In the roofing business there are usually two types of warranties, material warranties that cover materials like shingles and workmanship warranties that cover the contractors work and any potential mistakes.
While workmanship warranties are pretty straight forward, material warranties can be more complicated with requirements on both the roof contractor and homeowner to fulfill in order for it to remain valid.
From specific installation instructions to documented, yearly roof inspections and maintenance, it’s is important to know what your responsibilities are so that if the time comes where you need to use it, you won’t find the warranty has been voided.
Read your warranty and understand everything about it so when the time comes you know if a problem is covered or not.
Read the fine print!
Long-term roof warranties usually include language that severely limits the manufacturers liability should something go wrong. For example, the warranty may require some kind of specific maintenance to be performed, if not, the warranty is voided or the warranty doesn’t carry over to the new owner when selling a home, so the new owner isn’t covered, even on a new roof. Many warranties leave manufacturers with a lot of “outs” should a problem occur, be sure you know what those are.
Is maintenance required or merely “recommended”?
If required, be sure to follow what the warranty says to a “T”. Keep detailed records stating precisely what was done, when, and by whom to prove you have complied with the terms. Any missing evidence of compliance may void your warranty leaving you holding the bag for any failures.
How long is the warranty for?
Most high-end roof manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, others can be as little as 10 to 40 years. This doesn’t mean your roof will last that long. Many people complain their roofs wear out long before the warranty expires mainly because warranties cover only product defects and not wear and tear or damage from weather. Find out how long the warranty is for and if there are options to extend this should you not be comfortable with the stated time.
Does the warranty cover product defects as the result of poor workmanship?
Roofing manufacturers claim that more than 2/3’s of homeowners roof problems are the result of poor workmanship, so most do not cover workmanship, as they have no control over installers. As such you should hire a reputable roof contractor that offers it’s own Workmanship Warranty to cover this. (Atlanta Roofing Specialists has it’s own workmanship warranty that comes with every roof). If a roof contractor won’t warranty their own work, you should look elsewhere.
If my roof fails, does the warranty include labor costs when replacing the roof?
Many manufacturers offer different levels of warranties from materials only, warranties that cover partial costs, and warranties that cover just about everything. Be sure you understand what your warranties cover so you aren’t left with a big surprised when a problem happens.
Did you save all your paperwork (receipts for materials, contractors invoice, maintenance records, original estimate and contract)?
You need all the paperwork generated throughout the process to file a claim against a roof warranty. You need to prove you were the owner at the time of the roof purchase as some warranties do not transfer to the new owner should you sell your home. In addition, maintenance and other repair records should be handy in case they are needed. Document everything and store it in a safe place!
Warranties can be wordy and confusing, don’t be afraid to ask questions when learning about your new warranty!