Warranties can come from a manufacturer or a roofing contractor. There are a few contractors who claim they are also manufacturers. We recommend obtaining the manufacturer’s warranty as the manufacturer typically has more resources than a contractor and will be better able to back up any claims over time. Manufacturers typically send an inspector out to make sure the roofing was done to their specifications before issuing the warranty – this further protects the building owner. Warranties cost money – typically $.xx per square foot with minimum amounts. The longer the warranty is the higher the cost per square foot is. This warranty money should be stored in the manufacturer’s reserves against claims.
Check the warranty language carefully looking for a particular wind speed over which the roofing is not warranteed. If no wind speed is stated get one that does state the wind speed. Many manufacturers state 55 miles per hour. Upgrades to 72 miles per hour may cost little. Upgrading to higher than 72 m.p.h generally requires an increase to the fastening of the roofing materials and will increase the cost of your roofing system if that system supports the increase. If your building is on the coast or the roof is very high off the ground this makes a big difference in how the roofing system is secured to the deck. Make sure the warranty does not have a dollar limit specified. Check to make sure both labor and materials are covered by the warranty. It is possible to get different warrantees, one for the system (labor and materials) and one for just the materials and they can cover different lengths of time. We know of only one company that covers damages to inside of the building if their roof leaks (Duro-last). Another thing to check is if the warranty is transferrable – if so how much will it cost? This will come into play if you are selling or buying the building. Most warrantees should be transferrable, possibly at a small paperwork cost.
Lastly, look at the language on the warranty and check the conditions under which your actions will void it – things like using non-licensed contractors for repairs, allowing grease/oil on the roof, use of other manufacturers materials for patches and failure to timely report leaks are all warranty killers for most manufacturers.