A Guide and FAQ's for homeowners in Ottawa looking to understand roof warranties

Homeowners in Ottawa who are installing a roof can rest assured that their new roof will more than likely be covered under warranty of some shape or form however it’s important to note a few things. When it comes to a roof warranty, they aren’t all the same and there is a huge difference between the warranty you will get if you install the roof yourself or hire a non-certified company vs that in which you will receive if you hire a certified installer. Due to the complexity of roofing warranties, we have decided to try and help customers out by breaking down the ins and outs of a roof warranty along with what is covered, what is not covered, things that could potentially void a warranty and your maintenance responsibilities as a homeowner. 

The best place for us to start is the two different types of warranties that are commonly offered by roofing companies and the product manufacturers that supply them. These are known as manufacturer warranties and contractor warranties. 

Roofing Contractor Warranties

Referred to as Contractor Warranties, Service Packages and Ongoing Service among other names, these are provided by the business or contractor who provides the service of installing your roof. Generally speaking, these are related to the craftsmanship, quality of work and installation defects related to your roof and can range anywhere between 5 and 25 years. When considering the contractor warranty, it’s important to ask yourself a couple of questions:  

  • What is the likelihood of the contractor remaining in business for the duration of your Contractor Warranty?
  • Does the contractor warranty cover the entire roofing system including skylights, underlayment or ice and water protector? 
  • What is the likelihood of the contractor honouring the warranty? 
  • Does the roofing contractor warranty include materials and or labour? 
  • Does the roofing contractor warranty include the cost of discarding old materials? 

Roofing Manufacturer Warranties

Roofing manufacturer warranties are often far more detailed in filled with fine print that can be tricky to comb through. These warranties are often drawn up by teams of lawyers who specialize in protecting manufacturers against class-action lawsuits and can be intimidating or confusing, to say the least. The key points that differentiate these manufacturer warranties are: 

  • How long are you protected against wind, water, rain, hail and other weather that are considered to be normal? 
  • What is the maximum wind resistance covered under warranty by your shingle? 
  • Does your roof need to be built using a complete system designed by the shingle manufacturer including underlayment, ice & water protector, flashing and shingles? 
  • Does your roof need to be installed by a roofing contractor who is certified by the manufacturer? 
  • What is listed within the fine print that can void the warranty?
  • How long is the shingle protected against defects? 
  • Is the warranty prorated, non-prorated or a combination of both?
  • Does the warranty cover the cost of discarding old roofing materials?  
  • Is the warranty transferable from one homeowner to another? 

At the end of the day, the most important thing is finding a company you can trust and who is helping you make the best decision for your home. Companies who offer the lowest price generally won’t offer to provide quality craftsmanship and those who offer workmanship warranties that last for decades, more than likely won’t exist long enough to honour them. 

Roofing Warranty Frequently Asked Questions

What is a limited roof warranty? 

A roofing warranty that is limited by the terms and conditions set out in the fine print related to the type of damage covered, limitations and time periods in which the agreement is still in effect. 

What is a prorated roof warranty? 

A prorated warranty is one that reduces the overall value of the warranty over time. Rather than covering the complete value of a roof repair, a prorated warranty reimburses the homeowner with a percentage of the cost of replacement is reduced over the time period of the warranty. 

What is a non-prorated roof warranty? 

Non-prorated warranties hold their value throughout the entire duration of the warranty and are not reduced over time. Often confused by homeowners, this does not mean that the shingle will last 25-50 years nor that the installation of the roof will last 25-50 years. It simply states that the shingle will be protected against defects for 25-50 years depending on the manufacturer. 50-year shingles do not last 50 years!

What is considered to be labour in a roofing warranty? 

Generally speaking, labour includes the cost to remove and install any materials that are deemed as defective. If your leak or issue is related to craftsmanship, workmanship or attention to detail by the installer, labour could have a potential to not be covered under the manufacturers warranty. 

What is Roofing Workmanship? 

Every shingle manufacturer has a different set of rules or guides on how to properly install their products. The workmanship is related to the quality of installation of the roofing products in accordance with the standards set out by the manufacturer completed by the installer. Workmanship warranties can come from either the roofing contractor or the shingle manufacturer however a workmanship warranty from the manufacturer will only be covered if the installation is conducted by a professionally certified installer.  This is arguably the most important part of a warranty as it covers both manufacturer defects as well as installation errors.  

What is a Limited Roof Warranty? 

A Limited Warranty is limited by a specific set of conditions related to the products, type of damage and time period in which the agreement is considered valid.