Should roofers offer a warranty on their roofs?

The roof is arguably the most important part of the home, so it stands to reason that getting a roofing warranty is a wise idea. Roofs provide shelter from the elements and can be vulnerable to damage related to wind, rain, and snow. Taking steps to ensure a roof is installed properly helps to give it a long and useful life. This is where roof warranties come in. Read on to learn what roof warranties are, what they cover, and how you can implement a roofing warranty system for your business.

Understanding roof warranties

A roofing installation is a substantial investment for the homeowner, so they’ll naturally want some kind of safety net in the event that something goes wrong with the roof’s materials or construction. A roofing warranty offers the owner a way to remedy the problem, but its primary point is to provide a degree of protection for the manufacturer or the roofing contractor. Since there are two separate parties involved in creating and installing a roof, there are three types of roofing warranty: manufacturer warranties, extended manufacturer warranties, and contractor warranties.


Most manufacturers offer a basic limited lifetime warranty for the shingles used on the roof, as this is the industry standard. The term “lifetime” is a bit misleading. Technically, it means that the homeowner’s roof is covered for the typical life of the materials or until such time as the owner no longer owns the house. Under a standard warranty, the manufacturer covers the cost of replacement for defective shingles, with the cost of labor being the responsibility of the owner. Claims can usually be made through the manufacturer’s website.

Extended manufacturer

Some manufacturers offer optional extended warranty coverage on roofs that are installed by authorized contractors, who install the roof according to the manufacturer’s requirements. This type of coverage is available for an additional fee, is totally optional, and includes coordinating roof components, like:

  • Starter and field shingles
  • Soffit and ridge vents
  • Underlayment
  • Hip and ridge cap shingles
  • Ice and water barriers

In the case of an extended warranty, coverage goes beyond the shingles to include:

  • All roof system components, except for flashing, wood decking, and fasteners
  • Long-term coverage for defective materials, which is extendable to 50 years and includes labor costs for repairs or replacements
  • Coverage against poor workmanship

These extended warranties are typically saved for roofs made with higher-end materials, such as slate or metal. Since this type of warranty offers greater coverage, it comes with a greater price tag of up to $3,000.


The materials may be of good quality, but a poor installation can render a roof defective. A contractor warranty offers protection against material defects that result from errors in installation. A contractor warranty covers the cost of material replacement, labor, and even repairs for any damage that may have occurred to the home as a result of the roof installation. A contractor warranty typically excludes damage caused by factors outside their control, such as:

  • High winds
  • Impacts
  • Water damage resulting from ice dams
  • Damage due to the roof being altered after installation
  • Damage due to foot traffic

The typical lifespan of an asphalt roof is between 25 and 30 years, but the average length of a contractor’s warranty is between five and 10 years. If the roof is repaired or maintained by a different contractor or the homeowner works on it themselves, the warranty may become void.

The three standard warranty stipulations

  1. You must register your standard warranty. The warranty only becomes effective if you register it with the manufacturer when the roof is installed. If this isn’t done, you won’t be able to make a claim.
  2. You must properly maintain your roof. The warranty becomes invalid if you fail to maintain your roof, including having repairs conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  3. You must be living on the property. The warranty is only valid if you own and live at the property for at least 10 years after the date of the installation. Some manufacturers allow warranties to be transferred to new owners if the house is sold.

Benefits of offering roof warranties

Roof warranties are safety nets in the event the roof is made with defective materials or the workmanship isn’t up to par. If the roof installation was found to be faulty – and the fault was due to the materials or the workmanship – the warranty offers you (or the manufacturer) the opportunity to fix the problem with no negative impact on your business. There are some major benefits to offering roof warranties. These include:

  • Assurance of quality workmanship and materials. Having a warranty program is like saying you trust the quality of your work so much that you’re willing to go the extra mile by backing it up.
  • Enhanced customer confidence and satisfaction. When a customer knows a warranty is in place, they feel more confident about making a decision to install a new roof.
  • Competitive advantage in the roofing industry. A customer is more likely to go with a contractor or manufacturer who offers a guarantee of their work, which gives you an edge over your competition.
  • Building long-term customer relationships. Roof warranties aren’t just a protective safety net – they’re proof that your customers are important enough for you to extend the courtesy of guaranteeing your work.

Potential challenges and considerations

While there are a number of substantial benefits to having a warranty program, there are some challenges inherent in the process as well:

  • Cost implications for roofers. If you offer a warranty to your customers and they make a claim on that warranty, you’re liable for the cost of the repair or replacement.
  • Balancing warranty terms with industry standards. The roofing industry has its own set of standards. While contractors are free to include their own warranty terms, those terms can’t contradict the terms embraced by the industry.
  • Managing customer expectations and educating them about warranties. Customers may have greater expectations than your warranty can deliver if a claim is made. It’s up to you to ensure your customers know what your warranty covers and doesn’t cover.

Steps for implementing a roof warranty program

Implementing a roof warranty program is a solid choice for contractors, but how do you do it? There are four basic steps to creating a roof warranty program:

  1. Evaluating the warranty options available. Take a look at the industry standards for roofing warranties and see if they align with your intended warranty program. While you shouldn’t offer less than the industry standard, you can use them as a starting point.
  2. Designing comprehensive warranty packages. Try to think about each aspect of the roofing process that could potentially fail in the event of poor workmanship and work it into your warranty. An extensive warranty is more likely to attract customers.
  3. Setting clear warranty terms and conditions. A warranty is essentially a legally binding document, so it’s important that your terms and conditions are as clear as possible. This way, there’s no room for miscommunication and no loopholes that can be exploited.
  4. Communicating warranty information to customers. Once you’ve designed your warranty program, make sure your customers are clear on the particulars of the warranty so they know what to expect and what is and isn’t covered.

Offering a roofing warranty benefits you by assuring your customers of the quality of your workmanship. It can enhance customer confidence, give you a competitive edge, and help you build lasting customer relationships. Even if you’re supremely confident in your ability to deliver a quality product, having a warranty program helps ensure that your business doesn’t receive negative backlash if a roof installation proves to be faulty. Ultimately, you’re not only protecting your business, but you’re also protecting your customer’s sizable investment.

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