What you need to know about shingle warranties
5 things you may not know about shingle warranties.
1. A shingle warranty is not a statement on how long the manufacturer thinks the product will last.
A shingle warranty is a statement about how long and under what conditions the manufacturer will pay some amount of money if their product fails.
2. Not all shingle manufacturers have the same threshold for determining if there is a warranty claim.
Warranty claims are granted based on different criteria for each manufacturer. Some will grant claims based on cosmetic problems such as curling or shading. Others won’t grant a claim unless the shingle failure results in a leak. The disparity in the minimum threshold for qualifying shingle failure makes a big difference in the value and usefulness of the warranty.
3. After a short initial period, shingle warranties are pro-rated and for materials only.
Most shingle warranties are made up of a short, initial period, during which the manufacturer will pay all expenses if their shingle fails. They will pay for all of the materials and labor of repairing the roof. It usually lasts 10-15 years and can sometimes be transferable if you sell your home during this period. For example, CertainTeed calls this period the SureStart Period.
The second part of the warranty is the pro-rated period. This is the remainder of the warranty period. If the shingles fail during this period, the manufacturer will pay a pro-rated portion of the material cost only. For example, if the shingles fail in year 16, they will pay the pro-rated cost of the shingles only. They will not pay for the labor required to remove the defective shingles or installation of new ones.
4. Hiring a certified contractor greatly increases your ability to get a longer/more comprehensive warranty.
Most manufacturers have certified contractor programs. They certify contractors who have proven their competence and give them the ability to offer much more comprehensive warranties. These warranties extend the 100% coverage period for many more years. For example, Certainteed has its ShinlgeMaster program which allows their factory-trained contractors to offer their SureStart Plus Warranty. This warranty extends the initial 100% coverage period to 50 years on single-family homes. Hiring a certified contractor that can offer extended warranties greatly increases the value of your roofing investment.
5. Improper installation voids most shingle warranties.
Shingle manufacturers include language in their warranties that specify installation standards that must be met, otherwise the warranty is void. Some of the major requirements pertain to ventilation and fastening (nailing). It’s important that your contractor knows and understands these requirements or you may be stuck with no warranty coverage at all.
All shingle warranties are not the same. Be sure to understand what kind of protection you are buying with your shingles. You can find the manufacturer's warranties on their websites or ask your contractor to provide them and answer any questions you may have.