Describing Roofing Warranties


A new roof is not inexpensive these days, which is why many contractors are seeing an increase in the number of homeowners who are shocked when they receive their roof-replacement quotes. It comes as no surprise. The expense of upgrading a property is continually increasing, and the cost of roofing materials has been continuously increasing over the past decade.

The fact that a roof is far more expensive makes the guarantee that contractors provide to their customers even more meaningful and vital to them—or at least it should be—for them. Nevertheless, many homeowners believe that the “30-year warranty” or “50-year warranty” that the contractor provided means that, for the duration of that time period, someone from his firm will come out to fix things at no charge if there is even the slightest problem. Therefore, when it comes to product warranties, homeowners tend to mix them up with the workmanship warranties issued by the roofing contractor—the warranty that promises servicing in the event that a problem is caused by an improper installation.

It is null and void.

When it comes to roofing manufacturing warranties, it could be argued that they are all the same but that no two are the same. Warranties differ significantly, which is understandable. Thirty-year shingles, for example, are engineered to endure for that amount of time under specific conditions; similarly, 25-year shingles, and so on. What the warranty often offers is that, should the product prove to be defective (which can happen anywhere from 20 to 50 years), the manufacturer will replace the product (which can happen anywhere from 20 to 50 years), sometimes on a pro-rated basis. That means that if, for some inexplicable reason, those recently installed shingles simply disintegrate, the manufacturer would be compelled to offer replacements at no additional cost.

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Although unlikely, there is a remote chance that the product will fail. Manufacturing and insurance companies understand — and so do home roofers — that when a roof breaks, it is nearly typically due to construction faults, which are errors in the roof’s assembly or installation. “The vast majority of the concerns are caused by poor craftsmanship,” says Patrick Morin, of Roof Life of Oregon, in a statement posted on the company’s website. Because most roofing companies pay their installers based on the speed with which they complete their work and fail to offer adequate on-site management of their workers, this is the case. Roofs are installed with faults that do not manifest themselves until the sixth year, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association, as a result of the consequent blunders.

When a homeowner with a failed roof seeks assistance from the manufacturer, he or she will quickly learn that such errors nullify the product warranty. In addition, roofing manufacturers provide detailed installation instructions, and if the roof fails—whether in the first year, the sixth year, or the fifteenth year—and it can be demonstrated that the installation instructions were not followed, the product warranty is voided in the same manner as before.

Service Is Provided Free of Charge

As a result, if you were a well-informed homeowner, you’d pay close attention to the workmanship warranty offered by the roofing contractor. It’s the point at which the rubber meets the roof, to put it another way. If something goes wrong with the roof, it is the firm that installed it that you would contact. Many roofing companies do offer a workmanship warranty, which, in essence, guarantees that they will provide service without charge for the stated period of coverage. However, this warranty typically does not provide coverage for nearly as long as the length of time provided by a manufacturer’s warranty. As blogger Jim Thomson points out on the website of home roofer Sully-Jones Roofing in El Cajon, Calif., “many contractors give one year or two years of coverage.”

The manufacturer provides a 25-year or 50-year warranty on the goods, however, the installing contractor only provides a one-year or two-year warranty on the installation of the device. What would a customer make of that? Roofing contractor Sully-Jones Roofing provides workmanship warranties that last “up to 20 years.”

Based on the fact that more roofing contractors are recognizing a marketing opportunity, according to an article on consumer review site Angie’s List, which does a good job of distinguishing between different types of roofing warranties for its homeowner members, more roofers are extending their workmanship warranties. Roofers typically provide a one- or two-year workmanship warranty on a new roof, with the caveat that their firm must be the only one working on the roof, according to the author.

The differences between their labor warranty and the manufacturer’s warranty on the product are explained on some roofing firms’ websites to help website visitors understand the differences. Roofer CT provides workmanship guarantees ranging from three to ten years, depending on whether the work is a repair or a complete roof replacement. Homeowners frequently misunderstand the two terms, so the company clarifies on its website: “These are IN ADDITION to warranties supplied by manufacturers and are provided at NO EXTRA COST to you!”

Companies provide guarantees with the expectation, or at the very least the hope, that they will never be required to honour them. When it comes to roofing warranties, they are a statement of confidence and a commitment that says: “Our (product) (installation) is so wonderful that we will replace” (repair) it if it fails.”

That promise serves as an incentive not to let the opportunity pass you by. A growing number of roofers are offering 10-year workmanship warranties. Our craftsmanship is guaranteed for ten years since we hire the best roofing installers available in the area. “We are confident in our quality control systems, materials, and processes and give a ten-year warranty on all roofs we install,” the company’s website states. As previously said, our owner personally visits each and every job site. For the next decade, we will stand behind our work, starting immediately after it has been completed.”

Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Some shingle manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty on their best shingles, which is particularly attractive. As a marketing statement, it is effective since it implies that the purchaser will never have to be concerned about the roof leaking. However, even while some roofers are increasing the length of their craftsmanship warranties to five years, ten years, or twenty years, few would provide a lifetime warranty on their work. What exactly does the term “lifetime” imply? How many minutes have you ever had in your life? Actually, for the purposes of a warranty, it can mean anything it is deemed to mean by the parties involved. It could refer to, for example, the amount of time the homeowner who purchased the thing has spent in the dwelling. Alternatively, the term “lifetime” could refer to the useful life of the thing itself, independent of who the homeowner is.

However, it is possible that either of these times will be less than the length of time that the roofing company that installed the product will be in operation.


Sovern, Jeff. “Toward a Theory of Warranties in Sales of New Homes: Housing the Implied Warranty Advocates, Law and Economics Mavens, and Consumer Psychologists Under One Roof.” Wis. L. REv. (1993): 13.