A warranty can sound great coming from the lips of a good salesman, and it’s easy to be lured into choosing one company or product over another because of long-term warranty claims. However, when you examine the fine print, you’ll find that, far more often than not, a warranty is crafted to protect the company, not the consumer.
The truth about commercial roof warranties is that most are created to limit the manufacturer’s liability rather than offer real protections for you. Many warranties list in great detail what they will not cover instead of what they will and have exclusions that make it ridiculously easy for the manufacturer to invalidate the warranty. Many commercial roofing manufacturers further lack important code approvals for their products and have low standards for granting and maintaining their warranties.
The bottom line: When you’re choosing a commercial roofing company or a certain roofing system, it’s important to dig deeper than just the number of years a warranty covers.
It’s About More Than Just the Number of Years
Companies like to seduce consumers with flashy promises like “lifetime warranty” or “30-year warranty.” That language makes it sound like your roofing product is going to be guaranteed for a lifetime or for 40+ years, respectively—but is that really what it means?
When you look at the fine print, your warranty may list exclusions that make it very easy for a manufacturer to reject any warranty claims you make. For instance, some roofing warranties stipulate that the presence of animal debris on a roof—something that virtually every roof has within hours of installation due to bird droppings—is grounds for invalidation of the warranty.
It’s also important to know what your responsibilities are as a consumer. Failure to inspect and maintain a roof in the ways stipulated by your warranty can lead to invalidation of the warranty. Some companies require written notice of a leak within 30 days of the leak being discovered or they may not cover the repairs. Many warranties will further not cover any damage resulting from a leak, such as damage to office equipment or the presence of mold and mildew.
Selecting a product with even a 200-year warranty won’t matter if its language makes it easy for the manufacturer to get out of it and legally refuse your claims.
The bottom line: Know what your warranty covers—and what it doesn’t.
Prorated vs. Non-Prorated Warranties
Another thing to watch for in a warranty is whether it’s prorated or non-prorated.
Many roofing products have prorated warranties, which means the warranty coverage lessens over time. This type of warranty is designed to favor the manufacturer. Once your roof is installed and the clock begins to tick, your warranty will cover less and less with each passing year. If you have a 10-year prorated warranty, for instance, and at the eight-year mark your roof needs repairs or replacement, you’ll find that your warranty will only cover 20% of the cost.
A non-prorated warranty, in contrast, requires the issuer to cover a roof for the entire period of the warranty in full. In other words, the manufacturer’s responsibility does not diminish over time.
The bottom line: Make sure your warranty carries its full worth when you are most likely to need it.
Who Do You Think You’re Dealing With?
One of the biggest factors to consider when choosing any roofing product or system is the background of the manufacturer or specific product. Has the manufacturer of your roofing product been around for decades—or has the company only been in business for a couple of years? A well-established manufacturer with a long-time trusted product is obviously the preferred choice.
Far too many roofing products are warrantied for much longer than they have existed. Be wary of a product that has only been on the market for two years, for example, but promises a 30-year warranty (even if the manufacturer has been around for decades). When you compare the results of a product being tested in a laboratory and a product being tried and proven on actual roofs, there is no comparison.
It is also crucial to check out consumer reviews for both the roofing systems and roofing contractors you’re considering. These days, the Internet is jam-packed with reviews that are easy to access, and they enable would-be consumers to learn from what others have already experienced with a certain product or contractor. It is simply unwise to blindly purchase a product or enter into a work agreement without digging into some background information first.
Some companies’ standards are also not up to par with the standards of other companies. Many roofing product manufacturers hold only brief, and certainly not intensive, training workshops before setting contractors loose on the world with their manufacturer’s stamp of approval. Reputable companies, on the other hand, hold in-depth, hands-on trainings for contractors that last three days to ensure those installing the company’s roofing products are knowledgeable and will install the products correctly.
The phrase “there is safety in numbers” has definite application to the world of commercial roofing. When you choose a private contractor, it can be a little bit like playing Russian roulette—you just never know if you’re going to get quality workmanship or reliable products. In contrast, when you hire a contractor who belongs to a nationwide association, there are myriad benefits and reassurances, such as the availability of a national pool of experts, group accountability, set service standards and a long track record of dependability.
The bottom line: Do your homework when choosing a roofing contractor or product.
Professionals and Products You Can Trust
If you’re looking for a trusted system, Conklin is the manufacturer of choice for the Choice Roof Contractor Group.
Our group is a nationwide association of professional roofing contractors who are endorsed and trusted. Our affiliated contractors can collectively service all types of commercial roofs, and, through Conklin, you have access to non-prorated, full-coverage warranties you can count on (and we don’t mind if you read the fine print!).
Need an Expert?
Our group works together to provide:
- Larger Base of Knowledge
- Group-Wide Accountability
- One Source for All Projects
- Set Standards for Service
- More Peace of Mind
- 40+ years in the commercial roofing manufacturing industry.
- The name of their original product Rapid Roof is used today – four decades later.
- Their online reputation is nearly immaculate. Compare to any other manufacturer.
- Non-prorated, full-coverage warranties stand out.
- Billions of square feet across the U.S. are covered by Conklin roofing products.
- Tried and true in all climates across the U.S.
- Major code approvals have been received in categories spanning hail to fire and more.
- Conklin’s roofing systems are Energy Star rated.
For quality products and skilled workmanship, you can trust Conklin and endorsed members in our group! For a free estimate, inspection or more information, please call to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable members today at (800) 670-5583. They look forward to speaking with you and helping you find the best options for your commercial roofing needs!