So you’re finally getting that new roof you’ve been dreaming about! With such a big investment, you’ll want to make sure it’s protected. A roof warranty gives you peace of mind, but it can be confusing to figure out what’s actually covered.
In this handy guide, we’ll break down the different types of warranties, what’s included (and what’s not!), how long coverage lasts, and tips to keep your warranty valid. Let’s dive in!
The Two Main Types of Roof Warranties
There are two basic warranties to look for with any new roof:
The Manufacturer’s Warranty
This covers defects and flaws in the physical roofing materials themselves. For instance, if your new shingles start cracking and degrading prematurely, the manufacturer’s warranty would provide replacements.
On average, you can expect material warranties of 25-50 years for asphalt shingles, 10-30 years for other roofing materials like metal or tile. Some high-end shingles even offer “lifetime” coverage (though the fine print will explain what exactly that means).
Keep in mind the manufacturer’s warranty does not cover damage from improper installation or extreme weather. It also won’t pay for disposal/replacement labor if materials fail – only the cost of the materials themselves.
The Roofer’s Workmanship Warranty
This covers installation quality and labor. If leakage or structural issues are traced back to poor craftsmanship, the roofer’s warranty would cover repairs.
Workmanship warranties typically range from 2-10 years, with 10 years being the industry standard. Some roofers offer extended warranties up to 15-25 years for an additional cost. The longer the coverage timeframe, the more confidence the roofer has in their skills!
How Long Do Roof Warranties Normally Last?
Now let’s dig into the duration of coverage you can expect:
For asphalt shingles, a 25-50 year warranty is standard. Budget shingles will be on the lower end, while premium architectural shingles often receive 50 year guarantees.
Other roofing materials like metal, tile, or slate generally have 10-30 year manufacturer warranties. Lifetime warranties do exist but read the fine print – coverage may decrease on a prorated basis after a certain timeframe.
Roofer’s Workmanship Warranties
As mentioned, 2-10 years is typical range for installation warranties. Ten years is the most common standard length.
Some high-end roofers offer extended workmanship warranties up to 15-25 years, but usually for an added cost. The longer the coverage, the more confidence the roofer has in their skills and labor quality.
What Does the Warranty Actually Cover?
Now for the million dollar question – what kind of damage or defects does the warranty cover?
For manufacturer warranties, physical material failures like cracking, chipping, peeling, or delamination would be covered. Basically, if the shingles or other roofing components don’t hold up as promised, replacements or repairs should be covered.
On workmanship warranties, poor installation leading to leaks, flashing failures, or structural issues would be addressed. If the roofer makes mistakes during your roof installation, their warranty should make things right.
Keep in mind storm damage from wind, hail, falling branches may only have limited coverage or fall under your homeowners insurance instead.
Exclusions and Limitations
While warranties give valuable protection, there are often exclusions and limitations to be aware of:
- Failing to properly maintain your roof or allowing damage to occur through neglect can void the warranty. Regular cleaning and inspections are key.
- Using unapproved shingles, coatings, or materials also invalidates coverage in most cases. Stick to what the roofer advises.
- Don’t expect coverage for acts of nature – damage from storms, weather, falling debris is usually excluded after the first year or so.
- The roofer must be certified by the manufacturer to honor material warranties – so verify before hire!
- Transferability to a new homeowner if you move can be limited. Ask about this upfront if it matters.
Maintaining Your Warranty
To keep your roof warranty intact, be sure to:
Get Regular Inspections
Most warranties require professional inspections at least every 2 years. This allows minor issues to be detected and addressed before they become major problems. Stay on top of this!
Follow Maintenance Requirements
Keep records proving you properly cared for your roof and fulfilled maintenance terms per the warranty. For example, hiring only the original installer for repairs, cleaning at regular intervals, etc.
Handle the Paperwork
Register your warranty with manufacturer ASAP after install. Keep invoices, paperwork, and records anytime you have work done. Know the fine print!
Choosing a Reliable Roofer
Since the quality of installation impacts how well your roof and warranty hold up, it pays to pick the right contractor.
Insist on a Workmanship Warranty
Avoid any roofer unwilling to put their workmanship guarantee in writing. This shows they stand by their skills. The longer the coverage offered, the more reassurance you have.
Verify They’re Certified
Certification from roofing manufacturers is required to honor material warranties. Look for advanced certification tiers for best coverage.
Check Reviews and References
Choose a contractor with proven expertise and accountability to customers. Online reviews and past client references are telling.
Unique Warranty Considerations
Beyond the basics, there are some additional warranty specifics that may factor into your roofing project:
Upgraded Warranty Options
Some manufacturers and contractors offer upgraded warranties for an added fee. For example, you may be able to purchase a 50-year manufacturer warranty instead of the standard 30-year. Or extend the roofer’s workmanship coverage from 10 years to 15 years. Evaluate if the extra protection is worth the cost.
Certain premium roofing materials like slate, clay tile, or metal may come with their own unique warranties covering unique defects like cracking, chipping, rust, etc. The warranty durations and terms can vary quite a bit from asphalt shingles.
Wind and Algae Coverage
In coastal regions, supplemental warranties for wind damage and algae/mildew growth may be offered. This gives added peace of mind for homeowners in high-risk areas.
DIY Installs vs Professional
DIY roofing projects likely won’t qualify for any material or workmanship warranties. So make sure to hire a pro to get the full warranty benefits on a new roof.
New Home Construction
For new home builds, the roof warranty may be bundled into the overall home warranty. Pay attention to what’s covered by the builder after possession vs needing supplemental roof coverage.
The Bottom Line
Understanding what’s covered by your roof warranty, how long it lasts, and how to keep it intact gives you confidence in the value of your investment. Look for generous coverage periods, limited exclusions, and a reputable installer. With the right warranties and care, your roof will provide lasting protection and peace of mind!