Know Your Warranty
That’s a really good question, and the answer is ‘no’. When we make investments in our home, sure, we’d love these improvements to last forever. And, in reality, with all of the different weather we experience—hail, rain, snow, ice, tornados, hurricanes, intense heat etc., no one can promise that anything exposed to the elements will last forever.
A lot of companies offer “lifetime” warranties on their products. I just bought a new garage door opener that came with a lifetime warranty. It sounds really great. So, what exactly does that mean? I’m still trying to figure that out!
When it comes to putting a new roof on your home, chances are the shingles you have installed will carry a lifetime warranty. To help you make an informed and educated decision, I’d like to set the record straight on what that means so that should you ever have an issue, you clearly understand what is covered and what is not.
What is Covered by a Lifetime Shingle Warranty?
If you read any warranty it is written in really tiny type and is filled with a lot of legal language. Right, wrong or indifferent, it can be confusing. The bottom line is, a warranty is a promise–a promise from the manufacturer to you, the consumer, that you will be protected should something go wrong with the product you purchased.
So, let’s go over the ABCs of roofing warranties so you are armed to ask more informed questions of your contractor.
- Nowadays, most, if not all shingle warranties are “Lifetime.” That simply means—for as long as you own your home;
- All warranties cover manufacturing defects, which can range from things like excessive granule loss, press variation and inadequate sealant;
- ALL but one manufacturer will only consider it a “manufacturing defect” if your roof is leaking or the roof’s performance is adversely affected;
- CertainTeed is the only manufacturer that will cover manufacturing defects even if the roof isn’t leaking. This is a critically important distinction you should consider.
- All warranties come with front-loaded coverage that offers full replacement material and installation in the early years after a roof is installed, should a manufacturing defect occur—this period of time is usually around 10 years, depending on manufacturer.
- After that front-loaded period only the shingles themselves are covered and at a decreasing rate as the roof gets older—we call that proration. In other words, if your roof fails in year 15 and it is determined it was due to a manufacturing defect, you will be covered for the replacement shingles only, and at a reduced rate. Labor to remove the old shingles, install the new ones and disposal costs are not covered.
This is where a majority of the angst lies between homeowners, their contractors and shingle manufacturers. The impression is that if the roof has a lifetime warranty, that it is a full soup-to-nuts coverage from year one until the end—shingles, labor, disposal, etc.
In reality, it’s not. And often the contractor is stuck in the middle between the manufacturer’s warranty and the homeowner’s expectations.
What is an Extended Warranty and is it Worth it?
Adding extended warranty coverage for your roof is a whole different story. Imagine, for a mere fraction of the roof cost, you can take that front-loaded protection and extend it for up to an additional 40 years to include tear off, replacement material, labor and disposal, depending on the product and coverage chosen–should there be a manufacturing defect. That’s inexpensive, yet valuable insurance for complete peace of mind for as long as you live in your home. Not too shabby!
Your home is a reflection of you and your personality. Everything you do, from kitchen and bath remodels, to additions, to exterior renovations say something about your style and taste. And, with the time and money you invest in your home, you want to make sure you’re getting great value and quality.
As you shop for your new roof and the contractor who will install it, go into the process with your eyes wide open. You now have the basics of roof warranties and what they cover, which should help as you do your research.
Replacing your roof is a big job and a big investment. And at the end of the day, if you find the right contractor, who installs a quality roof system and complements it with a solid extended warranty, you get a beautiful roof built to protect you and your family for many years to come.
Want to learn more?
Jay Butch joined CertainTeed Roofing in 1998 and is responsible for all contractor programs and marketing. By developing the Shingle Master credential, an enhanced SureStart PLUS warranty and Roofers’ Rewards, he strengthened the Contractor’s EDGE offering. Jay adds valuable insight from his extensive interactions with contractors across the country.