What is a limited lifetime warranty on roof shingles and what does it cover?

Laminated or architectural shingles used to be rated as 30 year, 40 year 50 year or Lifetime. As of January 1, 2011 most of these shingles carry a limited lifetime warranty even though the shingles themselves have not changed.

GAF, Certainteed, Owens Corning, Atlas, Tamko, have all changed their warranties on architectural shingles, 3-tab shingles at this point have not changed. It is important to know what is on your roof and what your insurance company is paying for. It is also important to make sure you are dealing with a quality contractor if there is a hail storm don’t hire the first guy to knock on your door, make sure you are dealing with a local contractor and not a storm chaser. If you have t-locks then the new limited lifetime architectural shingle will be an upgrade to what you currently have, but should not cost you more, since t-locks have been discontinued.

Even though they are all now lifetime, most have a good, better or best version. The difference is usually differentiated by weight and thickness, with the heavier, thicker shingles having a higher wind rating as well. In most cases limited lifetime applies only to residential properties, commercial properties keep the previous ratings.

What does this all mean and what is covered by the warranty? Shingles are warranted against manufacturer’s defects for the time period specified. If a shingle fails during this time period the manufacturer will usually ask for samples to be sent or send out a representative to look at the roof and take pictures and probably samples as well. In my experience most shingle failures are a result of the following: Improper Installation, Poor Ventilation, Hail or Wind Damage, or Damage from other sources such as tree branches rubbing the surface.

Most other damage seen such as ice damming, brittle or curled shingles or granular loss comes from one of the above situations. In most cases these items are not covered by the manufacturer but may be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. It is important to know what your insurance policy covers. It can be difficult to determine if a shingle is defective or not, I would recommend you have a qualified roofing contractor inspect your roof and work with your insurance company or the manufacturer to determine if you qualify for a new roof. I always recommend that you hire a local contractor that is familiar with local roofing codes.  Verify your contractor and their reputation very carefully before hiring them. Local contractors are easier to verify and you know they have a stake in doing a good job for you.

If the damage is covered under a manufacturer’s warranty a good roofing contractor will be able to work with them and get the samples they need and not leave your roof exposed to further damage before the claim is processed. They also work with insurance companies to file all the proper paperwork and ease the stress on you