The roofs of homes throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island are tested from June through November by strong North Atlantic hurricanes. Winter brings ice storms and blizzards. How long can a roof last in such conditions? And how long does a roof warranty last?
Roof Life Span
A roof installation warranty—a specialized kind of insurance policy for your roof—should last at least as long as the roof itself is expected to last. But how long do roofs throughout Rhode Island, Cape Cod, and Massachusetts typically last? That depends on the type of residential roof you have:
- Standard three-tab shingle roofs may last 10 to 15 years
- Architectural or designer shingle roofs may last 20 to 25 years
- Low-slope roofs (as over a porch or addition) may last 25 to 30 years
Every roof faces unique challenges from wind, weather, and wear. If you do not know how old your home’s roof is, a good way to get a handle on roof succession is with an annual inspection by your local residential roofer.
Roof warranties fall into two categories:
- Warranties against manufacturing defects, providing standard or extended coverage
- Warranties against installation errors
Major manufacturers of roofing materials (shingles, low-slope rolled goods) warrant, or insure, those materials to be free of manufacturing defects. Your roofer may offer an additional warranty covering installation errors.
Ideally, the manufacturer of your roofing materials will extend warranty protection to cover installation errors—but only if the installer is known to be a superior contractor.
Think about it; would you bet your house on the chance that your three-year-old could drive your car down the street? Nah! A roofing materials maker is not going to risk its money on unreliable, untrustworthy contractors.
The best warranties in residential roofing are offered by the best manufacturers. Those warranties will extend to workmanship only if the contractor earns the maker’s trust through flawless installations and a solid work history.
No Two Alike
You have the freedom to select both your roofer and your materials manufacturer. You may be surprised to find out that different roofing materials makers offer different warranties. Even within one brand, a maker may offer a stronger warranty on a higher-quality, higher-priced product than on an economical item. No two roofing warranties are alike, and no two contractors are alike.
Still, you can weed out inferior companies and contractors fairly quickly:
- Look for the longest term of protection you can afford; most roofing warranties begin at 20 years, with some going to 50 years depending on the maker and type of roofing material
- Look for the strongest workmanship warranty available—Ideally, the manufacturer has a good working relationship with the installer and is not afraid to warrant the installation for at least five years
- Consider that stronger warranties (manufacturer and workmanship) are usually offered by the better companies whose prices may not be in the bottom range of estimates; this is also known as “you get what you pay for”
What to Look For
What makes one warranty better than another? In comparing manufacturers’ warranties, look for:
- Extended coverage, meaning a long term (20 years at least; 30 to 50 years is better)
- Component coverage—This warranty protects all roofing system parts from water and ice shield, underlayment, and roofing material (including starter shingles on a shingle roof) to accessories like soffit and ridge vents
- Non-prorated protection, meaning the coverage does not lessen in value over the years
- A manufacturer offering protection against installer mistakes and installation errors
Bear in mind, an individual contractor can also offer protection against installation errors. For maximum protection, work with roofers who are backed by the manufacturer but also stand behind their work.
A workmanship warranty should include:
- Coverage of costs for tear-off, disposal of debris, and correction of the error
- Prorated protection of at least two years, with longer coverage being better
- Complete (no cost to you, the homeowner) coverage for all labor and materials costs incurred due to installer mistakes
Find Your Roofer
Finding a roofer offering great roof warranties is actually very simple:
- Avoid looking far afield; choose someone in your community
- Working with a roofer with a local, physical address means you have somewhere to go with your concerns
- Contract with a roofer backed by both independent reviewers and industry leaders
- Partner with a roofer who partners with world-class manufacturers like Owens Corning, CertainTeed, and GAF
- Ask as many questions as you like about the roofer’s warranties and warranties it offers from manufacturers; listen carefully for detailed answers
Roofing warranties are valuable. Find the best warranty your budget allows, and work with the best installer for complete peace of mind.
Couto Construction is happy to serve clients in southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod. Contact us today to learn more about our flawless roof installations, strong warranties, and superior roofing services.