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What Is a Lifetime Asphalt Shingle Roof Warranty?

November , 2022 | 8 min. read

By Kevin Mills

asphalt shingle roof on blue home

Are you ready to replace your old roof and worried about how your investment will be protected in the future? Look I get it, replacing a roof is expensive. In fact, it’s one of the most expensive maintenance items that any homeowner has to deal with if they stay in a home for any length of time. When you’re looking to replace your roof, you want to know what you’re getting for your money. In many cases, this boils down to the quality of materials, the workmanship, and the warranty.

Our family here at RoofCrafters is backed by all the leading manufacturers of roofing materials in the United States, and we have been providing homeowners just like you with the top materials, the highest standard of workmanship, and the longest-lasting warranties available in the roofing industry since 1994. So, we know a thing or two about the fine print inside roofing warranties.

We have made it our mission to use our experience and knowledge to help educate and keep our community well-informed about all things roofing. All of that being said bhat a manufacturer-backed material and labor warranty means for you y the end of this article, I promise you'll understand the difference between these warranties. You'll also better understand if having a great warranty is right for you and how to go about choosing the right warranty for you. Let's get started!

What Is a Lifetime Roof Warranty? 

 

what is a roofing warranty and do i need one

A roof warranty works much like insurance in that it protects your investment from manufacturer defects or poor workmanship in some cases. Most roofing materials come with a warranty that is backed or provided to you by the company that made the product. In this case, since we are discussing asphalt shingle warranties, this will be the shingle manufacturer. Warranties are separated into two parts:

  • Material warranties
  • Workmanship warranties

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Material Warranties for an Asphalt Shingle Roof

 

The materials warranty will come directly from the shingle manufacturer that you choose to go with. So, whoever produced the materials you select, will own the material warranty. A roofing material warranty will not ever come from the roofing contractor who installs the roof for you.

Think of it as a car warranty. When you buy a car, let’s say you own a Chevy Camaro that is under warranty, if it breaks down you wouldn't take it to a Ford dealership to get it fixed, right? Chevy is the manufacturer, they own the bumper to bumper or maybe you have a 60,000-mile warranty.

As long as it's under the stated warranty period, the manufacturer has to make any repairs. Roofing material warranties work the same way. So, if you have been looking around at shingles and trying to decide what brand of shingles to go with, I bet you are asking yourself, what does this lifetime warranty really mean for me, right? 

Well, honestly it all depends on the manufacturer. It also depends on the roofing contractor that you choose to install that particular shingle manufacturer's materials on your home. Most manufacturers’ lifetime warranties cover the replacement of the shingles only, should they become defective, lose their integrity or start to fail before the stated warranty period runs out. 

crane transporting materials 1

In most cases, the stated warranty period that the shingle manufacturers provide 100% coverage is 10 years. This is called non-prorated warranty coverage. They do not cover poor workmanship under their standard material warranty. Say your roofer installs the shingles wrong, the manufacturer's material warranty does not cover the roofing contractor's faulty workmanship.

The non-prorated portion of the warranty means that the manufacturer will be 100 percent responsible for repairing or replacing the defective materials. That means they'll cover 100% of the materials and labor for any defective shingles for the 10-year period. After the 10 years is up the warranty changes to a prorated warranty.

A prorated portion of a lifetime warranty is calculated from the 10-year mark. This means that the manufacturer will only be responsible for the materials that become defective. They will not be responsible for any labor. 

The materials will be prorated depending on how many years of life you got out of the shingles. It is calculated based on 50 years. For example, if you get 25 years of life, the manufacturer would prorate the warranty which means they owe you the other 25 years of materials . 25 years of material life that you should have got from their shingles. However, there is a way to avoid having this short 10-year non-prorated period.

Hire a local roofing company that's certified by one of these top manufacturers. These roofing contractors can provide you with a 50-year non-prorated warranty on the same lifetime shingles. This is how the top shingle manufacturers promote and reward local roofing contractors doing great work in the community.

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These local roofing contractors are required to keep all insurance policies. All licenses have to be kept up to date. They also must be in good standing paying their supply bills.  Committed to providing their roofing installers with further training on a yearly basis. It’s a win-win, you get a longer non-prorated warranty period and these roofing contractors are usually more experienced and better trained.

Workmanship or Labor Warranty on an Asphalt Shingle

 

Because most roof failures happen due to installation errors, yes it is true that poor workmanship is the number one reason a roof leaks or fails. Not the material failing, the workmanship, or sometimes they are referred to as labor warranties, they are the most important portion of your roof warranty.

Workmanship warranties will cover any faulty or installation errors that cause your roof to leak or fail prematurely. The local roofing company you select will provide this portion of the warranty. It's up to the discretion of your local roofer as to exactly how long they will honor their workmanship.

 

roofers placing tarp over a leak

Most contractors will provide you somewhere between 2 to 5 years of warranty against their workmanship on an asphalt shingle roof installation. But again, this is up to the roofing contractor you choose for your project. Here is the problem I have with this warranty. It’s only good as long as and IF the roofing company stays in business. Or answers the call when you have a leak or a roof problem. And then, actually shows up and can fix the leak!

Look, it is no secret that the roofing industry is a tough business. The Small Business Association shows us that over 85% of roofing contractors go out of business within 3 years and over 90% are out of business before 5 years. You don’t really want a workmanship warranty from one of these roofing companies, do you? So, how can you avoid hiring a roofing contractor that goes out of business holding the most important part of your roof warranty?

The top shingle manufacturers have Select and Master Elite installer programs that allow the roofing contractor to provide you with a workmanship warranty that is backed by these manufacturers. When the manufacturer owns the workmanship warranty, it doesn't matter if the contractor you hired goes out of business or moves to another state. Your workmanship warranty is now owned by the shingle manufacturer. 

For example, remember the Chevy Camaro? Let’s say you found a great deal and bought it at a Chevy dealership in Bluffton, South Carolina. You decide to move to Tampa, Florida and your car is still under a bumper-to-bumper 60,000-mile warranty, right? Once you get to Tampa, all of a sudden, your beautiful nice new Camaro breaks down.

Even though you bought the car from a dealership in Bluffton, Sc. all you have to do is take your car to a local Chevy dealership in Tampa.  They'll repair it under the manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty. That's how the workmanship warranties work for asphalt shingles as well. The only requirement is that you hire a contractor who is certified and eligible to provide you with these manufacturer-backed roof warranties.

The top two shingle manufacturers both have a workmanship warranty that'll cover any leaks or faulty workmanship for 25 years. You can see GAF's warranties here and CertainTeed's warranties here.  Both have a 25-year workmanship warranty. CertainTeed's is called a SureStart 5 Star Warranty and GAF’s is called a Golden Pledge Warranty. 

GAF also has a Silver Pledge which will provide you with a 10-year workmanship warranty. CertainTeed currency does not offer any other workmanship warranties other than the 5 Star SureStart Plus protection.  With a manufacturer-backed workmanship warranty, you will have 100% coverage for 25 years. With either the GAF Golden Pledge Warranty or the CertainTeed 5-Star warranty. Are comfortable with a 10-year workmanship roof warranty? Then a GAF Silver Pledge will save you a little money on your upfront investment.

What Isn’t Covered by a Roof Warranty?

 

Just as any homeowner’s insurance policy has limitations and exclusions, so do roof warranties. Here are things that aren’t covered by or can make a roof warranty null and void. They include:

  • Subsidiary damage to the structure or belongings in your home.

  • Damage caused by standing water.

  • Acts of God, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, lightning strikes, and storm damage

  • Fire damage

  • Unauthorized repairs

  • Negligence or lack of maintenance 

  • Improper attic ventilation

  • Improperly installed solar panels or satellite dishes

Are You Ready to Hire a Local Professional Roofing Contractor?

 

Now that you have read this article, I feel confident that you know the difference between a material roof warranty and a workmanship roof warranty that is provided by a roofing contractor or by a top roofing manufacturer.

To help you be able to recognize a local professional roofing contractor, I have created a checklist for you. I have also provided the most relevant questions along with the answers to those questions so that you can ask your next potential roofing partner prior to hiring them. That way you will be able to find the best option for your next roofing project and get the best roof warranty.New call-to-action If you are ready to move forward with your roofing project and would like one of our professional roofing estimators here at RoofCrafters to come out and go over material and roof warranty options click schedule an inspection and we will see you soon!

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Kevin Mills

At RoofCrafters, our mission is to provide job opportunities for others to thrive and grow while making a meaningful impact within our communities.