Many manufacturers have upgraded the warranties on their architectural shingles from 30 year, 40 year, 50 year and Lifetime to all Lifetime Warranties. The shingles have not changed and there are still many differences in the old 30 year and old 50 year shingles which includes weight and thickness of the shingle itself. The heavier and thicker the shingle the more capable it is to withstand severe weather conditions such as wind and small hail. The new warranties typically apply to the original homeowner or in some cases it is transferable to one additional homeowner. The warranties do not apply in most cases to commercial properties or homeowner associations etc. and in that situation will revert back to the original warranty coverage.

Shingle warranties typically do not cover any damage caused by hail, tornadoes, lightning, structural issues, movement of the roof deck or improper ventilation which causes damage or premature aging of the shingles. The warranty is for manufacturers defects, which typically will show up in the first few years after install. When purchasing shingles read the warranty to ensure you understand what is truly covered and what is not.

My personal opinion on the change to “Lifetime Warranties” in the roofing industry is that it is a marketing ploy and while today’s asphalt shingle technology is better than ever before and shingles are capable of lasting much longer,  I believe that this change adds much more confusion into the market and does little to protect the consumer. In fact with the confusion, a disreputable contractor may easily take advantage of the situation and sell a lesser quality shingle as an upgrade.

As a homeowner, PLEASE do your own research, ask questions, get referrals and verify the contractor you are using is licensed, insured and reputable. Check with local Building Departments, Better Business Bureau’s, Local Suppliers or Home Builder Associations.