Note: this is a partnered post and consideration was received for its publication.
The right time to replace your roof isn’t always obvious. Having a 20-year warranty doesn’t mean your roof will fall apart in Year 21, or that your lifetime roofing warranty guarantees a perfect roof for life.
Subtle Signs of Roof Damage
A failing roof doesn’t necessarily collapse like something out of a cartoon. The signs are usually a little more subtle (unless, of course, you have the misfortune to catch a hurricane, tornado, blizzard or other form of extreme weather - then, depending on the power of the storm, a roof can fail terribly quickly).
It is good to look for these subtle signs at least twice per year to identify damage before it becomes an expensive undertaking.
- Age of Roof: If the roof was installed properly with good materials, you can expect 20-25 years of life. If your home experiences storm damage or if a roof is nearing the end of its useful life, it is probably time to consider replacement.
- Shingle Condition: Missing or damaged shingles may allow water to penetrate into the sheathing layers and lead to rot. Look for uneven shingle lines, curled, loose or torn shingles. If you see the roof sagging, it is a pretty clear sign the under-layer is rotting.
- Gutters: When cleaning the gutters (at least twice per year) look for asphalt granules or pieces of roofing material to indicate a deteriorating roof.
- Flashing: Rusted or missing flashing around chimneys, vent pipes and at the valley between roof parts will allow water to seep into your attic over time.
Finding the right contractor for your home
So, you’ve noticed some curling shingles and you know it’s time to call up a contractor. After some initial searches, you are overwhelmed with the options in your area. The easiest way to decide whether you are comfortable with a contractor is by having a conversation and asking these questions:
- What is the full name and physical address of your company?
- Does your company carry insurance?
- What are your credentials
- Do you have references?
- What products do you recommend?
The professionalism of the roofing contractor translates through the entire re-roofing process. If you aren’t getting the answers to your questions or if the contractor is unprofessional, look elsewhere.
What is covered as part of my roof warranty?
So after you have found a contractor you can trust, how do you know if you’re getting a solid deal with the warranty? Here are a few items to think about.
Roof warranties generally provide coverage from defect in materials or workmanship. Every roofing warranty expires at some point. It depends on the company that installed the roof and the materials that were used.
Who is entitled to the benefits of the warranty?
The homeowner who initially had the roof installed is the one who is entitled to warranty related benefits.
More and more companies are now offering transferable warranties to their customers. A transferrable warranty is important if a homeowner sells his or her home. The warranty can then be carried over to the new homeowners. If a transfer is made, the warranty company may need to be notified of the transfer within a certain number of days (often 60 days).
How do I file a claim if there is a problem with my warranty?
Contacting the installer of the material manufacturer (depending on the problem) should be your first course of action.
A good rule of thumb is to keep all files associated with your warranty in a safe place. That way, should a problem arise, you have the correct information to file a problem as soon as possible.