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An up-close look at roof warranties: What are they & what do they cover?

An Up-Close Look At Roof Warranties: What Are They & What Do They Cover?

Getting a new roof is a significant investment, and it’s easy to get caught up comparing different roofing materials, choosing the right color for your home, and finding a roofing contractor. 

However, special consideration should also be given to roof warranties as they can greatly impact the long-term performance of your roof, your peace of mind, and your potential return on investment when it comes to selling your home.

Roofing warranties can be a source of confusion. But with the right guidance and attention to detail, you can cut through the noise and understand the coverage that comes with the materials and the roofing service you’re considering.

What is a Roof Warranty?

A roof warranty is a legally binding commitment forming part of the roof installation contract. It is a guarantee that a manufacturer or roofing contractor makes regarding the condition of its product or service. 

It contains the terms and conditions in which a roofing contractor will make repairs or replacements if the roofing materials do not perform as originally described or intended within a specified period. A warranty’s term typically commences at the date of provision.

Roof warranties usually have exceptions that limit situations in which a manufacturer or contractor will be obligated to perform repairs or replace the materials. For example, a warranty for common asphalt shingles will only cover the product for up to 20 years from the date of installation and only if the materials develop problems resulting from defects or poor workmanship.

Some roofing manufacturers offer extended roof warranties, which provide coverage for several years above and beyond the standard manufacturer’s warranty.

Understanding the Different Types of Roof Warranties for Homeowners

There are three main types of roof warranties:

  1. Standard Manufacturers’ Warranties

Most roofing materials come with a basic limited lifetime warranty. The level of protection offered is based on the definition of “limited,” which can vary depending on the manufacturer:

  1. Material-only coverage

Most roof warranties strictly cover the cost of new materials if your roof fails due to factory defects. You are responsible for any labor charges and disposal fees associated with your roof replacement.

  1. Prorated coverage

Standard manufacturer warranties are generally prorated. With a prorated roofing warranty, the manufacturer provides 100% coverage for defective roofing products for the first few years (usually 5 to 10 years). From that point on, the warranty will cover a dwindling percentage of the cost. 

For example, if your roof fails 13 years after installation, the manufacturer might only cover 30% of the cost of new materials. 

Factory defects: These warranties only provide coverage against manufacturing flaws. They don’t cover roof coverings that fail due to installation errors or issues caused by other accessories like flashing, underlayment, ice and water shield, or ventilation products. Such components may be covered by individual warranties, depending on their manufacturer.

Workmanship Warranties

In addition to product quality, the performance and longevity of your roof are also determined by the contractor that installs it. A roof could fail in as little as two years when poorly installed. 

The roofing contractor will typically provide you with a workmanship warranty. This warranty should protect you against material failures caused by improper installation techniques or worker errors. The roofing contractor will cover the cost of labor and any materials needed to fix the problem. 

Many workmanship warranties also cover any subsequent damage to the home’s interior, as well as your personal items. Contractor warranties exclude problems unrelated to their installation workmanship, including poor maintenance, water damage, weather damage, foot traffic, and damage caused by another roofing contractor.

The length of roofing contractor workmanship warranties ranges from 2 to 25 years. 

Be warned; a warranty is only as good as the person issuing the warranty. Be sure to vet anyone you’re considering hiring for your roof replacement. Work with a contractor with a proven track record of doing quality work, is known for excellent customer service, and has been in business for several years.

Extended Manufacturer’s Warranty

Sometimes referred to as manufacturer’s system warranties, extended manufacturer’s warranties offer more protection for longer than the standard manufacturer’s warranties. 

Manufacturers understand the connection between the installation quality and their roofing products’ performance. That’s why they offer the optional extended warranty to give homeowners lasting value and peace of mind. 

An extended manufacturer’s warranty typically covers the entire roof system. However, you’re required to have a complete roof system installed, including related components, such as:

  • Underlayment
  • Starter shingles
  • Hip and ridge cap shingles
  • Ice and water shield
  • Soffit and ridge vents

All these materials have to come from the same manufacturer. They should also be installed by an authorized roofing contractor who has completed the manufacturer’s certification process and has a proven record of installing roofs per the manufacturer’s installation requirements.

An extended roof warranty may cover defective materials for up to 50 years. Certain manufacturers include workmanship coverage against installation errors with a prorated period. This will cover tear-off, disposal, and labor costs.

When it comes to the performance and longevity of your roof, you don’t want to cut corners. Protect your investment by working with Yellowhammer Roofing in Birmingham. As an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor and GAF Certified Roofing Contractor, we use top-of-the-line roofing products and offer some of the best warranties in the business. Contact us today to learn more!

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