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It’s important for building owners to have a basic understanding of their roof’s warranty coverage. To help you get started, our expert roofing contractors at CQ Roofing are here with a quick guide.

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The Two Types of Warranties

There are two entities equipped to provide warranties: the manufacturer of the roofing materials and the roofing contractor. Contractor warranties tend to be shorter than manufacturer warranties, but, in terms of coverage, the difference between the two isn’t very clear-cut. That’s because there are four kinds of manufacturer warranties, each with their own pros and cons.

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Manufacturer’s no-dollar-limit (NDL) warranty – Arguably the best option for building owners, a NDL warranty covers roof repairs and replacements regardless of their cost, even if the total costs exceed the value of the roof itself. This type of warranty also has a fairly lengthy period of coverage, lasting anywhere from 10 to 30 years depending on the type of roofing installed. Keep in mind that NDL warranties only cover materials that were purchased from the manufacturers. As such, damage stemming from roof protrusions might not be covered.
  • Manufacturer’s material warranty – This type of warranty covers roof repairs and replacements within a certain period. (The period intervals are usually measured in decades). Since this type of warranty is usually free or comes with low fees, the manufacturer’s material warranties are the most popular type of warranty on the market. Like the NDL warranty, a material warranty doesn’t cover materials that weren’t made by the manufacturer providing the warranty, although there are a few exceptions for installation errors. Depending on the manufacturer, certain workmanship errors may be covered.
  • Manufacturer labor and material warranty – This warranty covers roof repairs and replacements up to a certain amount. As such, it isn’t the best option for wide commercial roofs, which have a higher chance of suffering roof damage in their lifespans. Not to mention labor-and-material warranties are prorated, meaning the coverage limit declines over time. In this case, the older a roof is, the lower its coverage.
  • Manufacturer’s roof system warranty – The roof system or the membrane-only warranty is the most basic warranty option. As the name suggests, it only covers the roof membrane.

What a Warranty Doesn’t Cover

It’s also important for building owners to have an idea on what commercial roof warranties don’t cover. These include:

  • Neglect – Failure to properly maintain your roof might void your warranty. Remember: Warranties only cover material and workmanship defects, not damage stemming from any negligence on the building owner’s part. To protect your roof warranty, you should routinely have a professional contractor conduct a roof inspection.
  • Natural disasters – Roof damage stemming from extreme weather events such as extremely high winds, fire, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes are not covered. Hailstorms are usually an exception, although this depends on the product and its warranty.
  • Leak repairs – Most warranties don’t cover leaks caused by physical damage to the roof or a failing building component that’s not under warranty.
  • Unauthorized roof modifications – Some warranties have conditions that don’t allow modifications to your roof, like the installation or servicing of a rooftop HVAC unit. Repairs that don’t follow the manufacturer’s specifications can void the warranty as well. You shouldn’t worry about this issue too much though—factory-certified roofing contractors are quite familiar with national manufacturers’ specifications.

Before choosing a warranty, you need to make sure you go through the document carefully. In particular, you need to pay attention to the conditions that can void your warranty. If you’re having a hard time understanding some of the terms in warranty, don’t hesitate to consult a professional contractor.

CQ Roofing, a GAF® Master Elite® contractor, offers a wide range of professional roofing services, including commercial and residential roof inspection services. To get a free estimate, call us at (850) 683-4169 or leave us a message here. We serve homeowners in Crestview, FL, as well as the surrounding communities.