When purchasing a roof, the warranties can be very confusing. There are manufacturer warranties and workmanship warranties. The manufacturer warranty is offered by the company that made the shingles. The labor warranty is offered by the installer. As a homeowner you rely on your Salesman to explain what those mean. But at the end of the presentation, you may still be confused.
Manufacturer’s only cover defects.
Shingles can have a variety of different manufacturer warranties. The warranty from the manufacturer can be different depending on which manufacturer you choose. Many of the manufacturers are now offering “Limited Lifetime” warranties. What does it mean to have a Limited Lifetime warranty? Well, the best answer is, if there is a problem with the way the shingles were manufactured, you will be covered 100% for the shingles, for some period of time in the beginning, usually 10 years, and then it begins to pro-rate. So, the longer you have owned them, the less you get. Some of the warranties include the cost of labor and disposal during their non-pro-rated periods. After the non-prorated period many of them use 600 months or 50 years as the rule. For instance, if you have a defect in year 25 (300 months), you will receive 50% of the cost of the shingles, and only the shingles. The key word here is defect. The manufacturer warranty is for defects only. For instance, If you have a new roof installed and one week later several shingles fall off. The homeowner’s first step would be to contact the installer. A good installer will send out a repair specialist to inspect the the fallen shingles. If the repair specialist determines that the shingle was nailed and installed properly, then your issue may be a sealant problem. The sealant is applied during the manufacturing process, so it is a manufacturer defect. At that point, your installer should help you to get involved with the manufacturer to solve your issue.
Extended or Enhanced warranties can be purchased.
There are also a variety of extended warranties. These warranties can extend the non-prorated periods and cover more than the standard warranties, like workmanship. Not every contractor/ installer has the ability to offer the enhanced warranties that the manufacturer’s offer. The contractors/ installers must go through specific training that enables them to install to the manufacturer’s specifications. Roof-Rite, Inc. in Walled Lake, MI has the highest credentials from two of the largest shingle manufacturers, GAF and CertainTeed.
Labor and workmanship are not the same thing.
A manufacturer warranty may cover labor. This means they will cover the cost of the labor it takes to replace the shingles if there is a defect in the shingle.
Workmanship refers to the installer’s aptitude. If you hire someone that installs the shingles incorrectly and you have a leak, the manufacturer will not cover this, unless your warranty explicitly says that it will cover workmanship. This is usually only found in the extended/enhanced warranties. In most cases, your contractor will include a workmanship warranty in their contract, separate from the manufacturer warranty. Beware, your workmanship warranty is only as good as the company offering it. Roofing companies are second to restaurants in going out of business. If your roofing company is no longer in business, your workmanship warranty is void.
Most manufacturer’s will allow you to transfer your warranty to the next owner of your home. All manufacturers have different guidelines as to what needs to be done to complete a transfer. Some of them charge a small fee. Most of them require documentation of the shingle purchase, and home transaction. In most cases there is a time requirement. Some new homeowners believed the previous warranty would just automatically go to them and were disappointed to find out, that it did not, and it was too late.
Once you have chosen a manufacturer, always go to the manufacturer’s website and read the warranty section, so you will not have a misconception about what is covered and what is not. Even the most trained sales professional can have a hard time explaining that lifetime is not really lifetime, that workmanship is not labor, and it is transferable, but it might not be.
GAF Limited Warranty Options | GAF Roofing