A roof is one of the most expensive single purchases a homeowner will ever make; a new roof almost always comes with a five-figure price tag, and can easily break into the six-figures at the right size with the right materials. Something so expensive, so essential, and so complicated has to be treated with the utmost care and consideration, and that extends beyond you as the homeowner. It’s also important that manufacturers are held to a high standard so that homeowners are safe and protected in their own homes. This means that any manufacturer worth their salt (or, slate, in this case) offers a warranty that comprehensively covers the wide variety of issues that can arise from a roof built with low-quality materials. It also means that the best roofing contractors in Cranberry Township tend to offer a contractor workmanship warranty to protect you from shoddy installations.
However, with any warranty comes a list of exceptions, and a list of forbidden endeavors that will void the protection your warranty offers should your roof be subject to them. And since we’re talking about thousands and thousands of dollars worth of material here, voiding warranties is a particularly painful blow. Let’s go over everything you’ll want to know about your warranty and what it covers. Educating yourself is easily the best way to protect yourself from unwanted expenses, and a roof is one of the greatest costs you can incur with your home.
Types of Coverage
Manufacturer warranties have to do with the quality of your roofing materials themselves. And remember, this is only what the manufacturer has actually provided: the roof membrane itself. It’s not going to address any of the installation-related materials like adhesives, nails, flashing, etc. They’ll take care of the expenses related to purchasing new material and having the repair done, but only if the roofing material itself was defective. If the issue had to do with some sort of installation error, then you’ll need to look to your contractor workmanship warranty.
Roof contractor workmanship warranty coverage is what you need if you want protection against a bad roofing job. Problems having to do with installation will fall in this category, including poor sealing and flashing, failure to properly secure the roofing materials, and other kinds of shoddy workmanship.
If you have “full system” coverage (ie, you’re covered under both a manufacturer warranty and a workmanship warranty, then unexpected issues that seem to arise from nowhere will generally be taken care of by your roof warranty. What this really means is that your seemingly-fine roof begins to suddenly leak or fail.
What Can I Expect My Roof Warranty to Cover?
Essentially, whenever a problem with the roof has been caused by some part of the roof because it’s defective or it’s been improperly installed, then one of these two warranty types will cover the issue. However, every warranty is different, just like each contractor does things differently and has different levels of experience. This means it’s important to read the fine print in each warranty and understand your coverage (and how to avoid voiding warranties).
Roof Installation Warranties
Roof installation warranties are highly variable and can be complicated. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few important commonalities that you should look out for, however. The term of these warranties are often relatively short; many roofing contractors will limit their contractor workmanship warranties to 5 years or fewer. After all, weathering and homeowner maintenance can play a big part in damages to the roof during that period of time. There are, however roofers who are confident enough in their products (and document their installations thoroughly enough) that they offer lifetime warranties. These contractors are often more expensive, but the protection can be worth the price.
Roof Vent Warranties
The vents on top of your roof generally come with lifetime warranties, as they’re built from highly durable components that are weather-resistant and difficult to damage. However, electrical vents are an exception to this rule, and often only have warranties that last for a short time and come with lots of limitations. But, since ventilation is an important part of keeping your roof healthy, they’re sometimes necessary despite the lack of coverage.
Roof Underlayment Warranties
The underlayment on your roof deck is a durable material, too. This fiberglass shield can last for a long time, so warranties are offered for as long as fifty years from the time of installation. However, this does tend to be a part of your roof you don’t have to worry about as much. As long as the roof deck is clean at the time of installation, and is kept clean, there often isn’t anything that will affect the underlayment that isn’t affecting the roof as a whole.
Shingles come in all sizes, colors, and types of warranties. Shingle warranties generally start at a twenty year coverage period, but if they’re well-made shingles, they may be graded to last thirty years or more. Lifetime shingle warranties aren’t offered everywhere, but they’re not unheard of. But, expect to pay more up front for the product itself.
What’s Not Covered?
Things like fire damage, vandalism, negligence, hail, and even storms don’t fall under the blanket of warranty coverage. These are issues that you’re more likely to be protected from if you have good homeowners’ insurance. Additionally, even if damage to your roof is covered by your roof warranty, your roof warranty won’t generally cover damage to the interior of your home, such as water stains to your ceiling or carpets. However, again, these are items that your homeowners’ insurance policy may cover.
There are a lot of things that your warranty won’t cover, and the first thing you have to understand is the term of the warranty itself. For example, lifetime warranties don’t refer to products that last for your entire lifetime. Rather, they refer to products lasting for the entire expected lifetime of the given product. So for asphalt shingles with a thirty year lifespan, you can expect your lifetime warranty to cover your shingles for the given thirty years. Be aware, too, that with these types of warranties, your coverage may be prorated over the life of the roof. That is to say, several years down the line, the warranty may only cover 75% of the claim rather than the full claim.
There are limitations and exclusions that will apply to absolutely any roofing warranty you come across. While they’ll cover the basics like routine leaks and mistakes in your flashing, more complicated issues can arise that you might expect them to cover… but they don’t. Buildings.com notes a case in which roofing materials had sat on the shelf at the roofing company for so long, they had outlived their warranty. When they failed on the homeowner, their warranty claim was denied.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to read the warranty thoroughly before you commit to a purchase agreement. Yes, it’s long and complicated and legal, but this is different from ignoring your user agreement on some free software. You’re about to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for this roof, and you’re going to want it to last, in good condition, for a long time. It’s important that you thoroughly and completely understand the details regarding the serious commitment you’re considering.
In many cases, you may be required to perform routine roof inspections, documenting any issues, and having those issues addressed in a timely manner. It’s also possible that the roofing manufacturer will insist on making you go through their contractors to do any of these repairs; if you don’t, it’ll void your warranty coverage and you’ll enjoy paying for the repairs yourself out-of-pocket.
Additionally, you’ll want to be very thorough in researching the roofing contractor you’re interested in hiring. Just because a contractor is licensed doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re experienced or reputable. Licensure does indicate that the roofer has gone through some training and validated his skills, but nothing is quite as trustworthy as a long history of excellent workmanship and a wealth of testimonials from satisfied customers.
A referral is easily the best way to find yourself a roofing contractor you can trust, because you know you’re getting their name from a source you already trust yourself. Talk to your friends and family who’ve gone through roofing installations, and learn about the pitfalls they encountered. Use the internet to look into the background of the roofer, and see if you can find reviews from other customers. You can even check with organizations like the Better Business Bureau to get an idea of what people think about the roofing company. This same point goes for the manufacturers who provide the warranty for your roofing materials. Take advantage of the community around you so that you can avoid those roofers out there who will leave you with a shoddy roofing job.
If you’re looking for an honest roofer who stands by their work, then you’ve found one in your friendly neighborhood professionals at Gotcha Covered Contracting. We can help you understand everything you need to know about your roof warranty, and we’ll help you pick materials backed by a manufacturer that offers great protection, as well.