After going through our guide to the best roofing materials, you may just think you need to simply find a contractor and tell him what you want. But it’s not that simple. Like all products that matter, the workmanship matters just as much as the actual raw materials themselves. A roof is no different.
Even if you found a contractor capable of offering a 100% Lifetime Guarantee on the roof itself, you’ll still run into trouble if they don’t offer a comparable workmanship warranty. As soon as a leak springs up or a shingle blows off, the manufacturer will send their rep out there to see if the materials were installed right. If not, your 100% Lifetime manufacturer warranty means nothing – zip, zilch, nada.
The problem will fall back on the contractor who installed it, and if he didn’t provide a comprehensive warranty on the work itself, you’re outta luck. You’ll end up forking out all the money to fix the problem that you probably thought was covered by a warranty.
HOW DO YOU FIND AN EXCELLENT CONTRACTOR?
To find a contractor that will do great work and provide an excellent warranty to back it up, there are several things you should look for.
Is the company credentialed by the manufacturer of the shingle you want?
Some of the bigger manufacturers have credentialization programs that roofing contractors can qualify for. These can help you weed out poor contractors who don’t have much stability. Just make sure you find a contractor that is credentialed for the shingle you want. Obviously, it won’t do you any good to find a GAF-credentialed company if you want CertainTeed on your roof. (We use CertainTeed almost exclusively for these reasons, and are credentialed to give out their best warranties)
Does the contractor employ only roofers certified by the manufacturer?
After being credentialed, it’s up to the contractor to make sure their roofers are trained and certified to install a roof according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If a roof isn’t installed to meet their requirements, your warranty could be voided. (We require all our installers to pass CertainTeed’s test and become certified)
How long is their workmanship warranty?
If a contractor touts credentials and certified roofers, it doesn’t mean much if they aren’t willing to stand by their work for a long period of time. Look for a company that will cover defects for at least 20 years. 10 years may sound like a long time right now, but it is also a critical point in the life of the shingle where enough time has passed to start revealing possible defects. (We guarantee our roofs will have no problems for the life of the roof – usually 30-40 years)
What does their workmanship warranty cover?
This point is critical. If you find a roofer that gives you a one page estimate that says “20 year workmanship warranty” you’ll need to gather some more information. What does their workmanship warranty cover? In a lot of cases, the warranty will cover anything the company installed, which sounds good right? The only problem is some things may not be covered – like if your rubber pipe flashings crack and start leaking, or a plastic vent cracks and lets water in, but the most dangerous one by far – if the wall flashings (the most common leak spot) were reused and start leaking, it will not be covered. (Instead of a workmanship warranty – we offer a No-Leak Guarantee for the life of the roof)
In the end, doing your research to find the best contractor in your area for your project will be well worth your time in the long run. Yes it will take some time and be a little painful now, but it can save you years of headaches, hassles, and dollars down the road.