The first article in our roofing warranty series provided an overview of different types of warranties, what they cover, and how they differ.
This article focuses on damages not covered by a roof warranty, known as exclusions. Rather than damages caused by defective materials, products, or workmanship, exclusions represent damages beyond the control of the quality of the products and the method of installation.
Exclusion clauses are an essential part of your roofing warranty. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you know the ins and outs of what your warranty covers–and what it doesn’t.
Related Reading: What You Need to Know About Roofing Warranties: Part 1
Now let’s go through typical exclusions, with definitions, descriptions, and some examples. So here we go!
Acts of G-d
Canadian winters are rough, with massive snowfalls, ice storms, and winds that can wreak havoc on roofs. For example, extreme wind can cause damage by falling trees, items blown onto a roof, or even ripping off a roof entirely. Even high-quality roofs can’t be expected to hold up in these conditions.
Key Takeaway: To repair and limit further damage, immediately call your roofer for an inspection after such an event or if you notice debris around your property or active leaks from the roof.
Let’s start with squirrels, which can cause a leak by chewing through your shingles, siding, and trimming. The longer small animals are in your attic, the more damage there will be to the protective layers of your roof. Raccoons, birds, and insects are other culprits.
Key Takeaway: Maintain, inspect, and report animal damage within your warranty’s time period.
Damage from Other Trades or Roof Traffic
Roofs are often used as a staging platform for other trades, such as those installing HVAC systems, satellite dishes, or solar panels. For example, we arrived at a new job and saw the results of a restoration job in progress.
Heavy objects, dollies, other transportation items, planks, cables, and other items were strewn about—raising red flags for safety risks and potential membrane damage.
Key Takeaway: Have your roof inspected following the completion of major restoration or HVAC replacement that is staged on your rooftop.
Delay in Reporting Leaks
Small problems can become big ones. For example, over time, a small leak can soak the insulation. If you wait to report this damage beyond the timeframe in the warranty, repair costs may not be covered.
Key Takeaway: Again, maintain, inspect and report any leak in the time period specified by your warranty.
Any deviation from CRCA Guidelines
The Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) outlines standard roofing practices that roofers, tradesmen, architects, and engineers must follow for any roof-related work.
For example, if a roofer completes a job according to an architect’s or engineer’s specifications, but the specs don’t follow CRCA guidelines, any related damage will likely not be covered under the roofing warranty.
Key Takeaway: Ensure that consultants and tradespeople designing or working on rooftops know the relevant CRCA guidelines.
Removal of Overburden:
Overburden designs and additions are any temporary or permanent above-membrane materials or structures outside traditional roofing materials—such as HVAC systems, skylights, gardens, and roof patios. Extra foot traffic can harm a roof. Further, if a roof repair requires removal of the overburden, delays, due to weather conditions or scheduling, can lead to additional damages.
Key Takeaway: When adding an overburden create a removal plan and ask your roofer about a single-source warranty covering both the membrane and the overburden.
Incidental or Consequential Damages:
Damages inside a building — such as leasehold improvements, inventory, product components, network services, machinery, or office equipment — are exclusions. Roofing warranties cover the costs to repair and/or replace damaged components in the roof assembly as a result of failures due to materials or workmanship. For example, we were repairing a leak on the roof of a pharmaceutical company’s building, and the water damage may have contaminated an expensive compounding ingredient. A typical roofing warranty would not compensate for this type of loss.
Key Takeaway: If you suspect a leak, move items away from the area and check that your insurance will cover the cost of damaged goods. Also, ensure that you have proper insurance coverage in effect, especially when you are aware that your roof is in excess of 10 years of age.
Know Your Warranty’s Exclusions
Roofers may offer different types of warranties and levels of protection, but no roof warranty covers everything in all circumstances. It’s up to the building owner or tenant to fully understand the specific terms, conditions, limitations, and exclusions. Failing to do so may void your warranty, with significant financial consequences. The best advice is to work with a reputable roofer, like Elite Roofing in Toronto, Ontario, whom you can trust to guide you in protecting your assets.