Understanding Your Roof Warranty
After a new roof is installed, you probably received a warranty. It’s filed away somewhere, isn’t it? Do you know what it really says? What it actually covers? And what your responsibilities are to keep from voiding it?
These are common questions.
What exactly is my warranty for?
There are various types of warranties. It’s important to know the differences so you understand the expectations of the guarantor and yourself.
- Material Warranties are provided by the manufacturer, which pays for materials to repair warrantable items; the building owner is responsible for paying for labor.
- Full-System Warranties are also provided by the manufacturer and cover the entire roof system and all its elements, including the labor to repair them.
- Labor Warranties are issued by the roofing contractor, who is responsible for labor defects during the duration of the warranty, which is typically two years.
The material and full-system warranties are agreements between the building owner and roofing manufacturer. After the 2-year term of the contractor warranty expires, facilities professionals should work directly with the manufacturer to make a claim.
What’s covered (and not covered) by my manufacturer warranty?
Not all leaks are covered. Typically when the cause is a natural disaster, insect infestation, vandalism, or misuse, the warranty doesn’t apply; however, leaks caused by material defects, membrane deterioration, and seam voids are usually covered.
What’s my obligation under the warranty?
You may be under the false impression that because you now have a warranty in hand, your job is done and the new roof is invincible. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A manufacturer’s roof warranty doesn’t free you from the obligation to:
- Take reasonable care of the roof system over its life.
- Notify the manufacturer within a specified number of days (typically 30) after a leak is discovered.
- Provide notice to the manufacturer when any modifications are being made to the roof (e.g. sleepers, pipe penetrations, etc.).
What is considered “reasonable care?”
Schedule roof inspections annually (or more often if the roof gets lots of foot traffic). As-needed inspections are recommended after severe storms or whenever the roof has been used as a work platform. Cleaning the roof will ensure adequate drainage and remove a build-up of debris that could degrade the roof over time. Routine maintenance and repairs are necessary to keep the roof performing as intended.
Who should perform work on my roof while it’s under warranty?
Work needs to be performed by a trained, authorized applicator of the particular roofing system you have installed. If you need to find a manufacturer-approved contractor to perform maintenance, they can recommend one.