Protecting your investment, your family and your home.
Obtaining a roof covering warranty is extremely important when having a new roof covering installed. It can be a complicated process. It does cost more for a better warranty. No assumptions can be made during the process of learning about the warranty you are to receive. It is so easy to be deceived into thinking that a manufacture’s published “material only” warranty is all you will need. In my experience most roof leaks are not caused by roof covering material failure. Improperly installed or missing flashing systems are probably the greatest cause of roof leaks particularly with high slope roof surfaces. Poor workmanship is the largest cause of roof failure. Workmanship issues and the labor to correct improper work are excluded from a basic material only warranty.
Assuming the contractor is providing a warranty when you are shown the manufacturer’s material warranty is not good enough. There are many materials used to apply a roof that are not necessarily supplied by the roof covering manufacturer plus there is the labor element. Roof covering warranties are available that cover both material and labor even when the roof was not properly installed. The warranty is often different for residential use then for commercial use. In commercial applications it is possible to obtain a no-dollar-limit (NDL) warranty that covers both material and labor even when improper workmanship was found. The NDL warranties typically range from 10 to 30 years.
The best roof warranties require inspection by the manufacturer’s factory representative. It is recommended to have the roof material manufacturer’s representative participate in the specifications for the roof covering including a review of all associated materials that will be used. This includes all flashing systems, fasteners, fastener locations, and edge conditions. Some manufacturers also make flashing systems to be used with their roof covering products. All roof to wall joints, all valleys, all penetrations, and all edge conditions require appropriate flashing systems. Additional water penetration reduction materials such as ice and water shield may be needed in certain locations of the roof. How roof water drainage is being handled may affect how the roof covering should be applied. There may be the need to modify the roof deck before a new roof application is made which should also be reviewed with the manufacturer’s factory representative. A third party such as an inspector cannot replace the manufacturer’s factory representative unless authorized by the manufacturer.
All warranties have exclusions so it is very important to understand what is being excluded when making your purchasing decision. Warranties often have notification requirements that if not met will void the warranty. The initiation of the warranty may require certain notifications as typically would the transfer of a warranty, when covered.
Higher levels of warranties often require higher level certifications of the contractor by the manufacture. Today you can expect to see warranty options published at the manufacturer’s website. A thorough review of the material manufacturer’s website is a necessary element of your homework when purchasing new roofing.