If you’ve ever heard a horror story about a commercial roofing installation or repair—or experienced one yourself—you know that your warranty should never be an afterthought. Even when working with a reputable manufacturer and roofing installer or contractor, unexpected problems can happen. Without the right warranty, you can face significant out-of-pocket expenses.
Don’t become a roofing disaster statistic. How? By understanding your options before signing any paperwork for your roofing project. This overview will give you a head start in understanding the ins and outs of roofing warranties.
This is the first in our series on roofing warranties.
The Warranty Trio: The Manufacturer, the Roofer, and the Property Owner
To best protect your roofing investment, understand warranty options offered by both the manufacturer and the roof installer or contractor. Start by taking a few factors about your business into account, such as any plans for expansion and roof traffic. Also, share the previous maintenance history of your roof with your contractor to better understand any related issues related to roofing materials.
When exploring warranties, look at the property owner’s responsibilities. If you fail to keep up with terms and conditions, such as regular maintenance and timely notification of leaks, you may void your warranty and face paying for repairs yourself.
Finally, consider consulting with a roofing expert to sift through all the small print to know exactly what is covered, what isn’t, and how to keep your warranty intact.
Let’s start with warranties offered by the product manufacturer.
All About Manufacturer Roofing Warranties and What They Cover
Manufacturers of the roof assembly including membrane, insulation and all accessory products offer coverage for either the roofing materials alone, or for both labour and materials, and/or workmanship.
Manufacturer’s Material Warranty
This popular type of warranty, which covers material only and not labour, is typically free or low-cost. It simply guarantees that the manufacturer’s products won’t fail due to defects or normal deterioration within a certain period of time.
What won’t this coverage include? Coverage is only for defects in the manufacturer’s product, not any accessories such as metal copings, edging, and adhesives. It also won’t cover the cost of labour to make repairs, replacements, or workmanship. If someone or something on the roof causes damage, this type of warranty won’t cover it.
Manufacturer’s Labour and Material Warranty
Unlike the materials-only warranty, this type covers both defective material and the labour to install a new product to remedy the defect. Compared to more expensive warranties, there are more limitations on manufacturer responsibilities. For example, the warranty may be pro-rated according to the age of the roof, and certain leaks may not be covered depending on how they were caused.
Manufacturer’s Workmanship Warranty
There are two types of warranties on workmanship: the OIC (Original Installed Cost) and the NDL (No Dollar Limit).
Manufacturer’s No Dollar Limit (NDL) Warranty
NDL-warranties offer the most comprehensive extended coverage and are often considered the most cost-effective type of warranty. If the product is defective or fails under proper use, the manufacturer will repair your leak regardless of the cost of material repair or installation.
For an NDL warranty to be valid, several key terms must be met. These include meeting the manufacturer’s technical specifications, installation by a manufacturer-certified contractor, passing a series of inspections during each phase of the project, and it must sit on top of the roofer’s workmanship warranty.
Manufacturer’s Original Installed Cost (OIC) Warranty
An OIC warranty also covers workmanship and has similar conditions to the NDL. However, there is a cap on exposure up to the original installed cost of the roof.
Warranty from the Roofing Contractor
Now that we’ve discussed what roof manufacturers offer, let’s move on to the type of coverage you can expect from your roofing contractor.
Even if your roofer has the best referrals and reviews, be sure they stand behind their workmanship with a warranty that covers anything related to installation—except the product supplied by the materials manufacturer.
For Ontario Property Owners
In Ontario, contractor warranties are usually two years for roofing and one year for sheet metal, the standard set for members of OIRCA (Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors’ Association). The OIRCA has restricted its members from offering longer warranties. Also, they have developed a warranty specimen that ensures that all roofers are offering the same warranty terms and conditions.
Some Ontario-based roofing contractors, who are not members of the OIRCA, offer varying degrees of warranty terms on their own, including long-term warranties that cover workmanship.
Conclusion: Protect Your Real Estate Asset with the Right Roofing Warranty
Warranties can protect commercial property owners when their roof fails, but not all warranties are equal. Before signing on the dotted line, take the time to understand the warranty set before you, and feel free to enquire in the event that you are looking for an upgraded warranty. Look for a company like Elite Roofing, in the Greater Toronto area, one with a solid and long-established reputation in your community and check references to make sure they honor their promises.
Do you have questions about roofing warranties? Give our team of roofing experts a call at 888.710.3797 or fill out of contact form.