Shingle Warranties Explained
As a homeowner, a new roof is one of the biggest singular investments you will ever make in your home. You will likely spend a lot of time looking into different companies in your local area, assessing their suppliers, and determining the type of roofing that best matches both your personal aesthetic preferences and the needs of your home.
And yet throughout this process, there’s one element that often remains a source of mystery and confusion for homeowners—warranties.
To help you better understand roof and shingle warranties, we have put together this comprehensive guide that answers questions like what shingle warranties are, how they work, and the types of things they do and don’t cover. Keep reading to learn more!
Shingle Warranties vs. Workmanship Warranties
As you’re doing your research you will likely come across two types of warranties—shingle warranties provided by the manufacturer and workmanship warranties offered by the roofing company.
- Shingle Warranties (Manufacturer): Your manufacturer’s shingle warranty is intended to provide coverage against product or manufacturing defects for a certain length of time, usually 20 to 50 years, ensuring that the manufacturer will make the necessary repairs or replacements to defective parts within that term.
- Workmanship Warranties (Roofer): The workmanship warranty from your roofing company is in place to cover any errors or faults in the workmanship for a pre-designated duration (up to 10 years).
Between the two, manufacturer warranties tend to generate the greatest amount of confusion among homeowners. That’s why we wanted to devote the majority of our attention to them in this resource, though if you have additional questions about workmanship warranties that you would like us to address in a future blog, we encourage you to let us know!
Understanding Shingle Warranties
One of the most important things for homeowners to understand about manufacturers’ shingle warranties is that they are meant to protect you against manufacturing defects and not regular wear and tear.
Although shingle warranties have terms that extend upwards of 20 years, the reality is that the typical lifespan of a laminate roof in Southern Ontario is usually between 20 and 25 years. Unfortunately, homeowners sometimes see the term of their warranty and assume that’s how long their roof will last.
Frequently Asked Questions about Shingle Warranties
- What does a ‘lifetime’ mean?
- What does it mean if my shingle warranty is prorated?
- What are signs of a manufacturer defect?
- What types of damage are covered by a shingle warranty?
- What types of damages are not covered by a shingle warranty?
- Does a shingle warranty cover labour?
- What are my responsibilities as a homeowner?
- What do I do if my roof and shingles are damaged by winds?
- What key questions do I need to consider when evaluating shingle warranties?
What does a ‘lifetime’ mean?
This might be one of the biggest sources of confusion, as the presumption tends to be that ‘lifetime’ refers to the lifetime of the shingles. Instead, when it comes to shingle warranties, ‘lifetime’ means for as long as the original owner owns the home on which the shingles and accessories were installed.
In other words, if you install a new or replacement roof, the warranty on your shingles will be good for as long as you own your home or until the term expires (whichever comes first).
Sometimes shingle warranties will be transferrable between homeowners; however you should always read the documentation carefully to understand any limitations and requirements associated with your specific warranty. Some warranties, for example, will extend coverage to the second owner (or said another way, the first subsequent owner) as long as the new owner notifies the manufacturer about the change.
What does it mean if my shingle warranty is prorated?
In essence, a prorated warranty is one in which the value is calculated to decrease over time. Some warranties might be prorated from the beginning, while others might be non-prorated to start before becoming prorated later in their terms.
What are signs of a manufacturer defect?
Symptoms that your shingles might be defective include:
- Excessive blistering, cracking, and spotting
- Significant curling
- Pronounced bald spots
- Algae (if your shingles are meant to be algae resistant)
It’s important to remember that, if the problems are caused by a manufacturer defect, you’ll probably notice them within the first few years after your shingles are installed. As your roof ages, problems like the ones above are more likely to be caused by normal wear.
What types of damages are covered by a shingle warranty?
When reading the conditions in your shingle warranty, the key detail to pay attention to is whether your manufacturer provides coverage against all manufacturing defects or simply defects that cause leaks or otherwise affect performance.
What types of damage are not covered by a shingle warranty?
Common exclusions include:
- Consequential damages to ceilings, walls, windows, furniture, and other components inside and outside your home that are caused by a leaky roof.
- Unauthorized repairs and/or the use of improper methods or materials during installation, which can void a manufacturer’s warranty.
- Weather-related events such as winds, lighting, hail, earthquakes, and floods.
- Structural distortions to your home’s roof deck, walls, or foundation that impact your shingles.
- Damage caused by installing equipment like satellite dishes or associated with making alterations or additions to your home.
- Discolouration caused by algae (unless your warranty says otherwise), moss, mold, mildew, and fungus as well as paints or stains.
- Inadequate ventilation, which might nullify your warranty entirely or prematurely limit its term.
Again, restrictions and limitations will vary on a warranty-by-warranty basis, which is why you need to read yours thoroughly to ensure you understand it.
Does a shingle warranty cover labour?
Some shingle warranties will cover both materials and labour, while others will only provide compensation for the shingles. This can be a significant factor to take into account, as the cost of shingles often makes up less than 20% of the overall cost for repairs and replacements.
What are my responsibilities as a homeowner?
As a homeowner, the most important thing you can do on a regular basis is inspect your roof and shingles so you can report problems quickly.
If you identify possible manufacturer defects, you need to notify the manufacturer promptly. Be prepared to provide proof of ownership as well as any papers that confirm when your shingles were purchased and installed. Your manufacturer might ask you to take photos of the damage and submit samples, or they might send a company representative to take care of that.
What do I do if my roof and shingles are damaged by winds?
In the majority of cases, your home insurance company will provide coverage in the event of an unforeseen and unpreventable event like wind damage to your roof after a storm.
If this happens to you, your best course of action is always to contact your insurance provider, not your shingle manufacturer:
- Before getting in touch with a roofer, you should call your insurance company to file a claim and ask how to proceed.
- Often, the next step your insurance company will take is a roof inspection. During this time, they (through a representative) will take pictures and might provide you with an estimated cost of repairs.
- Secure an estimate from a reputable roofer. Their estimate might not line up precisely with the one provided by your insurance company, especially if they identify something the previous inspector missed. If the quote from your roofer is higher, discuss it with your insurance company to confirm they are prepared to cover the increased costs.
- Send a copy of the roofer’s estimate, their licence, and their insurance to your insurance company to make sure everything meets their standards. If there are issues, your insurance company should let you know.
Provided the repairs and roofing company are approved, you will receive either an initial payment or insurance claim number from your insurer that you can use to formally hire a roofing contractor. Once the work is complete, simply send the invoice (as provided by the roofer) to your insurance company, and they will write you a cheque. Most roofers understand how stressful this situation can be for homeowners and will allow you to defer payment until you have received it from your insurance company, but this is something you should always discuss with your roofer beforehand to make sure you are on the same page.
What key questions do I need to ask when evaluating shingle warranties?
Ultimately, you should consider:
- What is the term of my warranty?
- What types of defects or damages will be covered?
- Will all costs be covered or only a portion of them?
- What can void my warranty?
- What are my responsibilities for maintaining my warranty?
Being able to answer questions like these at the time of purchase will help you select the shingle warranty ideally suited to your needs and prepare you to effectively take advantage of it if the need arises down the road.
Why Working with the Right Roofer Matters
That’s why high-quality workmanship really matters.
When looking for a roofer, you need to make sure you:
- Evaluate their workmanship warranties. Some roofers will provide coverage for three or five years, while others will extend that to as many as ten years.
- Thoroughly research the companies you’re considering. Find out how long they have been in business, and make sure they operate out of a dedicated physical location. Remember, a workmanship warranty is only as good as the company who provides it. If you experience an issue three years down the road and the company is no longer in business, the workmanship warranty will no longer protect you.
- See what they’re like to work with. On their website, look for pictures of past projects and testimonials from their customers. You can also look for their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and read reviews through third-party and independent sources like HomeStars.
- Be sure they are licenced and insured. Your roofing contractor should have both General Liability and Workers’ Compensation. This not only keeps you financially protected in the event someone is hurt or something is damaged, but it is also something your insurance company will require in order to cover any costs associated with things like wind damage.
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Are Shingle Warranties Worth It?
We don’t want to leave you feeling like you don’t need a shingle warranty, because that simply isn’t true. At the end of the day, you need to make sure your shingles are covered by a solid warranty from the manufacturer for two reasons:
1) Get Peace of Mind Knowing That If There’s a Defect, You Are Covered
Manufacturing processes and product quality has come a long way, making today’s shingles incredible strong, reliable, durable, and virtually free of defects. In the event, however, that you have defective shingles, you want to make sure your roof, home, and wallet are protected.
2) Be Confident That the Manufacturer Stands Behind Their Product
Offering strong, robust warranties can be the manufacturer’s way of telling you that they are confident their shingles are made to high, rigorous standards.
Alongside quality workmanship, the right shingle warranty leaves you feeling at ease and satisfied that the investment you have made in your roof and home are secure for the long term.
Herb Lodde & Sons Roofing has been providing quality roof replacements and repairs since 1964. We stand behind our workmanship and are committed to delivering superior results using the best materials. Contact us today to schedule your in-home consultation!
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