Deciphering Your Roofing Warranty


By Dymon Brady

Many feel the most important possessions they own are those under the roof of their own home, not to mention the monetary value of the home itself.  Because we protect our valuable possessions with the roofing system, we can sometimes get bogged down with the decision of which product to have installed on our roof.

When choosing a product to put on your roof, perhaps the most important question to ask is which brand has the best history of lasting the life of it’s warranty in the area where you live.  The next important question is what warranty does that product cover.

A roofing warranty commits your manufacturer and roofing contractor to doing their best possible work.  These warranties can be incredibly valuable to the consumer.  However, warranties often are used as a marketing tool, and thus should be studied and understood by the consumer to avoid misunderstandings or unnecessary upgrades.  I want to simplify your warranty options to make it easier to understand which warranty is right for you on your single family home.

Material Warranty

A material warranty covers some or all of the roofing material costs for a set period of time.  Here are some questions to ask yourself about your material warranty:

  1. What is the duration of the warranty?

  2. Is the warranty transferable?  If so, what is the transfer period?  This is good to know if you plan on selling your house in 10 years, and the transfer period only lasts 5 years.

  3. Is the warranty voided if someone other than the initial contractor does a repair on the roof?

  4. If it is a lifetime warranty, is there a maximum number of years covered?  Sometimes a 30-50 year warranty will be labeled as a lifetime warranty.

  5. Is there a full-coverage period?  If so, how long is it?  Most full-coverage periods last 5-10 years.  After that period of time, what will they cover?

  6. Is it a pro-rated warranty only?

A full coverage warranty will cover everything including the dumpster, nails, flashings, ice shield, etc, in addition to the shingles.   A pro-rated warranty covers the cost of the shingle only, and does not include accessories.  Typically, the shingles make up 25% of the total cost of installing a roof.  Accessories are deceivingly expensive.

Labor Warranty

A labor warranty is generally provided by the contractor and is offered as a warranty on their workmanship.  Here are a few questions to ask about your labor warranty:

  1. What is the duration of the warranty?

  2. Is it transferable?

  3. Does it cover workmanship and full labor?

A workmanship warranty guarantees the contractors quality of work.  If a problem is found and deemed to be a result of the installation process, the contractor will provide free labor to fix it.

Contractors don’t generally provide a full labor warranty.  Under a full labor warranty, all labor is covered on any repairs for a certain period of time, whether the problem be a result of poor installation or a manufacturers defect.  Because an unconditional labor warranty is not usually provided by the contractor, it is important to correlate this warranty period with the manufacturer’s warranty to make sure the full coverage period is as long as possible (5 to 10 years as the standard period).

There are 3 manufacturers, that I know of, that offer upgraded warranties on single family residential roofs that include full coverage of material and labor for a certain period of time.  For example, CertainTeed’s 5 star warranty on lifetime shingles offer 50 years of full coverage on materials, and 25 years full coverage on workmanship.  This is an incredible warranty, especially because historically, typical shingles only last between 17-18 years.  A warranty like this will cost, on average, $800.  If you are already spending $8,000 or more on a new roof, the cost of this warranty is a great value.

I should note, however, that there are very few upgraded warranties in general that I believe are worth the money they cost.  Only a small number of these warranties will give you more coverage than the expected life of the product.  I do believe there are manufacturer’s full system warranties that are well worth their money.  If you spend a little bit of time investigating, you can invest in insurance for your roof.  Your roof is one of the largest investments you will make on your home.

Keep in mind, as I said earlier, that warranties can be used as a marketing tool.  Lawyers can even get into changing the fine print on a manufacturer warranty to make the warranty appear to cover more than it actually does.  This makes it all the more important to put in the time to understand the warranty of your shingle.

If you have any questions about your warranty, or would like to know more about the warranties we offer here at Brady Roofing, contact us today!

Also, see our available warranties.

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