A new roof can be one of the biggest investments you make for your home. So if you’re thinking about putting on a new roof, it’s worthwhile to explore roof warranties.
But are roof warranties worth it? Read on to understand more about what they cover and make up your mind about whether or not they’re worthwhile. We’ll explain the two types of roof warranties, warranty lengths, what to look for in a good warranty, and how to read the fine print.
Types of Roof Warranties
There are two main types of roofing warranties. While a home warranty or homeowner’s insurance may cover some issues related to roofs, they won’t necessarily cover the same thing a roof warranty will.
One type covers roofing materials, while the other type covers workmanship quality. If you have both types, it will cover more issues that could arise with your roof. Looking more closely at these two warranties can give you a better idea of what each type covers.
Roofing Material Warranty
One of the most common types of roof warranties covers the materials roofers use to roof your home. A roofing materials warranty comes from the company that manufactures your roofing materials. For example, it would take care of (and maybe compensate you for) any shingles that turn out to be defective.
If you purchase an entire roofing system from the same manufacturing company, you can get an extended warranty for your roofing materials for an added cost. The extended warranties for most trusted manufacturers cover materials and labor costs for repairs as well as the replacement of all roof system and coordination components, including:
- Regular, hip, ridge cap, starter, and field shingles
- Barriers against ice and water
- Ridge vents
If a roofing contractor doesn’t offer a manufacturer’s warranty, it can be a sign that the manufacturer has not approved the contractor to install their products. You should always look into warranty options from your contractor before hiring them so you aren’t left with hidden costs that you may not have realized weren’t covered by your warranty.
Roofing Workmanship Warranty
Every contractor should offer customers a workmanship warranty to cover installation quality issues. You’ll want to know that the contractor will make roof repairs or do a full roof replacement if they didn’t do a good installation job the first time, no matter the quality of the roofing materials.
Keep in mind that many workmanship warranties from contractors do not include damage from something unrelated to their installation workmanship, including:
- Damage from a storm, high winds, or impacts
- Damage from ice dams
- Damage from roof alterations after installation
- Damage from walking on the roof
- Damage from tree limbs or other debris that lands on the roof
Luckily, homeowners’ insurance generally covers damage from wind or hail. Home warranties often cover simple roof leaks.
It may also be possible to purchase a workmanship warranty through the company that manufactures your shingles. If your roof passes a workmanship inspection, the shingles manufacturer will also cover your roof’s workmanship.
Thus, getting your workmanship warranty through the manufacturer can be good insurance for the possibility of your contractor going out of business before your roof fails (most go out of business within five years).
How Long Should a Warranty Be on a New Roof?
Roofing material manufacturers generally warranty their materials based on how long they expect the roofing materials to last. Roof material longevity is different depending on the roofing material type.
These are the average lifespans of roofing materials:
- 20 years: asphalt shingle and composition roofs
- 25 years: fiber cement shingle roofs
- 30 years: wood shake roofs
- 50 years: slate, copper, and tile roofs
You should make sure that the warranty you get for your roof matches the expected longevity of your roofing material. Ensuring that both your material and workmanship warranties cover the expected lifetime of your roofing material may keep you from having to shell out money for new materials and labor earlier than you expect.
Material Warranty and Extended Warranty Length
Most roofing materials come with a standard long-term warranty that’s fairly uniform across the leading roofing material manufacturers. Material warranties usually cover the cost of roofing materials for 25 to 30 years. However, they tend to be only partially covered after ten years.
Most roofing material manufacturers also offer an enhanced warranty. You generally have to buy the complete roofing system from the same manufacturer to qualify. Then, after the contractors install your roof, you can register the roof to get an extended warranty.
With an enhanced material warranty, even if one of the roof components fails, the manufacturer will replace the whole roof — as long as they verify that the contractors installed the roof properly and you have adequate attic ventilation. An extended warranty is usually a 50-year, non-prorated warranty that you can even transfer to a new homeowner when you sell the house.
Workmanship Warranty Length
Most workmanship warranties from the contractor have a duration of 2, 5, 10, or 25 years – or for the entire lifetime of your roof. Remember, roofing materials can only do their job if the contractors do a good job applying the materials. This is why you want to choose a contractor that guarantees their work for at least a few years. After that, it’s more likely that any failure is the fault of the materials rather than the workmanship.
Meanwhile, workmanship warranties from the materials manufacturer are more likely to last 25 years. There may even be lifetime coverage, with prorating that begins after a certain number of years.
You should note that the term “lifetime” can mean something different to different contractors or manufacturers. The contractor or manufacturer may determine the lifetime of your roof, based on the roofing material or even your climate. If you live in a place that experiences extreme temperature variations (especially within the same day), you’re more likely to have shorter lifetime coverage.
What is the Best Roofing Warranty?
The best roofing warranty should:
- Cover the perceived life of the roofing material
- Not be prorated or limited over time
- Cover material defects
- Cover the labor costs of repairing material defects
- Cover the labor costs of repairing problems related to workmanship
- Cover what your homeowners’ insurance and home warranty don’t cover
Reading the Fine Print of Your Warranty
It’s worth your while to compare contractor and manufacturer warranties before you choose a contractor and tile manufacturer before you have a roof installed. Reading roof warranty information can help you make a more informed decision, which is important for a long-term investment.
It’s important to read all the terms of a warranty first. When you’re reading it, you should:
- Look for exclusions that would nullify and void the warranty
- Note if the warranty requires you to perform regular roof maintenance to keep it effective
- Notice if it’s necessary to use the same contractor for anything related to your roof
- Find out if there are any fees related to the warranty, such as an investigation fee for warranty claims
Is a Roofing Warranty Worth It?
The cost of replacing a roof ranges from $5000 to $11,000, with the average cost being around $8000. If you end up with roof damage that your home insurance company won’t cover that is related to materials or workmanship failure, having materials and workmanship warranties on your roof can save you thousands of dollars. So yes, roofing warranties are generally worth it.
However, it’s important to know exactly what it covers when you’re looking at a roofing warranty. You will want to ask the following questions to determine if the warranty is worth it:
- How long does the warranty last?
- Is it prorated or limited over time?
- Does it cover material defects?
- Does it cover labor to repair material defects?
- Does it cover labor to repair problems related to workmanship?
- Are there any additional costs to get the warranty?
- Do you have to have the manufacturer’s entire roofing system to qualify for the warranty?
- Can you transfer ownership of the warranty when you sell the home?
Looking into the terms of a contractor’s or manufacturing company’s warranty terms can help you choose a contractor and roofing materials that will give you peace of mind over the long term.
Final Thoughts on Roof Warranties
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether a roof warranty is worth it or not — but we think so! It’s always important to do research before choosing a warranty or roofing contractor. However, one of the best warranties you can have against problems is to start by hiring a roofing contractor that has a good reputation for doing a high-quality job.
Baltic Roofing has been building and repairing Willowbrook roofs and the residential areas around Chicago since 2004. At Baltic, we offer a 10-year, no-leak guarantee to all our customers. We promise to be here tomorrow to stand behind the work we do today.
Contact Baltic Roofing today to discuss your roof and roof warranty options so that you can make an informed choice for a beautiful roof that will last for years to come.