What Is a Roof Warranty & What Does It Cover?

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the word warranty on a scrabble board

Investing in a roof is costly and time-consuming. A roof would generally last between twenty and sixty years, sometimes more. The quality of materials, the quality, and environmental conditions influence this lifespan. Given a roof’s importance and the acquisition costs, one must beware of the possibility of damage. This is why roof warranty plays an important role in your house’s safety net.

Generally, insurance policies provide the needed protection. However, the primary cover when dealing with roofs comes from roof warranties. It would, therefore, be important for a homeowner to understand what roof warranties are, what they cover and what to look for when buying one. Additionally, the various types of roof warranties will be highlighted.

What Is a Roof Warranty?

A roof warranty is an agreement between the manufacturer or contractor on the one hand and the purchaser on the other hand. Under the agreement, the contractor/manufacturer guarantees to undertake the cost of repairs of the roofing structure, following installation. However, the guarantee is subject to certain terms and conditions. Failure to observe these conditions voids the agreement.

A roofing warranty serves two purposes. First, it offers protection/cover against any future damage to the roof occasioned by poor materials or artistry. Secondly, a warranty serves as a testament to the confidence the seller has in their product and workmanship. Manufacturers of shoddy roofing membranes and bad contractors generally give weak or no warranties at all.

Reputation of Manufacturer or Contractor

The warranty is only as good as the reputation of the company backing it. Therefore, due diligence must be conducted on the reputation of the companies involved concerning how conscious they are of their warranties when incidentals occur. A good warranty from a reputable supplier is, therefore, gold as it guarantees the lifespan of a roof.

Types of Roof Warranties

#1. A Prorated Warranty vs. No Dollar Limit Warranty

A Prorated warranty is one whose value diminishes over the lifetime of the roofing system. On the other hand, a “No dollar limit” warranty imposes no limit on the repair costs. However, No Dollar Limit warranties revert to a prorated warranty after some time. Generally, no warranty covers the replacement of a roof.

#2. Manufacturer Roof Warranty vs. Contractor Roof Warranty

A manufacturer roof warranty covers the cost of materials and manufacturing defects. Some such warranties may extend to include the labor and installation. When this occurs, the manufacturer often requires some contractual commitments from the contractor for future servicing of the roof.

Contractor roof warranties or workmanship warranties, on the other hand, will focus on any defects that may occur because of artistry during installation. The warranty mostly goes for two years, highlighting the average time it takes to identify installation weaknesses.

Since most roofing materials are well tested, the greatest exposure with roofing is at the installation. For this reason, most experts consider a craft work warranty as most important.

#3. Labor-Only Warranty vs. Material-Only Warranty vs. System Warranty

Labor-only warranty covers labor costs that may arise from future or post installation damage. By definition, therefore, this warranty will not cover any labor costs arising from shoddy installation. One must always distinguish between labor-only warranty and roof workmanship warranty. The later covers installation defects.

Material-only warranty will cover the cost of materials to repair for damages due to premature deterioration and manufacture defects. The cover will not extend beyond the roofing membrane, thus excluding accessories. Some manufacturers opt for store credit instead of making payments.

System warranties, on the other hand, will cover materials, accessories, and labor for repairs that fall within both the warranty period and its terms and conditions. Such warranties do not cover for installation errors.

Given the fact that most warranties tend not to cover installation defects, one must ensure that installation work is excellent. However, if one requires a warranty for installation defects, they must ensure that it is contained in any warranty purchased.

Damages Covered by a Roof Warranty

someone's hand holding a house drawing

One must always familiarize themselves with the contents of the warranty documents. Never assume that one’s warranty covers an eventuality, only to discover otherwise. Always pay special attention to exclusion clauses, limiting clauses and voiding clauses.

1. Hail Damage

If one plans to install a roof in an area prone to hail storms, ordinary warranties may be ineffective. One will need an add-on clause to ensure that the warranty covers hail damage. This is because hailstorms are considered acts of God.

2. Roof Leaks

Providing the leak occurred under the terms of the warranty, the cost of materials and labor are covered. Leaks occurring due to weather events such as storms, or due to negligence, such as may occur during roof maintenance are not covered. Such leaks must, however, be promptly reported.

3. Winds

Some warranties have limits to the extent of damage they will cover if caused by the wind. Winds that are beyond a set limit will void the coverage. One must, therefore, have knowledge of the wind patterns in the roofing project area as well as the clauses about winds as contained in the warranty.

4. Roof Puncture

Warranties generally tend to exclude damage caused by roof puncture due to human traffic. For an extra cost, however, the warranty can include cover against accidental roof puncture that may occur due to human traffic. If one roof handles much traffic, this would be a worthwhile investment.

Damages Not Covered by a Roof Warranty

  • Ponding/Still water damage.
  • Losses occasioned by roof damages.
  • Acts of God.
  • Existing moisture that affects a new roof system.
  • Improper repairs due to poor or wrong materials and inappropriate methods.
  • Unauthorized alterations.

Summing It Up

Roofing warranties form an integral part of any roofing venture. One can, therefore, never overstate their importance in offering a peace of mind on the durability of the roof and the reliability of the suppliers or contractors. Though involving, one must never shy away from giving due attention to the details involved. Buyers should give special attention to the unique requirements of their roofing projects and the special provisions they require. Investing in a good roofing warranty will always pay off in the end.

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