Contracting without a license in the State of Florida is a crime. It is either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Since the economic downturn in 2008 the number of unlicensed roofing and other contractors soliciting work in Florida has increased significantly. As a homeowner who hires an unlicensed contractor you are risking serious trouble.
Unlicensed roofing contractors are often former employees of a licensed contractor who solicit work as a way of paying their bills after being laid off. Others are repeat offenders with lengthy criminal records whose sole intent is to relieve you of your money and never complete the job. Telling one from the other does not matter because you, as the homeowner, are responsible for any injuries, property damage, fines for non compliance and additional cost for unfinished or poor quality work if you hire any unlicensed contractor.
Here are some warning signs that a roofing contractor is unlicensed:
- Asks for a deposit in cash only – Never give a deposit in cash. You will have no recourse should the contractor never return. Use a credit card. Almost all contractors take credit cards.
- The roofer solicits you – He shows up at your door and points out the wear and weak spots on your roof and gives you a cheap price to repair it or replace it.
- Cheap price – If you are looking to replace your roof and all bids range from 8 to 12 thousand dollars and one is much less, beware.
- Asks you to acquire the permit – An unlicensed contractor can’t get a permit. If you get the permit yourself all of the responsibilities including code compliance, insurance and many other liabilities are yours.
- Insists on working on the weekend – This is due to one or both of two reasons. The contractor has a full time job during the week and is doing unlicensed work on the side or he is trying to avoid the compliance officer who is less likely to spot him on the weekend.
In a best case scenario hiring an unlicensed roofing contractor will get you a substandard job. What is more likely is that the roofer will disappear with your deposit before starting or start the job and then vanish. Always ask for the State of Florida Certification and check it with the county and state for legitimacy. Do not fall for the line that the contractor works under the license of a general contractor. That may be true but he has no right to solicit work on his own.
At Roofing Buddy we pre-screen all of our roofers for licensing and insurance and also for customer satisfaction. No need to play roofer roulette. Just fill out the form on our site or give us a call. We will find a professional in your area.
You have water getting into the house and you have no idea where its coming from you have looked up in the attic and there is no sign of a roof leak. Even though you checked well there are water marks on a wall inside, their probably are coming from one of several places that will not be seen in the attic. This is when it is time to call for a roofing inspection by a professional.
Water enters at a point of intrusion and often travels a long way before being noticed. The roofing inspector is an expert in determining wher it is getting in and how to sop it. It is usually a very simple fix. Here are some possibilities:
- Flashing – The metal sheets that are used in valleys, joints and above bay window protrusions can become loose and permit water to enter. That water will not go down into the attic but usually travel and accumulate somewhere like a soffit. From the soffit it will over time decay the surrounding wood and into a wall staining the inside along a sheetrock joint. In extreme cases it is not noticed until decay causes the gutter on the outside of the house to fall when the wood holding it becomes too soft.
- Intrusions – Vent pipes and fan ducts are common place for leaks to form.
- Gutters – in Florida rain can fall at an incredible rate. Many homes have gutters that are are inadequate to begin with. When leaves, twig and other natural debris clog them, water during a heavy downpour is pushed under the edges of roof shingles and under the barrier layer. This often becomes apparent by staining where he ceiling and wall meet.
- Chimneys – If there is a shift in the ground or foundation the chimney can pull away from the roof creating an easy path for rain to flow into the home.
- Attic vents – If the wrong vent is used and it is facing the wrong direction it becomes a door for driving rain. This is not usually damaging but can cause mold and mildew growth.
A qualified roofing inspector will check all of these areas and repair them easily before they become too serious. To get a roofing inspection for you home by a contractor from your neighborhood all you need to do is call the number on the top of he screen here or fill out the request a quoe form on the website. You will be contaced by a pre-screened professional who will fix you problem quickly and reasonably
The State Building Code in Florida was instituted in 2001 to make new roofing more resistant to high wind lift and water intrusion. If you live in an existing home you can also make your home safer during a storm or even a hurricane without having to replace your roof.
A qualified contractor can reinforce and seal your roof from within the attic. He will mix special adhesive sealing foam made of closed cell urethane and apply in to place where the sheathing meets the supporting beams. This will give the roof better resistance to wind lift. He will also apply the material to the joints between the deck boards to seal out moisture and wind driven rain.
Another step that can be taken is to replace the vents at the peak of the roof gable with a soffits vent the runs beneath the roof overhang. This will keep out rain that travels horizontally on high winds that can penetrate wall vents. He may also reseal intrusions, like vent pipes and fan ducts and flashings. This entire job can often be performed for a few dollars per square foot, contingent upon the ease of attic access and working conditions.
Always hire a contractor who is local and familiar with the codes and how they apply to your area and is factory trained in the mixing and safe application of urethane foam. He needs to be fully licensed and insured. If you do not want to take the time and effort screening all of the roofing contractors in your area we will do it for you. In fact, we already have. Just fill out the simple form on this site and you will be contacted by a Roofing Buddy approved, pre-screened, contractor. We have eliminated the guesswork.
Roofing felt underlayment, commonly referred to as tar paper or barrier layer, is of critical importance to the integrity of the roof. Installed beneath all types of roofing shingles, most manufactures warranties and building codes require an underlayment. Some even specify the weight and the particular composition of the product.
Five reasons it is important to install a roofing felt underlayment are:
- Protection of the home prior to the installation of the shingles.
- Protection against uneven shingles due to sheathing flux.
- Protects shingles from resin bleed out from wood sheathing. Contact from resins from green wood can be detrimental to the shingles integrity.
- Required for the UL fire rating of roofs, as they are rated with an underlayment when tested.
- Provides an additional barrier against moisture that gets beneath shingles from blow offs or intrusion.
In many cases having a barrier layer between the roofing and the decking comes with added benefits, like better insulation from heat or cooling loss and reduced sound from wind and rain.
If there are any downsides to installing an underlayment between the decking and the shingles it would be from a test performed in California that showed a slightly reduced shingle life due to the fact that the heat form the sun was contained longer in such applications. But when considering Florida’s torrential rain and high winds, in comparison with California’s lack of it, that issue is of little regard.
To have the right roofing and underlayment combination is important to meet codes in many areas. Generally the codes require a barrier weight of 15 pounds or greater. A local roofing contractor is your best source of information. To locate a prequalified roofer in your area just fill out the request form on our site and we will do the rest. We provide prescreened roofing contractors for Tampa, Clearwater, Orlando, Sarasota, Lakewood and the entire Western Florida Area.
Florida has many different styles of homes that date back to days of the Spanish settlers as well as later styles built by pioneers, industrialists, farmers and working class people. The Tampa Bay area has homes from the Victorian Era as well as many Craftsman style homes which were often kit homes purchased and constructed by the owner in the early 20th century. There was also the famous cracker style homes, of which few example remain, that were named for the spaces between the logs to add ventilation and relief from the heat.
The trend today is to restore the homes to their original true forms by using the same materials that were original. That may be a good choice or a poor one, depending upon the particular application.
- Clay Tile – These are the most well known of the historic Florida roofs. Examples in St Augustine, on the east coast, are still repelling the elements since the 1700’s. Clay tile roofing is appropriate for any Spanish style historic home restoration and will perform well today as it did three hundred years ago.
- Metal Roofing – Copper was the first metal used in roofing. Today it is not a cost effective option for most. Here in Florida the tin roofs (galvanized steel) were used on many homes in the mid to late 1800’s. One trip to SafetyHarbor in PinellasCounty will show examples of tin roofs on historic homes that are original. These were often painted green to look like the costly copper, or silver to keep them looking new. This material is available today. The cracker style cabins also have metal roofs, generally of a plain design.
- Wood Shake – In the South, wood shake shingles were used on homes, including many in Florida. They were generally made from cedar or cypress due to local availability and the inherent ability to resist decay. These materials do absorb moisture and encourage growth of moss. The moisture can affect the fasteners and the decking below causing leaks and poor wind resistance. One should take this into consideration before using wood shingles particularly in coastal areas where codes are stringent.
- Slate – Slate is the undisputed queen of the roofing shingles. Used primarily on the Victorian homes of the wealthy, slate roofs were, and are still, very costly and very durable. To install a slate roof in the late 1800’s, the stone had to be ordered from quarries in New England or New York, cut to order, and shipped to Florida. The roof truss needed to be reinforced and each slate shingle was installed, one at a time. Very often Victorian homes had extreme slopes on spires and mansards that made installation very challenging. Not much has changed today. But, if you have a Victorian home and it has a slate roof, chances are it will last another century. If you want a new one however, be prepared to pay a goodly amount for the materials and labor.
Restoring or preserving an historic home in Florida is very rewarding but never without its potential stumbling blocks. Building codes are much stricter regarding installation due to recent laws after the latest hurricanes. If you are working on a home that is older and want to maintain its original integrity, your firs step should be to find a qualified, local, roofing contractor trained in period restoration. You could contact the local historical society for leads and check on line for roofers who claim to be historical restoration specialists, or just click on the Free Estimate link above and tell us what you are looking for. We will find you a pre-qualified restoration specialist right in your area. We have done all the work for you. Or just give us a call at the number at the top of the screen. We look forward to helping you restore your historic Florida home.
Asphalt shingles account for 90 percent of new residential roofing in the US today. They have been around for a century and great improvements have been made recently to add design, durability and overall life expectancy. They are the most cost effective shingles, being considerably less than their ceramic, metal or slate counterparts. They are marketed by at least a dozen manufacturers in the US today.
There are two basic types of asphalt shingles. Each has its inherent qualities and drawbacks.
- Fiberglass – These shingles are created by a waterproof asphalt covering applied to woven fiberglass base mat. Granules, or grit, are adhered to the surface to reflect the heat of the sun and harmful UV rays. Less asphalt is required to manufacture these products due to the fiberglass base. Fiberglass shingles are lighter and thinner than the organic products due to this construction. They are also more fire resistant. Fiberglas shingles are relatively new to the residential construction industry, being on the market for around 30 years. They have caught on quickly and are now the most popular product in new construction.
- Organic – a mat layer of recycled felt paper is impregnated with asphalt waterproofing and top coated. The coating is adhesive asphalt to which the granules adhere. The organic shingles are heavier and thicker than the fiberglass versions, containing almost twice the amount of asphalt. These are the traditional shingles that have been a staple for decades and are considered to be more durable. There are two drawbacks. They have absorbent properties which can cause warping over time, especially in a hot and wet environment like Florida. Despite their name the amount of asphalt required to manufacture them makes them environmentally unfriendly.
Both fiberglass and organic asphalt shingles are available in two basic styles which are three tab and architectural. Three tab shingles are 12×36 inch sheets which, as the name implies, have three separate tabs on the lower half, creating the look of separate shingles when installed. The architectural shingles do not have tabs but an additional layer of asphalt on the exposed portion creating a dimensional appearance of shadow lines. These are also made in patterned hues to accent the look even further. Architectural shingles are best when applied on steep slopes with better runoff. The angle also accentuates the dimensional appearance.
Roofing Buddy will provide an asphalt shingle specialist for customers in Tamps, Clearwater, Sarasota, Lakeland, Orlando and the entire western Florida region.
When the time comes to replace the roof on your home you will be faced with many challenges. What type of roof would be best for your home? What type of material, style and color would look the best, and fit the architectural style of your home without breaking your budget? Will it blend in with the neighborhood and the environment? Of course you will not know the answers right away. You could begin to study roofing materials online but do you really have the time? You do what everyone else does; you call roofing companies for advice and an estimate. Soon you will find that all roofing companies are not created equal. Here are some of the roofing contractor types that you will meet.
- Jack of All Building Trades – You will know him by his van or truck. It will have his name followed by roofing, siding, windows and doors, painting, carpentry and even more. This is, in most cases, a general contractor. He will give you some good advice from experience and quote you a price. If you give him the job he will then try to get a roofer to take the job for less than he quoted you. He may show up to supervise or he may not. You won’t know until the work starts.
- Home Center Roofing – This person probably has never been on a roof. He is a sales rep that works for a national retail chain. He will quote you a price on only the products stocked by that chain. The work is subcontracted to the company of his choice, not yours. Getting the best job for the best price here is highly unlikely.
- I Think I Will Try Roofing – Here appears a fellow that worked for a while for a roofer and is trying to make it on his own but does not have the business savvy or the funding. He will come off as unprofessional and not have answers to questions like. “What is the wind rating of product A compared to product B?” He only sells A so he does not care about B. He probably has no insurance, few referrals and his help is of questionable background. Do not fall for the cheap price. He may not even show up because next week he is a driveway sealer.
- The Local Professional Roofer – This person receives training by all of the roofing manufacturers on a regular basis to keep abreast of the new technology. He can provide many local referrals. He also has a sense of design, understands the local weather conditions, knows the local building code official and all of the codes regarding roofing in Florida, which are stringent and have changed recently by zone. This is the one you want.
So how do you find the roofing company that will provide the best job for the right price and be qualified to give you advice on the superior products on the market? Where do you begin to look for the roofer that will dispose of your torn off old roofing in a recycling center. You want the contractor that will leave your property cleaner than it was before he started. The solution is easy.
Go to the Roofing Buddy web site and fill out the simple form. All you need to do put in is your contact information and a simple description of what you need. We have done all the rest for you. One of our pre-screened Roofing Buddy approved contractors will contact you right away. With roofing Buddy all the risk is gone along with the legwork.