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It is important for Florida homeowners to prepare their homes for storms. Here are tips for making your new home hurricane-proof.

Building a Hurricane-Proof Home

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 each year and creates billions of dollars worth of damage. The addition of these life-saving safety features can protect your home from the ravages of hurricane force winds. Be sure to have your Florida home builder include these features during the home construction process, whether you are building a new home or updating an existing one. Many of these features are required as part of Florida’s updated building codes.

Concrete Pilings

When building your new home be sure to discuss the use of concrete pilings with your home builder. The pilings elevate the structure so that it sits above the storm surge and helps to support the structure against heavy winds.


Most homes lose power during a hurricane, whether it’s because high winds take out lines, transformers blow or the power company shuts down equipment to minimize damage. Having a generator on hand after a storm can make a big difference. Talk with your custom home builder to determine whether you need a whole-house system or one that will run the essentials: lights, fans, and the refrigerator.

Windows and Doors

Impact-resistant glass or shutters are an essential feature for protecting your home from high winds and flying debris. Winds can bust windows and doors allowing water to damage the interior of your home but also allows wind and air pressure to rise within the house and can lift the roof. Many insurance companies offer rate reductions for homes equipped with shutters and impact-resistant glass, offsetting costs for installation. If you are building a new home shutter hardware can be integrated during the construction process.

The Roof

Roof structures flying through the air is a nightmare right out of the “Wizard of Oz.” Ripped from the tops of homes and buildings during a hurricane not only is the home left in disarray but the roof itself can cause a great deal of damage. An update to code requirements on new home construction requires the installation of fastening systems, including tie-downs, lateral anchors, hold-downs, and embedded connectors.

Garage Doors

Be sure to install impact-rated garage doors or brace an existing garage door before hurricane-force winds hit. The loss of your garage door during a wind storm can create an increase in air and wind pressure inside the home and cause the roof to raise and blow off.

Clean Gutters

Keep your gutters and downspouts clean and securely fastened at all times. Large amounts of rain typically accompany a hurricane, and if your gutters aren’t free of debris the water will back up and enter your home through the roof and attic.

Clear the Decks

Keeping your yard free of debris can go a long way toward keeping your home safe during a wind event. Prune trees, remove dead branches, consider putting patio furniture in the pool, reduce the amount of water in your pool, and put yard items that could be lifted by storm winds indoors.

Stock Up

Be sure to have an emergency kit before hurricane season begins. Your kit should contain a three-day supply of candles, batteries, potable water, non-perishable foods, pet foods, a first aid kit, etc.

Passage Island Construction has been serving Florida’s east coast since 1991. Call us at 772-388-8863 to discuss building a new home with these safety features to help you weather any storm.

The post Tips for Building a Hurricane-Proof Home in Florida appeared first on Passage Island Construction.

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Have you reached the point in your life where you have decided that you are ready to settle down? Do you think it’s time to buy your first home? There is a lot to consider before taking that leap. Becoming a homeowner is an exciting and rewarding achievement – and answering these questions will help you decide if you’re ready to make a move.

There are many pros and cons to purchasing your own home, and it’s important to make sure that it’s the right choice for you before you make the investment. In addition to the sense of accomplishment, homeownership offers tax benefits and financial security.

Is homeownership right for me?

Before you buy your first home, it is essential to do a bit of self-reflection. Do you have a stable income and are you not likely to be transferred any time soon? If not, perhaps owning a home is the best option for you right now.

Does it make sense financially for me to buy a home?

To purchase a home you will need to prove a stable income for at least two years with the same company. Having a stable employment history is a good indication that you are ready to buy a new home. This is one of the most significant decisions in your life, and it is essential to make it based on your needs. Too often, buyers over-purchase their home, resulting in being house poor. Be sure to take a conservative approach when making this decision.

Will I be able to buy as much house as I can rent?

Depending upon the current market, it is often more cost-effective to purchase a home than to rent a home. Your debt-to-income ratio will determine the amount of the mortgage you will qualify for. A debt-to-income ratio no higher than 36 percent is considered the norm.

Is my credit history good enough to buy a home?

Your credit score is a significant factor when purchasing a home. The better your credit score, the better the rates and the terms that will be available to you. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find financing if you have a less than perfect credit score. If you can prove your ability to repay, lenders will work with you to obtain financing. A credit score of 640 or higher significantly increases your odds of getting approved.

Can I afford to purchase a home?

For many first home-buyers, the down payment is what prevents them from buying a home. Fortunately, some programs offer low or no-money-down payment options. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers no money down loans to U.S. military veterans, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a zero money down program for purchases in rural areas. There are also low to moderate-income options available in most communities. This includes FHA loans for the first time homebuyer, which requires only 3.5 percent down. Talk with a qualified mortgage professional to learn more about your options, including terms and interest rates.

Do I see myself in this home for the long haul?

When considering the purchase of a new home, it is important to look at where you want to be in five, 10 and 20 years. For your investment to bear a reasonable return, you need to commit to staying in the property for a minimum of three years to recoup your initial investment. Buying a home is cheaper than renting but only if you are committed to staying.

What does the current housing market look like?

Before purchasing a new home, become familiar with the current real estate market. Is it a buyer’s market or should you wait and see where things are going? It is easy to get caught up in the frenzy when prices are on the rise; however, you want to make sure that you aren’t overpaying which will make you end up owing more than the property is worth.

What’s next?

If all signs point to “yes, it’s time to buy your first home,” what better way to start your new life than to meet with a new custom home builder. Contact Passage Island Construction to find out all of the options that are available to you, from new home construction in one of our communities to building a custom home on your own lot.

Of course, it’s very wise to first contact a mortgage professional and find out how much home you can afford based on your financial position. As soon as you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll be in an excellent position to begin the search for your new home – or to start building a brand new one, with everything that you want in a new home right where it’s supposed to be.

The post Signs You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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Are you considering new home construction? Now is the time to cash in on long-term savings with energy-efficient construction, heating and cooling options, hot water systems, lighting, and appliances. You can save money, conserve energy and in some cases earn rebates and tax credits through green building incentives.

The U.S. Department of Energy developed a national rating system – the Home Energy Score – which rates a structure for its energy efficiency based on construction, heating, cooling, and hot water systems.

There are many ways to make sure your home is energy efficient, these are just a few you might want to consider when meeting with your custom home builder as you begin your new home because it is easier and more cost effective to add these features during construction than to retrofit the home later.

While it may increase upfront costs, savings made over the lifetime of a building outweigh the initial investment in the long run with energy-efficient construction options, appliances, lighting, and renewable energy systems. Additionally, local climate and site conditions should be taken into consideration during the design phase for optimal energy efficiency.

Energy-efficient Considerations During New Home Construction Directional Design

Before the slab is poured, it is essential to determine the positioning of your new home on the property for optimal positioning for maximum passive solar gain in the winter and to avoid excess heat during summer months. The orientation of the house is key to maximizing energy output.


Planting deciduous trees on the east and west sides of the home once the trees have matured provides shade during the summer months [a vital consideration in sunny Florida] and then when the trees shed their leaves in the fall allows passive heating by the sun during the winter.

Build Tight, Ventilate Right

Air leakage is one of the leading energy wasters in your home. The proper sealing of joints, sills, ducts, doors, and vents are crucial for energy efficiency and can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs. Natural attic ventilation and attic fans are one of the least expensive ways to increase energy efficiency in a home.

Heat Recovery

Heating and cooling account for nearly 48 percent of all energy consumption in a household. Through energy-saving technology, a heat recovery chiller allows for year-round cooling and heating as the production of chilled water generates heat.

Heating Design

Although not as big an issue here in Florida as it is to our northern friends, heating costs still comprise a large portion of a home’s energy bill. An efficient heating system including a programmable thermostat and weather compensators are essential during the design consideration and can reduce cooling and heating costs as much as 10 percent.


Another critical factor for improving your home’s energy efficiency involves lighting options. LED lighting can reduce energy use from between 33 and 80 percent.

Tankless Water Technology

Hot water accounts for between 15 and 20 percent of most home energy bills. A tankless water technology system eliminates the need for water storage and reduces standing heat loss.

Solar Power

Energy costs are steadily on the rise, and the ability to generate your own electricity or supplement your heating and hot water costs by using a solar thermal system pays for itself. Additionally, excess electricity can be sold to the grid or stored as self-generated power.


Insulate your home from heat loss with passive and long-lasting construction adjustments by using energy efficient systems and materials, including insulated concrete forms, blown-in foam, thick wall construction, and roof insulations. These changes in building materials can save you up to 20 percent on heating and cooling bills.

Topping Things Off

Cool roofs are made of highly reflective materials, reflecting more light and absorbing less heat from the sunlight, and keeping homes cooler when temperatures are on the rise.

Other Things to Consider

Use low-flow faucets and shower heads to save on water bills; clean and change filters regularly, and reduce water heater temperatures to 130 degrees to save energy and money.

Things to Remember

It is easier to design a well insulated, efficiently lit, correctly orientated and efficiently heated building than attempting to retrofit an existing home for optimal energy-efficiency.

Talk to Passage Island Homes for energy-efficient home construction options as you start planning your new home. We offer multiple energy-saving features to make your new home efficient and more eco-friendly. To learn more about tax breaks for energy-efficient homes contact the state energy office, your local utility, and building department. Product manufacturers periodically offer discount and rebate programs so search their sites as well.

The post Tips for Building Energy Efficient Homes appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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Building a new home can be a very joyful experience if you opt to work with a home builder that employs an experienced in-house design-build team that offers custom home construction.

Choosing the Right Builder

Be sure to consider a home builder that has been serving the community for many years. A local expert will have the knowledge on building standards and a portfolio of hundreds of customizable home plans that suit your daily lifestyle and your life plan.

Reviewing a portfolio of different model options is a great place to begin laying out the groundwork for your home. All you need to begin is an experienced draftsperson paired with your imagination and a vision for your dream home.

What to Expect

A team that includes a draftsperson will sit down with you and guide you step by step. You most likely will begin looking at custom home designs in your first meeting to stimulate your creative juices. In the beginning, you might feel like a kid in a candy shop, but an experienced professional will help you to narrow down an outline that includes a list of needs and wants that is as unique as you are.

Your Role in The Custom Home Building Process

Imagine a day in your life and how a customizable home plan can suit your needs. First, start with the basics and keep it simple. Consider your family’s daily activities and the areas of your home that can accommodate the activities. If you have children that play outdoor sports and you spend several hours a week gardening, you would need an entrance that has room to unload gear either in an attached garage or a nearby laundry room with easy-to-clean surfaces.

Making Good Decisions

The following are a few things to consider when reviewing customizable home plans.

Start simple. It’s easier to build on a concept than have to take away details.

Consider the future. If your kids are about to move on to college, the big laundry room at your garage entrance may be a passing thing.

How will the home plan be situated on the lot? You Want to select a plan that maximizes and showcases the lot. Determine what features are a must and which ones are optional. When you start selecting materials, your decisions will be determined often by what the budget will accommodate.

Does the function and flow of the home suit how you will be living in the space? For example, would a large eat-in kitchen work better for large family gatherings or a formal dining room with a kitchen breakfast nook. Visit your building site different times of day and determine how light will affect your living spaces.

What Happens Next

After you’ve refined and approved your new home design, you’ll work on the interior design phase. Your decisions on materials and finishes during this phase will determine final costs so you can tighten up the construction budget and move forward building the home that you’ve envisioned.

Passage Island Construction is here to walk you every step of the new home building process. Contact us today to make your dream a reality!

The post The Benefits of Building with Customizable Home Plans appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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One of the most exciting phases of new home construction is watching all the final finishes come together. When working with a custom home builder, you’ll be heavily involved in choosing the finishes that give your home personality and style, and the bathroom is no exception.

Selecting bathroom finishes for custom homes typically begins with the walls because they cover the largest surface and dictate how you will carry your design concept throughout the bathroom space.

The following bathroom finishes for custom homes are comprised of various materials that also vary in price for materials and installation. You will want to figure both into your budget based on square footage requirements.

  • Tile comes in a variety of different materials including stone, glass, porcelain, and more. Tile offers an elegant and expensive look without blowing your budget. It can also be used for a variety of surfaces in the bath, continuing onto the floor and even on cabinet tops.
  • Stone, which adds a natural, elegant look, can be purchased in large sheets for walls and cabinet tops or in cut into tiles for floors and trim.
  • Glass walls can be used to define the shower area or the entire bathroom. It’s an ideal bathroom finish for custom homes that incorporate modern design and don’t require privacy. 
Trim Your Bathroom Budget

The least costly of all the bathroom finishes for custom homes is painted wallboards, acrylic or laminate. For baths that aren’t used very often, you might consider more budget-friendly options throughout the house.

If you opt for wallboards with a paint finish, select an oil-based paint and seal it with a waterproof coating.

  • Single-sheet plastic is available in a variety of colors and styles. This is typically the least expensive option among bathroom finishes for custom homes and is available in a variety of colors.
  • Acrylic is often used to surround the tub or shower for a guest bath. These are available in a wide range of prices, shapes, and styles, but are usually white or off-white with built-in shelves.
  • Laminate is offered in both a single-sheet or as tiles with a high-gloss, glass-like finish or in a more traditional look for your bathroom finish in a custom home. This material is easy to install, lightweight and endures wear and tear for years. A large variety of colors and patterns will offer you something for the imagination.
Bathroom Finishing Touches

Select the bathroom finishes for your new custom home that complements the other finishes you’ve selected throughout the house. There are many bathroom finishes for custom homes to be discovered for your hardware and fixtures including chrome, satin nickel, copper, oil-rubbed bronze, brass, mixed metals, matte black and other trending options such as “rose gold.” Most of these finishes are designed to suit any style you employ.

Although your head might be spinning just thinking of what you would select for the bathroom finishes for your custom home, remember that you’re going to spend quite a bit of time in this space to make it your own and enjoy it for years to come. Contact Passage Island Construction today to start your perfect custom build!

The post How to Choose Bathroom Finishes for Custom Homes appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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As home builders, we take great pride in providing quality custom homes to Florida’s east coast. In order to ensure we continue to excel in our craft, we’re always on the lookout for new home design trends on the rise. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to refresh your home or you need inspiration for brand new construction, here’s to ringing in the New Year with these trending styles.

Mudroom/Family Storage Cubbies

Image Credit: Style Me Pretty

Creative built-ins or cubbies for your family near an entryway is a great way to keep clutter from spreading through the home.  Finally, a place to keep the muddy shoes, rain jackets, and junk mail at bay.

Black and White Bathroom Tile

Image Credit: Kate Lester Interiors

The black and white bathroom has always held a timeless, classic look. Bold tile patterns can be used to add dimension and texture to your bathroom design. Using white subway tiles with gray or black grout has also been featured on popular renovation shows like Fixer Upper and Flip or Flop to give that extra bit of dimension and character.

Exposed Beams

Image Credit: Magnolia

It’s no secret that the farmhouse style home is extremely popular – especially when combined with a modern-industrial flair. One way to achieve this look is by adding exposed wood beams in the main living spaces of your home.

Bold Backsplash & Open Kitchen Shelving

Image Credit: bhg.com

The open shelving concept is increasingly more popular with the farmhouse style trend. Combine it with a bold backsplash to add a touch of glam to a cozy kitchen. This charming way to display dishes and home goods doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

Light Wood Floors

Image credit: blackbanddesign.com

The light, airy look is what young homebuyers are looking for. As a result, more people are opting for light wood flooring or laminate options in their main living spaces.

As Vero Beach homebuilders, we’re here to help you make your new home dreams a reality. Contact Passage Island Construction today!

The post Home Design Trends for 2019 appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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Retirement has been referred to as Golden Years for the wonderful freedom it brings from the transition from full-time work to a lifestyle of relaxation. What’s more, Florida is considered the best place to retire, according to AARP. But what about the sunshine state makes it so appealing for retirees?
Cost of Living and Taxes
Florida is considered to have a very reasonable cost of living compared to other areas. Once you’ve stopped working, maintaining your lifestyle is going to be a top priority. Rest easy knowing that affordability is one of the benefits of retiring to Florida. Florida doesn’t require state income tax which is highly beneficial for someone on a fixed income.
Enjoy An Active Community with Lots to Do

Retirement in Florida promotes active lifestyles, generating a need for more senior-friendly communities throughout South Florida. Passage Island Homes has several Treasure Coast communities that are all close to golfing, dining, and recreational activities, making it a great place to build a new custom home.

Florida also offers great travel destinations, from theme parks to cruises, beautiful beaches, world-class golfing, diverse culture, cuisine, and fishing. Easy access to international airports and transportation means you can explore even farther for this newfound chapter of retired life.
You Can Build a Retirement Home Before You Retire
If enjoying retirement in Florida is further in the horizon for you, it’s not too soon to make early preparations. The sunshine state is a great place to invest in property, so consider building a seasonal or vacation home to transition into retirement later.

At Passage Island Homes, we strive to be a Florida homebuilder you can trust to take your new home dreams and make them a reality. Our communities encourage active, healthy lifestyles with the amenities that make you feel as if you’re living the golden years in paradise.

The post Reasons To Move To Florida After You Retire appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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Like any new home construction project, building a home on Florida’s Treasure Coast requires planning ahead to determine what time of year is best to kick off the process. Although building in Florida has the advantage of being free from ice and snow, it’s not completely immune to extreme weather conditions.

When building a home with custom features in Florida, the process can depend on a number of factors, such as:

  • How long the home building process takes
  • The overall size of your home and changes to your design as you build
  • Time needed to finalize permits and pre-construction
  • Will a hurricane affect building a new home

There are several critical seasonal factors to consider to make sure you can eliminate unnecessary delays with your home-building timeline. Certain steps during early construction can be more sensitive to poor weather conditions. The building process can last anywhere from 10 to 16 months from planning to completion, so it can be impossible to avoid a certain time of year altogether in many cases. It’s important to discuss expectations with a homebuilder you trust to know the best time of year to start your custom home.

Choose the Best Times to Avoid Storms and Hurricanes

Hurricanes can play a big role in determining what the best time is to start building a new home. It’s important to keep in mind the months where the possibility of encountering one is the least likely. In Florida, hurricane season lasts from May 15 to November 30 with the peak of activity usually through the month of September. A hurricane can be devastating to unfinished homes and cost thousands in repairs if a homeowner is caught off guard by poor planning, so it’s best to try to avoid early stages of construction during these months.

September is known for being the time of year with the most rain in Florida, and extreme rainy conditions can cause setbacks. For example, the foundation cannot be poured when the ground is overly saturated, pushing back the entire timeline when a delay occurs. Construction workers can do a lot of work in the rain, but safety should always come first. Lightning and extreme wind can create less than desirable weather conditions for workers and also create unplanned setbacks.

At Passage Island Construction, our team is dedicated to educating our homebuyers on every step of the custom home building process. Contact us today to get started on your dream home!

The post The Best Time to Build a Custom Home in Florida appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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Florida New Home Landscaping

Showing off a great yard is one of the best parts of owning a brand-new home in the sunshine state. Landscaping a great way to add curb appeal and home value, all with a personal touch to your overall home design. Fortunately, what Florida’s climate lacks in seasons, it makes up for with an abundance of options to last all year-round, meaning limitless possibilities for any home style.

Whether you plan on going coastal, modern, or traditional with your home design, consider these Florida-friendly landscaping ideas to compliment your new custom home.

Tropical Landscaping

Lush green foliage is a must when going for a warm, tropical landscape. Tropical plants thrive in moist, humid environments, making it a no-brainer in yard design in Florida and other coastal areas. Because of Florida’s humid, coastal climate, try looking for plants with large, broad leaves or brightly colored flowers. Here are a few examples:

  • Monstera
  • Bromeliads
  • Elephant ear
  • Palm trees
  • Bird-of-paradise
  • Canna lilies
Front Yard Landscaping with Rocks

Using rocks in your landscape design can add dimension and texture to your front yard. Natural stone is exceptionally versatile and can accompany many different styles and themes. Some examples of great rockscaping options are:

  • Terracotta stone
  • Black lava rocks
  • Decomposed granite or crushed granite
  • Gravel
  • Mexican beach pebbles
Outdoor Fire Pit Ideas

Fire pits can add a cozy, ambient aspect to your patio or backyard.

  • Propane fire pits
  • Wood burning fire pits
  • Natural gas fire pits
  • Tabletop fire pits
Front Yard Desert Landscaping Ideas

Florida heat can take a toll on a yard in the summer months. Opting for a drought-tolerance landscape can eliminate the need for irrigation, saving you money in your lawn upkeep. Achieve a desert-style landscape with these low-water plants:

  • Cactus
  • Succulents
  • Bougainvillea
  • Saw Palmetto
Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas

For a low-maintenance yard, opt for slow growing plants and “clean” shrubs that require minimal trimming. This means less time working and more time enjoying your new home.

  • Agave
  • Crown of thorns
  • Alexander palm
  • Selloum philodendron
  • Juniper

Thinking of buying a new custom home in southeastern Florida? Contact Passage Island Homes today!

The post Landscaping Ideas to Increase Curb Appeal for New Homes appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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Shingles, metal, or tile?

When building a newly constructed home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by choosing the best roof material expected to keep your family covered. Each option comes with advantages and disadvantages. Some options may offer a lower investment whereas others can increase the value of your home. Whether you’re narrowing your options based on cost, longevity, or style – here’s a look at some of the pros and cons from several popular roof types to help you decide before you build.

Shingle Roof

If you’re looking for a cost-effective, traditional roofing option, a shingle roof may be the best option for you.

The Pros
  • Lower up-front costs. Shingle roofs can be more forgiving on the budget, saving you money elsewhere in your new home construction.
  • Readily Available. Being one of the most popular roof types means you won’t have to look far to find a general contractor or construction team to install and maintain it.
  • Less Expensive Repairs. Shingle roofs can often be replaced one at a time if wear and tear are contained in an isolated area.
The Cons
  • Shorter lifespan. The average shingle roof has a lifecycle of about 20 years, possibly shorter if you live in a more environmentally active area.
  • Higher cost long-term.  Although shingle roofs can have a lower initial investment, they can end up costing you more in the long run with repairs and replacements.
Metal Roof

Metal roofs can be a great choice when you have durability in mind.

The Pros
  • Durability and Safety. Metal roofs can sustain environments extremes like gusty winds, hail, and lightning strikes.
  • Lifespan. Depending on the material, metal roofs can last up to 60 years.
  • Energy Efficient. A natural heat reflector, having a metal roof can save you 10-25% on your cooling costs.
The Cons
  • Up-Front Investment. A metal roof will be long-lasting, but it comes at a price. Fortunately, it’s a worthwhile investment that will add home value.
  • Noise. Although metal roofs excel at weathering the extremes, it can be noisy during a storm with heavy rain or hail.
Tile Roof

Tile roofing is effective and stylish and handles extreme weather conditions well.

The Pros
  • Longevity. Similar to metal roofs, tile roofs are long-lasting, able to endure up to 50 years or more.
  • Multiple options. Tile roofs can come in a variety of materials, making them easily able to complement any home style.
  • Low-maintenance. Tile roofs are extremely durable for all weather extremes and even resist rot and insects.
The Cons
  • Heavy. Tile is a heavy material that not all homes are built to support.
  • Difficult to install.  Tile roofing needs to be laid in a very specific pattern to ensure a weatherproof seal, making a proper installation time consuming and expensive.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing a Roof Type:

Prepare for Environmental Factors. Don’t forget to take your location into consideration when making a choice for the best roof material. Building a home in Florida can come with its own special challenges like making sure your roof is up to par with the latest hurricane and wind mitigation standards. Fortunately, working with a custom home builder who specializes in new home construction can give you peace of mind that your roof can weather any storm.

Contact Passage Island Construction today for your new home construction needs!

The post How to Choose the Best Roofing Materials Before You Build appeared first on Passage Island Homes.

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