Just wanted to address some common questions regarding roofing material and systems warranties.
Lets start by defining some common terms found in these warranties-
NDL- No Dollar Limit- A kind of commercial roof system warranty wherein the manufacturer will not only warrant that the roof system will perform as promised for the specified period of time, but will pay for any costs incurred as a result of nonperformance. Basically this is an insurance policy on the roofs ability not to leak. Often times these warranties have maintenance, and inspection requirements,and fees associated with them. Be aware of these if you are purchasing an NDL warrantied roof.
Certified/Registered/Approved Installer- Many manufacturers, (But not all), will offer extended or improved warranty terms of the roof is installed by a certain roofer who as undergone extra training, or has registered with the company. Sometimes theses roofers are more qualified, but sometimes this is simply a tool to help sell roofing to roofers. Check with your chosen manufacturers warranty for details on what you getf or using these installers, and what the installer must to do participate in the program.
Weathertightness- Most roofing warranties, and insurance policies on roofs are for weathertightness only. This means that as long as the roof isn’t, or won’t eventually start leaking, you do not have a claim. In other words, ugly is not covered. Check with your chosen manufacturer regarding their particular details.
Proration Period- The length of a roofs warranty during which, the value of the warranty declines as time passes. IE: at 1 year, the warranty is worth $80/square, Year 2- $75/Square, Year 10- $30/Square, Year 30- $5/Square. This is common to virtually all residential roofing warranties, but the schedule will vary between companies.
Non Proration Period- Sometimes called a Right Start, or Full Start period. This is a common feature of residential roofing warranties. This is the period prior to the proration period during which the warranty is not be devalued as time passes.
Labor and Materials Warranty- A warranty which will cover not only replacement materials, but also the labor to install them. This is not common in roofing warranties, although some companies are offering them for an initial period of a few years as a selling point.
Materials only warranty- A warranty which only covers the performance of the materials installed, not the installation. This is the most common type of warranty offered on roofing materials. Also used to describe a warranty which onl;y covers the replacement of materials and not the labor to install them in the event of a claim.
Lifetime warranty- This is a very loaded term. It can mean anything from a warranty with an extremeley long proration period, to a warranty good for the life of the structure, to the time period the original purchaser owns the building on which the roof is installed, and often more than 1 of these definitions of lifetime is used. Make sure that you understand not only the definition of a lifetime warranty, but what you must do in terms of paperwork, maintenance, and inspections to continue the warranty coverage as time passes.
Wind Warranty- The wind speed that the material chould be able to withstand once installed properly. Oftentimes, this wind speed can be icreased with special installation procedures.
ASTM- ASTM International formerly known as the American Society of Testing Methods is a not for profit organization which provides a forum for producers and consumers to meet on common ground and to write standards for materials, products, systems and services. ASTM standards are often referred to in warranties and specifications.
FACTORY MUTUAL (FM):An organization that classifies roof assemblies for their fire characteristics and wind uplift resistance for insurance companies in the United States.
UNDERWRITERS LABORATORY & WARNOCK HERSEY: Organizations that test and classify consumer products such as roof assemblies to methods defined by objective forums like ASTM.
So, now that we speak the language, lets talk about whats important. what a roofing warranty mean to you.-
A roofing warranty is just another feature or benefit of a roofing system or product. As a home or business owner, you need to be aware of the implications of the warranty you are getting with your new roof.
Oftentimes, warranty is used as a overly hyped selling point, but ultimately it is a major factor in the long term value of your roof. Be sure to thoroughly read the warranty of not only the product you are planning to purchase, but competing products. Remember that what a warranty is called is not as important as what it says, and that the warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. That said, don’t be sold just on a warranty, better products will always be better, and the most important factor in any roof is the installer. Consult with a Professional Licensed Roofer that you trust, regarding your project for the most accurate information for your situation.
This information is based on Manufacturers published information, and is only the opinion of the writer. This is not intended to be nor is it legal, or professional advice. Consult a licensed attorney for legal advice if needed, or an engineer or roof consultant for technical advice.