If you have ever read a blog about roofing (including ours!), you’ve read about the best way to choose a roofing contractor. One of the tips experts always give is to evaluate the warranties being offered to your company in conjunction with the project. But most people don’t know enough about roof warranties to truly understand if they are protected or not – not to mention, to effectively understand what they can and cannot do in the future if they want their warranty to remain valid. There are different warranty structures, terms of the warranty, and warranty exclusions that clients should understand. In addition to the warranties themselves, understanding which party is responsible for various aspects of the warranty throughout the life of the roof can get confusing as well. In this article, we will explain roofing warranties to you – but if after reading, you have any questions, call your roofing professional for clarification.
Why Have Warranties At All?
Before we look at the different aspects of a commercial roof warranty, let’s first establish why roof warranties are written in the first place. It is essential for the manufacturer to protect themselves, and to define the definitive conditions in which they will be obligated to fix an issue with the roof. Simply put, the warranty exists so all parties understand who is responsible for any future problems that may occur with the roof.
Warranties can typically be broken down into three categories:
- Prorated Warranties: As indicated in their name, the assigned value of the warranty is directly proportional to the length of time the roof has been installed. A 10-year roof warranty is worth 30% of its original value in year 7. The warranty obligation is reduced over the life of the roof.
- Non-Prorated Warranties: On the other hand, a non-prorated warranty keeps its total value throughout the entire term of the warranty. Therefore, a 10-year roof warranty is worth 100% of its original value in year 7 – or any year during the warranty period.
- No Dollar Limit Warranties (NDL): The value of an NDL warranty is for the replacement cost of the roof in the current year’s value, taking inflation into account and not limited to the amount of the original cost of the roof.
Two Standard Warranties
There are two basic categories of commercial roof warranties:
- A manufacturer’s warranty, typically covering roofing materials only (may include a combination of materials and labor depending on the situation)
- The roofing contractor/installer warranty or workmanship warranty
Typically both warranties are offered and may overlap in areas. Four of the most common types of commercial roofing warranties include:
- Manufacturer’s NDL Warranty: The NDL (no dollar limit) warranty provides coverage for the entire roof system against material defects or failures. It delivers a guaranteed repair or roof replacement regardless of the cost and may last up to 30 years, depending on the type of roof installed. For a roof to qualify for this strong warranty protection, the system must be installed exactly to manufacturer specifications and professionally inspected upon installation.
- Manufacturer’s Labor and Material Warranty: This warranty also covers labor and materials, but it establishes maximum dollar limits, which are also prorated over the life of the roof. The older the roof is, the less cost falls to the manufacturer, and the more the client will pay out of pocket for repairs or replacement.
- Manufacturer’s Material-Only Warranty: This warranty offers the least amount of coverage of the three discussed so far, but it’s also the most common because it is offered for free (or at a minimal cost.) This is solely a product warranty that guarantees the viability of the roofing product for a specified amount of time, usually without covering accessory items such as flashing. Labor costs are not covered. Those who have this type of material warranty are advised to ensure that their roofing contractor provides a warranty on installation and workmanship.
- Contractor’s Workmanship Warranty: In addition to any warranties provided by the manufacturer, a professional roofing contractor should provide their own warranty covering workmanship and protecting against any installation errors – including materials they provide in addition to the manufacturer’s coverage.
As stated, you should never agree to a roofing contract without understanding the warranties being provided to you. If you are in the market for a roof repair or installation for your commercial building, call the experts at Unicoat Industrial Roofing. Our reputation and experience guarantee that your roof will be professionally installed and you’ll be protected.