My roof is leaking! Is it covered by a warranty?


Have spring storms brought the weather a little too close to your family? If your roof is relatively new but has leaks or damage, you might wonder if it is covered by a warranty. There are many different kinds of warranties, and knowing the answer depends on understanding the differences between them.


Product Warranties

Your roofing material, whether that’s slate, tile, asphalt shingle, steel, or rubber, is likely covered by a product warranty. This usually states only that it is free from defects in materials and workmanship, that the manufacturer properly constructed the product out of proper materials. The consumer can be assured that the product will perform as well as such products customarily do.

For example, stone coated steel roofing shingles typically last 40–70 years before needing to be replaced and come with a 50-year warranty. During this period of time, a homeowner notices that his tiles are prone to cracking. He discovers that the batch of steel they were made from was improperly smelted, which resulted in imperfections that caused brittleness. This would be a condition that was a defect likely covered by a product warranty.

Product warranties are guarantees by the manufacturer that the product is of good quality. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to pay for repair or replacement under the warranty, although your roofing contractor will likely be able to help you coordinate this process.


Workmanship Warranties

Roofer repairing badly damaged roofMany roof installation companies also offer workmanship warranties that cover your new roof. These promise that the roofing material was installed in a professional manner using appropriate materials and techniques. If a homeowner notices a problem with the roof, like a leak, which can be attributed to improper installation, it may be covered by a workmanship warranty. An installation that doesn’t comply with a code requirement could also be repaired, without cost, under a workmanship warranty.

A homeowner who discovers a leak near her chimney and discovers that its cause is a missing piece of flashing between the shingles and the chimney is probably covered by a workmanship warranty. She would be entitled to repair of the affected area and any damage the improper installation caused.


What Warranties Don’t Cover

Warranties protect against defects in the material or workmanship; they don’t warrant that a product will work correctly, especially if there are outside events that affect the product’s performance.

For example, a 10-year warranty on a car means that it’s made out of normal, good-quality materials that are put together correctly. It certifies that if a problem occurs within the first 10 years that seems to have been caused by a defect in a part or a problem with how the car was manufactured, the maker will handle repairs. A keyless entry system that stops unlocking after two years may be a warranty issue. The warranties don’t mean that the manufacturer certifies that the car is going to run for 10 years; if you never change your oil, your engine will likely stop working long before the warranty expires.

In the case of a roof, damage caused by natural deterioration, storm damage, or other external events is not covered by product or workmanship warranties. This kind of damage may be covered by a home warranty or your homeowner’s insurance, however.


Roof Maintenance Is Key

Regular roof maintenance works two ways to help ensure your roof has a long and healthy life. First, performing regular maintenance like scrubbing off moss and cleaning out gutters can help you detect potential problems and prevent them before they start. Second, inspecting your roof to make sure it is in good condition allows you to detect small problems or potential issues and perform repairs before they become significant and require roof replacement.


Contact Hedrick Construction today to schedule your roof inspection, gutter cleaning services, or other roof maintenance services.


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