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Next roof on Florida Keys homes could be metal by mandate

Metal roofing, as seen in Old Tavernier buildings, could be required for new or replacement roofs under a proposed ordinance being considered by the Monroe County Commission.
Metal roofing, as seen in Old Tavernier buildings, could be required for new or replacement roofs under a proposed ordinance being considered by the Monroe County Commission. Keynoter

Metal could be mandatory when it comes to putting a Florida Keys roof over your head.

A proposed ordinance going to final hearing Tuesday would, if passed by the Monroe County Commission, require new or replacement roofs to be metal rather than a less expensive option like shingles.

“One significant observation from [post-Hurricane Irma] inspections is that metal roofs fared far better than those roofs covered by asphalt shingles,” says a county staff summary. “County residents who lost roofs during Irma have asked if there is a way to obtain help in paying to harden their homes by upgrading from traditional shingles to a metal roof.”

The draft ordinance says the County Commission “anticipates that the cost of repair or replacement of a damaged shingle roof to the mandated [standing seam] metal roof would be borne by the ... insurance provider and not the homeowner.”

If local building codes legally mandate a metal roof, insurance coverage may be required to pay for a metal roof rather than the less-expensive shingle roofs during replacement.

“Metal roofs can be as much as two or three times more expensive than other roofing materials,” says a comparison report from State Farm Mutual Insurance.

The company’s report also notes that metal roofs have a “much longer” life span of an estimated 40 to 70 years, are more energy efficient and generally withstand storm or impact damage better than less-expensive roofing.

Florida law allows the county to adopt regulations on “replacement and/or repairs of roofs that were damaged by Irma if there is sufficient evidence to support a determination that shingle roofs are incapable of surviving intact during a major hurricane,” a background report from county attorneys says.

The law also could be made retroactive to Sept. 4, when Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency. Category 4 Hurricane Irma struck the Keys Sept. 10.

Existing homes without significant roof damage would not be required to get a new roof immediately, but would have to upgrade to a metal roof in the course of maintaining the structure. The local law also would not apply to manufactured homes, which are regulated by the state.

The Monroe County Commission meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Harvey Government Center in Key West. Public hearings on ordinances are scheduled for 3 p.m.

Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206

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