The Shingle Warranty & A Normal Roof Lifespan
Shingle warranty and a normal roof lifespan are not the same. Normal lifespan would be defined as useful life not impacted by an abnormal life-shortening event such as hail damage. A roof normally wears primarily from ultraviolet (UV) exposure. The normal lifespan of a roof is often significantly lower than the manufacturer’s warranty period. Most “Lifetime” shingles will not make it 20 years in the Dallas – Fort Worth – Plano market (please note that the farther North you go UV is less and lifecycles may be longer). There will also be a great variation in useful life cycle between different Lifetime products as quality will vary greatly between different Lifetime products. Confusing? Why yes it is.
Shingle Warranty Definition
A shingle warranty is a pledge and obligation from a manufacturer. If a product does not last a specific length of time, the shingle owner may receive some form of compensation for service time of the product not received from the manufacturer. This should be clearly differentiated from a guarantee that a product will last a specific period of time.
Warranty Wars – History of Roof Warranties
For a very long period laminated shingles, also called dimensional or architectural, came with a 25, 30, or 40-year warranty that corresponded to the good, better, and best product options given by the manufacturers. Sometime around 2000 one of the manufacturers decided to change the warranty on the three options to 30, 40, and 50 years. There was no significant advancement in quality, just an increase in the warranty. Now one manufacturer was selling a 30-year product for the same price as all the others were selling a 25-year product. Great for them right? Well not for long as all the other manufacturers followed. Just a few years later one manufacturer repeated the process and all their shingles went to a Limited Lifetime Warranty. And just like the time before, once GAF did it, so did CertainTeed, Owens Corning and many more.
Now we live in the confusing world where we can offer our customers a choice of a good “Lifetime” shingle, a better “Lifetime” shingle, or a best “Lifetime” shingle. So now roofing contractors offer the public a wide range of products at a variety of prices all with the same Lifetime warranty! Today homeowners are required to do significantly more research in order to make a properly informed buying decision.
The 15 Year Rule
Over the years we have done many roofs on houses that are changing owners. Sometimes an inspection report will flag a roof as in need of replacement. A growing trend we are seeing is that a buyer cannot find an insurance carrier to issue a new policy on the property because the roof is too old. The cut off we have seen is around 15 years. There are plenty of 15-year-old roofs that really do need replacement, but there are also many that have a fair amount of useful life left. To make matters worse, there are even some mortgage carriers that have these exact same rules.
Hope this has helped with this confusing issue of Roof Warranties. If you have questions or need a free roof evaluation in the Dallas / Plano areas please call us at 214-321-9341 or fill out our online form you can access from our front page