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Roofing Blog

Summer Fun: Tales of Roofing Across Time Part II

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. This is the second post in a series where 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.

 

Pyrrhus of Epirus

A roofing mishap gains historical significance in the life and death of Pyrrhus of Epirus. Pyrrhus is best known perhaps for the fact that his name becomes part of the phrase “Pyrrhic victory” and thus synonymous with a sort of mild failure. A Pyrrhic victory is essentially an empty victory in which the victor loses more in manpower and resources than they gain in the victory itself. Pyrrhus’ name becomes attached to this phrase due to his entanglements with the ancient Romans in a period when they were beginning to extend their control over the south of what would eventually become modern Italy.

 

Pyrrhic War: 281-275 BCE

Pyrrhus was a king of the Hellenistic period of ancient Greece, which is so called because after the campaigns and subsequent death of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, many small Greek kingdoms sprung up and began to rule over the eastern Mediterranean. Epirus was one of these kingdoms, and it was located on the western coast of the Greek peninsula, off of the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and fairly close to ancient Italy.

While the Hellenistic Greek kingdoms were ruling over the eastern Mediterranean, a new power began to rise in the west. The western Mediterranean had for centuries been dominated by Carthage, a colony of the Phoenicians in North Africa. However, beginning at the start of the 4th century BCE a small town in central Italy began to grow. This town would eventually give its name to the Roman Empire and rule over most of Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia for centuries. At this time, however, Rome was expanding its influence to the south.

Rome jumped on the opportunity to expand their influence when Thurii, an independent city-state in southern Italy, requested Rome’s assistance in staving off raids from neighboring tribal communities. When Rome agreed and their assistance was effective, Croton, Rhegium, and Locri, three other independent city-states, followed Thurii’s example and concluded treaties with the Romans. This arrangement, however, spooked Tarentum, a neighboring state that wanted to remain independent. In 282 BCE Tarentum attacked a Roman navy ship which was sailing too close to its coast. In turn, the Romans marched to besiege the town of Tarentum. Tarentum appealed for help (with the promise of monetary recompense) to the east and found Pyrrhus.

Pyrrhus jumped on the chance to battle the Romans and make his mark in the west. His whole life he had emulated Alexander the Great, whose whirlwind conquest of Asia and subsequent death had taken place less than 50 years earlier. It was rumored that before he died Alexander was planning to take his conquests west and make Italy his next prize. Pyrrhus figured that he would take his mercenary army, hired by Tarentum, and complete that task.

Thus begin the events for which Pyrrhus would gain everlasting fame, although perhaps not in the way he imagined. Pyrrhus fought three battles with the Romans: Heraclea in 280 BCE, Ausculum in 279 BCE, and Beneventum in 275 BCE. The first two battles, Heraclea and Ausculum, were Pyrrhic victories. That is, Pyrrhus won the battles, but lost too many men and resources to capitalize on the victory. While Pyrrhus had to hire more mercenaries and import resources from Greece, the Romans simple levied more troops and re-formed their army. At Beneventum, after a break of several years, the Romans achieved what they would later claim was their victory against Pyrrhus. Although Pyrrhus and enough men survived that he could have fought on next year, he recognized the mire into which he had gotten himself and left Italy never to return. The Romans assumed control of the south.

So where is the roofing in this? Well, it has to do with the end of Pyrrhus’ life. After retreating from Italy, Pyrrhus continued fighting first in Macedon, then in Sparta, and finally in the Greek city of Argos, where he was cornered by an enemy soldier on the city street, and while fighting him, was killed by a roofing tile thrown from the rooftop of the nearby building by the mother of the soldier he was fighting!

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!

Florida's Best Roofing
Roofing Blog

An Explanation of Common Terms Used in Roofing

Like any other profession, the roofing business uses jargon: certain terms that may not be immediately familiar to those not involved in the profession or that might have different meanings from their normal usage. For this reason, discussing roof repair or roof replacement may put the customer at a disadvantage or at the very least a state of confusion. To help prevent this, we want to share with you the meanings behind some common terms that you will hear if you call or hire a roofing contractor. With this information, you’ll be able to discuss roofing like a pro!

Algae Discoloration: This is a type of roof discoloration caused by algae, usually taking the form of dark streaks. It is often mistaken for fungi growth.

Asphalt Shingles: Fiberglass shingles with a bituminous waterproofing material applied during manufacture.

Architectural Shingles: Also called Laminated or Three dimensional shingles. These are shingles that have more than one layer for extra thickness and protection.

Base Flashing: That portion of the flashing attached to or resting on the deck to direct the flow of water onto the roof covering.

Base sheet: A product intended to be the base or middle ply in a residential self-adhering roll roofing system used to cover flat or very low sloped roofs.

Blisters: Bubbles that may appear on the surface of asphalt roofing after installation.

Built-Up Roof: This is a roof covering method that consists of multiple layers of ply sheets embedded in hot asphalt. It is used for flat or low sloped roofs.

Bundle: This refers to the way shingles are packaged. There are typically 3, 4 or 5 bundles per square.

Cap Sheet: A mineral surfaced material that is used by itself or as the top layer of a multi-layer rolled roof covering system.

Chalk Line: A line made on the roof by snapping a taut string or cord dusted with chalk. This is a method for aligning shingles in roof installation.

Counter Flashing: That portion of the flashing perpendicular to the base flashing attached to a vertical surface preventing water from migrating behind the base flashing.

Course: This refers to a row of shingles or roll roofing running the length of the roof.

Coverage: The number of layers of material between the exposed surface of the roofing and the deck.

Cricket: A peaked saddle construction at the back of a vertical feature on the roof (like a chimney) that prevents accumulation of snow and ice and to deflect water around the feature.

Deck: This is the surface of the roof that is attached over the frame. It can be made of plywood or OSB.

Drip Edge: A corrosion-resistant, non-staining material (typically metal) that is installed along the eaves and rakes to allow water run-off to drip clear of underlying construction.

Eave: This is the horizontal, lower edge of a sloped roof.

Felt: Fibrous material saturated with asphalt and used as an underlayment.

Flashing: Pieces of metal used to prevent the leaking of water into a structure around any vulnerable place in a roof such as vents, chimneys, adjoining walls, dormers and valleys. 

Granules: Crushed stones applied to the top of asphalt roofing shingles to form a protective layer.

Overhang: That portion of the roof structure that extends beyond the exterior walls of a building.

Peel and Seal: A self-adhering waterproofing underlayment designed to protect against water infiltration due to ice dams or wind driven rain. 

Soffit: This is the finishing on the underside of the eaves, typically metal or vinyl.

Square: This is the unit for measuring the roof surface, equalling to 10ft. x 10 ft.

Starter Strip: Asphalt roofing applied at the eave that provides protection by an additional layer of material under the cutouts and joints of the first course of shingles.

Synthetic Underlayment: An underlayment product that is typically manufactured using polypropylene and is used as an alternative to felt underlayment.

Valley: The internal angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes.

Vent: Any outlet for air that protrudes through the roof deck such as a pipe or stack. 

If you have any questions regarding roofing terms, don’t hesitate to contact us. As your contractor, we will always work as hard as we can to make sure you are pleased with your new roof. If you are interested in roof replacement and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Roofing Blog

Material Shortages and Price Hikes: What’s Going On?

You may have noticed the rising cost of materials along with a reduction in the variety and availability of materials in the construction industry lately. If you have entered into any construction or renovation project in the last year, this probably affected you. This has been most widely noticed in the lumber industry, with the price of a single sheet of plywood more than doubling in the last six months! At the same time, there have been reductions in the variety of colors available for products like paint and asphalt shingles. Additionally, many projects are delayed by weeks or even months while contractors wait for material deliveries in accordance with customer desires and demands. So, you may be thinking, what’s going on?

Here we will attempt to provide some insights into that question and the overall situation. Unfortunately, there is no easy simple answer, and lumber prices are not sky-rocketing due to a sudden tree shortage. Instead, the answer lies in the ties between the construction industry and the real estate market, international trade, recent severe weather events, regulations from local to state to federal levels and how all of these factors have been affected and complicated by the past year and a half of the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. 

Obviously, it would be impossible for us to cover all of these topics and their connections in detail in a blog post. What we will endeavor to do, instead, is paint the picture in broad strokes with a few illustrative examples. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of why you may be facing delays, constricted choices in materials, and higher material costs if you enter into any construction or renovation project in the current climate. 

One of the biggest issues that has been directly caused by the pandemic is lowered imports. While most finished construction materials used here are made in the USA, some of the raw materials that are used in their manufacturing process are imported from other countries. Due to the pandemic, many countries have instituted quarantine periods for foreign imports, which–while necessary for health and safety reasons–delay the arrival of goods. This is coupled with a reduction in the labor force, foreign and domestic. When social distancing guidelines went into effect, all sorts of companies including suppliers and manufacturers reduced their production rates. To comply with social distancing the number of workers on a production floor at any given time had to be reduced. These changes were compounded from raw material extractors to transporters and distributors to manufacturers to suppliers and on to contractors. This resulted in delays as well as a reduction in overall supply of construction material.

This reduction in supply was initially offset with a reduction in demand. Due to quarantine/shelter in place regulations alongside increased job-loss and unemployment at the start of the pandemic in the spring and early summer of 2020, fewer construction projects were taking place, so demand for materials was lowered. This began to change in late summer of last year. 

The first change was precipitated by the number of hurricanes and tropical storms that hit the southeast and gulf coast region of the USA during the 2020 hurricane season. This season was one of the most prolific in storm formation on record. Out of 31 (sub) tropical cyclones that were detected, all but one became a named storm. These storms caused extensive property damage in the areas that were affected by them. Thus the demand for construction materials in those areas rose sharply. And remember, this happened during a time period when supply was already unusually lowered by the pandemic and the regulations that were imposed, by both governments and private businesses, to combat the spread of the virus.

To keep up with increased demand during a time of lowered supply, manufacturers took two steps. They diverted some resources from areas not affected by the storms to areas that were. Second, some manufacturers cut down on variety for the sake of increased production. For instance, some roofing shingle and metal manufacturers took certain colors out of production (temporarily) in order to optimize the production process. This led to even further demand for color varieties from manufacturers that still made, for example, blue shingles, which meant ever increasing delays for the consumer or limited choices. As demand began to outstrip supply, prices began to rise.

By the end of the fall of 2020 we were in a situation where demand for construction materials was becoming higher than supply, material varieties were lowered, prices increased, and delays were becoming more and more common. Over the winter of 2020-2021 many regions, most notably Texas, were hit by unusually severe winter storms. Because these regions did not usually have severely cold weather like this, many manufacturing plants were located there which were not built to withstand such weather. These plants were damaged by the storms and temporarily shut down afterward until they could be repaired and brought up to code. For instance, the two plants that manufactured the foam used to adhere tile to roofs in some tile roofing practices were both shut down. This led to a further fall in supply across the board. But demand kept rising.

As vaccine distribution in spring of 2021 began to take hold and social distancing measures were relaxed, manufacturers began to return to their normal supply production, but incrementally. In the meantime, the same changes along with several rounds of stimulus checks, decreasing unemployment, and low interest rates led to a sharp rise in demand. The real estate market boomed (it had already been quite robust for much of the pandemic). Homeowners were getting back to renovation projects they had put off for much of last year. Although supply was slowly returning to normal levels, rising demand continued to stay ahead, widening the gap. Prices of materials rose sharply–they are still rising. Contractors have begun to raise prices to offset material costs. At the same time, delays and variety limitations continue. 

While we all hope that supply will ramp up to catch up to demand soon, it is unclear how long this will take. In the meantime if you have any questions about roofing material pricing or availability or want a free estimate for your roof in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing a call at 386-263-7906!

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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