The Standard Roof Warranty Explained: What It Covers and How Long It Lasts

When you hire a roofing contractor to tackle your roofing project, you need assurances that they will stand by the work they do. This is why it’s important to only partner with a contractor that offers a roof warranty. All trustworthy roofers who are focused on keeping a spotless reputation will offer a warranty, and while the warranty will vary from one roofer to another, you should expect yours to work with roofing manufacturers that cover your materials for 30 years. The workmanship warranty from your contractor should be at least 10 years, with longer warranties being prorated.

Old roof replacement installing Owens Corning architectural shingles and new gutters in Homer Glen project photo 5

Taking on a roofing project represents one of the more major projects a homeowner will invest in. This investment should last a long time, barring extraordinary weather events, such as a direct hit from a tornado. Also, consider that under normal situations, a roof will require some maintenance to reach its predicted life span. Most homeowners can count on their roof lasting 25 years, perhaps more.

The key is to find the right roofing contractor – one that has proof of the quality work they are capable of and one that will also guarantee their work with a warranty. Only continue considering contractors that have workmanship warranties.

Quality roofing contractors not only cover their work, they also only use roofing materials from manufacturers that offer material warranties, which means if the roofing material fails, you’re covered.

Why do roofing warranties matter?

When something unusual happens and it impacts the quality of your roof, you need to make sure that you are covered. Unfortunately, too many homeowners proceed with a contractor that doesn’t go over the fine details, which includes warranties. If you’re asking “do roofs have warranties?” You’re asking the right question.

LP SmartSide siding, Atlas Pinnacle shingle roofing and guttering in Hinsdale project photo 1

The typical roof warranty will cover you when something goes wrong, whether it’s a material failure or an installation mistake on the part of the roofer. The length of the term will vary, but purchasing an extended warranty is almost always a better idea than doing the minimum.

Keep in mind that even the best roofing contractors are human and will make mistakes, even if rarely, which is why the quality contractors will always offer their clients roofing warranties. This includes a roof repair warranty, as in some cases small repair will need to be made following installation or an atypical weather event. Roof warranties matter because when you spend a lot of time and money on your roofing project, you want it to last, and if you proceed without an understood warranty, you are at risk of losing.

Always be sure to go over the details about the warranty that your prospective contractor is offering, because they’re not all the same – some will not offer an adequate level of services. But what should you look for in a “quality” warranty? The first thing to spot is the length of the coverage period. Given that the average workmanship warranty is around 10 years and roofing material warranties from the manufacturer are between 25-30 years, that’s a good benchmark to measure from. Also, be on the lookout for specific circumstances that could impact your level of service, such as conducting regular maintenance, because failing to do so could void your warranty.

Top reasons why roofing warranties are so important

There are a variety of reasons you want to work with a roofing contractor that offers roofing warranties, not the least of which is that you want your investment to last for a long time. The best, most reliable contractors are licensed and insured, but they also offer options with warranty.

The following are some of the most common:

Roofing warranties protect your investment

The average roofing project costs in excess of $10,000. Even if you fall on the low end of the national average, you still want that investment to be protected. The best option, aside from choosing a skilled contractor, is working with one that covers your investment with a warranty, because this will cover your roof repairs or replacement should something go wrong. You want your contractor to stand behind their work, and unless they offer a warranty, there is nothing you can do to hold them to their commitment.

Roofing warranties mitigate roof risks

Roofing projects can be complex situations where the outcome of the project and the life of your roof depend on the expertise of the contractor. A warranty will mitigate the risks associated with their craftsmanship. Furthermore, the roof is subjected to Mother Nature 24/7/365, which is also a risky situation that requires the assurances of a warranty.

Roofing warranties protect your home’s value

Your roof is the first line of protection, keeping everything that could damage your interiors from getting in. When you are covered by a warranty, you get a fast response from a contractor should anything go wrong with the roof. The warranty is just as important in protecting your home as your roof is.

Roofing warranties give you peace of mind

Property owners have plenty to worry about, from frozen water lines in the winter to thunderstorm damage in the summer and everything in between. Roofs definitely take a beating throughout the seasons, so to have a warranty in place gives peace of mind to homeowners who know that if something should go wrong, they are under warranty and will not have to shell out massive amounts of money to get a roof issue repaired.

Regardless of your reasons for seeking coverage on your investment, your roofing contractor should give you plenty of options. Never proceed with a contractor that doesn’t value your business enough to offer warranties.

What is a standard roofing warranty?

There are two main types: workmanship and manufacturers’ material warranties, which many homeowners will combine and consider them a “standard roofing warranty.” The difference between them is in the way they cover you. As the name implies, workmanship warranties cover the installation process, so if the contractor makes errors, you’ll be covered. The material warranty, which ranges between 10 and 30 years, and covers any defects or failures in the materials.

The following is a deeper dive into what warranties cover.

Complete roof replacement installing GAF Timberline HDZ shingles in Downers Grove project photo 1

Two types of warranties can you get to cover your roof replacement:

Manufacturer’s warranties for materials

The industry standard on a roof shingles warranty is a “basic limited lifetime warranty.” This means that as long as you own the home that the shingles were installed upon, they will be covered, to some degree, by that warranty. Most manufacturers will cover the cost of defective materials. It’s important to note that this warranty will not cover materials that are defective due to improper installation techniques.

Given the strict standards of the top roofing material manufacturers, the occurrence of defects in materials is rare. The more common issue is that the materials were improperly installed or that the extreme weather the materials were subjected to were so powerful that they went beyond what the material could handle.

Contractor’s warranties for workmanship

Do roofs come with warranties? It’s a good question and the answer is that the most reliable contractors will offer warranties, which is why it pays to do your research. A roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty is standard for all reputable roofing companies who care about their customers and are focused on their reputation as a quality contractor. Even the best contractors can make mistakes, and they’ll make sure their customers are covered in such instances by offering a standard roofing workmanship warranty.

Keep in mind that workmanship warranties can look quite different from one contractor to the next, which is why you need to make sure your contractor has it all in writing and that you’re satisfied before you continue with them. Most contractors will only cover their work and not the materials, which is fine because the best manufacturers offer warranties on their products.

What is a roofing material warranty?

Today’s roofing materials are made far more durable than they were decades ago, which means homeowners can expect much more life out of their roofing materials. However, roofing material companies are focused on providing assurances that their products will perform as advertised, and should something go wrong, they will do the right thing by covering defective materials with a warranty. When your roof is properly installed by your contractor but the materials fail, the manufacturer will cover the cost of those defective materials under their specific roofing warranty.

LP SmartSide siding, GAF shingle roofing, guttering and windows replacement in Lemont project photo 3

Most asphalt shingle manufacturers will offer 25-30 year warranties. Some will go the extra mile and offer a 50-year warranty, which is considered by most to be lifetime coverage. However, if you find yourself 20 years into your warranty and need to file a claim, there is a good chance that the coverage will be prorated, which means you won’t get full value on the cost of the material. Furthermore, should your damaged shingles need to be disposed of, the manufacturer does not cover costs associated with removal/disposal.

What does the roofing material warranty cover?

Roofing material warranties will vary per manufacturer, but most will offer a variety of warranties, including wind warranties (usually around a 15-year deal), algae warranties, and general warranties on their products, which at best will be for a lifetime, but can go down to a decade or less.

The most common type of roof warranty is the manufacturer or roof shingle warranty. The coverage for these range from 20 to 50 years. This warranty doesn’t cover faulty installation (workmanship), it only covers the actual roofing materials. Should they fail at any point during the coverage period, you will have some coverage. The amount of coverage you have early in the life of the shingle will be greater than in shingles that are old, as the warranty is almost always pro-rated.

How long does a roofing material warranty last?

One of the most common questions homeowners have is “how long does a roof warranty last?” Most warranties are good for between 25 and 30 years, though some warranties can go up to 50 years. The coverage period will depend on the type of material you used and the manufacturer.

For example, premium shingles, such as architectural shingles, are made thicker and more durable, so the manufacturer can reasonably offer a longer coverage period than they would on their less durable, budget-friendly shingles. Some manufacturers will offer non-prorated warranties that can be transferred to a new homeowner should the home change hands during the life of the warranty.

What is a roofing workmanship warranty?

When you hire a roofing contractor, you might ask, “what is your workmanship warranty?” Their answer should be that their warranty holds them accountable for their work. All the assurances in the world don’t make them accountable unless they offer a roofing workmanship warranty. This means that should anything go wrong with your roof on account of the way it was installed, your contractor will make the necessary repairs under their roof labor warranty. A roof replacement warranty like this will last anywhere from 2 to 10 years. The average differs per contractor, but the industry average as of late is around 10 years.

GAF Timberline American Harvest shingles roof installation and gutters replacement in Hinsdale project photo 1

This roof installation warranty is not to be confused with the manufacturer’s materials warranty, which only covers defective materials. Industry standards are fairly strict, so the chances of you using your manufacturer’s warranty is far less likely than utilizing the warranty from your contractor on their workmanship. Keep in mind that if you do run into issues with your roof and you bring in a different contractor to make the repairs, the original warranty will likely be void, as the contractor can’t vouch for the work of another. Some contractors will negotiate their warranty, but if you’re looking for an extension, it will probably cost you.

What does a roofing contractor's workmanship warranty cover?

You need to ask your contractor “what does a workmanship warranty cover?” Hopefully, they’ll tell you this type of warranty will cover the labor and installation costs. You want your roof to perform as advertised for years to come, so if something should go wrong because your contractor made mistakes during the installation process, they will come back and make the necessary repairs and you will get many more years of protection from your roof.

When you partner with a roofing contractor that has a spotless reputation, it’s probably because they offer a great warranty, so do your best to avoid partnering with a contractor that refuses to put their guarantee on paper in the form of a warranty.

How long does a roofing contractor's workmanship warranty last?

The contractor you choose to work on your roof should be carefully vetted, as they are the vital component in how long your roofing system will protect your home. The question is, how long do roofers guarantee their work? They should not only have the skills to do everything correctly, but they should also back up their work with a warranty. The length of the warranty varies per contractor, but some will guarantee their workmanship for the life of your roof.

How long is a roof workmanship warranty? You can expect a contractor to offer anything from two to 10 years on their warranty, some even going up to 25 years. Basically, the longer they will guarantee their work, the better off you are. Even if you have to pay for a longer warranty, it can be worth it in the long run. Just be wary of contractors that refuse to offer any type of warranty.

What is the best roofing warranty?

The best roofing warranty will vary depending on the homeowner’s needs, but in general, the most reputable roofing contractors offer a roofing warranty that lasts 10 or more years. Among the best warranties are those that are non-prorated and transferable to new owners, which means if you sell your home, the new owner of your home is covered. Some of the best roofing warranty out there today will also offer 20 percent or more prorated periods on materials. Fortunately, the materials bit is not always needed from your contractor, because most of them will work with roof material manufacturers that offer extended warranties on the materials.

Asphalt shingle warranties from leading manufacturers

The vast majority of homes today have roofs that are covered in asphalt shingles. An asphalt shingle warranty will differ depending on the manufacturer and the type of shingle. One of the most popular shingle brands on the market is GAF, a company that makes many types of shingles, from three-tab up to premium architectural shingles, which obviously come with their own architectural shingles warranty.

LP SmartSide siding, GAF shingle roofing, guttering and windows replacement in Lemont project photo 2

For a roofing warranty comparison, consider that GAF and other top-rated shingle manufacturers, such as Owens Corning, will offer warranties on their products as long as they are installed by a certified contractor. Rarely do the materials fail due to defects, rather they fail because they are improperly installed. Roof shingles warranty types will range, however, the best will range from 25 to 30 years. There are also tiered warranties based on the types of material being installed.

GAF and Owens Corning shingles warranties coverage

Wind damage, staining from algae/mildew/mold and tearing issues are the most common types of issues that are covered by asphalt shingle warranties. Unfortunately, warranties do not cover hail damage, which is why you need to make certain your homeowners insurance has you covered in the event of a damaging hailstorm.

You have GAF manufacturer warranty options with that brand, which includes five different tiers. Fortunately, all of them have lifetime warranties on the shingles. Stainguard shingles have a 10-year warranty on algae, whereas the Stainguard Plus labeled shingles have a 25 year algae warranty. All GAF shingles have a 15-year wind warranty.

The Owens Corning manufacturer’s warranty has a very similar structure with blowoff and streak coverage for a minimum of 10 years, but more advanced warranty products, such as the company’s Platinum Protection option offers 50-year warranties on some services, as well as 25 years of workmanship coverage.

Standard shingle warranties

Because three-tab shingles are built more economically and have less of a hardy structure, the warranties covering this product are not as long as the warranties covering sturdy architectural shingles. However, if you are having GAF or Owens Corning three-tab shingles installed, you can spring for a longer warranty, even up to a lifetime.

Wind warranties

Owens Corning and GAF each offer wind warranties with 15 years of coverage. On the more advanced warranties.

GAF will offer up to 130 mph wind warranties with stipulations, including having LayerLock labeled products installed.

Owens Corning has a variety of wind resistance figures on its different shingle products, saying they have a wind resistance of between 110 mph and 13 mph.

Extended and upgraded warranties

Buying extended warranties is something homeowners who have been through an extraordinary experience previously might want to take advantage of. However, while Owens Corning and GAF extended warranties, the majority of homeowners find that they do not need this type of coverage. The exception could be a young homeowner who plans on being in the home for decades to come and requires peace of mind that in the event of anything aside from a heavy hailstorm, they are covered.

Owens Corning and GAF warranties are extremely similar. Just make sure that your roofing contractor is certified to install these products, because the companies will not honor warranties if the materials are installed by an uncertified contractor. When you find a certified contractor, just make sure that they also offer a workmanship warranty so you don’t have to spring for it under the manufacturers’ warranty.

What roofing warranties don’t cover

Warranties, as valuable as they might be, do not cover 100 percent of everything. For example, most warranties do not cover damage from heavy snowfall, hail or lightning. Whether it’s from the manufacturer or the roofing contractor, these two items are rarely, if ever, covered in a warranty. However, some higher-end warranties will include snowfall, hail and lightning, but you’ll pay for it up front.

Some items in your warranty, even the most basic and standard warranties, will be void if you fail to maintain your roof. This often includes such routine things as having your roof inspected and cleaned, which should be outlined in your warranty. Another reason a warranty might not be honored is if you have a different contractor come in for maintenance or repairs – this often leads to a warranty void.

How to protect your roof warranty?

It’s a nightmare scenario where you think you’re covered, but you come to find out that you violated a clause in the warranty and it is thereby null and void. Failing to set a calendar reminder to have your roof inspected is one of the top reasons this occurs. Bringing in a different contractor, failing to register the warranty and failing to read the fine print are also common reasons for having the contract be null and void.


Protect your roof warranty by going over it with your contractor and having them explain areas where others have erred/failed to follow. Set a reminder on your calendar to have the maintenance/inspection scheduled and never forget to go through that small print with a fine-toothed comb.

To protect your coverage, follow these tips:

Schedule regular inspections

Most contractors will require you to have your roof inspected every two years, as this ensures that if a problem is in the works, they can catch it before it becomes a major issue and make a quick and simple fix. Furthermore, this stipulation keeps you in the good graces of your warranty.

Stay with your original contractor

Warranties are not transferable in most cases, particularly where roofing contractors are concerned, because the one you signed a contract with cannot guarantee the work of a disparate contractor. Be sure to protect your investment by being loyal to your original contractor throughout the life of the warranty.

Register your warranty

Manufacturers will not know that you have accepted a materials warranty unless you register it with them. This is a common mistake that homeowners make and only discover it when they file a claim. Also, you will have a specific window of time to register your warranty, so don’t put it off – register it as soon as possible.

Read the fine print

Often in the fine print of a warranty is a stipulation that requires the roofing contractor to be certified to install specific materials. Should you choose an uncertified roofer, your warranty will not be honored. Furthermore, make sure your contractor is certified under every level possible through the manufacturer.

A lot of thought has gone into your roofing project, including choosing the right color, shape and size of roofing material. Take the same amount of effort to ensure the time and money you’ve spent is covered. If you’ve taken these steps to ensure your warranty is good, then your roof can continue to protect your home and everything in it.

The investment you’ve made in your new roof deserves all the protection you can get, and with manufacturer and workmanship warranties, you’ve got the insurance you need to have that peace of mind that your roof will be kept in tip-top shape for decades to come without having to eat into your savings.

Get the best warranty by choosing a reputable roofing contractor

A reputable roofing contractor wouldn’t dream of trying to drum up business without a warranty as part of their service package. When choosing the best roofer for your project, it’s important to consider what type of warranty they offer. If the contractor is selling you hard on other aspects and only wants to do a handshake agreement that their workmanship will be covered, look elsewhere. Only do business with a contractor that will guarantee their work in writing through a warranty.

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To get a better idea of what to look for in a warranty, consider the following questions, which they should be wholeheartedly willing to answer.

10 questions about warranties you should ask when choosing a roofing company:

What does your standard warranty cover?
What options do I have in extended warranties and how much does it cost?
How long do your warranties last?
What, exactly, is covered under your workmanship warranty?
What are the limitations of your workmanship warranty?
Are labor costs included with your warranty?
If faulty workmanship occurs, will you cover material costs? Also, will this require filing an insurance claim or other type of compensation?
How often is an inspection required?
What type of repairs are included in the warranty and what repairs are excluded?
Should I use the warranty, what costs are associated with receiving services? For example, will I have to pay a deductible when filing a claim?

Offering a warranty is a simple yet effective way for a roofing contractor to show they will be accountable for their work. Furthermore, it’s a standard offering for any reputable company that intends on staying in business and providing top-quality services to their community.

As a homeowner, the warranty is one of the best protections you can have on the substantial investment you’ve made in your roofing project. Should your roofing system fail, you don’t have to start from square one – you simply refer to your warranty and have the repairs made as promised with no further inconvenience to you or your bank account.

At VIS Exterior, we wouldn’t dream of proceeding with any roofing project without our customer knowing every option available to them in their warranty. We know warranties can be intimidating if not completely confusing to some homeowners, which is why we take the time to go over what is covered in our roofing warranties, which includes a five-year craftsmanship warranty on all residential roofs we install. This means that all workmanship-related issues are covered. Keep in mind that this will not cover acts of nature, such as falling branches, animal damage or storm damage unrelated to our installation methods.

Contact us to find out more about our coverage, as well as our approach to continuing our reputation as the regions go-to roofing contractor.

Val Slajus
Owner / Author
Val Slajus

My journey began with a passion for home improvement, and I established VIS Exterior because I firmly believe that everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home. With years of experience in the roofing and siding craft, I'm dedicated to helping you enhance the protection and aesthetics of your home. Through this blog, I'm excited to share my knowledge and insights, empowering you to make informed decisions when planning your next exterior renovation project.