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Roofing Warranties & Actual Life Expectancy

Roofing Warranties & Actual Life expectancy

Roof material warranties do not really tell you how long the product will last.

Asphalt shingle manufacturers have all gone to a lifetime format.

So what does this mean?

Basic warranty covers 100% labour & material to replace product that is defective. Usually this means their material. This does not cover underlay, nails, flashing, delivery, bins, accessory flashings or anything else that is not theirs.

Some companies put a dollar limit on it which does not cover 1/3 of the actual cost.

Some are “Leak Only” & will repair the leak.

Some of the “System” warranties are better but most of the roofing materials are theirs anyway so they get covered. These warranties are 50 years labour & materials to replace the roof.

Here is how they get out of paying.

  1. If a roof wears out  because you live in a rain forest. Is that a defect? Not really
  2. The warranties are 1 time transferable in the first 10 years(some are less) Average person lives in a house for 7 years so usually the house has changed hands twice before the product wears out.
  3. A lot of older people being sold extended warranties will be there for 10 years or more then move to assisted living or a townhouse or pass away leaving no warranty
  4. Some just lose the paperwork or forget
  5. Will say there is something wrong with the install & even though the shingle is worn out will not cover it(ventilation being the big one)

Basically the manufacturers are hedging their bets that it is going to be a very minute amount of claims that will actually come to fruition

Are these roofs going to last 50 years. It depends. If you live in a desert well maybe. If you live in a rainforest definitely not.

The least expensive fiberglass laminated shingles are the mainstay of the market. I usually try to get my customers to upgrade at least to the next expensive version as they are heavier with a heavier fiberglass matte, stronger adhesives etc….

Location matters. Richmond, Tsawwassen, South Surrey all get about the same amount of rain fall which is much less than the rest of the metro Vancouver area & 5- 10 years extra can be gain here. Port Coquitlam, Belcarra, North Vancouver, Maple Ridge all experience more rain & will give you a very much shortened lifespan on these product

These lower end shingles are lasting  from 10 years to 25 in my area(Vancouver BC) I know that sounds like a big spread but I walk 400 buildings a year & that is what I am seeing. These used to be classified anywhere from 20 to 30 year. It is best to check out the manufacturers & the warranties they provide. The companies with the best overall warranties are usually more confident about the products they make.

A little heavier shingle should give you some more life but as most of the shingles being manufactured today have not been around that long & it is just a guess on my part. These used to be classified anywhere from 30 to 40 year. Virtually all of these are better than their bottom end shingles but that may mean they will last 15 years instead of 10

Some of the original 50 year shingles are well made & will definitely give the best performance. but the cost is substantialy more.

Cedar Shake manufacturers have gone the same way as asphalt shingles providing warranties on defects from the manufacturer. So basically if they were OK when they were installed that is it.

I can get a 40 year warranty on a cedar shake. A Premium CCA Treated Heavy split shake may last that long in the Richmond, Tsawassen & South Surrey areas, but not everywhere. Tapersawn will only last about 25 years. The warranty on the CCA treatment is 40 years & I have yet to see these shake rot, but they still wear out.

Synthetic Slates & Shakes have not been around for the 50 years they claim to last. Most have limitations similar to asphalt shingles with no extended warranties

Concrete Tiles have mostly had a material warranty of 50 years only. That means if you have a couple broken tiles (quite common)you will need to find a roofer & pay him to go up on the roof, go find the correct tile & re-install it. Cost of 2 tiles $6. Cost of labour $300 or more. They vary wildly in how long they last. The more rain the shorter the life. Generally a poor tile will last 25 years but I have seen them on for 40 years. Usually other things wear out making it more feasible to just replace the entire roof. If you choose this product just keep in mind that you cannt rely on the warranty.

Torch on flat roofs should last minimum  25 years with a proper 2 ply installation. This varies a lot & the manufacturers warranty( Usually 5 – 20 years) will not tolerate poor installations. Everything from a shiplap roof deck to a single ply with a glass base to improper stripping to poor ventilation will void any warranty. A bit of research is essential. A good install costs more money & flat roofing is more expensive than asphalt shingle. Naturally more people go cheap because they do not understand the process. It is not all the same.

On a final note: The info is out there & you need to do your research

Things to check out. Product warranties, claims against manufacturers & roofers, roofing systems, products made for your climate, certified contractors(although some manufactures will certify anyone)

Warranties tend to be altered on a regular basis, as I have tried to be accurate with this information it may differ slightly  & it is generally in more depth so read it carefully

Dale Chomechko

DC Roofing Inc

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