What Does a 25 Year Warranty on a Roof Mean?

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A roof warranty offers peace of mind that at least a portion of the costs of a new roof are reimbursed in the event of a covered problem. Manufacturers vary widely in what -- and to what extent -- they cover. Installers sometimes add their own warranty to the mix. The best way to understand the exact parameters of coverage is to read through the verbiage on the 25-year warranty, armed with a basic understanding of its terms and conditions.

What is Covered

  • Manufacturers limit coverage to flaws and defects in the roofing materials that are caused by the manufacturing process. In the case of a 25-year warranty, manufacturers reimburse all or part of the cost of the shingles if a covered problem results in a roofing failure within the specified time frame. Manufacturers sometimes extend the coverage to include installation costs of the shingles provided they are installed by a roofer who is certified by the manufacturer. Poor workmanship by an installer that is not certified may void the manufacturer’s warranty entirely. Some roofing contractors also offer a 25-year warranty that covers any problems with their workmanship. If the roof fails and the cause can be traced to the installer, some or all replacement costs are covered.

Wind Damage

  • Wind damage is often a separate issue with respect to roof warranties. While a 25-year warranty might cover manufacturing or installation problems, it limits damages caused by wind. The warranty for wind-related damage is typically much shorter than that for other roof problems. Since roofing shingles are less resistant to wind damage as they age, the usual wind damage warranty period is for 5 years on a 25-year warranty.

Prorated Terms

  • Sometimes, a warranty policy may be written for full replacement costs on roofing materials. Typically, the amount of coverage falls during each year in the warranty period, until it reaches zero after 25 years. To prorate a roof, take the total cost of materials when you purchased the roof and divide them by the warranty period, 25 years in this case. For each year the warranty is in existence, subtract one-twenty-fifth of the material costs.

Labor Costs

  • Unless specified otherwise in the terms of the warranty -- such as with roofs installed by certified roofers -- labor costs are not covered in a typical manufacturer’s warranty. So, if the roof fails after 12 years on a 25-year warranty, the manufacturer may reimburse you about half the cost of new shingles, but none of the costs of tearing off the old roof and putting on a new one. Contractor warranties also vary with respect to labor costs. Some may cover all of them, others may prorate the labor costs, still others only cover the cost of materials for a longer period than what is included in the 25-year manufacturer’s warranty.

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