Using the warranty to evaluate whether a roof is good value is not always the best idea. In many cases, the warranty is designed to protect the manufacturer’s interests.
Attorneys draw up warranties for the manufacturer to make sure their costs are minimized during the coverage period. Warranties are important because they indicate the level of confidence the manufacturer has in the roofing or proposed specification. But this is not necessarily an indicator of the overall value of the roofing.
Stop Buying Roof Warranties
Minimize The Need For A Roof Warranty
The best way to get the most from your roof is to work with a licensed, experienced, and reputable roofing contractor. With regular maintenance and inspections, a professional roofer can provide quality roofing. Professional roofers hire estimators who will specify the roofing materials that the contractor is approved for and can install.
They will also issue a warranty for these materials and work. The next step is to invest in regular annual maintenance and cleaning starting the very first year you have the roofing installed. This will be the most effective way to minimize risks for roof leaks and maximize the longevity of your roof.
Warranty Duration Doesn’t Indicate Value
When deciding on roofing materials or installation, the warranty offered should not be a significant factor in the decision-making process. This is not to say you should ignore the warranty, but it should not be one of the main factors when deciding.
Two warranties that offer the same length of coverage do not mean the roofing for each is of the same quality. As an example, you can typically find three-coat restoration coating systems that offer up to 12 years material and labor warranty. A four-ply built-up replacement system typically comes with a ten-year warranty. In this case, the warranty period is shorter for this built-up option, but you get a much longer expected lifespan from the roof with this replacement solution.
What Does A Manufacturer Warranty Cover?
A manufacturer warranty will cover prematurely damaged roofing materials so long as the following conditions are met:
- Damage was not caused by neglect, poor maintenance, alterations, or ponding water
- The installer and manufacturer have been paid in full
- An approved roofer performs annual maintenance since installation
Some warranties can be transferred for a fee, but in most cases, coverage only applies to the original owner. A leak that does not fall under the manufacturer warranty will not be covered, so it is important to understand the conditions of the warranty fully before you sign.
A pre-installation inspection can cost $550 and a post-installation inspection can be $1500. Annual inspection fees can be $550 during the warranty period. If your warranty is 10 years, this adds up to $7000 for inspections and these fees are typically billed 90 days prior. If you miss one year of inspections or if the fee is not paid, your warranty becomes void.
A Warranty Does Not Equal Insurance Policy
A warranty does not mean that problems will not occur. If they do occur, they are taken care of at no cost to you, providing they fall within the warranty specifications. Any incidental damage to the property structure or insulation is not recoverable. This is true even when corrective actions do not meet their intended purpose.
A warranty is also governed by the county where the manufacturer’s headquarters are. Any legal action against them needs to be handled through the local courts.
Warranty Claim Process
Claims to the manufacturer must be handled in writing and within thirty days of the leak or damage being identified. The manufacturer then has 90 days to do the inspection. If you cancel the inspection or discover the problem is not covered by warranty, fees are non-refundable.
If the damage is covered under the warranty, the manufacturer supplies the materials and labor to cover repairs.
What Is A Workmanship Warranty
A workmanship warranty is issued by the contractor that installs the roofing and usually covers work and labor for between 2 and 5 years. Newly installed, repaired, and replaced roofing is covered within this time. Any issues covered by the warranty are taken care of in a timely manner.
For any work not covered by warranty such as damage caused by neglect or storms, contractors will provide an estimate of the scope of work and costs required for repairs. There are some roofing contractors that offer 10, 15, or 20 years of workmanship warranty coverage, but this is in lieu of any material defect warranty.
This is issued in cases where the contractor hired is not an approved contractor by the manufacturer or when the contractor does not have a proven track record. If you are offered a warranty longer than 5 years that is not guaranteed by the manufacturer, you need to get the reasons why.
Workmanship warranties are only enforceable for up to two years and there will be no legal recourse if the materials fail or if the contractor becomes bankrupt.
Importance Of Roof Cleaning And General Maintenance
Roofing warranties all stipulate that proper maintenance is required for efficient drainage and minimizing risks for leaks. Maintenance is best when performed annually. Regular maintenance does not always guarantee the roof will be leak-free, but warranties will cover naturally occurring roof leaks.
This drives roofing contractors to make sure they perform their best work to prevent leaking.
Working with a reputable and experienced contractor is the best way to enhance the longevity of your roofing. Warranties are great to have, but the contractor and regular preventative maintenance are more important and should be your priority.
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