Understanding Asphalt Shingle Warranties

Is the asphalt shingle truly warranted for a lifetime? All the different types of asphalt shingles on the market have lifetime warranties. How could the least expensive asphalt shingle have a warranty that is equal to the most expensive?

In the past, asphalt shingles had warranty periods from 20 years to 50 years. One of the manufacturers looked at ownership trends, they discovered that the average homeowner would live in their home for approximately 7 years. They also realized that once the home is sold the new owner will most likely forget about the shingle warranty. The manufacturer made the decision to opt for providing a lifetime warranty on all their products based on this trend, this would help that manufacturer entice the customer to purchase their brand of asphalt shingles. However, the other manufacturers decided to offer the same warranties.

What are the manufacturers really warranting? They are warranting that the shingle will not fail due to the manufacturing process over the lifetime of the asphalt shingle. What defines the lifetime of an asphalt shingle? There is no written time frame that the asphalt shingle should last, under normal conditions. For an example, let’s say you begin to notice a leak at about 15 years on your asphalt shingle roof. You call a roofer out to repair the leak. The roofer tells you that the roof is wearing out in that area due to the extreme weather conditions so this could be considered the lifetime of the shingle, therefore not a warranty claim. They are not covering the workmanship of the installer. That would be a warranty that would be issued by your roofing contractor.

Many different factors can affect the lifespan of your roof, including weather. By definition, lifetime can be 10 years and greater. Remember, the shingle manufacturers are only warranting the shingle against manufacturing defects. In most instances, manufacturing defects become evident in the first 10 years from when the roof was installed. Examples of manufacturing defects are severe loss of granules, fiberglass scrim bleed through and shingle curling. Although, shingle curling can be related to a ventilation issue.

Most shingle manufacturers have added a 10-year non-prorated period to the lifetime warranty. Once the non-proration period ends, the value of the warranty will decrease each month until you reach 50 years. At 50 years the warranty will become a fixed amount. You could opt to purchase an upgraded non-prorated warranty if your roofer is certified by the shingle manufacturer. Depending on the manufacturer, this could be up to a 50-year non-proration period. Again, this is a warranty that covers the shingle in the event of a manufacturing defect.

If you base your asphalt shingle selection by the warranty, then you may not be getting the best shingle to protect your investment. If you are looking for the best shingle, look at factors such as weight, design and thickness. Your roofing contractor can help you determine what shingle will suit your needs.