Can a roof contractor really void the warranty on the roof they just installed? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Manufacturer warranties exist to guarantee the quality of the product as it was shipped from the warehouse. In the case of roofing materials, these warranties also dictate how the material is to be installed, what they should be installed with, and the current condition of the roof, any deviation or mistakes will void the warranty entirely.
This is not only to protect the manufacturer from paying for the mistakes of others but to also ensure the product is installed correctly and performs the job it is designed for.
The details of these warranties (and the specifics they dictate to maintain the warranty) oftentimes goes unnoticed by laymen, “Do-It-Yourselfer’s”, or even newer, inexperienced roofing contractors. In other cases, these details are ignored purposefully, in the name of speed and profit, much to the detriment of the homeowner by “storm-chasers” and other “fly-by-night” companies. Unfortunately many times this particular problem isn’t identified until years down the road, when the roof inevitably starts having problems. The original contractor is nowhere to be found and the homeowner thinks “At least we have the warranty!” only to find out it was voided when it was installed. A bad scenario indeed.
“How can I avoid this happening to me?” you ask? The best way to avoid such issues is to hire an established, reputable roofing contractor based in your area. Even if a mistake was made and the manufacturer warranty was voided, a reputable contractor will fix the problems. Some roof contractors (such as Atlanta Roofing Specialists) even offer a Workmanship Warranty on top of the manufacturer warranty to cover any problems due to workmanship regardless of the status of any warranties. Hire the right company from the get go and you won’t even need to think about it.
So how can a roof contractor void your warranty?
1) Improper Ventilation
Roofing contractors should know enough about attic ventilation to vent your attic properly. Requirements are 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic space with a combination of intake and exhaust vents. Intake vents are normally in your soffits and exhaust vents are on top of the roof.
If the roof isn’t properly ventilated and your shingles begin to fail before their time, they won’t be covered by the warranty. Improper ventilation could reduce your warranty up to 10 years.
2) Installation Over Non-Approved Roof Decking
Your roofing contractor should be able to tell what type of roof decking you have and if it is approved to install shingles on. Some approved roof decks are plywood, OSB, and wood board sheathing at minimum thicknesses. Some decks like large woodboard sheathing may cause bucking so extra precautions should be taken.
Other roof decking materials are “permission-required” decks and must be installed to manufacturer specifications and need special fasteners to not void the warranty. Other roof decks like Cementitious wood fiber board, insulation boards and gypsum are not approved and require approved decking to be installed on top of them although these are not so common on houses.
If the roof contractor doesn’t properly prep the decking after tearing an old roof off ,this too can void the warranty especially if there are existing nails sticking up that pierce the shingles.
Tearing off everything (even old felt paper) to be able to see the roof decking clearly will help prevent these scenarios. Taking the time to check for and pull all existing nails or pound them into the decking and taking every precaution necessary to ensure the warranty stays valid is something every roofing contractor should strive for.
3) Improper fastenings
One of the most common causes of shingle failure is improper fastening and this is not covered by the manufacturer warranty.
If not fastened properly your shingles may blow off, if this happens you will be responsible for going after the roofing contractor or pay for it yourself. There are several ways fastening can void your shingle warranty.
1.Over-driven nails rip through the shingle and make it very easy for the shingle to be blown off by gusts of wind.
2.Under-driven nails will hold up the shingle above, preventing it from properly sealing down to the shingle below. This can let dust in which will prevent the sealant from activating, and allows wind to catch the shingle and tear it off.
3.Nails that are driven crooked into the shingle cut into the shingle on one side of the nail, while the other side holds up the shingle above. These two things combined makes for a perfect opportunity for shingles to be blown off by wind.
4. Nails that are too short. Nails must be long enough to penetrate through the shingle and all the way through the sheathing. If the roof decking is thick, nails must penetrate up to 3/4″ into the wood.
5.Too few nails. Each type of shingle requires a certain number of nails to be used per shingle, the average is 4 nails placed evenly.
6.Improper placement of fasteners – Each type of shingle also has a “nail line” where nails are required to be placed to achieve the designed performance. If the nail line is missed, then blow-offs are more likely to occur and are not covered by the manufacturer warranty.
If you feel like you need to inspect your roof before your roof contractor leaves, you probably hired the wrong people. Do your research and hire a reputable roof contractor with the knowledge and experience to get the job done right the first time so you don’t worry about things like this, but if it’s too late, check their work, it just may save your a headache later on.
Atlanta Roofing Specialists has been providing premier roof contracting services to Metro Atlanta since 1993. No job is too big or too small! Contact us today at 770-419-2222 for a free estimate!