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What Does My Asphalt Shingle Roof Lifetime Warranty Cover?

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If you just had a new roof installed or are looking to replace your current roof, one of the most important things to understand is the warranty that comes with your roof. There are many misconceptions about roof warranties and what they cover, I will debunk common myths and explain exactly what they do and don’t cover. I will be talking strictly about what asphalt shingle roof warranties cover.

2 Types Of Shingle Roof Warranties

The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of warranties that you need when you get a roof installed on your home. They each cover completely separate things, and one isn’t sufficient alone.

They are:

  1. The manufacturer warranty – provided by the company who made the shingles
  2. The workmanship warranty – provided by the roofing contractor you hire to install the shingle.

The main difference between the two is the manufacturer’s roof warranty covers only the materials installed. And even then it’s just the shingles themselves – so if the asphalt shingles on your roof started losing granules early, this would fall under the manufacturer warranty. However, other items installed like flashings around pipes and chimneys (two of the most common leak areas) are not covered at all.

A good workmanship warranty should cover any defects or mistakes in the installation itself. So if a couple shingles were installed incorrectly by the roofers and it caused a leak, the contractor would have to cover that. However, you must read the contract carefully! Some contractors will provide themselves loopholes by leaving things out or not covering things you may assume should be covered. Never assume…get it in writing!

1 Huge Misconception About Asphalt Shingle Roof Warranties

One of the biggest misconceptions or myths that homeowners have been told is this: Some contractors will come in, give a bid, and tell you that your roof comes with a Lifetime Warranty (which is true). What they don’t bother to tell you is that it is a manufacturer warranty only. And if you don’t know that you need to ask that question, you could end up getting stuck with a roof that is hardly covered in the case of a defect being found.

If this happened to you, here’s an all-to-common scenario that you may face:

A few years after the roof is installed you might see a water spot on your ceiling. The first feeling of dread that rises up is quickly stifled by the thought “Hey this roof is pretty new, I bet this will all be covered by our Lifetime Warranty.”

So you get on the phone with the contractor and he tells you to contact the manufacturer about your warranty. Odd, but you think nothing of it at the time. So you call the manufacturer of the shingles and (if it’s one of the good companies) they send a rep out to take a look at your claim. He hops up on your roof, diagnoses the problem, then comes to you with the diagnosis…

He says, “There’s nothing wrong with the material itself, it’s in great shape! The problem is with the way it was installed. The roofers made a mistake and that’s why you have water leaking into your home. Sorry, but we can’t help you.”

All of a sudden that feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach rises back up, this time with no logical statement to beat it back down. You think “Surely the contractor will honor their install and cover the damage.”

Unfortunately though, the “Lifetime Roof Warranty” that your contractor sold you was the one provided by the manufacturer, he may have provided a very short workmanship warranty or even none at all! After everything, you’re stuck with a Lifetime warranty that didn’t cover your problem, and a big repair bill.

So be ABSOLUTELY SURE that you get a good, long workmanship warranty along with the manufacturer warranty (that ALL asphalt shingles come with by default). This is the only way to ensure most of your bases are covered.

The bad news is there are still loopholes in both manufacturer and workmanship warranties that you need to be aware of. But that is another conversation all together. At the bare minimum, be sure you get both of these warranties when you replace your roof, and you’ll be 80% of the way there.