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October 4, 2023

Understanding Roof Warranties: What Huntsville Homeowners Need to Know

The roof is one of the most important aspects of owning a home in Huntsville, Alabama. Your family's safety, your comfort, and the value of your home are all dependent on a solid, reliable roof.

However, roofs are vulnerable to damage from the elements and other sources, such as the cyclical nature of the weather in Huntsville. Fortunately, this is where roof warranties come into play.

Understanding roof warranties is a crucial aspect for homeowners. A roof warranty will protect your roofing investment and offer you peace of mind. This article aims to inform Huntsville, Alabama, homeowners about roofing warranties and related challenges.

Why A Roof Warranty?

A roof warranty is an agreement between the roofing manufacturer, contractor, and homeowner. If your roof develops faults, sustains damage, or fails to function as promised during the warranty period, the manufacturer or contractor will fix it or replace it, depending on the terms of the agreement.

Getting a new roof is a significant investment, so you should take care in choosing a warranty and roofing company. Many homeowners make the mistake of hiring a contractor without first clarifying all of the important points, such as warranties.

It's important to be protected financially in case something out of the ordinary compromises the condition of your roof.

  • Roofing warranties safeguard your financial investment.
  • Roof warranties lessen the likelihood of costly roof repairs.
  • A roofing warranty safeguards a home's value.
  • You may rest easy knowing that your roof is warranted.

Different roof warranties offer different protections, so it's important to familiarize yourself with your options.

1. Contractor Workmanship Warranty

Roofs can fail in as little as two years if they aren't installed properly, so doing so is important if you want yours to last. This is also why you need to be sure your contractor backs up their work with a solid warranty.

You can protect yourself from incompetent installation by contractors by getting a workmanship warranty. The roofing company that provided the warranty will pay to have the roof fixed, including the cost of labor and materials, if the roof fails due to poor installation.

It's also worth noting that your contractor's repair coverage can be capped at a certain dollar amount. Common installation mistakes that are frequently covered by workmanship guarantees include the following:

  • Improper shingle-attaching techniques include using too few nails, too many nails, or driving nails too deeply.
  • Leaving out flashing in vulnerable roof areas such as valleys, eaves, rakes, and entry points.
  • Roofing installation when the temperature is below 40° F or above 85°F. 
  • Poor underlayment installation.
  • Neglecting to lay down starter shingles.

The warranty you choose may or may not cover the entire roof, depending on the company you choose to work with. Evaluate the quotes of various roofers to choose the one that has the most extensive warranty coverage and go with that one.

Typical contractor warranties do not cover problems that are not directly attributable to the contractor's installation work, such as:

  • Roof modifications that cause damage after installation
  • Leak damages caused by foot traffic

How long does a roofing contractor's workmanship warranty last?

Workmanship warranties range in duration from one contractor to the next. Standard terms are 2, 5, 10, or 25 years, while some manufacturers provide lifetime coverage. (Your roofer's work should last as long as the roofing materials do.)

You should know that any warranty a contractor gives you on their work is only as good as the paper it's written on. When looking for a roofing contractor, look for one with a solid reputation for satisfying customers and installing roofs correctly. 

Shingle manufacturers typically offer additional warranties covering installation and repair work. If the roof passes inspection after installation, the company will guarantee its workmanship for 25 years.

2. Standard Manufacturer's Warranty

The industry standard for roofing shingles is a basic limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer. In most cases, a lifetime warranty will extend coverage for as long as you live in the house.

The expense of repairing damaged shingles is often covered in full by a regular manufacturer's warranty for the first few years and then on a prorated basis after that. During the initial term, the manufacturer will replace any damaged shingles at no extra cost.

A manufacturer's warranty, if any, will typically only apply to products made by that company. For instance, a regular shingle warranty from one manufacturer will only cover the shingles themselves and not the underlayment from a different manufacturer.

However, if you purchase an extended warranty from the manufacturer, your roofing materials will be protected. They will replace your entire roof at no cost if even one of their components fails.

How long does a standard manufacturer's warranty last?

The duration of the manufacturer's warranty on your roofing materials will vary with the type of material you purchase. A conventional dimensional shingle warranty lasts 30 years and is prorated after ten years, meaning the manufacturer will pay less to fix any issues.

Registering your roof with the manufacturer means you'll obtain a 50-year warranty that doesn't reduce over time. Transferring the extended warranty to a new homeowner is possible, but it can only be done once during the roof's lifetime.

Since more expensive, high-quality materials are likely to outlast their less expensive counterparts; most manufacturers provide lengthier warranties for architectural shingles than they do for, say, three-tab shingles. While most warranties imply a 25-50-year lifespan, others estimate a lifespan of as little as five years, so reading the small print is vital.

3. Extended Manufacturer's Warranty

Top manufacturers are aware that the quality of the installation has a direct impact on the longevity of the product. To give homeowners confidence in their new roof's quality, they provide an extended warranty on all roofing systems that licensed contractors install.

If any warrantied parts fail, the manufacturer will pay to replace the entire roof. It's designed to last longer than the standard manufacturer's warranty and give you greater protection in case of damage.

All roofing materials must come from the same manufacturer for the warranty extension to apply. In addition, you need to choose a professional roofing contractor with experience constructing roofs according to manufacturer guidelines.

How long does an extended manufacturer's workmanship warranty last?

Warranties provide varying levels of protection depending on the manufacturer. There are several advantages to purchasing an extended warranty from a reputable manufacturer, and the best ones include:

  • Long-term, non-prorated, or uninterrupted coverage for faulty components: It can be renewed for up to 50 years and often covers the cost of labor associated with repairs or replacements.
  • Coverage for everything but fasteners, wood decking, and flashing: The finest extended warranties won't just cover the roofing material; they'll cover everything involved in the roofing system.
  • Protection against damage caused by faulty roof system installation work: Sometimes labor, removal, and disposal costs are covered, and the policies have a lifetime term with prorated coverage after a specified number of years.

What To Consider Before Choosing a Roof Warranty Company

Homeowners insurance is a necessity if you want to give your family a secure and comfortable roof over their heads. Your mission is to ensure that your roof can keep your house safe from the elements and prevent damage such as roof leaks.

There are a number of causes for roof leaks, repairs, and even replacements, including extreme weather and old, worn-out shingles. To effectively prepare for and budget for roof repairs or replacements, it is important to understand the insurance processes, your home's insurance policy, and the laws of your state.

Don't Neglect Warranty Registration

If you've already settled on a warranty after choosing a roofing brand and a contractor, then you should research the manufacturer's registration requirements. Manufacturer warranties are often included in the price of roofing materials, but they require prompt registration and activation by the buyer to be valid.

Many homeowners find out the hard way that the warranty did not cover them because they neglected to take this simple precaution. The homeowner must have the roofing firm activate any warranties that require the services of a specific contractor.

You should plan on doing these things soon after your purchase before the window closes.

Lifetime Coverage on a Roofing Warranty

Providing a lifetime warranty on a roof is a tricky proposition. Many people assume that "lifetime" means "for life," but that's not always the case. Lifetime is defined differently by different roofing companies.

Asphalt roofs typically last for roughly 25 years, so choosing a warranty that provides sufficient protection for the duration of the roof's useful life is essential.

Due to environmental and roofing material variations, manufacturers' expected lifespan can vary. Locations with significant daily temperature swings, such as desert areas, may be excluded from the full lifetime warranty.

The Limitations of Roof Warranties

Unfortunately, many homeowners and business owners believe long-term warranties are all-inclusive insurance policies that cover roof issues during the policy period. The truth is that warranties can have many small prints, so it's best to read them carefully before buying anything.

Manufacturer warranties, for instance, often cover only leakage directly attributable to the manufacturing defect. As one might expect, these warranties have caveats and exclusions meant to restrict the manufacturer's responsibility in the event of a claim.

Leaks caused by faulty design are often not covered by warranties either. For instance, the manufacturer may void its warranty if water pools on a roof for more than 24 or 48 hours. This is because ponding water is typically caused by a poorly pitched roof, which causes poor drainage rather than the roofing materials themselves.

If you read your roof warranty carefully, you'll see a list of things that may invalidate it, such as putting new shingles down directly on top of old ones without first removing the old ones.

Things That Void Your Roof Warranty

Roofing warranties are in place to safeguard your financial investment in the event of roof damage. However, similar to other warranties, there are actions that can nullify the warranty.

This is the worst possible outcome for your financial investment. That's why it's important to understand what does and does not constitute covered work on your roof so you can keep your warranty intact.

  • Installation mistakes
  • Poor air circulation in the attic
  • Having a different roofing or general contractor do the roof work
  • Do-it-yourself (unauthorized) roofing work
  • Roof pressure-washing
  • Ownership changes
  • An unregistered warranty

Preparing Your Roof for Huntsville's Weather Conditions

Considering the high cost of roof replacement, it is essential to learn what is and is not covered by the warranty on your new roof. The coverage provided by most warranties is rather minimal; nevertheless, purchasing additional coverage could be well worth the additional expense.

The extent to which a roofing business will stand behind its work for as long as a customer needs it depends on the shingle manufacturer it uses and the quality of service it is ready to offer. If your roof isn't prepared for the wide temperature swings that can occur throughout the year in Huntsville, it could be damaged by the weather.Even if you have confidence in your roof's ability to withstand the elements under normal conditions, you should take measures to protect it from the extreme weather that can occur in Huntsville. Do you know what steps to take to ensure that your roof is ready for Huntsville weather?

Southern Roofing Solutions

Southern Roofing Solutions specializes in providing 
roofing services to residential and commercial properties 
in the Huntsville area. Our services include Roof Installation, 
Roof Repair, Roof Maintenance, and Roof Replacement.
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