It’s easy to understand the terms of roof warranty. Manufacturers and contractors give your roof guaranteed working conditions for a set number of years. If their claim fails, you get your money back or have free repairs.

However, this isn’t the only roof warranty in existence. Some cover only the contractor’s labor. On the other hand, some only cover the material. In fact, some warranties only cover workmanship.

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Here is a complete guide to know all about roof warranties to help find the most useful one for your property.

Differences Between a Contractor and Manufacturer Roof Warranty

The manufacturers designed and created the roofing material you use on your property. On one hand, contactors execute the work required for proper roof material installation.

Roof damage risk is present in both activities. A manufacturer’s procedure and quality control have risks of manufacturing and inspection errors. On the other hand, contractors can make installation errors shortening the lifespan and durability of roofing material.

Therefore, both parties provide warranties. It is an assurance they will remedy problems within their estimated optimal period of both labor and materials.

Contractors provide labor warranties while manufacturers provide them for the materials. Some manufacturers require licensed installation contractors to activate material warranties.

a person signing a contract for warranties and labor

Know everything about roofing warranties and save yourself thousands from roofing defects!

Common Warranty Terms

Warranties aren’t rocket science. In fact, the terms they use are quite simple. While some might find terms and conditions a lengthy read, you’ll find these typical terms present. Here are their definitions.

No Dollar Limit

No Dollar Limit (NDL) is exactly what it means: manufacturers and contractors will cover all mishaps without any cost limit.

If the material broke down within the manufacturer-allotted time, the manufacturer will cover all costs in repairs or replacement.

On the other hand, contractors will provide repairs, replacement, and reinforcement if their procedures fail within the warranty period. Under NDL, you won’t spend a dime for the repeat service rendition.

Original Cost Warranty

Under an original cost warranty, manufacturers will add up the material damage costs during the warranty period. Then, they will only cover damages up to the original cost you paid for the roof.

Contractors providing original cost warranty on labor operate with the same mechanics. They will add up all installation malfunctions. Next, they will only cover damages based on the initial cost of the service package.


Pro-rated warranties lower in value as the roof material or labor ages per year. Most manufacturers and contractors provide NDL and pro-rated hybrids. They provide NDL for a set number of years. Then, the warranty switches into a pro-rated one in the later ages of the roof material or labor.

For example, you can have a roof with a 10-year warranty. However, the first five years are under NDL coverage. After year six, the warranty switches to a pro-rated one.

Then, on year seven, the coverage drops to 80%. Progressively, the rate drops to 60% on year eight, and so on.

Pro-rated warranties help you avoid huge financial commitment in the event of defective products or service. However, they will make roof material and labor a little more expensive during initial payment.

Three Roof Warranty Types

You can get three types of roof warranty. Here is each of them in full detail.

Material Only

Reputable roofing material manufacturers provide material-only roof warranty automatically. As it implies, the roof warranty only covers the roofing material itself. Therefore, the manufacturer will not cover structural roof damage and accessory damages.

For example, if you have an asphalt shingle roof warranty, the manufacturer only covers the shingles. They will not cover roofing underlayment damage, structural damages, and others aside from their manufactured material.

Contractors do not cover material warranties. However, some provide it if they shipped and delivered the materials from the manufacturer without your presence.

wood shakes shining brightly under a summer sun

Manufacturers will only cover the actual wood shakes, not the underlayments or anything else, under a material-only warranty.

Labor Only

This roof warranty only covers the roof labor required to address the material defect.

If you’re under a labor-only roof warranty, the manufacturer will send a licensed roof contractor to repair or replace the roof.

However, the terms and conditions can imply it will not cover the new material the contractor uses to render repairs.

Labor-only is different from workmanship because it pays only for the labor. It does not guarantee NDL or pro-rated warranty on service rendition errors. In fact, it only covers the defective sections of your roofing material.

Roof Workmanship Warranty

Both contractors and manufacturers can provide roof workmanship warranty. You won’t have to spend anything if the contractor installs your roof erroneously. In addition, roof workmanship warranties ensure you do not spend anything for problematic roof repair.

Most roof installations have lengthy workmanship guarantees spanning decades. On the other hand, roof repairs have shorter workmanship guarantees possibly having 1-2 years.

contractors finalizing the installation of solar panels

Labor-only warranties cover the roof material. These exclude any other equipment and materials around such as solar panels.

Typical Roof Warranty Coverage

Strong storms, improper installation, and nearby hazards like tree branches and pines will weaken roofing materials unexpectedly.

Most contractors will place warranty premiums for properties in areas at high-risk of roof damage inclusive in the final labor estimates.

On the other hand, manufacturers may choose not to provide coverage for roofing installations in locations with frequent hailstorms.

Most manufacturers and contractors provide these typical roof warranties for any property.

  • Roof Leak Repair
  • Strong Wind Damage
  • Hail Damage Coverage
  • Roof Puncture

Some Add-On Damage Coverage

Most manufacturers and contractors exempt these two from warranty coverage. However, property owners can include them by paying a higher warranty premium.

Standing/Ponding Water

Standing or ponding water is a common roof material occurrence. Unfortunately, it increases the risk of roof penetration due to the roofing material stress it causes.

Due to its commonality, roofing manufacturers and contractors do not cover costs for their damages. In turn, property owners have the responsibility to prevent water from ponding on their roofs.

Acts of God

This is the term insurers use for highly-unlikely worst-case scenarios.

For example, you may have high wind coverage. The area around your property is less likely to have tornadoes. However, a tornado arrived at one point and severely damaged your roof.

The warranty gives you its benefits when this happens. However, most Acts of God warranties are often under original cost warranties or pro-rated warranties.

a contractor fixing an asphalt roof

Always remember to get a reliable roofing contractor. Better service is always a must than having better warranties.


Every modern property needs roof warranty. Without any added expense, you prevent emergency financial commitments in the event of no-fault roofing defects.

While warranties are helpful, it helps to find the right contractor. If you do so, it prevents the headache of making warranty claims and a troublesome roof.