Measuring the quality of roofing? Look at the warranties.

October 26, 2019 | Filed under: Buying a New Roof,Financial,Newsletter Articles,Research

Product warranties

Here’s another peek into the things that contractors often do not understand about metal roofing. In this article, we will look at the critical topic of Warranties.

Builder Grade Products or The Real Deal

In the construction industry, there have often been two general levels of building materials – “Builder-Grade” products and High-Quality products.

Builder-Grade products are so-named because they are used by many home builders who, being very sensitive to overall project costs, are looking for materials that will “get by.” These products will serve the purpose and meet code but often must be replaced after just a few years of service. That makes them stand out in contrast to Higher-Quality building materials.

Even if you’re remodeling your home rather than building a new home, you will still encounter Builder-Grade materials. You’ve heard it before, of course: the “name brand” products sold at the big boxes are often not the same quality level as those manufacturers supply to contractors through wholesale distribution.

So, here’s the big question for you as a homeowner: What are the things that help you determine a quality product with great value versus a Builder-Grade product with lesser performance?

One very good thing to check out is the warranty on the product. Builder-Grade products, sold at lower margins and made from lower-quality materials, frequently carry weaker warranties.

With an installed metal roof (as with most building materials), you will receive two warranties. Please make sure to secure them both in writing before proceeding, and to read over and understand them.

Metal Roof Warranties: 1 Good Thing with 2 Good Parts

One warranty will come from the manufacturer of the product and cover the integrity of the metal roofing product itself while the other will come from the installing contractor covering their original workmanship.

Product Warranties

One thing to watch out for is a “product” warranty that comes not from a metal roofing manufacturer but from the company that supplied the metal for the metal roof panels. Such warranties are very limited in scope and coverage. For example, they will usually cover only the value of the raw materials for your roof, not the finished product. They also will cover only the performance of the painted metal, not the performance of the roof system. This means they do not cover things like wind damage or resistance to hail. These warranties not only have very limited coverage, but they historically have been very difficult for property owners to collect on.

With quality products, on the other hand, you will receive a product warranty from the company that fabricated the roofing. They, in turn, should have a warranty from their painted metal supplier which may offer them some back-up support in the event of paint-related product failure.

In looking at roofing product warranties, make sure that you have answers to the following critical things:

  1. What exactly does the warranty cover? What does it not cover?
  2. Are there provisions for wind, hail, fade, and chalk?
  3. Who is the warranty from? What is the history of that company? Are they a company you can connect with and get answers from? Is it a “real company” or a “shell company” set up to import low-quality offshore products?
  4. Is the warranty prorated and, if so, what is the proration schedule? Beware of some warranties that prorate to perhaps 50% coverage after 10 or fewer years.
  5. Can the warranty be transferred to future owners? If so, how many times, and what are the requirements for doing so?

Here’s an example of our lifetime, transferable product warranty.

Workmanship Warranties

In regards to the workmanship warranty you receive from your contractor, please consider the following:

  1. Are you receiving a written and legal warranty or just a “promise” and perhaps a note on your contract?
  2. What does the warranty cover, and what does it not cover? Contractors often do not want to give long warranties, citing the possibility of “Acts of God.” One option is to have a warranty that excludes damage or problems resulting from Acts of God.
  3. For how long is the warranty? Does it transfer to future owners or, perhaps, a surviving spouse?
  4. Who is providing the warranty? What is their track record and length of time in business?
  5. How seriously a contractor takes their warranty likely mirrors how seriously they will take your home.

Based upon the above information, you should be able to navigate your way through the often confusing and sometimes “smoke and mirrors” world of warranties.

If you would like our help in locating one of our trusted roofing contractors in your location, we would be pleased to make an introduction.

Please know that our team represents hundreds of years of metal roofing experience. If you have a question or concern, we can address it quickly and accurately. Please contact us anytime.