New Florida Roofing Laws Protect You And Your Home

The past few years have been hard on Florida homeowners. Several severe hurricanes have hit land in Florida, causing remarkable destruction, including substantial damage to roofs. As a result of the destruction and resulting claims, homeowners’ insurance companies have been trying to back out of the state. Florida legislators have responded by passing new laws. These laws attempt to reduce the burden on insurance companies and homeowners with the goal of keeping homeowners’ insurance available and affordable. 

As a homeowner, you may not spend much time keeping up-to-date with the newest roofing laws and building code requirements. That’s completely understandable! However, learning more about these new roofing laws will only benefit you.

Roofing Contractors and New Roofing Laws

Sadly, even some roofing contractors are not too familiar with Florida roofing laws. This leaves you, as a homeowner, vulnerable. Hire a contractor who is not up-to-date with the latest requirements, and you could end up with a roof that doesn’t meet Florida’s building code. Worse yet, your insurance company may not “approve” the roof and may terminate your policy. That’s the last thing you want during hurricane season.

This is not an uncommon situation, either. After a big storm, such as Hurricane Ian, roofing companies come in from out of state. In the roofing industry, these companies are known as storm-chasers. They’re skilled at selling new roofs to homeowners, but their actual roofing abilities leave a lot to be desired. Storm chasers are often not well-versed in Florida’s specific roofing laws. And if you later discover the roof they’ve installed is not up to code, you’ll have a hard time tracking them down for changes.

To prevent yourself from falling into this trap, we recommend taking two steps. First, familiarize yourself with recent changes to Florida’s roofing laws. (We’ll help with that below.) Second, only hire established, licensed, Florida-based roofing companies to repair or replace your storm-damaged roof.

Important Changes to Roofing Laws

Florida’s roofing laws are perpetually changing. Here are the most important, recent changes to be aware of as a homeowner.

Licensure Requirements

In Florida, roofing contractors have to be licensed. Additionally, anyone who works under them has to be licensed. A licensed contractor cannot legally supervise a team of unlicensed laborers. These laws apply to both in-state and out-of-state roofing contractors. Unfortunately, a lot of storm chasers still try to skirt this law. They work on a home, and homeowners don’t find out they were required to be licensed until their homeowners’ insurance asks for a certificate — which they can’t provide.

Always ask to see proof of licensure before you hire a roofing company in Florida. If the company can’t provide a license, do not hire them.

Re-Certification Requirements

Under the new roofing laws, insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on the age of a roof that is less than 15 years old. However, when a roof reaches the age of 15, it has to be re-certified. In other words, a roofer has to look over the roof and certify that it has at least another five years of life left. You then have to repeat this process every five years for the remainder of the roof’s life.

Many roofing materials, including tile, metal, and solar, last far longer than 15 years and will have no trouble meeting the requirements for re-certification — as long as they were installed correctly. Roofs installed by less-scrupulous companies may be lacking hurricane straps, secure connections, waterproof underlayment, and other hurricane-proof features required by building codes. This is yet another reason only to let licensed, Florida-based roofing companies work on your home.

Grant Assistance

Another provision of the law helps homeowners bring their current roofs up-to-date with the latest code requirements. Grants are available for homeowners who need to “harden off” their homes. Hardening off can include adding hurricane straps to an existing roof. It may also include the installation of hurricane shutters. These shutters prevent the sudden change in pressure that can cause a roof to lift off a home during a wind storm.

Homeowners who have their roofs updated under the provisions of this grant can qualify for insurance discounts. Not only does this help protect you in the event of a storm, but it also helps reduce insurance claims across the board. Fewer claims mean less burden on the insurance companies, which should help keep insurance available and affordable in the future.
Now, more than ever, it is crucial to be aware of changing roofing and construction laws in Florida. At Kelly Roofing, we have your back. Our experienced, licensed roofers are working to counteract roofing scams and support legislation that protects homeowners, reputable contractors, and insurers. If you need help repairing hurricane damage or hardening off your roof, contact us. We offer free, on-site estimates for Florida homeowners.