement would simply consist of a line-item estimate of the costs of fixing the additional damages as well as photo documentation of the damages’ existence. 

The other reason behind filing an appropriate supplement request has to do with the process of repairs itself. Oftentimes, there exist building code regulations which govern the way that parts of a house (or any other building) are repaired or replaced. While most homeowners are not familiar with the minutiae of building codes, this is not a problem, since it is a contractor’s responsibility to be well-versed in local, federal, and state building codes. For this reason, it is often the contractor who files the supplement when it is based on code requirements. We will illustrate this in two examples. 

For one, did you know that in Florida if a roof repair is large enough it requires, by state code, the replacement of the whole roof? This is generally called the 25% rule. If a claim is filed for wind damage to the roof, and the insurance examiner finds that all the damage is confined to one slope, the insurance company may grant the funds for the replacement of a single slope on the roof. However, it is illegal for a roofing contractor to replace just one slope. Thus, to do the job properly, a contractor will file a supplement for full roof replacement.

Another example has to do with frequent code changes. For instance, starting in January of 2021, Florida requires two layers of synthetic or felt underlayment on each new roof or roof replacement, with the alternative being one layer of peel and seal (a self-adhesive ice/water shielding membrane). If the adjuster is unaware of the new code updates, he or she may grant only enough funds for one layer of felt or synthetic underlayment, in which case the contractor will supplement for the second layer in order to make sure there are enough funds to perform the work up to code. 

Having covered the reasons for filing a supplement, it remains to address the process of doing so. A supplement typically consists of three parts: the estimate for additional funds, the justification behind asking for them, and documentation in support of the justification. Frequently, the estimate must be a line-item estimate detailing each step of the repair process and its cost. The cost must conform to the price lists used by insurance companies, which is why most contractors use the same software as insurance companies to put together their line-item estimates. The justification outlines the reasoning explained above, as appropriate, and the documentation typically consists of photos of additional damages or citations of building codes. Once all required documents are submitted to an insurer’s claims department, a response to the supplement is typically sent to the policyholder within 14 business days.

If you have any questions about roofing supplements, we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Storm Damage: Repair or Replacement
Roofing Blog

Storm Damage: Repair or Replacement

When you notice storm damage to your roof, you are presented with a choice between hiring a contractor to perform a small repair on the roof or replacing the roof altogether. Storm damage can be incredibly stressful and is certainly something that happens very frequently in Florida. For this reason, almost every homeowner in Florida will eventually be confronted with this choice. Here we set out to provide you with relevant information surrounding this decision so that you can make the best choice for your home and for your roof.

Storm damage often appears as something fairly small. The most frequent form that it takes are missing or creased shingles on a roof. Other forms may include spots on shingles lacking granules (indicating hail damage), chipped or broken tile, or bent or dented metals. While it is true that strong storms, particularly tropical storms and hurricanes, may cause major damage to roofs through large pieces of flying debris (which could put a hole in the roof), most storm damage presents as something minor. 

So, if you see two or three missing or creased shingles on your roof, does this suggest repair or replacement? While the first instinct when confronted with such damage may be to get an estimate for a small repair (or even do it yourself with tools from the local hardware store), this may not always be the correct choice. 

Repairs due to storm damage do have some advantages. One is that they can frequently be done much quicker than roof replacement. Not only will a repair take only a couple of hours versus a couple of days for replacement, but it can also be scheduled much quicker. While most contractors schedule roof replacements two or three months out, roof repairs are typically scheduled within one or two weeks. The second advantage of repairs is probably the more impactful one: repairs are much, much cheaper than roof replacement. This does not, however, need necessarily be the factor that makes the decision for you.

How is that the case? Well, this all depends on the age of your roof. If your roof is about at the end of its life-expectancy (typically 15-20 years old for a shingle roof), then there are additional factors to consider besides time and cost. Firstly, it is nearly impossible to repair a roof of that age in such a way that it becomes as good as it was before the damage occurred. When shingles near their life expectancy they become brittle–that is very easily breakable or crackable. So, when a roof repairman goes to lift the shingles around the missing or damaged one in order to repair it, the surrounding shingles begin to tear as well. For this reason, most contractors do not give any warranties for repair work–it will simply never be as good or as durable as the original roof. Moreover, it is impossible to match older shingles (or tiles) in color because the materials’ color fades and warps with weather and wear. Consequently, a repaired roof will never be as aesthetically pleasing as the original, instead taking on a patch-work like appearance. 

The second factor to consider in favor of replacement is that storm damage is almost always covered by your home insurance policy. So, if you do notice storm damage, your first step should be to file an insurance claim, before any repairs take place since the damage needs to be documented. Now, an insurance company may elect to pay for a small repair, which often comes out under the policy’s deductible, but in the case that your roof is nearing its life expectancy and your roofing materials are not matchable in color, they are required to pay for full roof replacement even if the initial damage is minor. The reason for this is that Florida statute 626.9744 requires that insurance companies replace any damaged material with materials of matching color and quality. If such materials cannot be found, as in the case of a 15 year old roof, they are required by law to pay for full replacement of all adjoining materials. Thus, with the help of your insurance company, your roof replacement cost after a storm may amount to the same out of pocket cost as a small repair–the amount of your deductible.

If you have any questions about roof repair or replacement, we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Is Now a Good Time for Roof Replacement
Roofing Blog

Is Now a Good Time for Roof Replacement?

The question above is one that occurs at some point to every homeowner. Roof replacement is a big undertaking. It is a costly home improvement, it takes a lot of planning, and it is a major change and renovation for your home. It is also, however, essential for the upkeep and integrity of a property. An old, worn out, or leaky roof is a huge liability for many reasons. Firstly, it starkly lowers a home’s resale value, even in the robust real estate market of today’s economy. Whether or not you plan to sell your home, maintaining its value is always a wise investment. Secondly, aged or damaged roofs can strikingly raise home insurance premiums. In some cases, a bad roof can lead to insurance policy cancellations or even make a home close to uninsurable. Finally, damages to the roof, or even regular wear and tear over time, can easily lead to interior leaks or other further damages to the house. To avoid these liabilities, as well as the stress and cost that comes along with them, it is vital to the regular upkeep of a property to maintain a roof within its life expectancy and in good condition. 

This may leave you asking, when exactly should I start thinking about roof replacement? Is now a good time for it? Well, the simple answer is that if you are worried about your roof now or you think you should be worried, then yes, now is a good time. This does not mean that you need immediately to sign a contract. What it means is that there must be a reason you are considering roof replacement now. Maybe you know that your roof is reaching life expectancy (about fifteen years for most shingle roofs). Or maybe you have noticed your insurance premiums climbing, or, worse, you have gotten an insurance cancellation notice. Maybe your neighbors or friends are replacing their roofs, or at least talking about it. Maybe you are thinking about moving or putting your home up for sale and you want to make sure that it is in peak condition. If any of these circumstances apply, or if you have any other reasons not mentioned here, you should consider looking into roof replacement as soon as it begins to weigh on your mind, since there is likely to be a very good reason for that. 

Since the first step to roof replacement is simply getting a couple of estimates, it is an easy one to take. Any reputable roofing contractor would be happy to give you a free estimate within a couple of days of you requesting one, usually after a brief roof inspection (which you do not even need to be present for). After such an inspection, reputable contractors will also be happy to discuss your roof’s condition with you and explain whether or not your worries are reasonable or unfounded. Our representatives can tell you whether you have any outstanding problems on the roof, whether the roof has reached its life expectancy, and how long you can expect your current roof to last and function without replacement. Taking this simple measure can be an easy source of stress relief, as it will put your mind at ease if you do not need roof replacement and it will give you the comfort of having taken the first step if you do need it. 

With hurricane season coming up residents of central Florida may be reluctant to dive into roof replacement until the potential dangers have passed. This is not necessarily true though, as it is best to replace a faulty roof before a storm blows through. A new roof will stand up much better to tropical storm force winds than an old one, which will prevent leaks or other damages to the interior and personal property. Moreover, there is no season in central Florida that is completely without rain and windstorms. Even outside of hurricane season these tend to occur once or twice a month, albeit with less intensity. All this is to say that if your roof needs replacing now, waiting out the rainy season or the storm season is not a great reason to procrastinate. 

If you want to make sure that you and your roof are prepared for the future, just give us a call and we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate! 

Spring is the Time to get your Roof Ready for Hurricane Season
Roofing Blog

Spring is the Time to get your Roof Ready for Hurricane Season

As spring is just around the corner, there is a lot to look forward to: warm weather, beach days, grilling and whatever else you may associate with spring and summer in Florida. One thing that we may not be looking forward to, but which is nonetheless just around the corner, is hurricane season. As the last couple of weeks have shown, even outside of hurricane season spring and summer in Florida are the seasons of frequent and often heavy storms that bring with them strong winds, rain, and even stronger wind gusts. All of this brings with it strain and pressure on your roof, which is why now is the perfect time to make sure that your roof is ready for hurricane season. 

 

Small Steps

Although storm preparedness is not a particularly fun topic, it bears thinking about now as small steps in the present can ensure that you save yourself headache and hassle in the future. There are two steps you want to take first which you can do yourself.

The first is to make sure that you have proper and up to date insurance coverage for your home or property. Hurricane season has the potential to be incredibly destructive, and although you may not need it, you want to make sure that you have proper coverage to get your home back to a pre-storm condition and avoid significant out of pocket costs. Make sure that you stay on top of any insurance renewal or cancellation notices and make on time payments to prevent lapse of coverage. Also, be sure to check out what your hurricane deductible amounts to. If that number is too high, which it often is as the hurricane deductible is separate from your other perils deductible, you may want to think about changing it or at least keeping in mind what sort of costs you could be facing.

The second is to take a quick look at your roof and ceilings. You can do this from the ground, so there is no need for climbing or ladders. Walk around your house paying particular attention to the ceilings to make sure there are no leaks. Even small water damage spots indicate that repairs need to be made to ensure roof integrity in the future. Outside, walk around the perimeter of your house, paying particular attention to the roof. Look for missing or torn shingles, uplifted areas, debris on the roof, and any trees with branches that may be brushing the roof or are near enough that they could pose a hazard if thrown by the wind. Trees growing near the roof should be trimmed as any rubbing during wind can cause damage to the roof surface and any heavy branches thrown by wind gusts can be a potential danger. 

 

Consult a Professional

If your cursory inspection reveals any problems, or even if it does not–especially if your roof is getting old–, you should next consult a professional. Contact a contractor to do an inspection and get a free estimate for any recommended repairs, big or small. Small maintenance jobs can be done quickly, easily, and are usually fairly cheap. They may involve things like tree trimming, cleaning gutters, removing accumulated small debris from the roof, or adding hurricane straps. If your roof needs a larger repair (for anything that can result in a leak) or full replacement (if it is past its life expectancy), this is also the best time to do it. Once we get closer to hurricane season and the beginning of summer, roofing companies will get busier as their schedules fill up. This is a great time to get ahead of the crowd and avoid having to wait months for a contractor’s schedule to open up, all the while stressing about being unprepared for a coming storm. 

If you want to make sure that you and your roof are prepared for the coming storm season, contact us for an inspection. Just give us a call and we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Insurance Claims for Roof Damage
Roofing Blog

Insurance Claims for Roof Damage: 5 Tips

When your home or property gets damaged by a storm or other natural event, you want to be confident that repairs and restorations will be covered by your property insurance. After all, this is why you pay your yearly insurance premiums to avoid hassle when your property sustains damage. For those unfamiliar with the insurance claims process, however, it can pose some challenges and present frustrations. This is why we are here to help you get prepared and make your way through filing a roof damage claim and getting your roof back to its original undamaged state. Here are five tips for dealing with the insurance and claims process that will help to make it quick and easy.

 

  1. Know your policy

While most people are content simply knowing that they have an insurance policy and leave the details to their insurance agent, it is essential that you are familiar with certain parts of your policy. The first is the policy period. Insurance will only cover damage sustained during the period that the policy is active, which can be found under the heading “policy period” at the front of the policy. Make sure that you renew your policy before any deadlines so that it stays current and you have coverage at all times.

Regarding roofs, it is also important to watch out for policy endorsements that may limit roof coverage. A list of endorsements can be found in the Declarations Page section of each property insurance policy. Some insurance companies are adding an Actual Cash Value roof assessment endorsement. This may not seem like a big deal normally, but when it comes to wind or hail storm coverage for the roof, it results in a depreciated payment for roof repair or replacement. This typically amounts to an insurance payment that is only a percentage of what it will actually cost you to repair or replace the roof (somewhere around fifty percent). While ACV coverage endorsements can lower your premiums, they will bite back with significant out of pocket costs in the event of storm damage.

 

  1. File your claim in a timely manner

In Florida, you have, by law, two years from the day that damage occurred to file a claim. While this timeline gives you significant leeway, it is always best to file the claim as soon as you notice the damage and as close as possible to the date of loss (the date of the storm). This will get the process started and prevent any further damage from occurring, which may increase your costs in the long run. Additionally, insurance policies typically require the policyholder to take any possible measures to mitigate damages while the claims process is happening. This means that if there is a delay in the filing of a claim, and a leak resulting from a storm damaged roof worsens, then an insurance company may refuse to pay for any interior damages or mold issues resulting from the worsening of that leak. Avoid extensive interior damages and repairs liability by filing the claim as soon as possible.

 

  1. Maintain open lines of communication with your insurance company

Throughout the claims process you will be in extended communications with your insurance company, from filing the claim, to getting in touch with your adjuster, to scheduling an inspection, to receiving their acknowledgement of the filing, to receiving their estimate and settlement letter, and so on. This process will be much quicker and easier if you have open lines of communication with your insurer. Make sure that your property insurance company always has your updated physical address, an updated phone number, and ideally an updated email address which you check frequently. You may also want to sign up for text/SMS alerts. While your insurer will mail you physical copies of their correspondence letters if necessary, the process will proceed much faster if this can be done electronically. 

 

  1. Keep organized and document the process

Your adjuster will conduct an inspection of your property after you file a claim. It is always good, however, to have your own documentation as well. Make sure to photograph any property damage and note the cost of any damaged or destroyed items. Note also the dates of damage and dates of the photographs. Keep a running list of anyone with whom you speak about the claim (adjusters, inspectors, contractors, etc). On this list, note the date and time of conversation, the name, title, and contact information of the person with whom you spoke, and a summary of what was discussed. While you may not need any of this, it will make your life much easier if any problems do arise.

 

  1. Consult a professional in case of difficulties

When starting a claims process, it is always good to talk to someone who has been through it before. This may be a friend, family member, or neighbor who can give you an idea of what to expect. In the case that your claim is denied or it seems to you that the insurer’s estimate does not match the damages, you always have the option of contacting a professional. A public adjuster or even a contractor will likely have dealt with dozens or hundreds of claims. They will be familiar with local statutes that govern insurance estimates and will be happy to send their own estimate to your insurance company. Do not be afraid to look for help, and make sure that you contract with a reputable company.

If you suspect that your roof sustained damages covered by your insurance, we will be happy to do an inspection and advise you through the claims process. Just give us a call and we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate! 

Roofing Problems
Roofing Blog

The Most Common Roofing Problems and Leak Causes II

In our last post we provided an explanation of the origins of the most common roofing problems and roof leaks. Turns out that origins of common problems are more extensive that we could exhaust in one post. Consequently, today we return to go over yet more common issues that eventually lead to roofing problems if left unchecked or unnoticed. As always, a timely roof inspection could forestall any such causes before they develop into leaks or other roof damages that may require costly repairs.

 

Nails:

Most of the material covering your roof was fastened there by specialty roofing nails. Although roofing nails are specifically designed to prevent water entry and associated leaks, no system can be perfect. The underlayment layer, whether felt or synthetic, is always attached by nails and so are the shingles, tile, or metal that provide the exterior covering. (Peel and seal underlayment sticks straight to the decking and does not require nails, but it was not in widespread use until only the last few years; even nowadays it is considered an upgrade and comes with extra costs). The first potential issue with nails is installation. If the nails were improperly installed, as when they are driven in too low so that they are not covered by the course of shingles above, they can remain exposed to the weather. Exposed nails begin to quickly rust, especially in the hot, rainy, and humid Florida environment, and rusty nails are prone to failure and water entry as they warp beyond their original form. Even when properly installed, nails can back out or stand high due to continued heat and moisture (again, both common in Florida). When deck nails, the ones installed in the deck sheathing, back out, they can lift the shingles above them, eventually allowing water entry. When shingle nails stand high these are called nail pops and can be easily observed on the surface of the roof. While common, nail pops can be a sign of an aging roof with extensive wear and tear, which may require repair or replacement in the near future.

 

Starter Course

When laying shingles, roofers begin from the bottom by laying down a starter course along the perimeter of the eaves. This starter course serves as a sort of anchor for all the courses laid above it. If a starter course is damaged, then it can cause big problems–rot tends to set in along the eaves and fascia. The soffit on the bottom of the eaves can also show this damage through discoloration. Starter courses can be damaged in a variety of ways from incorrect installation to nail pops to improperly attached gutters that might interfere with the drip edge (a metal strip that bridges the starter course and the eave of the roof). 

 

Ventilation

As we have extensively explained in previous posts, proper attic ventilation is crucial for a well-functioning and long-lasting roofing system. Adequate ventilation occurs when air enters vents located around the eaves of the roof, usually in the soffit, and exits vents located at the top of the roof–ridge or off-ridge vents. Because hot air naturally rises, if this system is properly installed and remains unobstructed, the ventilation system works appropriately. If any of the vents are improperly installed, missing, or obstructed, or if the attic is improperly insulated, the ventilation system may malfunction. This can cause the roof to overheat, damaging the shingles, or moisture to build up in the attic, which can rot the sheathing or the rafters/trusses holding up the roof. Mold and mildew problems often result from lack of proper ventilation and can become a health hazard and significant expense. Animals, such as bats, squirrels, mice, birds, and others can enter the attic and obstruct vents, as well as causing other damages. Any critter infestations are best identified quickly and evicted as soon as possible.

Again, these are only some of the major issues to watch out for to prevent roof damages. If you have not had a roof inspection in a long time, then it may be a good idea to get one now to prevent any future problems. Just give us a call and we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Roofing Problems
Roofing Blog

The Most Common Roofing Problems and Leak Causes

Because roofing problems can be difficult to see, they are often ignored or go unnoticed until a major issue develops. Most homeowners do not bother paying attention to their roofs until they notice a leak on the inside of the house, at which point the problem could result in great expense. To avoid issues like this it is important to keep an eye on the most common causes of roofing problems and roof leaks. For this reason we want to provide a quick informative list of problems and causes to watch out for related to your roof before any serious damage happens.

 

Maintenance: 

Make sure that proper maintenance is performed on your roof, including roof inspections. These should be done ideally once a year and more frequently after serious storms. Maintenance may involve things like minor repairs, gutter cleaning, removing pine needles or leaves or other debris from the roof, and removing any tree branches that overhang the roof. Any build-up of foreign material on the roof can wear down the exterior of the shingles (or metal or tile) that is meant to be the protective layer for the roof. This is especially true of tree branches that overhang and rub against the roof. If this process is left unattended it will inevitably result in a roof leak. Branches close to the roof are also dangerous because a storm may break them off of the tree and cause them to fall onto the roof, potentially creating a hole directly into the interior. In Florida, which is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms, it is generally a good idea to remove any trees that are too close to the house, particularly if they look dry, to avoid major storm damages.

An inspection by a qualified roofing professional can get in front of any potential damages before they progress too far. It is best to hire a trusted contractor to do the inspection, as they will know exactly what to look for. Here are some of the issues that an inspector will look out for:

 

Flashing

Flashing is a material, typically metal, that is put in particularly vulnerable parts of the roof. These include cuts in the roof for plumbing or HVAC vents and anywhere that a ninety degree corner appears on the roof, like at a chimney or elevation change. Flashing is meant to protect these vulnerable areas, but if it was improperly installed or is separating from the roof surface due to age, then it creates an easy and most effective point for water penetration.

 

Valleys

A related vulnerable area is the valleys of the roof surface. Because water tends to run down the valleys, they can get worn away faster than other areas. For this reason, valleys are usually lined with extra protection, like valley metal or rolled roofing or peel and seal underlayment. If one of these were installed improperly, or if they fail due to wear and tear (which is especially harsh in valley areas), then a leak is inevitable. In fact, dead valleys, as these are called, are one of the primary causes of roof leaks.

 

Storm Damage

Relatively minor storm damage often goes unnoticed by the homeowners; however, even minor storm damage is a gateway to bigger problems. Once there is a vulnerable area on the roof, normal wear from the elements (heat, wind, rain, etc…) is exacerbated and leads to leaks and sheathing damage. Minor storm damage includes creased or missing shingles, lifted up by wind storms, as well as hail damage, which presents as small spots on the roof. These spots damage the exterior surface of the roofing material, which allows water from following rain storms to seep under the exterior layer and cause leaks and other damages.

These are only some of the major issues to watch out for to prevent roof damages. If you have not had a roof inspection in a long time, then it may be a good idea to get one now to prevent any future problems. Just give us a call and we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

The Basics of Roof Safety
Roofing Blog

The Basics of Roof Safety

Home improvement projects can be a lot of fun, and many people choose to take them up on their own instead of hiring a contractor. Roofing projects, however, are generally not so fun and most often require hiring a professional. And yet there are instances, involving minor damage, that you might decide to undertake repairs yourself. From roof cleaning to cracked flashing to a couple of missing shingles, small jobs like these are often performed (or at least attempted) by homeowners to save costs and to avoid having to wait for a contractor to schedule their repair. In these cases, it is of utmost importance to take all possible safety precautions. For this reason we are laying out here some basics of roof safety to keep in mind when attempting any repair (or anytime you decide to climb onto your roof at all).

 

Overall Safety Tips

There are some general safety tips to keep in mind. Never work on your roof when it is wet or slippery. This can be after or during rain or even early in the morning when the dew still has not evaporated. Even when the roof is not wet, it is important to wear soft-soled and ridged shoes for proper traction. Also avoid working when it is either too hot or too cold out. Temperatures like these can warp the shingles and make them dangerous to step on. It is also very easy to get dehydrated and dizzy during hot weather, which is exacerbated by the heat coming from the roof surface itself. Additionally it is important to keep your work area clean to avoid creating a tripping hazard and make sure that nothing falls off of the roof, as this can seriously injure someone or cause property damages. Keep children and pets away from the surrounding area when you are working. 

 

Ladders and Electrical

To get up on the roof you are going to need a ladder. The type of ladder and its set-up are both incredibly important. Make sure that it is a vertical ladder, not an A-frame. Also, be sure that the ladder is long enough to reach up to and beyond the edge of the roof; otherwise, it is not safe to use. Ladders should be set up at an angle so that they rise vertically four feet for every one foot they extend horizontally. Ladders should also be stationed on a level surface, making sure that both feet are at the same elevation. When climbing the ladder, make sure to wear appropriate footwear and keep at least three points of contact at all times with the ladder. 

When setting up the ladder, find a clear area of the roof well away from any electrical fixtures, especially power lines, and even satellite dishes. Not only will these obstruct your ascent onto the roof, but they also create a hazard of electrocution. Another electrical hazard is a metal ladder. Make sure that your ladder is made of fiberglass (or wood, although that is rare nowadays) so that electricity cannot jump from the powerlines to your ladder. And, always, avoid touching any hot wires with either your hands or your tools.

 

Nail Gun Safety

Nail guns are an essential tool for roof repairs, but they are also a dangerous instrument that can potentially turn into a weapon. When using a nail gun make sure to follow all safety instructions that come from the manufacturer. Particularly, never point the nail gun at any part of the body or any other person. When discharging nails, make sure that the nail gun’s barrel is pressed right against the surface and avoid “shooting” nails. Make sure that all the safety mechanisms of the gun are in place and never tamper with any of them. Finally, disconnect the air supply to the gun as soon as you are finished using it and never attempt to clean or repair or do any work on the nail gun while it is connected. 

 

If you do not feel confident taking on roofing repairs yourself, no problem. Just call us! Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

5 Steps
Roofing Blog

5 Steps to Take When You Notice a Leak

Suddenly finding a leak on the ceiling of your home can be a very stressful experience. You may immediately start imagining the stress of dealing with contractors, the costs of repairs, the disruption to daily life of having repairs done on your roof or in your home, and visions of mold and other complications if the repair is not done in time. Not to worry. We are here to offer an easy step-by-step guide to dealing with a leak that can take all the stress out of the process. We have thought of everything so that you do not have to.

 

Step 1: Finding the Source

The first step after finding a leak is to identify its source. The source will determine what immediate actions you need to take next and who you will need to call for repairs. You might think that finding the source involves climbing on the roof or into the attic, but this is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Instead, simply consider what a leak is. A leak is water getting into a place it should not be entering. There are two water sources: weather on the exterior and plumbing. If it is a plumbing issue, then it will leak regardless of weather. If it is a roofing issue, it will leak only when it is raining.

 

Step 2: Documentation

No matter what the source of the leak is, it is important to document it for insurance and liability purposes. You should take photos of the leak and the room it is in when you first discover it. You should continue to take photos throughout the process whether it gets worse or not, including once repairs begin and after the repairs are finished. While you may not need these photos, it is very important to have them in case you do. You should know that if you decide to contact your property insurance company and file a claim (in the case that the leak is caused by damage covered by insurance, like a windstorm) they will expect you to have taken steps to mitigate the leak even before they arrive. 

 

Step 3: Hiring a Contractor

The next step is to hire a contractor. As we have mentioned in previous posts, it is best to contact a local, experienced, licensed and insured contractor. A simple internet search will pull up a number of local contractors whom you can sort by their ratings and reviews of previous customers. A roofing contractor will come out to identify the source of the leak and provide an estimate, usually the day after you call them (if the first available appointment is more than a day or two out you may, having an active leak, consider a different contractor). Once the representative arrives and inspects the problem, he will provide you with an estimate. It is important that you ask this person to identify the specific cause of the leak if they do not immediately do so. The reason for this is that some causes will be covered by property insurance while others will not. The contractor’s representative will be able to tell you, typically, if the source of your leak is covered by insurance. If they cannot, you can call your insurance agent and name the source of the leak. If it is covered by insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company at this point. Even if the repair estimate is under your deductible, you should still file the claim since the deductible only applies once during a policy period. If it applies now and you have another issue within the policy period, you will be fully covered for repairs then.

 

Step 4: Repairs

Once you have hired a contractor and agreed on a price, it is time to schedule the repairs. In the case of an active leak, you will usually be scheduled within a week. If the leak is particularly bad, your roofer will typically tarp it or take some other mitigating measures the same day that you agree to their estimate. If you did file an insurance claim, make sure that the repair is scheduled after an adjuster has had a chance to come out and take a look at the damage. If this is not possible, it is imperative that your contractor takes photos before, during, and after the repair so that you can provide your insurance company with the documentation. They will not pay for damages if they do not see evidence of them themselves. 

 

Step 5: Clean-up and Payment

Once the source of your leak is repaired, you will want to hire a drywaller/painter/handyman who can fix the damages caused by the leak on the interior and have your ceiling looking like new again. A good roofing contractor will be able to refer you to a quality company who does interior work for a reasonable price. Once payment is made you’re all set!

Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc is a Palm Coast-based roofing contractor, providing professional roofing services in Flagler and Volusia County Areas.

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