How To Never Pay For a New Roof Ever Again!
Yes, this is absolutely a possibility and with a little planning on your part it can become a reality. First of all, if you've ever owned a home and had roof problems, you like other owners, dread having to pay out-of-pocket for a roof repair or entirely new roof. And that's okay! This is a normal reaction and completely the opposite in feeling than when you are handed a bundle of money, right? Well, if you read and follow these steps you may well be on your way on how to never pay for a new roof ever again!
Roof Warranties: A Little Background
When a home is built of course it has brand new roofing materials placed on it and the original owner is handed the mortgage, closing docs, title and other paperwork. And in that package should have been the original warranty for the roof. Unfortunately as time passes most of those papers never see the light of day again. In fact, most people after paying off the mortgage or selling the home (and dumping out the papers and replacing them with the new ones), never think to look for the warranty(ies) that came with most items in the home. As such, the roof warranty is hardly ever used to replace or repair a roof since the warranty can't be found or even the brand of shingles can't be determined anymore!
Get Organized and Store Your Warranty
Stop the practice of hiring a roofing contractor and haggling about the price and not focusing on the most valuable part of the contract. Yes, the warranty! You see, most if not all roof materials manufacturers now-a-days have pretty good products that endure the test of time. As such, they have competitively come to a point in the trade where they are issuing roofing system warranties that last for 10, 15, 20 or even 50 years! Furthermore, they have taken to calling their warranties Lifetime or Lifetime Limited. However, the first reaction from a normally grounded person is “Hey, no building materials, even roof materials last a lifetime!” And looking at things from a logical perspective, that is absolutely true. However, if you take the time to prepare and plan correctly, you can indeed make your “regular” warranted Lifetime Limited roof, last a lifetime.
8 Steps to a Lifetime Roof
- Before you call a roofing contractor, first visit the websites of the leading roofing materials manufacturers such as OwensCorning, CertainTeed, GAF, and Atlas. Then, go past the shingles color selections and start looking for their standard, extended, and premium warranties on the materials they offer. To never pay for a new roof ever again, Step 1 is in our opinion, the most important.
- What you'll find is that their basic warranties have coverage periods of say 10 years (“bumper to bumper” in that they will pay for the materials and the labor and the permits and the debris removal etc.) and are provided as part of a shingles materials order. However, each one of those manufacturers makes some effort to inform their end product buyers that IF they use ALL the recommended components of the roofing system — such as matching shingles, matching underlayment, matching starter strips, and matching hip and ridge caps — then they (the manufacturer) will generously extend the basic warranty coverage period! As such, sometimes the manufacturer may change the basic warranty coverage period from say 10 years to 15 years OR they may even double it! Unfortunately, as most roofing materials manufacturers sell the bulk of their product lines to suppliers, which then sell them in smaller quantities to contractors, the warranty begins to take a backseat (and even becomes absent in the conversation) as the focus is placed on the estimate for the roof materials and installation services. And it is in this instance of focusing predominantly on estimates and price that many homeowners end up leaving so much on the table. And here's why…
- If, say the new roof is installed using matching / recommended products by the roofing systems manufacturer, and the original warranty is extended from 10 years to 15 years (bumper to bumper). Then that means that for the coverage period of 15 years, if the roofing system fails (material defects, algae growth, etc.), then the manufacturer will replace the entire roof on their dime. But how exactly does this then become a lifetime roof ?
- When a new roofing system is installed properly and with matching / recommended components, and it receives an extended warranty — the very next thing the homeowner should be looking for is the labor warranty as provided by the contractor! Most people think the labor warranty exists to cover only labor defects after the roof is installed. And while this is true, the most valuable part of the labor warranty is the opportunity it presents if you receive the right kind of labor warranty! Specifically, a labor warranty that includes no-fee annual inspections at your request. This is very important as it will play a very important role as the years of your new roof life moves forward.
- To begin with, a one year labor warranty is no good and neither is a two year or even three. What you want is a labor warranty that goes out five years AND that it also includes no-fee annual inspections. Why? Although you might think, “wait a minute, if I don't have a leak why would I call in an inspection?” the fact of the matter is: because one of the main things you want from this labor warranty is the ability to have a qualified professional hop on that roof at least once or every other year and VERIFY that your roofing system is holding up as per the manufacturers promise that is or will be free from manufacturers defects, algae growth, etc.
- If during any one of those no-fee annual inspections, the warranting contractor comes down and informs you that your shingles are in fact failing due to manufacturers defect or any other warranted anomaly such as algae growth on the shingles etc. — then by all means you have the right to call in your materials warranty! However, if you never bothered to register the warranty (because you were focused on low bid estimates or who can do the same “work” for “less”), then you won't be able to do anything about it. For the greatest possibility to never pay for a new roof ever again, registering that roof warranty and using matching materials to extend its coverage period is paramount!
- Now if you return to Step 1 and remember to read the warranties available INCLUDING the steps to register the warranty (once installed) AND put the warranty registration information in a safe place; when you call the manufacturer and provide them with photographs and a copy of your registered warranty — congratulations, you may have a brand new roof coming! And what about the no-fee annual inspections provided by your roofing contractor's labor warranty? Well, the labor portion of their work will also be paid for by the materials manufacturer. This is because while the materials warranty is still under the “bumper to bumper” years it will cover and pay for all items including new shingles, all the labor, cleanup and permits before it starts to become “prorated” in the later years (where only the materials are covered but not the labor for example).
- So as your roof warranty is verified and the new roof installation is completed, you the homeowner, will again receive an opportunity to register the new warranty and thus “resetting” the warranty coverage period! Now if you have any doubts right about now; return to Step 1 and read the warranties and you'll see that they are in fact “lifetime” warranties. Meaning, the “warranted replacement” cycle can be repeated over and over again by the original purchaser of the roofing system (the owner of the property) for and in their lifetime. Where the “Limited” part of the Lifetime Limited comes into play is that with most manufacturers it is transferable ONE time to a new owner. Hence, the “limited” limitation. However, most people misinterpret this limitation on transferability and assume it references and refers to the proration of the roof's life and/or coverage period!
Conclusion: Sometimes when our attention is focused elsewhere, we miss important details. One of the most important aspects when it comes to roof replacements is to not go exclusively on price and focus more on the warranties. Roofing systems have evolved to the point where their reliability does in fact make them last for decades or more (when not adversely affected by severe storms such as hurricanes for example). As such, roof materials manufacturers provide generous warranties that offer a lifetime of extended coverage opportunities, but for which many a homeowner does not take the time to read the warranty or understand the product well enough to exercise their rights. Finally, should your new roof reach 15 years with no materials defects, then it very likely will last a good and many many years more. Either way, you've maximized the life of the purchase you made decades ago, and it was done and registered and transacted in a way that put you in a pristine position to never pay for a new roof ever again.