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The Roof Warranty: What They Cover and What You Need to Know

Your roofer or the manufacturer of roofing supplies may provide a warranty to cover future damage. These warranties can be very useful, but they have limits! Here's what you need to know.

The details can vary

Not all roof warranties are the same. In fact, they can cover very different things, which is why it's so important to read the details and pay attention to all the fine print.

A common example is the difference between poor workmanship and faulty roof materials. Manufacturer warranty options only cover repairs if the roof materials are at fault, but not if the materials were installed incorrectly; in other words, warranties don't cover any contractor mistakes, and you won't know until you actually ready the contract.

Bottom line: Don't just sign warranties without understanding what they cover. When in doubt, ask.

Other important problems may not be covered

Roof warranties tend to only cover direct repairs and replacements. Other issues, while related, won't be covered. For instance, assume that you don't have enough vents on your attic due to a roof project that covered several vents up. The next winter, your attic has a big problem with condensation, boards start to warp and patches of mold appear. If you see any of this damage, check with Findlay Roofing for immediate repairs for these serious issues, but don't expect a previous roof warranty to cover them, because the condensation isn't directly related to the new roof.

Roof Repair

You can void your warranties

Yes, roof warranties can be voided by certain situations. While most void restrictions are boilerplate, they can also vary a little. Common activities that void your warranty include:

  • Overroofing: Installing shingles on a layer of older shingles will usually void product coverage.
  • Structural changes: Say you buy a satellite dish and install it on your roof with a few screws and half an hour of work. Unfortunately, that projects also voided your coverage: Structural changes of any kind tend to have this impact.
  • Specific events: Certain events may not be covered, such as hailstorms or fires, depending on the warranty and region.
  • Wear and tear: Damage over time is not usually affected by warranties or any type of insurance, since it's a natural and unavoidable occurrence.

The quality of the roofing company matters

As a general rule, be wary of warranties offered by companies that have only existed for a couple years or less. Brand new companies and contractors are on shaky ground. There is no guarantee they'll be around in a decade when you want to invoke that coverage. Warranties are far more reliable when offered by experienced companies.

Not all costs are covered

Warranties will cover some repair costs, but not others. Roof removal, disposal of old parts, flashing and direct labor costs may not be covered.

Warranties may or may not be transferable

Transferable warranties can be passed on to a new owner, a very important consideration when buying or selling a home…or if you may do so in the future.

Remember that the warranty you have may not be what you might think. Read yours carefully to see what's covered, and if you're getting a new roof, know what to look for in the fine print.

Photo source: Flickr

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