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Everything You Need to Know About Roofing Warranties – Part 2: Issuer & Coverage: The Who, What, and Differences Among the Different Types of Warranties

The different types of roof warranties and the inclusions in coverage typically depend on who issues them. As the performance of the roofing system relies heavily on both the quality of the material and the quality of the workmanship involved, the warranty for your roof can be issued by the manufacturer or by your contractor, or both.

There are two types of manufacturer’s warranties: materials-only warranties, and system warranties. Material warranties are provided by all manufacturers and typically range in length from 10 to 30 years, depending on the different kinds of material and the brand. Like the name implies, this type of manufacturer-issued warranty only covers defects or failure of the materials, caused by manufacturing defects or premature aging. The problem this presents is often the narrow scope of coverage: often, the material that makes up your roof may have warranty, but all of the other components that support may not.

System warranties, on the other hand, are issued by the manufacturer to cover a broader scope of defective materials and workmanship. They also typically last 10 to 30 years, and exclude roof leaks caused by non-manufacturer produced roof components such as flashings, pitch pans, and coping metal. Manufacturers that issue system warranties require that the roofing system be installed according to their specifications and details, sometimes requiring their own licensed and trained roofers to do the job.

Manufacturer-issued warranties should come from the manufacturer and should not be used as a substitute warranty for workmanship by the roofing contractor. Call the manufacturer and make sure the contractor is authorized, to avoid nulling your warranty.

The contractor’s workmanship warranty is a separate warranty issued by your roofing contractor, and provides a guarantee against errors and improper installation. These warranties usually cover 1-5 years, although some provide coverage of as long as 10 years.This is because roofing is a “high-turnover” business and contractors generally have less economic stability than manufacturers in the roofing industry. Beware of contractors that use extensive warranty length as a tool to win more clients. It’s more important to choose a contractor with the right credentials and an established reputation for the services they provide.

Both workmanship and manufacturing warranties are generally provided free of charge. The charge for a full warranty that includes materials and labor is calculated based on the size of the roof along with an additional inspection fee.

When problems occur with your roof, warranties can play a big part in keeping your roof intact and saving you a lot of money in repairs. But the responsibility doesn’t just fall on the manufacturer or contractor’s shoulders. What part do you play in all this? We discuss that and more in Part 3.


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