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Roofing in Florida

"Wind damage remains an ever-present risk to commercial, industrial, and residential roofs in Florida."

Residents living in the State of Florida often list "hurricane resistance" as a primary criterion when deciding on material for a new roof. This is especially true for those residents living in or near the coastal areas of the state. There is no clear-cut consensus within the roofing industry as to which type of roof material provides the most robust protection against hurricanes.

United Laboratories (UL) rates roofing materials according to a well-established rating scale. There are four separate classes that are differentiated by their individual wind-resistance ratings.

  • Class D materials are rated at 90 mph
  • Class F materials are rated at 110 mph
  • Class G materials are rated at 120 mph
  • Class H materials are rated at 150 mph

The surface material on a roof is only one factor that contributes to the roofs overall ability to withstand high winds. Other important factors that should be considered would include:

  • The structural components of the roof: Support walls, roof decking, and roof trusses must all be structurally sound and strong. A roof is only as strong as its underlying structure.
  • Roof base layer: Many coastal building codes now require the base layer of a roof to serve as an additional water barrier to protect the roof in the event that the roofs surface layer is blown away or otherwise compromised. Several counties in Florida require the roof base layer to be comprised of #30 felt, and for that felt to be secured (nailed) per a prescribed pattern.

Wind damage remains an ever-present risk to commercial, industrial, and residential roofs in Florida. That fact is unlikely to change. Fortunately, continued technical advances in roofing materials, as well as improved roof construction techniques, are enabling Florida's residents to take effective measures to protect their investments in their homes and businesses.

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