This article stresses the significance of hiring a top-rated, experienced roofer over depending on limited manufacturer warranties. Roof failures are mostly due to poor workmanship, not material defects. Ensuring proper planning and installation by an expert contractor is vital for a successful roofing project. A reliable roofer minimizes the need for warranties, providing long-lasting, well-built roofs.
Roof Warranties can be good, but also can be pretty Limited.* Hiring the Best Rated Roofer is Much Better.
Replacing your new roof system when needed is a significant investment on your home or business. With such an expense it is understandable to try to limit any costs associated with a prematurely failing roof system with a good warranty. But a roof warranty is not a guarantee. In fact, most roof manufacturer warranties only cover their materials. You can pick up many manufactured roofing materials in your local Home Depot or Lowes, and right on the box you will see “lifetime” 50 year warranties listed. But they only cover the materials if they should fail. They do not cover any mistakes made by the roofer responsible for installing those roofing materials correctly.
*(Read a roof warranty and you will find there are many limitations)
Roofs Fail Mostly due to Poor Workmanship and Planning by Roofing Contractor
It’s extremely rare for a roof system to fail due to the material. I have done thousands of roofs in Long Island and NYC over many years. And in that time, I have never seen a roof fail because of a defect in the material. On the rare occasion, I get a call from a customer I did a roof for, saying that the roof is leaking. The inspection always shows that the infiltration is coming from places other than the roof, such as through an opening in the siding, chimney or other areas which become exposed to driving rain or snow.
I have only had 2 customers successfully claim and recover on valid and approved material warranty claims. Both claims happened on the same street in Suffolk County, where it turned out both new roof systems we installed lost a section of shingles because a twister landed on hit the houses on their block on Long Island. When those customers called County Roofing, I was there immediately to fix the problem. We had our customer take pictures and file a claim with the manufacturer, but County Roofing fixed the problem immediately and didn’t wait for any decision by the manufacturer on the claim. It is important to work with a trusted roofing contractor who answers calls and is responsive to any concerns about a project it did.
It is essential that the correct planning, design, materials, installation procedures are utilized in any new roof project. Over the last 35 years of going on roof inspections, I have learned that the most important part of any roof project is making sure the project is properly planned and installed by an expert roofer, experienced and knowledgeable about necessary design, ventilation, and installation requirements to build the roof system successfully.
The single most important decision you can make with regard to a new roof is hiring the right contractor.
A manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t even come close in importance. A licensed, insured, certified and reputable contractor reduces the need for any warranty substantially. Every mistake made by a roofing installer, even small mistakes, can have very large consequences for the success of a newly installed roof system. Installing a roof according to the specifications of the various manufactures requires technical skill, knowledge, training and experience. Only an experienced, certified, factory trained and reputable roofing contractor should be hired to do your roof. Any pennies saved in hiring your local handyman to install your roof could likely result in pounds of inconvenience and cost later if the roof system fails.
Roofs Fail For Many Reasons. Most due to Poor Workmanship and Planning
Over the last 35 years of going on roof inspections where a roof has prematurely failed to live up to its roof life expectancy, I have learned the most important part of any roof project is making sure the project is properly planned and installed by an expert roofer fully aware aware of the necessary design, ventilation, and installation requirements necessary to install a successful roof system. Most times these problems were attributed by the manufacturer to the workmanship. Workmanship is not covered by most roof system warranties, unless it specifically covers workmanship or labor.
Most manufacturers will generally warrant their materials in the marketplace. If those roofing shingles or components are found to have an inherent manufacturing defect, the manufacturer will pay the reasonable costs of labor to install replacement products to repair the deficiency. This material warranty is non-prorated for up to 10 years, which means the amount the manufacturer will pay to repair the defective shingles will not be affected by the age of the installation for the first 10 years. After those 10 years, the manufacturer will reduce the amount it pays to repair any defects in the shingles and accessories to adjust for the depreciation in the roof systems value.
However, the manufactures will allow their top certified and approved contractors to offer labor warranties for 25 years along with their 50 year material warranties. However even these labor warranties do not cover the failure by a roofer to properly allow for ventilation in the structure and roof system. And if a roof system with a labor warranty fails for a reason covered by the warranty, then the manufacturer will pay what it claims is the reasonable labor and materials costs necessary to repair the roof structure. Whether such some is in line with what a reputable contractor will accept to make such repairs is another question altogether.
When you file a claim with the manufacturer that it finds valid, it doesn’t mean you’re getting a new roof. It means the manufacturer will pay what it deems reasonable to correct the problem to a watertight condition.
An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of roofing cure.
When you compare the costs of a possible future premature roof system failure to the additional cost you may incur by hiring a fully licensed, insured, and reputable roofer with top certifications, it is clear your money is better spent in hiring such a contractor.
Warranties are good only if they pay for the repair and replacement of a failed roof.
The good thing about a workmanship or labor warranty from a manufacturer as opposed to a contractor is that you can expect the roofing manufacturers, which have been in business for over 100 years, will at least be around in 25 years. Your local roofer may not be around to answer your calls in ten years.
I have often seen structures with failed roof systems which did have both material and labor warranties, but for one reason or another fell within the exceptions of the terms and conditions of the warranty covering it. So while a warranty is an important part of the entire consideration of building a new roof, it is by far the least of considerations in my opinion.
Don’t get me wrong, my company, County Roofing offers the best warranties in the business through manufacturers who are the top in the industry. These warranties cover homeowners for 50 years on materials, and 25 to 30 years for labor. These are the best warranties and can only be offered by a roofing contractor such as County Roofing which has the top certifications from each manufacturer. To obtain such certifications, our installers have to be factory trained, certified, insured and have an excellent track record of servicing its customers in the community.
When manufacturers offered their top certifications to County Roofing, they did so after ensuring we had the proper training, reputation, insurance, licensing, rating, and good relationship with other vendors such as supply houses. In fact, if the roofing contractor is not able to offer you one of the top manufacture extended labor warranties, it could mean that it did not have the proper credentials to do so. A roofer who doesn’t meet the criteria will not be able to offer a the warranties that a Certified Installer, Master Elite, Preferred of Master Shingle Installer can. So while being able to offer these extended warranties is an important part to consider for any new roof system, it is not the most important and can not balance out the hiring a roofer who is not excellent at his craft.