Roofing Southwest Blog > Commercial Roof Warranties

Commercial Roof Warranties

May 13, 2015

What Makes Up a Good Commercial Roof Warranty?

One important distinction is to know the difference between a material-only warranty and a labor and materials warranty. A material-only warranty only covers the materials supplied by the manufacturer, but doesn’t protect against faulty installation. More often than not, a material-only warranty doesn’t include on-site inspections.   A labor and materials warranty covers not only the products, but also the installation. In order for the warranty to go into effect, the initial installation must be done by a licensed and approved contractor (approved by the manufacturer) and often requires an inspection by the manufacturer’s representative once the installation is complete.

Probably the most important aspect of warranties, however, is to know that virtually all warranties have exclusions. For instance, some warranties won’t repair the materials if the wind speeds are over a certain level — such as a Category 1 hurricane.  It’s also very common to find language about regular maintenance and improper use - including foot traffic.  In short, if a property owner or manager doesn’t act with a certain level of care, they may lose the very protection they bought the warranty for.     

We thought we’d actually review a few warranties that are available to view online: 

GAF Commercial Warranties

GAF Diamond Pledge Warranty

GAF, one of America’s largest manufacturers of commercial roofing, has four levels of warranty on their commercial, low-slope products:

  • Standard — offers replacement of material for defects only, but is prorated based on use, for 12 years only.
  • Weather Stopper Warranty — offers replacement of material for defects and 100% materials replacement and is not prorated. In addition, this warranty can only be offered if the roof is installed by GAF Low-Slope Factory-Certified Contractors only. Warranty lasts for 20 years.
  • System Pledge Warranty — covers material defects and workmanship errors plus 100% materials replacement and is not prorated. This warranty covers the entire roofing system, which can only be installed by GAF Certified Asphaltic Contractors. Warranty lasts for 20 years.
  • Diamond Pledge — covers material defects and workmanship errors plus 100% materials replacement and is not prorated. This warranty covers the entire roofing system and can only be installed by GAF Master and Master Select™ Contractors. This includes the cost of labor. The Warranty lasts for 35 years. The WellRoof® Guarantee Extension can add up to 25% additional duration to the Diamond Pledge warranty, if the owner maintains the roof with the services of a GAF Certified Maintenance Professional.

You’ll notice that even the “Diamond Pledge” (best) Warranty requires regular inspections and maintenance by qualified roofers. The owner is responsible for certain things such as reporting leaks or damage within 30 days of occurrence, and must repair any damage not covered by the warranty that may threaten the roofing materials. In an emergency, the owner must make temporary repairs (at his or her expense) to prevent additional damage.

If we briefly touch on some of the exceptions & exclusions mentioned, you’ll find the following:

  • Leaks caused “Inadequate Roof Maintenance”.
  • Leaks caused by "Traffic of any nature on the roof unless using GAF walkways applied in accordance with GAF’s published application instructions.” 
  • Any condition that is not in accordance with GAF’s published application instructions.
  • Use of materials that are “incompatible” with GAF roofing materials.
  • Unusual weather conditions — windstorms, hail, floods, hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes etc.

So what is the right warranty for you? That depends on a number of factors that a professional roofer should be able to assist with, but it’s not a bad idea to read through the various warranty options yourself to understand what they do and don’t cover.  Moreover, reviewing a warranty will often give you the right questions to ask a roofer before hiring them.  Are they following the manufacturer’s instructions and specifications?    

Of course, it is important to understand that a good warranty doesn’t make the roof last longer. Longevity depends on the roof design, the quality of materials, proper installation and good routine maintenance


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