Roof Warranties 101 | A Guide for Homeowners

Aerial view roof installation

Do you know what shouldn’t be complicated? Roof warranties.

Do you know what is complicated? Roof warranties.

Luckily, we’re here to answer any and all questions you might have about roof warranties. Whether it be our workmanship warranty, a manufacturer’s warranty, a wind warranty, or an algae warranty – we’ve got you covered.

We’re not going to try to cover all the nitty-gritty details of the different warranties in this post. Instead, we’re going to cover the basics along with some little-known facts we think are critical for homeowners to know. And if you have any questions, you can give us a call! We’re a local business made up of real people, here to help however we can! 

In this post, we’ll cover:

Let’s get started!

Manufacturer vs. workmanship roof warranties

Why are there two different warranties? Because you are technically purchasing two different things: a product (the roofing materials) and a service (the roof installation). 

Consequently, you need a product or manufacturer’s warranty to cover the materials, and a workmanship warranty to cover the service. 

What roof warranties do & don’t cover

  • Shingles with shedding granules
  • Shingles shedding granules into gutter
  • Early shingle failure
  • Deteriorating shingles

Pictured: Examples of early shingle failure

A manufacturer’s warranty protects you from shingle or material failure. Think of it as protecting you from a product recall. If there is a defective batch of shingles, you’re covered. 

If the roofing product fails before it’s supposed to, and it is not due to workmanship or storm damage, then you should qualify for a claim with the manufacturer.

As a side note: many shingles include wind warranty protection guaranteeing you won’t lose shingles from the wind. It’s also becoming commonplace to have a roof algae warranty. 

So keep those receipts in case you need to file a claim!

The workmanship warranty is provided by the roofing company. Typically, it covers any issues that could arise within a certain period because the crew made a mistake during the project. Common workmanship issues could include nail pops, roof leaks, or poorly installed flashing. 

So what isn’t covered?

You are not protected against most storm damage. This could include hail, debris, excessively high winds, tornadoes, etc. No matter how quality the material is and how well the contractor installed your roof, some damage is unpreventable. Thankfully, this is where your home insurance can come into play.

  In addition to storm damage, critter damage is usually not covered under a warranty. So do what you can to keep those squirrels, bats, and birds off your roof!

“Prorated” versus “non-prorated” roof warranties

While the standard product warranties do extend to 40 years, they are often prorated after 5-10 years. This means the amount of money they will offer should the materials fail will depreciate over time as your roof ages. These are still excellent warranties, especially if you don’t plan to live in your home for more than 5-10 years, but there are always upgradable options (more on that next). 

Roof warranty upgrade options

A new roof with architectural shingles has a ‘Lifetime’ warranty, with popular companies labeling their products as such. However, “Lifetime” actually means around 40-50 years (the lifetime of a shingle). For most manufacturers, properly installed roofs include warranties lasting upward of 40 years against manufacturer and product defects.

Many popular shingle manufacturers – including CertainTeed, Owens Corning, and GAF – also offer extended warranties to trusted contractors certified in the installation and known to meet or exceed manufacturer expectations. 

Some warranty upgrades also include a workmanship warranty through the manufacturer. That means that the manufacturer trusts the contractor enough that they are willing to back up the work with their workmanship warranty. So, should the roofing contractor you work with go out of business, you would still have a workmanship warranty via the manufacturer. One warranty that includes this is the SureStart Plus 5-Star Protection.

Below are some extended warranty options that we offer at Artisan.

CertainTeed SureStart Plus

CertainTeed SureStart Plus Warranty Badge - roof warranties

As a Select Shingle Master, Artisan Quality Roofing proudly offers CertainTeed’s SureStart Plus 5-Star Extended Warranties. The SureStart Plus 5-Star Warranty includes a 50-year, non-prorated product warranty. Additionally, in conjunction with Artisan’s 10-year workmanship warranty, CertainTeed’s SureStart Plus 5-Star warranty also extends the workmanship warranty to 25 years.

Owens Corning Preferred Protection

OC Preferred Warranty Logo - roof warranties

Artisan Quality Roofing is qualified as a preferred contractor through Owens Corning. In addition to Owens Corning’s Standard product warranty, preferred contractors offer the Preferred Protection Ltd. Warranty. Preferred Protection extends the TRU PROtection period (coverage for the cost of labor and materials due to manufacturer defect) to 50 years. Preferred Protection Ltd. Warranties also reinforce Artisan’s 10-year workmanship warranty, providing customers additional peace of mind.

GAF System Plus

GAF Warranty Badge System Plus - roof warranties

Certified through GAF, Artisan Quality Roofing can offer the System Plus Warranty in addition to GAF’s standard System Ltd. Warranty. The System Plus Warranty extends GAF’s Smart Choice Protection Period to 50 years.

In addition, the System Plus Warranty improves the wind protection warranty by removing any wind speed limitation. It also covers the cost of tear-off should any warranty work need to be done related to the product.

Now that we’ve reviewed some warranty options, let’s talk about what can void your warranty. 

Voiding a warranty

Several situations can void a warranty. 

In fact, even a poor install or incorrect materials can void your manufacturer’s warranty (more on that later). That’s why it’s important to do your warranty research before the roofing project. 

Other scenarios that can impact your warranty are improper maintenance, using a new roofing contractor, and mechanical damage.

Improper maintenance/negligence

  • Roof with leaves and debris
  • Roof with moss and algae

“Maintenance-free” anything is usually a myth. Like most things in your home, your roof needs maintenance. For example, if you live in an extremely wooded area, you probably need to remove debris from your roof like you do your gutters. If left untouched, the debris can start to decompose, break down your shingles, and cause roof leaks

Other examples include overhanging tree limbs, clogged and overflowing gutters, or siding and trim wood rot. Each of these issues – if left untouched – could damage your roof and impact your warranties. 

Using another contractor

Many roofing contractors have a clause that says if you utilize any other roofing contractor, you void your warranty. More lenient warranties may only void the warranty in the area the repair was done.

Why so harsh?

Because contractors cannot vouch for the work of other contractors. If someone we don’t know works on a roof, we can’t know what condition the roof was in before the repair.

That’s why we recommend contacting your roofing contractor to fix any warranty issues before going to another roofer. Of course, if your contractor has a bad workmanship warranty, or they ghost your calls, it may be time to switch to a different contractor. 

Mechanical damage

Roof damage from painter siding contractor - voids roof warranties

This may not be the technical term, but the gist is that if another contractor does work that includes walking on your roof or doing work on your roof, it could void the roof warranty in those areas. 

Sadly, contractors that aren’t roofers often don’t know how to protect your roof during a project. Sometimes they wear the wrong shoes. Other times they drill holes into the roof for harnesses, only to caulk them with the incorrect caulk later on. Naturally, your original roofer won’t cover these damages.

One unique mechanical issue we come across is power washing. 

Power washing can quickly cause roof leaks. 

Yes, a roof should be watertight, but if you blast an area with enough water pressure, some water is bound to get in. 

In a few cases, we’ve even seen little blast marks across the roof where a contractor power washed. 

No fun. 

If you need to clean your roof, we recommend a soft wash with a gentle cleaner. Otherwise, you could void both your workmanship and manufacturer’s warranties. 

Warranty transfers

Most manufacturer warranties include a free, one-time warranty transfer. To transfer the warranty, you typically just need the date of purchase, the new owner’s contact information, and the old warranty documentation. Simply go on the website for the roof shingle brand you used, and search “warranty transfer.” If you have any questions on how to transfer the warranty, contact your roofing contractor.

For workmanship warranties, warranty transfer policies vary greatly depending on the roofing contractor. Be sure to ask your contractor’s policy if you’re getting roof work done and plan to sell your home in the future. That way, you’ll be prepared with all the info you need when it comes time to sell the house. 

How the roofing company affects your manufacturer’s warranty

Here’s a little-known fact: roofing manufacturers have strict installation guidelines for their roofing products. If your roofing contractor uses the incorrect materials, mixes different shingle brands, or installs the roof differently than outlined, they could void your manufacturer’s warranty.

For example, with CertainTeed Landmark, the roofing crew needs to install the shingles in the “Five Course Pattern.” However, many roofing crews don’t have the training to do this and instead install the shingles like they would 3-tab shingles. 

This not only causes early roof failure, but will also void your warranty. 

Here’s an example of a fairly new roof we replaced that had this issue. 

Improper Roof Installation ExampleProper Roof Installation Example

Another issue that comes up is when a roofing contractor mixes and matches materials to cut costs. Roofing manufacturers make the materials and accessories to complement each other and work well together. Since they can’t vouch for other brands’ products, they can’t cover roof issues with mix-matched materials. 

What does this mean for your roof project?

Research and verify.

Take the time to research your roofing contractor. Learn who will be doing work on the roof. Ask your contractor these six questions.

Ready to learn about the roof replacement process? Contact Artisan for a free roof replacement consultation. We’ll go over estimating, warranties, and proper installation techniques. That way, regardless of who you pick for the project, you’ll be informed and prepared to make the best pick for your home.

Artisan Quality Roofing is a local roofing company in Apex, North Carolina serving the entire NC Triangle.

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