What to Look for in a Shingle Warranty

December 15, 2020

Provided it’s well constructed and properly cared for, a sturdy roof can last for years or even decades before it needs to be replaced. This durability even extends to the shingles that make up the roof, despite the beating that they take every day from wind, snow, and the punishing rays of the sun. Nevertheless, a major repair or roof replacement can be a costly proposition so it’s important to make sure your roof is covered by a warranty.

Choosing the right warranty isn’t always a simple prospect, especially since there’s some misinformation out there regarding how these warranties work. One important distinction to make is between the shingle warranty—provided by the manufacturer—and the workmanship warranty—provided by the contractor.

The manufacturer’s warranty will be the focus of this article. We’ll tell you how to navigate some of the more complex issues as you look for the best shingle warranty.

What, Exactly, Does the Word “Warranty” Mean?

Simply put, a warranty is a guarantee from your manufacturer that, should your roof encounter any defects, it will cover the costs of replacement or repair. Most major purchases have warranties, and roofing materials are no exception.

What Does Your Warranty Cover?

The terms of a warranty will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you need to shop around a bit to ensure you have the best one available to you. In most cases, your shingle warranty will cover any defects in your roof caused by flaws in the manufacturing. This is an important distinction to note: they only cover defects that arise from manufacturing flaws, not anything caused by improper installation.

Because of this, it’s important to ensure your roof is installed by a great contractor, like Interstate Roofing, that offers comprehensive workmanship warranties of its own. In this way, you ensure you’re covered on both the manufacturing end as well as the installation end.

In most cases, the shingle warranty will cover replacement materials—although not installation or disposal—for a number of years. This number could be 20 years, 50 years, or even a “lifetime” warranty. Note, however, that the length of the warranty does not necessarily correlate to the lifetime of the roof (i.e., just because a roof has a 50-year warranty doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s actually expected to last for 50 years).

It Doesn’t Matter How Good the Manufacturer Is If They Don’t Offer A Good Warranty

When it comes to roof warranties, homeowners sometimes shrug their shoulders and don’t worry about them. They figure that, since the shingles that make up the roof can take a beating, a warranty isn’t something they’ll ever have to worry about. Or they opt for a cheaper manufacturer that offers a less comprehensive warranty. This is a mistake because, if issues with the roof do end up presenting themselves, repairs can cost many thousands of dollars if you’re not covered.

Beyond this, a good warranty is also a sign of the manufacturer’s confidence in its product. If it doesn’t offer comprehensive coverage, you should ask yourself why not. Do the roofing materials break down often, to the point where repairing them would become prohibitively expensive for the company? A strong warranty is a good indicator that the manufacturer believes strongly that its product will last for many years. It’s also an indicator that quality matters to the company and that it’s willing to pay to replace any materials that aren’t up to snuff.

Beware of the Proration Period

All standard manufacturer’s warranties are prorated, which can severely limit your coverage. In the case of warranties, prorated simply means that the amount covered will diminish over time. This means that, early in the lifetime of the roof, you may have full coverage, but if defects appear halfway into the coverage period, you may only be covered for half of the damage. Most manufacturers offer extended warranties through their certified contractors that will increase the non-prorated period. This is a fantastic option and could be considered an inexpensive insurance policy.

Look for “Transferable” Warranties

Another important detail to check for on your warranty contract is whether the warranty is, in fact, transferable. This simply means that, should you sell the house, you can transfer the warranty to the new owner so that they’re covered in the event a manufacturing defect presents itself.
A transferable warranty is an important thing to have because many prospective buyers will be looking for one when they’re house hunting. If you can demonstrate to them that they’ll be covered if there are any issues with their roofing materials, they’re more likely to consider purchasing your house. In this way, a transferable warranty may increase the value of your home and the chance of selling it when the time comes.

Make Sure You Have Everything in Writing

Because there’s so much to watch out for when you’re shopping around for a warranty, it’s critical to have everything in writing from the manufacturer you end up choosing. How long is the warranty good for? What does it cover? Is it transferable? Is it prorated? All of this should be written down so that it’s legal and clear. This is the only way to guarantee peace of mind for a homeowner who’s already spending a great deal of money to replace their roof. The contract should be written in plain English as well. You shouldn’t have to be a lawyer to navigate it.

Finally, Make Sure You Have a Great Contractor

A good shingle warranty is a must, but a good workmanship warranty is key as well. Your manufacturer will cover defects in the products it sells, but this coverage won’t extend to improper installation. That’s why you need to make sure you have a proper installation and that this installation is covered just as thoroughly as the materials being used. A company like Interstate Roofing is a great choice for a contractor that can ensure your peace of mind as you sleep under your carefully constructed new roof.