Understanding Your Commercial Roof Warranty
September 24th, 2020
If you’re a commercial building owner, you know that roofing is one of the largest possible investments you can make for your building, especially if the roof is on the larger side. Because of this, and the fact that it’s typically out of sight and therefore out of mind, it can be far too easy to overlook the roof’s care and fall behind on your semiannual roof inspections.
This can end up costing a lot of money in the end, though. Most roofing companies warranty their workmanship and materials, with the manufacturer offering its own warranty for the actual roofing. These warranties typically cover any problems with the roof outlined in the warranty paperwork within a specified period of time provided the terms of the warranty have been met.
Yes, there are stipulations to the warranty and some actions, or lack thereof, can invalidate the warranty altogether. It’s crucial to read the warranty documentation carefully and understand the contents, including what’s covered and who is responsible for what. Roofers are typically well-versed in warranty-speak, so building owners should not hesitate to ask as many questions as necessary.
Know the Different Types of Warranty
A high-quality roofing team will be expertly trained, so any potential problems with materials or labor should be recognized and remedied during installation, heading off any potential future issues. However, issues sometimes arise through no fault of the roofers or the building owner and that is where different types of warranties come in. The main types of roofing warranties are as follows:
(Most common) Manufacturer’s roof system warranty. While many roof warranties cover only the roofing membrane, thus excluding important components such as insulation and underlayment, a roof system warranty will cover damage caused by leakage due to material or labor defects. Abuse or mistreatment of the roof will void the warranty. There is typically a charge for this type of warranty, and it can either be “limited” or “NDL” type of warranty.
Manufacturer’s materials warranty. Beyond the initial warranty period, the manufacturer will cover defects in the materials for a length of time falling typically between 5 and 30 years. This warranty does not cover material failure caused by improper installation or any other human cause.
Manufacturer’s materials and labor warranty. This is a limited warranty, covering defects in both materials and labor to a maximum dollar amount set forth in the warranty’s terms. You can purchase this type of warranty for a fee when you purchase the roof; it’s typically prorated, meaning the maximum dollar amount it will pay in damages will decrease over time.
Manufacturer’s NDL warranty. This is considered the best kind of warranty. An NDL, or no-dollar-limit warranty, covers the complete remediation of any materials- or labor-caused leakage problem regardless of the methods used, even if the entire roof system must be replaced. Under an NDL warranty, if a roof system fails, the manufacturer will pay for the materials and labor required to repair or replace the roof – as long as the building owner has complied with the requirements set forth in the terms of the warranty.
Roofing contractor warranty. A roofing company should provide a full warranty for at least the first year of the roof’s life. This typically covers materials and labor during that time, as long as the warranty hasn’t been voided by any actions taken by your or your employees – such as DIY repairs, power washing, or walking on the roof – or the damage isn’t caused by excluded occurrences (such as a hurricane).
Compliance with the terms of the warranty typically includes having an annual or semiannual inspection performed by a licensed roofer as well as having an ongoing maintenance schedule in place. Be sure to thoroughly read and understand the terms of the warranty, because the warranty will not cover damages if these terms are not met.
It’s critical to maintain records and photo documentation of each inspection and service your roof receives. These can help you prove to the manufacturer that you’ve complied with the terms of the warranty, should a claim ever need to be filed.
Northeast Industrial Roof is a trusted professional roofing contractor that can help you remain compliant with the terms of your roof’s warranties, keep your roof in great shape and provide any additional roofing services you need.