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How to Choose the Best Roofing Warranty for You

February 3, 2022 | 5 min. read

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Buying a new roof can be a scary process full of unknowns. As a homeowner, it’s not often that you encounter issues with your roof to the point where you need a replacement.


When the time does come to purchase a new roof, there are many things you may not know. What brand of shingles are best, how many vents you need, or the best warranty for your home and needs. 


There are several different roof warranties out there, but which one is best for you?


At Rescue My Roof, we have spent over a decade helping homeowners answer the same question. We have educated them and guided them through the roof buying process.


In this article, we will help you answer the same question. We will be breaking down the different types of warranties and whether or not they may fit your specific needs. 


In the end, you will know which. Warranty is the right fit for you. 


Different Types of Roof Warranties


Not all warranties are the same. There are prorated and non-prorated warranties, workmanship warranties, and they can all last for different periods of time.


Here’s what you need to know: 


What is the Difference Between a Prorated and Non-Prorated Roof Warranty?


Prorated Roof Warranties


Imagine this: you buy a new roof and pick a prorated warranty. Then 15 years later, you find that you need a new roof once again (which is rare, but just for this scenario, let’s say it happens).


In those 15 years since the initial roof replacement, the cost of the shingles has gone up. Because you originally picked a prorated warranty, you would have to pay the difference between the original cost of the shingles and the price that they are the second time around.


This is because prorated warranties only cover the prices of the initial roof installation. So if the prices of materials go up-you will end up paying that difference. In the end, if you need any repairs, your roof will only be partially covered by the warranty.


Additionally, prorated warranted do not cover labor, tear-off, or dumpster fees. The customers will be responsible for those.


If you don’t imagine your home to be a forever home, or you renovate houses and then sell them and don’t foresee having to take care of roof maintenance down the road, the prorated option may be best for you.


Non-Prorated Roof Warranties


Maybe you see yourself living in your forever home, and you want roof coverage that will last a lifetime. Non-prorated warranties would be the best option for you.


Imagine that same scenario, where you replace a roof, and 15 years down the road, you have to replace it again.


The prorated warranty forced you to cover the differences between the material costs and labor. A non-prorated warranty covers 100% of the replacement cost.


With a non-prorated warranty, you won’t pay anything – even if the prices on materials increase.


This is why if you imagine staying in a home forever, this is the best option for you. You won’t have to pay for the cost of repairs or a replacement for 50 years.


In other words, non-prorated warranties offer the best coverage for your home.


What Is the Difference Between a Manufacturer and Workmanship Warranty?


Manufacturer and Workmanship warranties are the two types you will see most often. 


Here’s the difference between them:


What is a Manufacturer’s Warranty? 


A Manufacturer’s warranty is related to the roofing materials. The manufacturer’s warranty covers the shingles and underlayments. 


If the products fail within the time restrictions of the warranty, the manufacturer will be responsible for the cost of buying new materials.


However, a manufacturer’s warranty will be voided if the repairs are needed due to poor workmanship. All products must be installed correctly to use this warranty later on. 


If they are not, it will be up to the workmanship warranty to cover the cost of repairs or the homeowner. 


What is a Workmanship Warranty? 


A workmanship warranty is a warranty provided directly by the roofing contractor. If anything were installed incorrectly during the roof replacement process, the warranty would cover the labor costs to fix it. 


This warranty is only as good as the paper it’s written on. If a roofing contractor goes out of business, you will no longer be able to cash in on the workmanship warranty.


Voided workmanship warranties are why you must find a reliable contractor who has been in business for five years or longer. This helps ensure that they will be around when you need them most. 


How Long Does Your Roof Warranty Need to Last? 


Roofing warranties, whether prorated or non-prorated, workmanship or manufacturer, can last varying lengths of time.


Warranties typically span anywhere from ten years to 50 years. The type of warranty you choose will depend upon how long you foresee needing it.


If a home is your forever home, you’ll want your roof to last a lifetime. That is why it’s ideal for a homeowner in their forever home to choose the most extended warranty possible. That way, even if a problem arises 40 years later, you will still be protected. 


However, if you are buying a home to flip and immediately resell, a shorter warranty or foregoing the warranty altogether might be the option for you.


The up-front cost of a warranty can average anywhere from $500 to $1,000, depending on the quality of the one you choose. A 50 year, non-prorated warranty is going to cost more initially than a ten-year warranty, but it may save you that much money in the long run. 


If you are not planning on staying in the home, you may want to pass on the up-front cost. However, you can add more resale value with a better warranty. 


Determine which is the best option for you based on the budget you have set for your roof replacement. A smaller budget may mean cutting corners with a warranty. 


What Happens to Your Roof Warranty if You Sell Your Home?


Typically, 50-year warranties, regardless of prorated or non-prorated, are transferable.


This means that if it turns out that your property isn’t your forever home and you decide to sell, the warranty will transfer to the next owners.


However, there’s a catch: the transferable warranty ends after 15 years. So if you sell your house within that 15 years, the warranty will transfer to the subsequent owners so they will receive the rest of the 50-year coverage.


If you don’t sell it within 15 years, they won’t get those benefits.


Additionally, it is only transferable one time. This means if the house continues to get sold over and over within the 50 years, only two owners will benefit from the warranty.


So if you sell your home, your warranty may be transferable to the new homeowners. 


Which Roof Warranty is the Best for You?


This article has gone over the different types of warranties you’ll encounter in the roofing industry. Now it’s time to ask, “which roof warranty is the best for me?”


Consider these questions:

  • Is this my forever home?
  • Do I foresee myself moving in the future?
  • Am I going through a reputable roofing company with a lot of experience?
  • Do I live in an area known for severe weather?

These questions play a factor in choosing the best warranty for you. Let’s break it down.


If this is your forever home, and you don’t see yourself moving anytime soon, then having a lifelong warranty would be the best for you. You’d get coverage for a lifetime, and even if you do move, that coverage is transferable.


If you’re on the fence about your roofing contractor, a more extended warranty may be best for you. You want to make sure you are covered in any repairs you might need to make in the long run.


The same can be said for living in areas with severe weather. Things like high wind speed, hail damage, long-term exposure to the elements, and more can lead to roof damage. This damage can be covered- as long as you have good  homeowners insurance and a warranty.


Before you sign that roofing contract, make sure you ask yourself these questions so you know for sure that paying that additional price for a longer warranty is worth it.


The Next Step


You’ve got the information you need, and now you’re a warranty pro… or close to it.


If you don’t live in the Milwaukee area or aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, we still have what you need to learn more about your roofing options.


Read How Much Does a Roof Replacement Cost and How Your Home is Protected During a Roof Replacement to get a clearer idea of how the roof installation process is handled.


If you’re ready to seal the deal and buy a new roof, warranty and all, and live in the greater Milwaukee Area, Rescue My Roof is ready to serve.

We offer free roof inspections and estimates, so take advantage of it today and book an appointment with us.