This video blog is part of the Official RoofPal Microcast Series
When it comes to roof system warranties, there is a lot of information available that can be confusing and misguiding. A manufacturer’s warranty should serve as a guide to what the roofing contractor should do. But beware – unfortunately, some roofing contractors sell warranties that may contradict what the manufacturer offers.
What is a warranty?
A warranty is a written guarantee of the integrity of a product and of the maker’s responsibility for the repair or replacement of defective parts. Warranties are not iron-clad, all-inclusive insurance policies that cover any roofing problem. They don’t specify the roof won’t leak or that the materials are even suitable for the building on which they are installed. This is one of many reasons to always choose a reputable, professional roofing contractor and not just the lowest bid.
Warranties can be very confusing
For example, roof coating manufacturers typically offer a 10-year warranty with 3 applications over sprayed polyurethane foam (exceptions to this include Conklin 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 coatings). There are roofing contractors that offer 10-year warranties with only 2 applications of coating solely to save on material costs, claiming they roof system will last just as long. Make sure this is not the case, as this can void your warranty with the manufacturer if it conflicts.
In other cases, some roofing contractors offer 10-year “no leak” guarantees, which often does not cover their workmanship (only leaks). They sometimes also include in the fine print of the contract that you must re-coat the roof after 7 years. It would appear in this case you then are receiving a limited 7-year warranty instead of a 10-year “no leak” guarantee with an obligation for additional future costs.
Possibly the most egregious example of warranty confusion is when the exact same roof system is offered with warranty options for 10, 12 or 15 years. The duration of the warranty shouldn’t be your concern – the limitations should be. Paying more money for a longer warranty period will not extend the useful life of any roof system.
The best solution is to ensure the warranty your roofing contractor offers is aligned with the manufacturer warranty, and to establish with that roofing contractor an annual or twice-annually cleaning and maintenance program. You may not need to purchase an extended warranty because your roof will typically last longer than the warranty period if you have it properly and regularly cleaned and maintained.
A roofing contractor’s Workmanship Guarantee (also referred to as a Labor Warranty) typically provides broad and long-term protection with direct insurance and legal remedies, if it ever became necessary. Reputable roofing contractors typically include one to five-year warranties that are stated in brief, plain-English contract language clearly spelling out their obligation. What you want to see is no excessive fine print, no loopholes, and no “gotcha” clauses. Rather, a brief broad-based contractual warranty provision that covers both defective materials and defective workmanship without exclusionary language that limits the scope of coverage or applicability of the warranty.
Here are a few recommendations:
First, make sure the contractor you select is approved by the manufacturer to install and warranty the materials being recommended.
Second, consider if the roofing contractor you are selecting has been in business long enough to have earned a solid reputation in the industry, and that you trust will be in business long enough to honor the duration of your warranty.
Third, negotiate with the roofing contractor the best possible un-excluded Workmanship Guarantee or Labor Warranty. You should request that any ambiguous language or obvious loopholes are removed from the document. Also insist that the included base manufacturer warranty be No Dollar Limit (NDL).
Finally, establish a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule with the contractor who installs the roofing system. Your roof will last longer, be less likely to have leaks, and will help prevent your warranties from becoming void.
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