Since there are so many things to consider while choosing a roof system, it's not uncommon for facility managers and building owners like you to feel overwhelmed. One of your most important considerations in this process is deciding on a rooftop warranty. Choosing the right warranty can be challenging, but it can also mean the difference between a minor hassle and a break-the-bank scenario.
You may think that the best warranty is the longest one. However, this isn't always the case. There are several additional factors to consider in choosing the right warranty:
Scope of the warranty
Labor-only warranties provide coverage for the labor required to address the roof defect, but they do not include coverage for the cost of materials or product failures. These types of warranties are typically offered by the contractor installing the roof. It is important to note that this type of warranty may not cover repairs for installation errors, which is why the most important aspect of your roof system is a good installation. A roof workmanship warranty is the only warranty type that can protect you against such installation defects.
Manufacturer warranties, on the other hand, may be either material-only or full system warranties. Material-only warranties cover manufacturing defects of the roof membrane, but they do not include coverage for other accessories (e.g. metal edge and adhesives), leak repair costs, or labor. Full system warranties cover the full cost, including labor and materials, and some even include workmanship.
NDL vs. pro-rated warranties
NDL (No Dollar Limit) warranties cover 100% of the monetary costs needed to fix roof defects, while pro-rated warranties have cost limitations to a covered warranty claim . It is important to note that many long-term warranties are pro-rated and can fool you into thinking you're getting better coverage than you actually are. Generally, a short-term NDL warranty is a better choice than a long-term pro-rated warranty.
Most standard warranties do not cover damages due to standing water, weather, natural disasters, or illegal repairs. Some full-system warranties may cover roof leak repairs, unless the leak was caused by fire, lightning, earthquakes, hail, high winds, misuse, vandalism, or structure dilapidation. If your building is located in a vulnerable area, such as a place prone to hurricanes, you may want to consider upgrading your warranty to cover higher wind gusts. These specialty warranties will add a substantial cost and may also require an added expense for additional roofing materials.
When choosing the appropriate warranty for your needs, make sure you read the fine print and understand what you are agreeing to before making the purchase. Remember that the length of the warranty isn't the only consideration to make while considering your purchase. Above all, make sure you hire a licensed roof installer to install the roof and perform periodic inspections and maintenance so as not to void whatever warranty you choose due to neglect.