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Investigating Why Most Roofs in Florida Don’t Meet TRI’s Recommendations

Unbeknownst to the average Florida residential homeowner, most clay and concrete tile roofs do not adhere to the Tile Roofing Industry (TRI) Alliance’s recommendations regarding flashing installation when the tile roof is constructed or when roofing accessories are added to a tile roof. Noncompliance with these guidelines compromises the tile roof’s performance and can substantially reduce the lifespan of a tile roof.

Who Is the TRI Alliance?

The Tile Roofing Industry (TRI) Alliance has existed for over half a century. It is the tile roofing industry’s leading voice for code development, product testing, and installation best practices. The TRI Alliance strives to expand the tile roofing industry by:

  1. Fostering awareness of tile’s advantages.
  2. Offering technical guidance to stakeholders.
  3. Supplying relevant training and applicable certification for code-approved tile roof installation.

The TRI Alliance proudly partners with numerous reputable organizations, including the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), the Roof Consultants Institute (RCI), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues, Inc. (RICOWI), and the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA).

What Are the TRI Alliance Recommendations?

The Tile Roofing Industry (TRI) Alliance provides the following guidelines when considering the long-term performance of a tile roof system: “In instances in which roofing contractors, or third-party vendors, must modify roof tiles in a manner that is inconsistent with the roofing industry-based installation recommendations, it shall be noted that all penetrations require an approved deck/underlayment flashing and tile flashing.

For additional clarification, the TRI Alliance defines a penetration in the following manner: “When an object is fastened to or through the roof sheathing and protrudes through or alters the underlayment and/or roof tile, that object is a penetration through the roof system and requires flashings.

Accordingly, the TRI Alliance asserts: “This tile flashing recommendation is consistent with good roofing and flashing practices and roofing standard methods prescribed in the TRI/WSRCA Concrete and Clay Roof Tile Installation Manual.” In pertinent measure, this manual states: “All penetrations require a deck and tile flashing.” The Florida High Wind Concrete and Clay Tile Installation Manual affirms this requirement.

Why TRI Alliance Recommendations Help Florida Homeowners

During a tile roof’s lifespan, a homeowner may elect to install a penetrative roof accessory (skylight, chimney, solar energy system, vent, etc.). To complete the construction process, a roofing contractor may need to modify the roofing system to fasten the roof accessory securely to the roof deck. Taking this measure should not impact the long-term performance of the tile roof as long as proper flashing exists or is installed.

Unfortunately, the State of Florida does not incorporate the TRI Alliance’s guidelines in its building, construction, or roofing code requirements. As such, most roofing companies do not adhere to these guidelines when installing a tile roofing system or when a roof accessory is attached. Thus, most homes with a tile roof do not possess top flashing and may not receive sufficient flashing when installing a roof accessory.

Because a tile roof can last 50 years or more, top flashing (and adequate flashing around roof accessories) ensures that water sheds properly. When installed correctly, top flashing determines whether a tile roof will fail prematurely or perform as expected. Top flashing helps water stay on top of the tile to avoid contact with (and deterioration of) the underlayment. This measure helps keep a home’s interior sufficiently dry.

Reasons Why TRI Alliance Recommendations Are Not Followed

The #1 reason for nonadherence to the TRI Alliance guidelines regarding flashing on a tile roof is that the State of Florida does not require it. Most roofing companies will skimp on this “added expense” while sacrificing a roof’s longevity. It is shortsighted. However, a roofing contractor who is not meticulous may not care what will happen to a roof 5, 10, 20, or 40 years later. It takes a roofer with integrity to see the big picture.

Some roofing companies know that not following the TRI Alliance guidelines regarding flashing will adversely affect the long-term performance of the newly installed tile roof. Nonetheless, they accept that outcome because it may produce additional business from the homeowner when the tile roof begins failing (i.e., showing signs of deterioration, including leaking). This approach is unethical but not uncommon.

Why is Kelly Roofing an Excellent Option for TRI Alliance Compliance

Most roofing companies in Florida do not follow the TRI Alliance’s guidelines regarding top flashing and sufficient flashing around roof accessories. For homeowners looking to install a new concrete or clay tile roof, replace an existing roof with a tile roof, retrofit installation of top flashing to protect the tile roof, or attach a roof accessory (such as a skylight, solar energy system, or vent), Kelly Roofing provides unmatched expertise.

At Kelly Roofing, closely adhering to TRI Alliance recommendations is not an option. It is an expectation. We treat our approach to roofing with the utmost respect for homeowners. A home is a precious and invaluable resource. Compromising the construction process (to save a few dollars) and only performing the bare minimum in terms of building code compliance jeopardizes a professional relationship built on trust and doing right by the homeowner.
For homeowners in South Florida needing guidance regarding roofing matters, contact Kelly Roofing today to schedule a free initial consultation.