Roofing Warranty: Questions to Ask your Roofer

Most new or replaced roofs are protected by some kind of warranty, but just as there are a number of different roofing installations there are also a number of different roofing warranties.  Depending on the roofing structure, system, and your budget, what is covered in a roofing warranty can vary significantly.  So what questions should you ask your roofer about your roofing warranty?

What is the Best Roofing System Coverage for your Roof?

Roofing warranties may cover materials, labour, or both.  It is important to know that material-only warranties will cover damage or defects in materials only and the installation process is not covered.  These types of warranties are ideal for facility managers and owners who need protection against leaks caused by faulty or defective material.  However, these warranties do not cover problems during the installation process and will likely not include on-site inspections.  When problems arise, replacement material is sent out, but not installed.

Labour and material warranties are more comprehensive as they cover all aspects of the roof.  In order to be eligible for these labour and material warranties, the roof must have been installed by a licensed contractor and inspected by the manufacturer.  When leaks arise, defective installation or materials will be rectified.  Labour and material warranties tend to be the most comprehensive and cost-effective in the long term.

What are “No Dollar Limit,” “Original Cost,” and “Prorated” Warranties?

No Dollar Limit warranties are exactly as they seem – regardless of the cost of material repair or installation, the manufacturer will repair your leak.  An original cost warranty only covers repair costs up to the total cost of the original roof materials and installation.  Finally prorated warranties cover diminishing costs as your roof ages.

Do I Need Insurance if my Roof is Covered by a Warranty?

Your roofing warranty will cover leak repairs but not subsequent damages, so you may need to invest in roofing warranties as well as insurance.  For example, your warranty is not going to cover damage to interior materials or property and you’ll likely need to contact your insurance provider to repair or replace those items.

Still, some roofing warranties have exclusions.  For example, your warranty will likely cover leaks caused by storms or winds only up to a certain severity or speed.  Could you imagine if roofing warranties covered damage caused by a severe tornado or hurricane?  It just doesn’t make sense.  In these cases, you’d need to file an insurance claim.

Who Backs the Warranty?

Your warranty may be backed by the material manufacturer or the installation professional.  Ideally, you want to have a manufacturer’s warranty on your roof in order to ensure damaged or defective materials will be replaced.  You may also have a contractor’s warranty for problems with installation, but in most cases a manufacturer’s warranty is more stable as manufacturers will be more likely to have the financial means and market longevity to back a warranty even after many years.