What is a Roof Warranty and How Does That Cover Me?
A roof warranty protects the longevity of your roof and the costs associated with repair and maintenance for a certain period.
Most roof warranties are covered through the shingle manufacturer and typically will have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years. These basic warranties will cover labor and materials in case of leaks and malfunctions.
Navigating the different types of roof warranties and what they cover can require a lot of complicated research. That’s why we’ve broken the information down so you can make an informed decision on which warranty covers your needs.
What Are the Different Types of Roof Warranties?
The three main types of roof warranties are standard, workmanship, and extended warranties. GAF is one of the most well-known companies that offer these types of coverage.
We’ll go over each one and then explain what they cover and for how long.
A standard warranty covers the cost of the materials that you purchased from the manufacturer. These warranties come standard when you purchase shingles. Unfortunately, they only cover defective shingles. You will still have to pay for the labor, a.k.a. the cost for a contractor to remove and replace the shingles.
This warranty also does not cover you in the case of a materials defect caused during installation. This responsibility will fall on the roofing contractor.
Standard warranties will usually cover your roof for 25 to 30 years unless you choose a limited lifetime warranty. This can cover your roof for up to 50 years or for as long as you own the home.
A workmanship warranty is covered through your roofing contractor and will cover any errors or damage covered during installation. This warranty will cover labor, the cost of materials, and any other damage done to the home because of the installation.
This type of warranty does not cover any damage that occurred because of weather, natural disasters, falling trees, and foot traffic.
The length of a workmanship warranty will vary depending on the roofer you choose. Higher skilled contractors often offer longer warranties, sometimes even lifetime warranties. But the best way to prevent damages caused to your roof during installation is to hire a professional, knowledgeable, and experienced contractor from the start.
Most manufacturers offer an optional extended warranty that includes both materials and labor coverage. You will be covered in case of any manufacturing defects or installation errors.
This option usually comes with a higher price, but can provide greater peace of mind. The roof has to be installed by a certified and authorized contractor to receive an extended warranty. You would also have to install a complete roof system that meets specific guidelines, including barriers and underlayment.
It’s best to choose a trusted manufacturer if you want to get an extensive extended warranty with an array of benefits.
What Types of Damage and Repair are Covered Under a Roof Warranty?
Standard warranties can offer some protection, but not much. They will cover the replacement of any material that has a defect, but it is rare for a roof to fail because of a material defect.
Workmanship warranties cover quite a bit more than a standard warranty. Although coverage and length of a warranty differ from company to company, most will cover the cost of materials that were damaged (along with labor).
Depending on the situation, these warranties will even cover damage that was done to the home’s interior and any personal belongings. They are valid if the error occurred due to improper installation.
Extended warranties are similar to workmanship warranties, but they are covered through the manufacturer instead of the contractor. An extended warranty will cover material costs due to defects and labor costs associated with contractor error.
Pro Tip: You should know that warranties can be helpful, but they often don’t cover repairs for the most common causes of roof failure, such as severe weather damage and insufficient maintenance.
What Can Void a Roof Warranty?
You need to take steps to ensure that you don’t void your warranty, even accidentally.
These are the most common reasons a roof warranty is voided:
- Poor Installation: Not only can you void an extended warranty by not going with a certified contractor, you can also void a standard warranty by hiring an inexperienced contractor. Make sure you hire someone that follows specific guidelines and doesn’t cut corners.
- Improper Ventilation: Insufficient venting can trap heat and moisture in the attic, which can damage your roof and shingles.
- Placing New Shingles Over Old Ones: This is an easy way to void a warranty. Unfortunately, you will see it advertised by some roofers as a way to save money.
- Installing Antennas and Satellites: Installing antennas requires you to drill holes into your roof, which will most likely void the part of your warranty that covers leaks.
- Major Fixtures: Placing things like skylights and solar panels necessitate removing shingles and tearing off parts of the roof. If installing a fixture is something you want to do in the future, make sure you reach out to your roofing contractor.
- Spray Foam Insulation: Insulating your roof with spray foam can cause your roof to heat up and damage your shingles.
- Pressure Washing: High pressure can damage the shingles on your roof. An alternative to keeping your roof clean of moss and algae is to place zinc strips on your roof, killing fungus.
How Do I Select the Best Warranty?
There are several things to consider when selecting a roof warranty, and they are all dependent on individual needs.
- Coverage: What coverage are you willing to live with? Do you prefer to have as much coverage as possible, or are you ready to settle with having a material-only warranty?
- Lifespan: How long do you need your warranty to last? Is 25 years enough, or do you want it to be a lifetime plan?
- Option to Extend: Does your warranty company have an option for you to buy an extended warranty if you decide you want one? What are the requirements for the extended warranty?
- Trustworthiness: How trustworthy is the manufacturer? How reliable is the roofing contractor? Do they have a proven track record with good reviews?
- Pricing: The most critical factor to consider when choosing a roof warranty is how much warranty you can afford. Extended warranties often seem the best way to go, but they can be expensive. A standard warranty might fit your budget, but they don’t always offer very much coverage.
- Flexibility: Does your warranty allow things like skylights to be installed? What are their requirements for finding a contractor? What does the fine print of the contract say about overall changes, you don’t accidentally void your warranty?
Is a Roof Warranty Worth It?
In short, yes. But it depends on how expensive your roof is.
Extended warranties can be pricey, but they are well worth the price if you are already spending a significant amount on a high-end roof. Expensive roof material also means that repairs can be costly, so investing in a good warranty could be very worthwhile.
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t mind setting aside money every year for roof repairs, then you may opt out of a warranty. If you would rather not have to worry about anything and prefer to pay a lump sum upfront, then a good extended warranty might be the way to go.
Things to Keep in Mind
Remember that warranties don’t protect against everything, and some roof repairs may need to be covered another way.
Most warranties, even extended warranties, do not cover damage from snow, hail, lightning strikes, excessive rain, falling trees, or any other acts of nature.
But outside of inclement weather, one of the main reasons for a failing roof is poor maintenance. Damage that occurs because you didn’t properly maintain the roof is not covered under warranty.
Regular inspections and routine cleaning should be performed on your roof to ensure that you don’t void your warranty. We recommend using an approved contractor through your manufacturer to do the cleaning. That way, you can’t be blamed if something is damaged.
Before you choose between a standard, workmanship, or extended warranty, make sure you do your research and read the fine print in the contract. Know what you want before you have your roof installed. Then you can know what questions to ask and ultimately choose the proper manufacturer and contractor.
Before you sign a contract, understand that not everything will be covered under warranty. You will still be responsible for repairs if the damage occurs outside of the specified scope. It is also good to write down a checklist of questions to ask and points to clarify before deciding on a roof warranty.
Let Us Help Your Rood
Our team is ready to help you take care of your most important asset: your home. We provide a full range of services and are prepared to help with any routine or emergency calls. If you are looking for a trusted and experienced roofing company to repair or replace your roof, contact us.