Roofing Warranties Explained

Ask a Roofer | July 11, 2024  | By: John Esh


We know that roofing warranties can be rather confusing, but I am here to break it all down for you.

Here is how I’ll do it:

  • First, I’ll talk a bit about the different types of warranties available, and briefly explain the difference between a prorated and a non-prorated warranty.
  • I’ll also talk about enhanced warranties and whether or not they’re worth the cost, and discuss the fine print that comes with many warranties.
  • I’ll wrap it up with some tips on what to watch out for when selecting a warranty.

Two Basic Types of Warranties

You will typically see two basic types if warranties on a roof replacement: Product Warranties and Workmanship Warranties

On the Product Warranty, pretty much every kind of roofing material, whether it’s shingles, metal, or something else, is going to come with a standard product warranty which covers manufacturing defects for a specified length of time. 

These product warranties cover only the cost of the replacement materials and a reasonable labor cost to install them. Costs such as removing and disposing of the defective materials, flashing, or any other necessary components are not included. So with a standard warranty, you’re guaranteed to have to pay SOMETHING to replace a defective product, even if it’s a covered defect.

Sometimes, product manufacturers will pay you ONLY if the defective product is actually causing a roof leak and not otherwise. So in that case, just having a bad product doesn’t mean you’ll be covered under a warranty.

Most shingles being produced today are sold as “lifetime warranty” shingles. Will they last an actual lifetime of 60+ years?. Probably not even close. Manufacturers run the numbers and know that the average home ownership is only 13 years before people move on, so that right there knocks out a majority of their concern since these warranties are not transferable to the next owner.  

The standard product warranty does not cover storm damage from hail, lightning, or heavy snow, but will cover wind damage up to 10 or 15 years depending on the brand, as well as Algae stains for anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Keep in mind that this algae resistance warranty is very specific to a certain kind of algae known as blue-green algae which usually causes black streaks to show up on shingles. So it is definitely still possible that you will have moss or other kinds of algae growing on the roof if you have heavy tree coverage or other factors influencing that.

It’s important to ensure that your homeowner’s insurance policy does have you covered for some of these problems that aren’t included in the warranty, especially hail damage

Prorated Warranties vs. Non-Prorated Warranties

What is proration?

Basically, a prorated warranty lessens the amount that the manufacturer has to pay you as the roof ages. 

Take a look at the graph below which illustrates the concept.

Think of it like this:

Say you buy a $1,000 dishwasher today, and it comes with a 10 year prorated warranty. If that dishwasher stops working 1 year from now, the manufacturer might pay you $900 since it’s not that old. But if it breaks down in year 9, you may only get $100 since you have used it for most of those 10 years.

It’s exactly the same with your roofing product warranties. The manufacturer’s liability lessens over time, and yours increases. 

Non Prorated Periods

Now here’s the deal. Roofing Manufacturers will have a NON-prorated period where they will cover the full cost for a certain length of time, and then the prorated period will start after that. It’s typically going to be a 10 year non-prorated period, and then the rest of the warranty term will prorate, or diminish in value over time.

You have the option of buying an enhanced (also known as extended) warranty, which can extend that non-prorated period up to 30 years (remember, that’s where they pay the full price regardless of how long you’ve had the roof). 

They will also cover the other necessary costs such as removing the defective products, disposal, and other things needed to complete a warranty repair. Now probably the biggest advantage to an enhanced warranty like the GAF Golden Pledge Warranty is their coverage of Workmanship. These enhanced warranties  certify that the contractor you get has been vetted and approved by the manufacturer for things like insurance, quality, and customer satisfaction.

More from Joyland Roofing: Flat Roofing: TPO or EPDM? Which Material is Best for Your Roof

Workmanship Warranties

Workmanship warranties, all into two categories: A contractor workmanship warranty, or a manufacturer workmanship warranty. 

Manufacturer Workmanship Warranties

A workmanship warranty issued by the manufacturer is basically covering the installation quality of the roof. In every case, the contractor is required to have completed training with the manufacturer to ensure that they know how to correctly install the products. It’s  the manufacturer actually putting their stamp of approval on the contractor’s work, saying, “We trained Joyland Roofing, we’ve inspected their work. We know that they do things right and you have our stamp of approval on their work for 25 years”.

So let’s say that 5 years down the road, you have a roof leak. After investigation it’s found that your contractor didn’t install the shingles correctly. If you have a standard product warranty, that won’t help you in that case. But if you have an enhanced warranty with workmanship coverage, you should be able to get coverage for this defective workmanship by the manufacturer. GAF offers up to 30 years of workmanship coverage on their Golden Pledge Warranty.  The Owens Corning Platinum offers 25 years and then prorates after that. These are the best workmanship warranties in the industry for shingle roofs.


More from Joyland Roofing: Parts of a Roof: The Roof Deck

Contractor Workmanship Warranties

These types of warranties can vary tremendously, and there are as many differences as there are contractors who offer them. 

What I CAN tell you is that it’s important to select a contractor who has a robust workmanship warranty, because if they’re not willing to cover their own work for a good period of time, there must be a reason for it!

For instance, our Joyland Workmanship warranty is transferable, and covers not only the roof work, but also interior damage repairs, and it lasts for 10 years. Typically, if there is defective workmanship in a roof, it’s going to show up within the first 5-8 years.

There are contractors who offer longer workmanship warranties, but I have yet to see one that isn’t riddled with exceptions and that is transferable. Also, they usually won’t cover any interior damage costs.

Should I get an Enhanced Warranty?

For most people, I do encourage them to consider an enhanced warranty. For the cost, this provides an enormous amount of extra benefit like the workmanship coverage, the longer non-prorated periods, a vetted contractor, and full replacement costs included instead of just the materials. And even if you do sell the house, an enhanced warranty is generally transferable to the next owner, making the home a little more attractive to prospective buyers. 

Get a Free Roofing Quote from Experts

At Joyland Roofing, we are a GAF Master Elite roofer. One of those benefits is that on many of our roof replacement estimates, we can offer the 25 year Golden Pledge Warranty from GAF, our shingle manufacturer.

Call 717-459-3499 to take the first step to getting a new roof. You can also fill out a form to tell us more about your project. You can even get an instant quote FOR FREE by using our instant quote tool!

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    Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor License (HIC) # PA124258