Twenty-, thirty-, and even fifty-year warranties – the range of commercial roofing warranties available has increased significantly in recent years. Does that mean a longer coverage period is automatically better? Of course, a warranty should cover a reasonable period of time. Roofing systems are expensive and if the roof should fail, you should know whether the manufacturer will stand behind it.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a longer warranty is the one to choose. You should evaluate the conditions the warranty covers and the steps you’re required to take to ensure that it remains in force. Some longer manufacturers’ warranties sound good, but as they say, the devil is in the details.
To start, you should know whether the new roof installation must pass an inspection, conducted by the manufacturer or a third party, before the manufacturer will issue the warranty. Also, some warranties require an initial payment from the building owner. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it’s good to know before you decide to use that manufacturer’s product.
Some warranties stipulate that, to remain in effect, the building owner must conduct regular roofing inspections over the life of the roof and submit reports showing that the roof has passed the inspections. Virtually all manufacturers require roofing inspections and extra payments for warranty protection beyond the standard coverage period.
Many warranties limit payments if the roof fails. For instance, they may cover the replacement materials needed, but not the installation labor. Also, many warranties do not cover the consequential damages a building’s contents might sustain due to a roof failure. In addition, damage caused by “acts of God,” such as hail storms or hurricanes, may not be covered under the warranty.
You should also know whether you can transfer the roof warranty if you sell the building to a new owner.
Before purchasing a new roofing system, building owners should be sure that the warranty offers a reasonable amount of coverage for a reasonable period of time. When the choice is between a restrictive and costly longer warranty and a shorter one that offers better coverage, the shorter warranty may be a better value.
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