Every Florida resident knows that for all of the sunshine and warmth, there are drawbacks in the form of some volatile weather. This can result in costly damages to your home’s roof if your installation isn’t suited for the particular climate.
Of course, Florida is a large state, and the climate is slightly different depending on the location. If you live in Sarasota or nearby Bradenton, you’ll have to account for the area’s specific weather conditions when assessing whether or not your roof is properly equipped.
Challenging Weather in Sarasota and Bradenton
Sarasota is a place that experiences a lot of moisture. It gets about 56 inches of rain per year, which is almost 20 inches more than the national average. Precipitation occurs on an average of 106 days per year, more than a quarter of the total time. Humidity is above average all year long, with the most humid months averaging over 70%.
Then there’s the storm season. While big hurricanes don’t often hit Sarasota/Bradenton directly, the region still deals with the hostile effects of storm systems coming up from the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. And sometimes hurricanes or serious storms still get too close for comfort.
In the fall of 2017, the brunt of hurricane Irma edged by only 30 miles east. The area underwent mass evacuations, and fierce winds reached 70mph. Sarasota county reported millions of dollars lost to damages caused by the storm. Trees and street poles toppled over, and older roofs took a beating from falling debris and winds. The most sobering fact was that the outcome was less severe than originally expected: Irma had weakened to a Category 2 rating by the time it reached the region.
All of these effects are only expected to become more extreme in the coming years. The City of Sarasota has forecasted that, by 2050, global warming will cause average high temperatures to rise by over 5 degrees fahrenheit, and average low temperatures will drop by more than 7 degrees fahrenheit.
Such changes are expected to create more harsh weather all around. Homeowners should be prepared for weather to start going beyond what we’ve come to expect from the local climate.
Upgrading Your Roof to Withstand Sarasota’s Conditions
Knowing the challenges the region’s weather presents, homeowners are wise to seek out ways to improve their home’s structural strength - especially vulnerable areas like rooftops.
The county has recognized the need for this as well. After especially rough storm seasons in years past, building codes were made stricter, calling for new roofing that could stand up to the battering of storm winds and flying debris. Sarasota’s codes specifically called for constructions that could hold out against 160mph winds.
In Irma’s aftermath, expert roof assessors found that homes with roofs built in compliance with the new codes made it through relatively unscathed. It was only the old, non-compliant roofs that seemed to have suffered noteworthy damage.
Roof materials and installations should also be able to endure the aggregate effect of the region’s everyday conditions. Renovations need to resist frequent rainfall, as well as the moisture buildup common in humid climates. Metal roofs, tile roofs, and asphalt roofs reinforced with algicides are all suitably durable for Sarasota and Bradenton.
Identifying the Right Roofing Contractor
Naturally, choosing the right roofing contractor is key for getting a quality roof build that meets all of the standards above. Officials have warned the public against construction scams in which unqualified contractors promise to deliver weather-resistant roofs that abide by the latest codes, only to build a cheap roof, or never even perform the work at all.
Many of these fraudulent contractors are not actually licensed, insured, or familiar with roofing requirements for Florida. Homeowners who have experienced damages after a storm are often the prime targets for these scammers.
Finding a trustworthy and competent roofing contractor will require some careful screening. You should be ready to ask the following questions:
Can I see your business license and credentials?
Can you show me your proof of liability insurance?
How long have you been roofing in Florida?
What is your expertise on building roofs for intense winds and moisture?
Can you show me that the specific materials you will use meet the current building code?
Beware of any claims that a contractor is “endorsed by FEMA”, or affiliated with another organization or the government. FEMA does not provide endorsements to any contractors, and they do not dispatch contractors to consult homeowners about repairs or renovations.
When in doubt, check with the Better Business Bureau and look for customer reviews online. You can also look up legitimately licensed contractors at: Sarasota County Gov. Public Portal
The ideal contractor will be a fully-credentialed business that has extensive experience working on Florida homes. They will have the real-world expertise necessary to build roofs that measure up to local codes and can perform well in this particular climate.
AKVM is a Florida state-certified roofing contractor. For nearly 20 years, we’ve been helping homeowners in Sarasota and Bradenton build durable roofs that can handle the pressures of this region’s weather. If you’re looking to upgrade your roof and need expert advice, we invite you to contact us right away.