Is a residential roof warranty worth more than the paper it is printed on? How can a Denver-area homeowner know what a roof warranty covers?
Roof Warranty 101
Sure, it only looks like a few sheets of paper, but a roofing warranty is valuable if you know how to use it. A roof warranty is a specialized insurance policy issued by either of two parties:
- The manufacturer of your home’s new roofing materials
- The roofing contractor installing your home’s new roof or major roofing accessories
Roof warranties come in many variations, so inspect yours carefully. For example, one manufacturer might allow the warranty to transfer from you to the next homeowner, while another roofing materials company may not permit that.
A major feature of roof warranties is the coverage they provide. This coverage falls into two major categories:
- Manufacturing defects—nearly every roof warranty issued by the major companies creating residential roofing materials will give you relief against defective products
- Installation errors—some precious few roofing contractors and even fewer manufacturers will shield you against workmanship problems caused by your contractor
You could get one or two warranties after a full roof replacement. You could get a single warranty from the manufacturer of the roofing materials—GAF, Malarkey, and Owens Corning, as examples—and that one warranty could offer protection against both manufacturing defects and installation errors.
Or, you could get two warranties, one from the manufacturer guarding against defects in making the roof products and a second warranty from your installer.
One important note: while many manufacturers extend financial protection to you for installation errors, no roofing contractor can offer a warranty covering manufacturing defects. Those must always come from the company making your new roof’s products.
Every warranty has been written and reviewed by attorneys, so the wording can be challenging and, to be honest, boring to read. But do not let the ho-hum writing prevent you from carefully examining the warranty’s features. Some things to look out for:
- Term coverage—How long does the warranty remain in force? Many manufacturing warranties now provide for 20-, 30- and even 50-year protection!
- Types of coverage—A roofing warranty can get very granular, specifying varying coverage periods for algae protection, blow-off, and materials-only replacement
- Transferability—The warranty could be transferred from you, the original owner, to whomever buys your house, but those owners cannot transfer it again
- Included products—Generally for the warranty to remain in force, you and your roofing contractor must install a complete roofing system; you cannot have field shingles from one maker and starter shingles from another
- Limited or Full?—Most warranties are limited, meaning they have some kind of legal limitations (duration, components, transferability); very few roofing warranties are “full,” so do not be put off by this term
- Requirements—Silly mistakes can easily void the warranty, so be sure to use a certified roofer (as opposed to a handyman service or a general contractor), follow maintenance requirements as outlined in the warranty, and register your warranty with the provider
- Prorating—Many warranties prorate protection after a set number of years, offering smaller payouts after the 10-year or 25-year mark
Though it may not be dazzling reading, the warranty really does offer peace of mind. If, for example, a year or two after full roof replacement, your roofer determines that your ridge vents are failing due to a manufacturing defect, the maker (not the roofer) will pay all the costs to fix the problem:
- Replace with new materials
- Pay for labor
A single claim on the roof warranty could save you thousands of dollars!
To make the most of any warranty, you have to be a responsible homeowner. First, select your roofing contractor with an eye toward value:
- Is the contractor certified by major manufacturers?
- Does the local contractor show prestigious and valuable awards for excellence?
- Is the local roofing contractor known for flawless installation and great customer service?
Value does not mean “discounted,” or “cheap.” You may pay slightly more up front for the best quality work from highly trained roofers, but the value they bring is worth your investment.
You can be a responsible homeowner by interviewing at least three roofing contractors before a major residential roofing job. Ask tough questions and expect honest answers. Do your research. Ask about warranties.
Next, select the best roofing materials your budget allows. If you start by partnering with a high-quality roofer, you are already well on your way to a great full roof replacement, fully protected by strong warranties. Reputable contractors stay in business by working only with the best manufacturers.
Work with Red Diamond Roofing in the Denver, Fort Collins, and Thornton areas. Contact us today to get straightforward, clear answers to all your roofing concerns, from roof warranties to full roof replacement.