Everybody loves a warranty. Why wouldn’t you want a guarantee on something that you just spent yours or your company’s hard earned money on? And, in times when budgets are tight and every dollar counts, you need to make sure you are not only getting the best deal today, but the best value down the road as well. When it comes to roofs, it is no different as you are not only looking to correct the existing problems you likely are experiencing, but are also looking to make a sound investment that will provide you and your company with the greatest ROI possible. However, there are many different kinds of roof warranties and even the best ones don’t protect you as much as you may think.
Ultimately, a “full system warranty,” or guarantee depending on who provides it, is designed to protect the buyer/owner in two areas: 1) Material defects that may arise from deficiencies in the products that rolled off the line in the factory and 2) Poor workmanship techniques utilized during the installation process. While the first area of protection is a rare occurrence, sometimes products are recalled, found to be ineffective in the application intended or came off the assembly line at a lesser quality than usual (i.e. – thickness of the membrane was far less than what it ought to have been). I can remember in one particular instance when an adhesive was recalled from a reputable manufacturer after numerous roofs began to experience separation of the system from the roof deck. With respects to item number two, it does happen that an installer utilizes poor technique during the installation process that results in the roof being more vulnerable to having water infiltrate the system. However, let’s say a 20-year warranty is purchased (you most certainly paid additional money for these warranties based on the square footage), flaws in workmanship will most likely be revealed in the first couple of years, or even the first good rainstorm.
So, what is that warranty really providing you? Well I suppose it is some peace of mind and it is certainly an extra layer of protection. However, be aware of what that warranty is NOT providing you as illustrated in that fine print written by the firms legal team. Your roof warranty does NOT cover the regularly scheduled maintenance visits, required in order to maintain the validity of the warranty. Your roof warranty does NOT give you assurance of quick response to your warranty claim in time of emergency. Your roof warranty does NOT cover problems that arise from normal wear and tear, including that which results from the weather and other trades (most common source of roof related emergencies). In fact, if a roof leak occurs, per the fine print you as the owner are to investigate it first and determine if you deem it to be a warranty item. If you believe it is and are wrong, you will be charged not only by the company who made the repairs, but by the representative that was sent to investigate to make the determination if it is a covered item or not. Then, there is the long list of exclusions: a. Infiltration or condensation of moisture in, through or around the walls, copings and metal components, pitch pans, building structure or underlying or surrounding materials; b. Traffic of any nature or use of the roof surface as a storage area, walking or recreational surface or for any other similar purpose; c. Movement or deterioration of metal work used in conjunction with the roof system; d. Deposits of solids or liquids which may cause deterioration of the roof system; e. Lack of positive drainage, to completely remove, and the list goes on. Also, it is worth noting that there are different types of roof warranties as well (material warranties only cover the products installed as opposed to any workmanship defects).
SUPPORTING YOUR WARRANTY
The goal of a warranty is to ensure a quality roof installation that provides long-term performance. But a warranty alone has never kept a building dry. While at the end of the day, it is certainly better to have a warranty in place as opposed to not having one at all, it is important to know that your roof warranty may not cover as much as you may have originally anticipated. And, that proper roof care by a professional company will not only keep your warranty valid, but maximize the ROI of your warranty and your roof. In fact, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association, roof systems that are properly cared for last 7-12 years longer (a minimum of 30%) than those whose owners/manager utilize a broke-fix approach. Your greatest peace of mind will be knowing that a professional is keeping an eye out for you and your buildings best interest.