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Everything You Need to Know About Roofing Warranties – Part 3: The Fine Print: Your Responsibility as an Owner

Don’t wait to suffer from the damages of a roof leak before you start reviewing your warranty. The role you play in making sure your warranty stays in effect is equally important to that of the issuer. Warranties should be reviewed even before you make the decision to hire or purchase. Here are some pointers on what to look for.

  • Maintenance: Is it required by your warranty? Make sure the warranty has specific instructions on how to carry out inspections and repairs and how often. Some contractors require maintenance to be done by their own people to keep the warranty from being voided. Manufacturers can similarly require their own inspectors or roofers as well.
  • Length: How long will your warranty have you covered? While some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties, others offer up to 40 years. This doesn’t mean your roof will last as long, however, and that’s because the warranties only provide for product defects, and not aging and weather damage.
  • Repair & Replacement: Does your warranty cover both, or just one of the two? You may need to replace the damaged materials along with the repair. Find out whether or not the purchase of the replacement will have to come from your pocket.
  • Records: Keep all the records — from the initial estimate, to every receipt and invoice during the installation process. You’ll need all the required paperwork to claim your warranty.
  • Transferrability: Most warranties are not assignable or transferable by the owner. If you are not the original owner of the house, your roof’s warranty may have already been voided. Even when warranties are transferrable, conditions must be met and additional fees must be paid.
  • Exclusions: Warranties commonly exclude extreme weather, damage from ponding water, and damage from poor maintenance. Your warranty must state the specifics on each exclusion, as well as any other demands included. Consequential damage, such as damage caused by a roof leak, are also excluded by most warranties although they are usually more costly to repair.

Each warranty has its own specific terms and conditions, so it’s important to read each warranty carefully. So long as you are aware of the twists and turns — in this case, the exclusions and the nullification clauses — in the small print, you’re well-covered.


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