Understanding Roof Warranties: How to Protect Your Roof Correctly

Navigating the World of Roofing Warranties

When selecting a roofing contractor for your roof replacement, one word you are certain to hear is: warranty. There are different types of warranties available to you as a homeowner when getting a roof replacement. While it may be overwhelming, understanding roof warranties is an essential part of the process. It’s important to understand what you are being offered. This way, you can ensure you are making the right choices for protecting your new roof down the road. More so, understanding what is being offered will help you determine its true value. After all, when investing in a new roof, why wouldn’t you want to protect it for as long as possible?

In short, there are three main types of warranty:

  • A life-limited product warranty (also known as a manufacturer’s material warranty)
  • Manufacturer’s extended system protection warranty
  • A workmanship warranty from the contractor

Manufacturer warranties are for covering the materials themselves (i.e. the shingles) and is offered by the company responsible for manufacturing the material used for your new roof. The workmanship guarantee is issued by the contractor that installs your new roof. However, there are important points of each warranty to understand and keep in mind.

(Author’s note: while we understand that there are multiple different materials that are used in roofing, as asphalt shingles are the most common, we will use shingles going forward to discuss roofing product for the purpose of this article.)

Most Common Types of Warranty

Life-Limited Product Warranty

This warranty is often referred to as a manufacturer’s material warranty. You are protected from any manufacturing defects that affect the shingle’s performance on your roof during the specified coverage period or cause leaks during the warranty period. Typically, these warranties only cover your shingles- not the accessories such as flashings, adhesives, metal edge, etc.

Generally, the manufacturer may choose to either arrange for replacement of your shingles or compensate you for the cost of new shingles should the product prove to be defective. Depending on the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty, you could potentially be responsible for any remaining balance for labor and/or additional accessories required to install the new shingles.

Manufacturer Extended System Protection

Your new roof consists of many parts. While a product warranty covers the shingles themselves, a system protection warranty extends the protection for your new roofing system. A System Protection Roofing Warranty provides coverage for both the material defects and the labor to replace them- including the tear-off and disposal.

Workmanship Warranty

A workmanship warranty is offered by the contractor responsible for installing your roof.  This warranty covers the work done by your contractor. A workmanship warranty protects the homeowner against any costs related to actual installation errors or deficiencies.

The common standard in the industry typically falls between three and five years. It is important to be cautious of a contractor that is offering an over-inflated workmanship warranty (i.e. ten, fifteen, or twenty years). Typically, these bloated warranties are used to add an impression of value- with the contractor having no real intention of standing behind this guarantee. If your contractor is offering you a fifteen-year workmanship warranty, take a closer look at the terms and conditions required for maintaining this guarantee.

Maintaining Your Warranty – Dos and Don’ts

There are important things to keep in mind once your new roof is installed. Here are some important dos and don’ts for protecting your new roof and your warranty.

  1. DO have your roof professionally inspected on a regular basis. A lack of regular professional attention can potentially lead to having your warranty voided.
  2. DON’T hire another contractor and/or use different materials. If any issue arises with your roof, it is important to return to your original contractor if you are hoping to file a claim against your warranty. Most workmanship warranties will become null and void if another contractor works on the roof after the original labor is completed.
  3. DO keep your roof clear of debris and ensure it is free of mildew and mold by hiring a roofing company to professionally clean your roof on a regular basis. An improper DIY pressure washing can comprise the roofing material and, thus, void your warranty. Hiring a professional roofing contractor will ensure the roof is cleaned with the right materials and technique to protect the integrity of your material and your warranty.
  4. DON’T add items to your roof. By drilling holes in your roof to secure your new antenna, satellite dish, Christmas lights or solar panels, you are at risk of voiding your warranty. After all, any leaking you may experience could be caused by the holes that are drilled into the material.
  5. DO consult with your roofing contractor if you are looking to install a skylight or make other changes to the structure of your roof prior to having a new roof installed. DIY home improvement projects, such as the installation of a skylight, can void your warranty. The best time to consider these changes is prior to the installation of your new roof so you can avoid a project that will penetrate the surface of your new roof and/or require the removal of shingles.

Understanding Roof Warranties: Key Takeaways

When negotiating the terms of your new roof, don’t underestimate the value of a strong warranty. It’s important to not only understand what is covered by your warranty, but also what is not. Take time to clarify what the warranty covers, while also making sure you are clear on what could potentially void your warranty. The right warranty can be an extremely valuable asset for a homeowner. However, the wrong one can spell trouble.

Interested in learning more about roofing warranties?

Do you have questions about the Roof Commander WorryFree Guarantee?

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