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