Before investing in a new roof, consider the warranty that comes with it. A roof warranty is designed to give you added peace of mind and make clear what’s covered and what’s not should any issues arise post-installation. Most warranties cover both workmanship and materials, offering valuable protection for your investment. Ideally, you won’t have to file a warranty claim, but if you do, a warranty can save you from costly repairs and frustrating hassles.
In this blog, your friends at Woodiwiss Roofing will share everything you need to know about warranty coverage for your new roof so you can maximize your investment. Why? Because it’s one thing to have a high-quality roof over your head and another to have a comprehensive warranty in your back pocket!
Types of Roof Warranties
There are three types of roof warranties: manufacturer’s warranty, workmanship warranty, and an extended warranty. All three are quite distinct, so let’s learn about each in greater detail:
A manufacturer’s warranty covers the materials used in your new roof for a certain period of time. A manufacturer’s warranty covers defective materials, which means you may incur labor costs associated with the removal and disposal of your current roofing materials. If your shingles crack, for instance, the warranty should cover the cost of replacement shingles provided that the shingles failed due to a factory defect. Before purchasing a new roof, you should review the manufacturer’s warranty to understand exactly what’s covered, for how long, and what costs you might be responsible for in the event you need to file a claim. The typical duration of a manufacturer’s warranty for new roofs varies depending on the type of material and the warranty tier. Most shingle manufacturers provide a basic limited lifetime warranty, but they’ll only replace defective shingles for the first few years until the prorated period begins, in which case you are responsible for contributing to replacement costs.
Even if you purchase the best and most highly rated shingles, a faulty installation job by an inexperienced roofer puts your roof at risk of failing. If you want to ensure the longevity of your roof, proper installation is crucial, and a workmanship warranty provides coverage for installation errors. Let’s go back to that cracked shingles example: you might think the problem stems from a manufacturer’s defect, but you could come to find that the shingles were not properly installed. In this case, you can’t contact the manufacturer because their shingles were sound; rather, you must turn to the contractor—their workmanship warranty should cover material failures that occurred on account of their lack of due diligence. A good workmanship warranty will not only cover the cost of materials and labor but also damage caused to your home on account of a failed roof. High-tier workmanship warranties can even cover direct damage to your home’s interior such as furniture that was destroyed by a leaking roof.
You will likely have the option to purchase an extended warranty for your new roof. Extended warranties offer added protection on top of what’s already covered in your standard warranty. Extended warranties can cover a range of issues, including manufacturing defects, workmanship problems, and, in some cases, even damage caused by severe weather. Extended warranties do come at an additional cost, and may require you to have a complete roof system installed, which involves adding certain components such as underlayment and water barriers. Homeowners might consider purchasing an extended warranty if they don’t plan on ever selling their home or simply don’t want to incur fees associated with labor, tear-off and disposal, and other potential expenses that might arise in the future.
What is Typically Covered in a Roof Warranty?
Roof warranties cover materials and labor, but there are exceptions and exclusions you must be aware of before you decide which warranty is best for your home.
Material defects that are covered under standard roof warranties include premature cracking, curling, or granulation loss. Some warranties also cover defects in underlayment, which protects your roof from moisture and water infiltration. Flaws in flashing, drip edges, ridge vents, and other components integral to the roof’s integrity and water-shedding capabilities might also be covered. The defect must be a result of an error in the material or production process and should not stem from normal aging or exposure to the elements.
A roof warranty can go beyond covering material defects by also covering labor costs. Coverage for installation or labor-related issues offers protection from unexpected roofing problems that occur on account of improper installation by the contractor you hired. If any leaks or failures occur due to faulty installation, labor costs associated with repairing or replacing the affected roofing components will be covered if you have a workmanship warranty.
Exceptions and Exclusions
All warranties come with exceptions and exclusions. Common exclusions and exceptions for roof warranties include damage caused by external factors. Natural disasters and severe weather events, for example, are not covered under roof warranties. Failure on your end to maintain the roof—also known as improper maintenance—can void your warranty.
Understanding Warranty Duration and Limitations
When you purchase a new roof and a comprehensive warranty to go along with it, you’ll need to learn all you can about the warranty duration and its limitations. This will make you feel more confident and prepared to navigate any issues, especially unexpected ones that arise through no fault of your own.
Duration of Coverage
Knowing the duration of your warranty coverage gives you a clear understanding of how much time you have to file a claim for material defects or faulty workmanship. Different roofing materials (such as asphalt shingles, wood shakes, clay tiles, and concrete tiles) have different expected lifespans, so their warranty duration will usually reflect that. The old standard for warranties was 40 years, but now most materials come with a lifetime warranty that is prorated after 50 years. As far as the duration of coverage for labor, some workmanship warranties only last one or two years, but some can extend to up to a decade. Some contractors even offer lifetime coverage. Remember, the duration of your roof warranty will be influenced by quite a few important factors, including the material type, the manufacturer, and the warranty tier you select. The duration of your warranty is also significantly influenced by your roofing contractor; roofing manufacturers make it clear how the roofing materials must be installed—right down to the number of nails that must be used per shingle—so a contractor who makes mistakes, cuts corners, and disregards the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer of the roofing materials can void your warranty and render it useless.
Prorated vs. Non-Prorated Warranties
If you’re expected to choose between a prorated vs. non-prorated warranty, which should you choose? There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Prorated warranties decrease over time. The more time that passes between the installation of your new roof and the day you file a warranty claim, the more money you’ll have to contribute. While prorated warranties have a lower upfront cost, they can lead to higher out-of-pocket costs in the future. This is why some homeowners prefer non-prorated warranties. This type of warranty covers your roof for the full duration of coverage. If you purchase a 30-year non-prorated warranty, for example, and you file a warranty claim 29 years after your roof was installed, the costs associated with the repairs and replacements should be covered in full.
The Importance of Proper Installation
We can’t overstate the importance of hiring a trusted, reputable, and experienced roofing contractor to install your new roof. Here’s why.
Impact on Warranty Validity
What could be worse than investing in a warranty for your brand new roof, only to discover that the contractor you hired made some rookie mistakes, or cut corners to save them time and you money? Manufacturers of roofing materials create specific guidelines for the proper installation of their materials, and if these guidelines are not precisely followed, your roofing contractor can jeopardize the warranty. This is why it’s worth hiring a contractor like Woodiwiss Roofing; we know what we’re doing, and we get the job done right.
Choosing the Right Contractor
You should only hire a contractor who has earned the trust of many other customers in and around your neighborhood. A qualified roofing contractor will demonstrate expertise in the field. Do your research to inquire how many years the contractor has been in business. Talk to other homeowners who have worked with the contractor you’d like to hire. Read reviews and testimonials online. Verify that the contractor has all the licenses, certifications, and insurance coverage necessary to install your new roof. Find a contractor who can patiently answer all your questions about your new roof and the warranty options available to you. The right contractor for your roofing job will meticulously follow the installation instructions provided by the roofing material manufacturer, proudly showcase their attention to detail in their portfolio of work, and provide clear and straightforward estimates.
Manufacturers of roofing materials expect qualified roofing contractors to adhere to the guidelines they have set forth. Once you know the roofing material you would like to use on your new roof, inquire about your roofing contractor’s certifications. They should have a manufacturer certification for the roofing materials you want to purchase so the warranty can be validated. Certification in the roofing industry is a testament to a contractor’s competence and adherence to industry standards. Choosing a non-certified roofing contractor would be a mistake. The skills, training, and experience that a professional, certified roofing contractor brings to the job can result in a successful roof installation—and that alone is just as important as your new roof.
Maintenance and Your Roof Warranty
Investing in a new roof isn’t unlike investing in a new car. As much as you’d expect a new car to perform well on the road given the price you paid, the reputation of the manufacturer, and the trust you put into the dealership where you purchased it, you do have a responsibility to take care of it. Your car, for instance, needs regular oil changes, air pressure checks, and tire rotations. Proper maintenance and upkeep are your responsibility. After your new roof is installed, you can contribute to its longevity by taking a proactive and diligent approach toward regular maintenance.
Regular Maintenance Requirements
Your roof requires regular maintenance to perform at its best. Follow the recommended maintenance guidelines that your roofing contractor shared with you. Have your roof inspected—annually if it’s over 50, and every 2-3 years if it’s under 50. Have all issues, including minor ones, fixed promptly. Regular maintenance helps you identify any problematic issues with your roof; this can have a positive impact on your warranty status.
Documentation and Records
Once your new roof is installed and your warranty coverage is officially confirmed, be sure to keep track of all documentation and records. Record your contractor’s name, phone number, and email address. Store receipts related to all maintenance and repairs. And perhaps most importantly, store your file in a location where you can easily find it in the event you need to file a warranty claim.
Filing a Warranty Claim
Should you need to file a warranty claim, follow these steps so you can move forward and receive a prompt response. The sooner your roof is fixed, the more at ease you’ll feel.
Steps to File a Claim
Filing a warranty claim should be a simple and straightforward process. Here’s what you’ll need to do to file a claim and increase your chances of it being approved.
- Locate the original warranty and review all the details associated with the roof and its installation. It’s important for you to know what’s covered in terms of materials and labor, and don’t forget the exclusions and exceptions that you need to be aware of before you file the claim. If you’d like, you can copy the original warranty and highlight the coverage that you’re referencing, including specific calendar dates.
- Collect all signed documentation and receipts related to your roof—agreements between you and your roofing contractor, repair receipts, and roofing materials purchased—so you can provide all the appropriate documentation. Neglecting to provide necessary documentation can delay claim processing or potentially result in a rejection.
- Be sure to file your claim with the correct party—and do so as soon as possible. Waiting too long may reduce your chances of getting your claim approved. If you’re filing a workmanship claim—meaning that you find fault with how your roof was installed and you have a warranty that covers faulty workmanship—then you’ll need to contact the roofing contractor who installed the roof. If you’re filing a materials claim—meaning that your roofing materials have an obvious flaw or factory defect that’s causing damage to your roof or jeopardizing its integrity—then you have to reach out to the materials manufacturer to file a claim with them.
- If you’re able to secure photos of the damage, faulty installation, or other issues, keep in mind photos can add a layer of credibility to your claim. Ensure that the photos are clear and that they depict the issue from different angles. If you can’t take photos, take detailed notes on what specifically has gone wrong so the warranty provider understands the issue and why you are seeking a roof repair or replacement.
- File the claim exactly as you’ve been instructed, whether that’s online or through snail mail. And by all means, if you have any questions about the warranty itself or any additional paperwork you might need to provide, ask the appropriate party before submitting the claim so you can rest assured that you’ve supplied all the information necessary for timely processing.
Documentation and Proof
As noted above, you’ll need to submit the original warranty documentation that was
provided to you when your roof was installed. Signed documentation, receipts, photos, and other hard copy documents might be requested, so pay close attention to what the claim form is asking you to submit. Your attention to detail and thoroughness will help build and solidify your warranty claim.
Dealing with Claim Rejections
After filing your claim and waiting for it to process, it will be disappointing and frustrating if you’re notified that your claim has been rejected. If this happens to you, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Carefully read and re-read the rejection letter. Understand why the claim has been rejected and then refer to the original warranty to double-check any exclusions or exceptions you might have overlooked. A good rejection letter will make clear what criteria were not met in order for the warranty claim to have been approved.
- You’ll want to clarify whether the rejection is justified, or if there’s room for further discussion. Call the number or write to the address that’s listed on the rejection letter so you can receive detailed explanations regarding the rejection. This can help you better comprehend the warranty provider’s position and then decide how to proceed. Perhaps you can inquire if you can re-submit the claim (if applicable), or at least ask if more can be done on your end to reverse their decision, such as escalating a complaint with a supervisor or negotiating another way to handle the problem you’ve encountered with your roof.
- If your claim is unresolved and you still feel that your rejection is not justified, you may wish to consult an attorney who can help you explore your legal options.
- If you feel that the claim rejection was indeed justified, you’ll have to consider other routes you need to take to get your roof fixed or replaced. Just because your warranty claim was rejected doesn’t mean that your home’s roof issues don’t demand your timely attention. Hire a roofing contractor who would be willing to repair or replace your roof, and then move forward accordingly so existing damage doesn’t get worse and cause further damage, which can exponentially increase your out-of-pocket costs.
FAQs About Roof Warranties
To round out this blog post on roof warranties, here are some questions that our roofing experts at Woodiwiss Roofing are often asked. We hope our answers to these questions will help you better understand how to acquire, validate, and maintain the warranty for your new roof.
Your roofing contractor or the materials manufacturer can provide all the instructions necessary to help you register your warranty. Be sure to register the warranty as soon as possible so your coverage begins right away and so you don’t miss the warranty registration deadline if indeed there is one attached to your warranty.
That’s generally true because, as a homeowner, you are responsible for providing certain information about your home and its new roof so you can show proof of eligibility that will validate the warranty. The warranty document you were supplied should outline the specific registration requirements and deadlines. Once the registration is confirmed, print a few copies of the registration confirmation for your records.
Some warranties are transferable, which means that you, as a buyer, might be eligible to receive the previous owner’s warranty coverage. Do keep in mind that some warranties are limited to only one transfer. Other exclusions and exceptions may apply, and since every warranty is different, you’ll need to carefully review the warranty document you were given upon purchase of the property. Or, if you haven’t purchased the property yet, ask the real estate agent that you’re working with to provide copies of the roof warranty and then get in touch with the contractor or materials manufacturer to confirm the details of the warranty.
Some homeowners may find it tempting to have new shingles installed on top of old shingles, but if you have a roof warranty, you’ll want to avoid making this mistake. It really can void your warranty, so it’s best to have the old shingles removed before new shingles are installed.
If you intend to add fixtures to your roof, including a satellite or solar panels, it’s always best to first contact the warranty provider. Making any unauthorized modifications to your roof could void the warranty because these fixtures can exceed the roof’s load-bearing capacity and might also penetrate the roof (skylights or vents, for example) in ways that could jeopardize the roof’s function and performance. Get your warranty provider’s approval in writing before you proceed with any modifications.
Mixing and matching roofing materials can compromise the overall integrity and uniformity of your roof. It can also void the warranty because the warranty is designed to cover specific installation techniques and approved materials. If your roofing contractor mixes and matches shingles, for instance, then the materials manufacturer has the right to reject your warranty claim because it is contingent on using a consistent set of materials that they have exclusively produced.
Even though pressure washing can give you great results when you use it on your deck or your driveway, pressure washing your roof isn’t a good idea. Cleaning your roof in this manner can void your warranty because the pressure will be so strong that it could strip off the granules in your shingles and/or force water into areas where water doesn’t belong. Moisture that gets trapped underneath your roofing materials can create many problems.
There’s nothing like tackling a DIY project and succeeding at it, but if you have warranty coverage on your roof, your best bet is to avoid performing the repairs on your own—and this includes minor ones. Ideally, you’ll have the original contractor perform the repairs for you, especially because working on a roof presents lots of safety hazards you might not have even considered. Remember to keep all receipts and documentation so you can add them to your roof warranty file.
Some homeowners elect to purchase extended warranty coverage, but not all do. If you’re questioning whether you should invest in an extended warranty, have an honest conversation with your roofing contractor and talk to other homeowners who can share with you their insights on the pros and cons of extended warranty coverage. Only you can decide what’s best for you and your home after you consider your finances and how much you’re willing to spend on extended warranty coverage.
Be sure to read your roof warranty’s fine print, including the exclusions and exceptions section. Some high-end or extended warranties might offer limited coverage for specific natural disasters like hail or wind damage, but this isn’t common because natural disasters are unpredictable and unpreventable. If your new roof sustains damage following a natural disaster, and your roof warranty does not cover the damage, consider calling your home insurance company to inquire if your homeowner’s insurance covers this type of damage. If they don’t, you’ll want to get in touch with a roofing contractor like Woodiwiss Roofing; we can confidently guide you through the next steps.
Final Thoughts About Roof Warranties for New Roofs
What’s a new roof without a robust warranty? As this blog post addressed, a roof warranty can save you from costly repairs if your roof fails or sustains damage that compromises the exterior integrity and interior comfort of your home. Just like a new roof protects your house, a comprehensive warranty protects your bank account if something goes awry and you need to file a warranty claim due to a material defect or installation error. Hopefully no issues will arise, but you’ll be glad you have a warranty in case any do—especially because unexpected expenses can be financially stressful.
Remember to keep accurate, up-to-date records, follow all the roof maintenance guidelines you were given post-installation, and consult with professionals about specific warranty information. Taking a proactive approach will keep your warranty coverage active and valid, and you can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your part to contribute to your roof’s overall performance and longevity.
At Woodiwiss Roofing, we care about helping you understand—and protect—your roof warranty. To learn more about all the exceptional roofing services we offer, call Woodiwiss Roofing at 925-458-2193, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or request a free estimate online. If your existing roof came with a warranty, or you’ve received warranty coverage with the recent purchase of a new roof, we can safeguard that warranty in the event you’d like to hire us for a roofing project of any size and scope. Contact us today and let us demonstrate what makes Woodiwiss Roofing a reliable and trustworthy roofing contractor in the Pleasant Hill, California area!