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Roofing Warranties: What’s Covered? How Do They Work?

June 22, 2022
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Roof Warranties Explained In The
Greater Seattle Area

What’s Covered? How Do They Work?

A roof replacement is a pretty serious investment for the average Greater Seattle Area homeowner. Regardless of which one of the many material options you choose, you’ll want to make sure you protect your new roof with the best roofing warranty available to you.

While you might be offered a lifetime warranty, if you don’t read over the fine print, you may find out when it’s too late that you only received coverage on defective materials, not the labor to fix it. And don’t forget mistakes! You expect those to be covered too, right? It’s important to know the major types of warranties that are out there so that you are better informed when it’s time to have your roof replaced.


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Types Of Roofing Warranties

Three main types of roofing warranties offer different benefits and coverage options. You’ll need to read over your warranty carefully to understand exactly what’s covered with your roof replacement.


Material Defect-Only Warranty

A material defect-only warranty is a manufacturer’s warranty that covers, as the name implies, the materials only. It protects you as the homeowner from faulty materials. The material is typically covered for its expected lifespan and that’s often 50 years.

This type of warranty leaves you with the problem that just the cost of materials is covered and only if there’s a defect in the manufacturing process. This means the manufacturer will replace any defective materials that you find by shipping new pieces or just giving you a prorated discount on new ones, but they will not pay for the removal and replacement costs, leaving you responsible for all labor costs. And, again, ONLY if there’s a defect. Not “worn out.” Big difference!

It is also understood industry-wide that this type of warranty will not cover shingles that are damaged due to faulty installation or any other issues that arose when your roof was installed.


Comprehensive Warranty With Labor

Leading manufacturers like the ones we carry offer comprehensive warranties with labor included, if there’s a defect. These warranties typically require that the entire roof be replaced for customers to qualify for the warranty, not just a partial. Additionally, the roof must be installed by a qualified contractor who is certified to install their products.

Most of these warranties offer a range of benefits. All roof system components will be covered except flashing, fasteners, and wood decking. They will offer coverage for defective materials that is extended, non-prorated, or continuous and typically includes the cost of repairs or replacements. It can usually be extended for up to 50 years in most cases.

Additionally, you’ll be protected against installation errors in the roof system with some level of workmanship coverage. It may be a lifetime term that begins prorating after a certain number of years, and it will include labor, removal, and disposal costs.


Workmanship Warranty

Workmanship warranties are offered by home contractors who complete the roof replacements. Because every company is different, not every workmanship warranty is created equal. One major difference can be the length of coverage offered between contractors; however, some may offer lifetime warranties.

While it’s usually true that a longer coverage period is better, the warranty you are being offered should cover you against material failures that arise from installation mistakes or worker errors, no matter what the coverage term is.

This type of warranty typically covers labor and materials needed for the repairs. Many also cover the damage costs for your furniture and personal belongings when the mistake causes interior destruction.

Workmanship warranties, however, usually do not include issues that are not related to installation problems such as storm damage, water damage due to ice dams, damage due to roof alterations following installation, foot traffic, or fallen tree limbs.

RoofSmart offers the only Lifetime Workmanship Warranty in the Seattle area for qualifying designs. We stand behind our installations 100%.


Types Of Roofing Materials Available

Now that you know about the different kinds of roofing warranties that are out there, you can begin researching what kind of material you want to be installed on your new roof. There are several great options, including those for flat roofs.


Composition Roofing

Composition roofs are a combination of multiple materials instead of being made of just one single material. They’re typically made from a mixture of fiberglass, laminate, slate, and wood. The three main types of these roofs are 3 tab, laminated architectural, and Designer shingles.

They boast an impressive lifespan along with being very cost-effective, aesthetically pleasing, and customizable while offering easy replacement. This option typically comes with a material defect-only warranty that ranges anywhere from 20 to 50 years.


Metal Roofing

Metal roofs in Seattle are composed of metal pieces, tiles, or panels. They offer great benefits like longer lifespans, limited environmental impact, and increased energy efficiency. While the initial investment is typically more than that of an asphalt roof, the return on investment is greater when you consider the lifespan has the potential to reach 60 years.

The materials used are lighter and are a true “green” roof. It’s 100% recyclable, perfect for solar installations, and lasts typically twice as long as a typical composition roof. They can even be installed over the current shingle roof to save time and money on installation and removal fees (we rarely do this). Instead of a warranty on the actual materials, you’ll be provided with coverage on the paint that protects the metal roof for typically up to 50 years. The metal itself doesn’t go bad, just the paint. Someday.


Shake Roofing

A cedar shake roof is made of premium cedar materials. What makes it different from other roof types is it’s much more aesthetic. These shingles are made to order–not kept in a stockpile. The average lifespan of a shake roof varies greatly because of the grade of shakes and the quality of the installation, just like all other roof types. They can be “shot” in as little as 15 years, or can last a good 50. Higher quality wood and treatments make a huge difference.


Flat Roofing Options

When you have a flat roof, your options change slightly. You won’t use any of the previously discussed options. Typical flat roofing options include TPO and PVC.

TPO or Thermoplastic Polyolefin is a single-ply membrane that is made of sheets of rubber or other synthetic materials and it is attached to the insulation of your commercial facility to create a layer of protection. This type of roof is reasonably durable, UV reflective, and can last up to 30 years.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) roofing is also known as vinyl roofing. This type of roofing is heat-welded at the seams, one of the longest-lasting flat roofing options available, and UV reflective.

These roofing systems can come with a material defect-only warranty that ranges anywhere from 15 to 50 years of coverage.


Are You Ready To Replace Your Old Roof? Choose
The Company With The TripleGuard Warranty

If you’re ready to make the huge investment of a full roof replacement on your Greater Seattle Area home, you need a company that’s going to back up its work with the best warranty possible. Call the roofing experts at RoofSmart!

We offer a TripleGuard Warranty that provides lifetime coverage of materials and workmanship.

Call us today at (206) 487-4877 or schedule your free estimate. We look forward to hearing from you.