For many years, customers who were in the market for a new roof could choose from a variety of shingle offerings. Durability of these shingles was marketed to last anywhere from 20-50 years depending on the product. But recently major roofing manufacturers have come out with lifetime warranties on the their shingles and roofing systems. Sounds great, right? Not so fast. If you talk to any honest roofer they’ll tell you that the products have not changed much, only the jargon has. And if your roofer mixes and matches underlying materials such as your roof deck protection and leak barrier from different manufacturers, you could be forfeiting your warranty protection all together.

Take note that buying a shingle that is lifetime-rated only gets you so far. You’ll also need to ask your authorized installer about purchasing a manufacturer backed warranty, without which your 30-year roof quickly diminishes to a 5-year roof if material defects arise. You and your roofer should also discuss warranty options on labor. This is especially important because while the materials may hold up, improper installation does not fall under the manufacturer’s warranty. That’s a separate issue. Some installers will even throw in free annual inspections for the first 5 years to insure everything is working properly.

Finally, remember that the lifetime of the roof applies as long as the original homeowner dwells in the home. Policies can be transferred if the property is sold to a new homeowner but usually there is a 60-day window for such transfers. If you are planning on buying a home and you’ve asked the seller to replace the roof, be sure that the new roof is under your name or that the policy can be transferred right away! This way any damage that comes up down the road will be properly covered.

Questions to ask:

1. Are there limitations on lifetime warranties offered by the manufacturer of my shingles? And does my warranty depreciate over time?

2. Is there a full warranty on the labor? And are there any limitations?

3. Is certain damage not covered under my warranty? For example, some warranties only cover wind damage for the first 15 years, assuming gusts stay below a certain level. And if you find algae discoloration plagues your roof, that might not be covered either.

Be sure to obtain a copy of any warranty you purchase. Be clear on the difference between the warranty provided by shingle manufacturer and the warranty provided by your roofer regarding labor. Know the scope and limitations of your warranties before purchasing and always ask questions on any fine print.

As always, please contact Premier Roofing Company with any questions.