The Basics of Roof Warranties: Which One is Right for You?

Installing a new roof is a big deal. It’s easy to get sucked into comparing roofing shingles and choosing the most appealing profile and color.

But it’s just as important to make sure you have adequate warranty protection. Workmanship warranties versus standard and extended warranties on your roof can sound like a complicated web of information. While the warranty process can feel overwhelming at first, knowing all your options is key to making a good decision about your long-term roofing material.

Roof Warranties: A Potential ‘Sellability’ Perk

When choosing a new roof, don’t focus too much on warranties. Instead, put your trust in a reliable contractor and pick a quality type of shingle. Search for a roofing estimate near you, and make sure to educate yourself on the details behind price per square foot.

Having said that, it’s still a good idea to make sure your roof’s warranty is transferrable. A transferable roof warranty can be a nice feature for a buyer in the future if you put your home on the market.

Warranty Basics: What You Should Know

You’ll find there are basically three types of roofing warranties:

  • First, a manufacturer’s warranty usually covers their end of the deal for you (material).
  • Second, contractors usually give you a workmanship warranty.
  • Third, an extended manufacturer’s warranty with expanded coverage for products and contractor work is oftentimes available for purchase.

Warranties from Manufacturers

The industry standard for roofing shingles is a limited lifetime warranty. Most lifetime warranties last as long as you own your house. Since the degree of manufacturer protection you receive depends on the definition of “limited,” it’s good to keep the following under consideration:

  • Because you are usually responsible for any labor charges to remove and dispose of failed shingles and replace them, most manufacturer warranties only cover defective materials.
  • In most cases, manufacturers cover the cost of replacing defective shingles for the first few years. In fact, you can oftentimes get free replacement shingles if any shingles are defective during the first year (this is a rare homeowner experience). As part of this initial coverage, labor costs are also covered for installing replacement shingles, but not for tearing off and disposing of defective ones. You’ll get a lesser quantity of new shingles if your shingles fail during the pro-rated period.
  • Standard manufacturer warranties usually only cover factory defects. They don’t cover shingles that break prematurely because of mistakes during installation or any other components your roofer installed, such as ice and water shields, underlayment, flashing, and ventilation. There may also be individual warranties against defects for these other components depending on the manufacturer.

Warranties from Contractors

How long your roof lasts can depend on the contractor who installs it. A workmanship warranty comes with every installation job from reputable roofers. It depends on the contractor, but some offer lifetime coverage. No matter how long the coverage period is, a good workmanship warranty should cover material failures caused by worker errors or improper installation techniques.

It’s pretty common for contractor workmanship warranties to cover labor and materials, as well as any damages to your house’s interior, furnishings, and personal belongings.

However, contractor warranties don’t usually cover things like:

  • Water leaks caused by wind debris or tree limbs.
  • Post-alteration damages (inflicted after your roof was altered — obviously after the original installation).
  • Damage from storms, high winds, and other impacts.
  • Damage caused by foot traffic.
  • Ice dams causing water damage.

You should thoroughly vet any contractor you’re thinking of hiring based on experience, track record of quality work, and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Extended Warranties with Comprehensive Coverage

Roofing manufacturers know that installation quality affects long-term performance. On new roofs installed by authorized contractors who are certified to install the roofing system according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions, they offer optional extended warranty coverage. Many homeowners who do their homework search for Owens Corning certified roofers or GAF certified installers.

You oftentimes need to have a complete roof system installed to qualify for an extended warranty, which includes certain coordinating components such as:

  • Ridge vents and soffit vents.
  • Barriers against ice and water.
  • Field shingles and starter shingles.
  • A good quality underlayment.
  • Shingles for hips and ridges.

Among the usual benefits of extended warranties offered by trusted manufacturers are:

  • Coverage against “workmanship” installation errors (the term is often lifetime but pro-rated after a certain number of years, and includes labor, tear-offs and disposals).
  • Coverage of all roof items (but can exclude flashing, wood decking, and fasteners).
  • Coverage against defective materials that are long-term, non-prorated, or continuous. This typically includes labor costs for repairs and replacements.

Don’t Forget to Register Your Warranty

Check the manufacturer’s requirements for registering your warranty once you’ve chosen a roofing brand and an installation contractor. The contractor who installs your new roof may have to register its warranty with the manufacturer within a certain time frame.

Making sure the requirements are met can help you avoid future headaches about non-registration if you need to make a warranty claim.

Ideas to Entertain Before Deciding on a New Roof

Is it time to buy a new roof — or not? If you’re wondering which factors deserve the most attention in your decision-making, keep these five ideas in mind when making your selection for this unique investment.

After all, the end-result should be worth your prudent investment to shelter your property, belongings, and especially those living inside. You cost per-square foot of roofing should be considered when shopping for a quality licensed contractor near you.

Contact Keystone Roofing and Siding for more information and insights.

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