Warranties Need Not Be A War
The roofing industry talks about warranties a lot. On the composition shingle side of things, products will even be referenced in regards to their warranty. They will be called a “20-year” or “30-year” shingle. However, the manufacturers of those products will tell you that their warranty is not a guarantee nor even a prediction of life expectancy but rather a contract with the homeowner. Under the terms and subject to the exclusions of the warranty, they are telling you that, if their product does not do certain things, then they will make it right with you per the terms of the contract.
Warranties from metal roofing manufacturers are similar. In my opinion, their terms are a little more realistic in regards to life expectancy but these warranties are still a contract, not a guarantee of life expectancy.
There are, though, some key questions to ask about your product warranty:
- What exactly does it cover and not cover in terms of things that could go wrong with the product?
- Is it transferable? If so, to how many future owners? Is there a charge for transfer of the warranty?
- Is it pro-rated?
- If the product does fail, will they include labor costs in the repair or replacement or just provide new materials?
Did you notice that one of my questions was NOT whether the warranty covers leakage of the roof? Fact is, standard manufacturer warranties will never cover against leaks. That must be covered by the installing contractor. It is called the workmanship warranty.
It is critical that you know what workmanship warranty you will receive. How strong is the company that backs it? How long is it good for? What does it cover and not cover? Is it pro-rated? Is it transferable?
Yes, warranty is important in your roof selection. The most important thing is understanding the details of the manufacturer and contractor warranties that you will receive.