Installing a new roof is a substantial investment, which can be protected in large part by two types of warranties; those offered by manufacturers on their materials and by roofing companies on their workmanship. Here are the basics of each type of warranty.
- What is covered – Materials warranties cover defective materials used in a roofing installation. This type of warranty only covers materials that break down prematurely, and only under a strict set of conditions. For example, a warranty may be voided if materials break down due a lack of maintenance.
- How coverage works – Warranties on materials can either provide full coverage for the duration of the warranty, or offer prorated coverage after a predetermined length of time. For example, a warranty on asphalt shingles may cover the total cost of replacement shingles and installation for 10 years, with the percentage of coverage versus cost being reduced incrementally after that time until the warranty expires. Due to the durability of slate and tile roofs, the proration of coverage on these materials may not start for 50 years after installation.
- What isn’t covered – Damage caused by winds in excess of 85 miles per hour will not be covered by a warranty on materials. Additional areas that aren’t covered by these types of warranties include improper installation, damage due to the installation of roof structures such as satellite dishes, and material failures due to faulty repairs.
- Coverage – Workmanship warranties cover any issues that can be attributed directly to the installation of the roof. Generally speaking, materials that have been manufactured properly rarely break down prematurely, leaving mistakes made during installation as the most common causes of roof failures. Due to the likelihood that any roof failure is going to be caused by mistakes made during the installation, full coverage for the roof must include a workmanship warranty.
- Duration – The duration of workmanship warranties is set by each roofing company. Highly reputable companies will offer warranties of 10 to 12 years, while others may offer either no protection or warranties with shorter time spans. When shopping for a roofing company, the length of the workmanship warranty will be indicative of a company’s willingness to stand behind its work, which should be a primary factor in deciding on the best roofer for the job.
- What isn’t covered – Workmanship warranties are similar to those written for materials in that they don’t cover extreme weather events and damage caused by the installation of equipment or walking on the roof.
Determining warranty coverage should be a focal point of the decision making process for your roof installation. Keep in mind that longer warranties represent the good-faith backing of both the manufacturer and the roofing company, meaning that longer warranties will also represent quality materials and workmanship.