Your commercial roof provides critical protection for your property and it’s a significant investment that you need to take care of. That said, you should pay special attention to your roof warranties and consider them as financial assets.
Make sure you have a good understanding of commercial roof warranties so that you’ll get a better sense of the value you’re getting. Being knowledgeable about the specific warranties that you have can also prove to be useful in particular circumstances where you can avail of the coverage.
In this article, commercial and residential roofing expert KLIM Roofing & Construction shares a comprehensive guide to commercial roof warranties.
Types of Commercial Roof Warranties
Commercial roof warranties are essentially legal relationships between roofing contractors, property owners, and roofing materials manufacturers. They guarantee that a roofing system will perform accordingly for the stated period, and they also provide solutions in the unfortunate event that the roof does not perform as expected.
Warranties typically have varying lengths and coverage and they can either be provided by the roofing materials manufacturers or the contractors. Thus, the two main categories of commercial roof warranties are manufacturer warranties and roofing contractor warranties.
- Manufacturer’s NDL (No Dollar Limit) Warranty
Under a Manufacturer’s NDL Warranty, the manufacturer is required to fully cover its defective products or the failure of its products under proper use within the warranty period, regardless of the cost of replacing the defective materials. So if the cost of fixing the problem is higher than the initial cost of roof installation, the manufacturer would still cover it.
- Manufacturer’s Materials Warranty
This type of warranty is essentially a guarantee that the manufacturer’s products won’t fail within a specified period, which is typically 10, 20, or 30 years. Take note that if there are materials used by your roofing contractor that are not directly provided by the manufacturer, the manufacturer’s warranty will not cover such materials.
- Manufacturer’s Labor and Material Warranty
This is a limited type of warranty that covers defects in materials and labor only up to a certain dollar limit. Typically, the building’s size is not relevant in determining the coverage of a roof warranty. But in this particular warranty, the size of your roof will certainly matter since bigger roofs reach the covered limit more quickly. Another thing to take note: This type of warranty is often prorated, so the coverage limit for defective components declines over time.
- Manufacturer’s Roof System Warranty
This type of warranty only applies to the membrane of the roofing system, so it’s often called the “membrane only” warranty. It’s the most basic warranty that a manufacturer can offer, and it does not cover problems with the insulation or decking. It can have a “limited” or “no dollar limit” coverage.
Roofing Contractor Warranties
Roofing contractor warranties cover the work performed to install the roof as well as the products the contractor used during the installation. Roofing labor warranties usually do not exceed five years, and some can only offer coverage for as short as one year. Nevertheless, the period that a contractor will cover is often a negotiating point, and this could be considered as an indication of the contractor’s confidence in their own skills and materials.
Roof Warranty Vs. Insurance
There is a distinction between a commercial roof warranty and insurance. They do not offer the same protection, so it is ideal to have both. Furthermore, keep in mind that commercial roof warranties may not cover everything that goes wrong with your roof. So in such cases, it would be great to have an insurance policy to cover roof damage. For example, if a tree falls on your roof and causes damage, your roof warranty will not cover the cost of repair. If you want your building to be covered against damage due to storms, fires, or natural disasters, you should consider getting property insurance.
Warranty Responsibilities: Who Is Responsible for What?
In case of defective products or problems with workmanship, it’s important to know who will be responsible for the situation. Moreover, as the owner of the commercial property, you also have to check your roof warranty for any responsibilities that you need to fulfill.
Roofing Materials Manufacturer
They are responsible to the property owner and for replacing its defective products at zero cost during the warranty period. However, they are not obligated to replace any defective materials that the roofing contractor supplies or to cover defects resulting from the contractor’s poor workmanship.
They are responsible to the property owner. They must fix or replace defective materials that they have supplied and provide the labor needed to rectify poor workmanship at no extra cost to the property owner for the duration of the warranty.
They are responsible to both the manufacturer and contractor, and they are expected to ensure that the roof is well-maintained. An annual maintenance program can make it easy for property owners to keep the roof in good condition, and it can also provide the needed paper trail in case of a problem.
Mistakes That Can Void Your Warranty
Generally, you need to perform an annual inspection of your commercial roofing in order to keep your warranties intact. However, there are certain practices or roofing errors that can void your warranty. Make sure to avoid the following mistakes so that you can continue benefiting from the coverage until the end of the warranty period.
Unauthorized Roof Modifications
Some types of construction can damage your roofing system. For example, if a mechanical equipment was added and it penetrated the roof structure, this could easily compromise your roof system. Make sure that any elements that need to go through your roofing are installed by professionals who are trained and experienced in proper flashing techniques. Otherwise, mistakes resulting from poor installation could create leaks that your warranties aren’t required to cover. Another example is re roofing. Before performing this method of installation, review your contract to check if this is allowed under warranty.
Failure to Address Storm Damage
Storms can impact your roof in various ways. And in cases where storms may have caused damage to your roof, make sure to document the damage and call a professional to have your roof inspected.
Failure to Perform Regular Maintenance
A clogged drain can end disastrously for your roofing. Clogging means that water could potentially build up around the drain and cause standing water to accumulate on your roof. Of course, the water will eventually get heavy and create a suitable environment for algae to grow. These factors can easily lead to the breakdown of your roofing system, and they ultimately point back to a neglect in maintaining the roofing. In such cases, your warranty won’t cover any damage that may arise due to such circumstances.
KLIM Roofing & Construction has more than 15 years of experience in providing premium services to residential and commercial clients. We only use high-quality products to ensure the best results for every project that has been entrusted to us. Our expertise covers roof replacement, roof repairs, flat roof installation, and more. Call us at (425) 485-5546 or fill out our contact form to request a free quote. We serve customers in Redmond, Bellevue, and Seattle, WA.