Don’t be so easily swayed by a 25, 30, or even 50 year warranty, though. It may seem like you’ll get a new, free roof in case of an issue, but that’s not usually the case.
The reality is that roof replacement warranties are complicated. But with the right guidance, you can cut through the noise and understand your true coverage.
Two Main Types of Roofing Warranties
For all the misunderstandings about roofing warranties, there are only two main categories to distinguish between—manufacturer warranties and contractor warranties.
There are nuances to each. Knowing which you’re covered by, what it promises, and what you need to do to maintain coverage is critical.
1. Manufacturer Warranties
The majority of roof warranties come from the manufacturer of your shingles. With the common asphalt shingle, you can expect a 25-30 year warranty (though there are some options for 50 year and “lifetime” coverage).
Typically, a basic manufacturer’s warranty will cover roofing materials. However, it’s important to note that when you go to submit a claim in the future, the prices will be prorated, and the cost of disposal won’t be covered.
Most importantly, basic manufacturer warranties don’t cover workmanship. For that, you would have to upgrade to an enhanced warranty. While these vary based on the manufacturer, they often cover the full replacement value as well as workmanship for a period of time.
2. Contractor Warranties
In addition to a manufacturer warranty, contractors may offer some sort of coverage for workmanship.
The problem is that these guarantees look vastly different from one contractor to another. As you collect project proposals, it can be difficult to keep them straight. To get a clear understanding of contractor warranty coverage, you can:
- Request a written explanation of what’s covered and what’s not. If the contractor can’t provide this copy, you may want to look elsewhere.
- Ask whether the warranty covers workmanship, materials, or both. In most cases, a contractor’s warranty will only cover workmanship.
- Research the credibility of a warranty by looking into the contractor’s history and track record.
Four Steps to Protect Your Warranty
The last thing any homeowner wants is to submit a claim only to find that their roof replacement warranty is null and void. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when people assume they are covered with their warranties.
To protect your coverage, follow these 4 steps:
- Get Regular Inspections: Inspecting the roof every one or two years allows your contractor to spot and fix any minor issues with vents, flashing, shingle damage, caulking deterioration, and more. When you stay ahead of repairs and prevent major work in the future, you maintain your warranty coverage.
- Stay with Your Original Contractor: Most contracts include language that voids the contractor’s warranty when a separate company is hired to alter the original installation. Continuity helps original installers correct their own mistakes. Keeping a good contractor as a lifelong roofing partner will protect your investment and maintain warranty coverage.
- Register Your Warranty: Don’t forget to submit your warranty registration to the manufacturer. Without it, you may not have coverage at all. The process is different for enhanced warranties, though. First, the contractor installing the product must be credentialed to install and provide the warranty. Then, the contractor must register the warranty on behalf of the customer. This type of upgraded coverage requires more than just a mail-in registration.
- Read the Fine Print: Your contractor must be certified through the shingle manufacturer and be authorized to provide the specified warranty. Without that authorization, your warranty will be voided. Ensure you understand the exact level of certification for your warranty as well. The highest certifications enable contractors to offer enhanced warranties and increases the likelihood of protection and retaining coverage.
Your roof exists to protect your family and your possessions. As your roof protects your home, you must protect the warranty. These steps will keep you from being surprised by a voided warranty when you submit a claim.
The bottom line is that your warranty is an insurance policy. It has lots of fine print that is important to understand if you need to submit a claim. Ask for clarification from your contractor on the fine print and make sure you can trust the workmanship before beginning a roof replacement project.