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The Benefits of a Roof Warranty for Homeowners

By Annie Crawford

May 04, 2021

Hands above a small house

When buying a new roof, it is important to understand what kind of warranty you will receive when the job is complete. All reputable roofing manufacturers will offer some basic warranty coverage against manufacturing defects in the roofing materials, but oftentimes there may be enhanced warranty offerings available either through the roofing contractor, or through the roofing manufacturer. You should make sure to discuss your options with your roofing contractor before making a decision. Here's what you need to know when selecting your warranty:

Common Roof Warranty Types

There are three common types of roof warranties: manufacturer's product warranties, contractor warranties, and enhanced manufacturer's warranties. In general, enhanced manufacturer's warranties offer homeowners the most protection.

Manufacturer's Product Warranties

It's typical for a reputable roofing materials manufacturer to offer some coverage against manufacturing defects in their products, and usually at no additional cost to the homeowner. Additionally, some manufacturers offer better coverage if you choose to install not just shingles, but also qualifying accessory products. For example, if you choose to purchase and install GAF Designer or Timberline® Roofing Shingles, the shingles will automatically be covered by the GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty*. Any qualifying GAF accessories you install are also covered by the GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty for as long as 40 years. For additional warranty protection, if you install at least three qualifying GAF accessory products, you automatically qualify for the GAF Roofing System Limited Warranty*, which provides a Lifetime* warranty term on the accessory products as well as the shingles. For more information on GAF's Limited Warranty options, you can review this overview. Many manufacturers make this information available on their websites or through other educational materials.

Contractor Warranties

In addition to basic manufacturer warranties on the roofing products, many contractors may choose to offer their customers some coverage against application errors. In other words, the contractor may choose to offer coverage for issues with your roof arising out of mistakes the contractor made during the installation. The details and terms of these types of warranties may vary greatly from contractor to contractor.

Enhanced Manufacturer's Warranties

For the most comprehensive coverage, find out whether your roofing contractor can offer you any enhanced warranty options backed by the roofing manufacturer. While the details will vary by manufacturer, the enhanced warranty will typically come at an additional cost, will require you to install both shingles and some combination of accessory products from the same manufacturer, and the products will likely need to be installed by a roofing contractor enrolled in that manufacturer's certified contractor program. However, enhanced manufacturer's warranties will usually offer longer or better coverage against manufacturing defects in the products, and may also provide coverage for certain installation errors by the roofing contractor.

For example, the GAF Golden Pledge Limited Warranty* is available only through GAF Master Elite** roofing contractors. The Golden Pledge provides a fifty year non-prorated period against manufacturing defects (versus the 10 years offered by the standard warranty). It also offers homeowners up to 30 years of coverage against the roofing contractor's misapplication of the GAF products and covered flashings (which are installed at valleys, dormers, chimneys, and plumbing vents to provide added protection from water penetration) - even if the roofing contractor is no longer in business. The Golden Pledge also provides coverage if necessary for tear-off and disposal if necessary to repair your roof in the event of a covered claim.

When you understand the full scope of coverage provided by enhanced manufacturer's warranties as compared to that offered by standard warranties or contractors warranties, it's easier to see how they can be valuable in the long run.

Securing Your Warranty

Here are some key steps you can take as a homeowner to ensure that you are eligible for the most comprehensive warranties available, and to reap the maximum benefit from whichever warranty you choose:

  • Discuss items that are typically excluded from coverage under manufacturer's warranties with your roofing contractor before your work starts. Be sure to ask about coverage for proper roof ventilation.

  • Save your proof of purchase, including—but not limited to—your contract with your roofing company and any receipts or invoices from your roofing supply store. These documents may be necessary in the event you need to file a warranty claim later.

  • To be eligible for an enhanced manufacturer's warranty, you will likely need to hire a contractor certified by that manufacturer. For example, to be eligible for the Golden Pledge discussed above, you will need to hire a GAF Master Elite Roofing Contractor** to install your new GAF roofing system.

  • Make sure you receive confirmation from the manufacturer that your enhanced warranty was registered by your roofing contractor. For example, if you purchased a Golden Pledge from a GAF Master Elite Roofing Contractor**, you should receive a copy of your limited warranty in the mail within 60 days after the job is completed. If not, you should contact GAF directly to inquire about the status of your warranty.

When starting a new roofing project, talk with your roofing contractor about the warranty options available to you. This handy GAF Limited Warranty Comparison Guide also outlines the requirements for, and coverage provided by, each of GAF's warranties. Ready to get started today? Find a GAF Master Elite Roofing Contractor** near you to talk about your specific roofing needs and guide you through the process.


*Definition of Lifetime: The word "Lifetime" means as long as you, the original owner(s) [or the second owner(s) if coverage was properly transferred during the Smart Choice Protection Period], own the property where the shingles and/or accessories are installed. The Lifetime warranty is applicable only to shingles and accessories installed on a single-family detached residence owned by individuals. For any other type of owner or building, such as a corporation, governmental entity, religious entity, condominium or homeowner association, school, apartment building, office building, or multi-use structure, the length of the warranty is 40 years. See the GAF Shingle & Accessory Limited Warranty, GAF Roofing System Limited Warranty and GAF Golden Pledge Limited Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions.

**Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

About the Author

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.

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