Roofing Warranties Explained; Part 1– Workmanship | Pacific West Roofing

Roofing Warranties ExplainedRoofing Warranties Explained: Part 1– Workmanship

Your roof has a big job, and a lot can go wrong with it. If it begins to fail, should you blame the shingles, the contractor, or yourself? To keep the lines of responsibility clear, contractors and manufacturers have warranties that promise to uphold certain expectations. But also help them avoid liability for problems that are reasonably beyond their control.

When you have roofing work done you’ll be looking at warranties from both your contractor and the manufacturer of the products installed. In the first part of this post, we’ll be discussing factors in the job agreement that you’ll outline with your contractor. Stay tuned for part two, which will cover the manufacturer warranty.


It is in the best interest of both you and your contractor to establish– in writing– all the pertinent details regarding their service and your expectations. This way, the outcome of any dispute will be much more predictable.

The written job agreement you negotiate with your contractor will define the following issues:

  • Products to be used
  • Work start and complete times
  • Work site appearance
  • Insurance coverage in case of property damage or personal injury
  • License and code requirements
  • Price
  • Payment terms and conditions
  • Change order procedures
  • Exclusions


The agreement between you and your contractor will almost always include a written warranty on workmanship. Any good roofer will stand behind his work because he values his reputation and the potential for homeowners to refer him to others. These two things are the most reliable assurances you have of satisfactory work.

Aside from the warranty, price is always a major concern. That all-important number is not a measure of the contractor’s experience, reliability, or honesty. It’s a measure of the cost of the project. Sometimes a low price is simply bargain, while other times it can be an invitation to a nightmare.

Remember when you’re staring at zeros on paper that you are shopping for a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind roof that will protect what is probably the single largest asset you own. This is a wise investment in your home’s curb appeal and resale value.


The following subjects and expectations must be defined in the clearest possible language. Although your contractor may furnish a separate warranty document, the job agreement often sets the foundation for his promise to you as the buyer.

Products to be used

Most contractors will offer you a choice of good, better, and best roofing products. When you make your selection, those specific brand names and color names should always be noted in the agreement.

Work start and completion times

While it’s critical to have expectations set for start and completion dates, in this region especially, we all know that weather can be a major factor in any construction schedule. Your contractor will give you an firm estimation for the duration of the work, but it’s important to remain flexible when confronted with interruptions.


If your contractor is underinsured or not insured at all, you would be assuming a major liability risk. Homeowner’s insurance should never be presumed as sufficient protection against the dangers involved with roofing. Make sure to look over your contractor’s current insurance certificates for workers’ compensation and general liability, and have copies of those documents attached to your agreement.

Licenses and codes

Business and contracting licenses are also usually attached.  Make sure to define who is responsible for permits, code compliance, and other local requirements.

Price, payment terms and conditions

The total cost of the project, acceptable forms of payment, and any other financial details such as a payment plan should be clearly specified in the agreement.

Change order procedures

Last minute changes are not uncommon in construction, but there must be a written procedure for these orders. Whether they are initiated by you or the contractor, a change order can lead to major misunderstandings, animosity, and in some cases, a court appearance. But, as long as no change order is implemented without a formal, written agreement, most adjustments will be feasible.


Usually with the help of their lawyer, roofing contractors insert exclusions and limitations into warranties and job agreements to reduce liability and avoid costly disputes. Most contractors won’t point them out because they are generally somewhat negative, but its important for the homeowner to review them. It would serve you well to know ahead of time that your contractor will not assume responsibility for damage caused by severe weather, asbestos, or hidden rotted decking. Contractors also typically exclude defects in roofing products from their warranty, which brings us to part two– the manufacturer’s warranty. Stay tuned!

More questions? call 503-635-8706 today!

Portland Roofing Contractor

Roofing Warranties Explained: Part 2 — Manufacturers | Pacific West Roofing

While the workmanship warranty and job agreement (outlined in part one) can be negotiated, the manufacturer’s warranty is set in stone. There’s nothing you or your roofing contractor can do to adjust it– it’s fixed and it’s limited. Therefore, it is very important that both you and your roofer understand each term and condition.

A manufacturer’s warranty on asphalt shingles, for example, will typically address:

  • Methods of installation
  • Finished system performance
  • Finished job appearance
  • Warranty transferability

Possibly the biggest factor in a homeowner’s satisfaction with a new roof is its overall finished appearance. System performance is also important, of course, but these days much of that relies on the quality of workmanship rather than the materials themselves. On the other hand, a new roof can sometimes look a bit different that you expected it to when you were looking at samples, and that can lead to claims against the manufacturer’s warranty. The appearance of a finished roof can be affected by a number of variables including color, staining, patterns, decking issues, and damage.


We try to warn homeowners against hanging all their expectations on product samples and color specifications they see in print. Shingle color is not an exact science even though they are computer controlled. It can vary to the eye according to the time of day and the weather, and change as the shingles get older. This is often because the position of granules on the shingles can create tiny shadows, and then those granules tend to wear away with time. Because of this, many manufacturers simply exclude color variations from their warranties.


New shingles can sometimes become stained while still in the packaging when oils or minerals get transferred from the underside of one shingle to the face of another. In most cases, once the shingles are installed natural weathering will wash away these stains. But, if the stains are still visible after 60 days be sure to contact the manufacturer.

The most common type of stain you’ll see on older roofs is caused by algae, which people often confuse with mold or fungus. Unless algae-resistant shingles were used, algae stains will not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty as it is a symptom of poor maintenance on the homeowner’s part. Warranty terms regarding algae-resistant shingles vary by manufacturer.

Ugly Patterns

When shingles are not installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, strange color patterns can appear. An inexperienced or unethical roofer might misalign shingle cut outs or ignore dimensional tolerances. Because of this, manufacturer warranties disclaim liability for improper installation.

Deck Movement or Failure

A new roof can also become unsightly if there are problems with the decking. If the surface that the shingles are nailed to begins to shift or fails altogether, which can can be caused by inadequate ventilation, poor nailing of the deck and other oversights, the shingles can curl or develop objectionable ridges. These problems are excluded from warranty coverage by all shingle manufacturers.


Anytime you add on to your home or do any remodeling like installing a skylight, your roof is susceptible to damage. This is never covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. So, when work is being done on your home, make sure to schedule the roofing work so that it won’t be affected by other projects or workers.

Furthermore, shingle damage caused by a homeowner’s efforts to remove snow and ice is typically excluded, as is damage caused by aftermarket coatings, paints, chemicals, and cleaners.

Have more questions about the warranty on your roof? Click here to ask Stan, or call 503-635-8706.



Buyer Beware | Pacific West Roofing Portland

Sometimes… some things… are too good to be true. And sometimes, intentions are good, but actions can have a negative impact with a domino effect. The roofing industry is facing one of these situations today.

In early 2011 a national roofing and ventilation manufacturer rolled out an enticing offer, “every GAF laminated shingle, including all Timberline® shingles—the #1-selling shingles in North America—will be covered by a lifetime ltd. Warranty…”. See the full story here.

The problem, this is an unrealistic and unsustainable promise. Why? Because no product (to date) has delivered on such a promise. The technology/product and proof simply doesn’t exist…yet.

Like all products, shingles have a lifecycle, and you get what you pay for. Some people can afford the “good” solution, while others are able to invest in the “better” or “best” option. GAF is essentially offering a LIFETIME warranty on their lowest-end, “good” shingle. Does this make any sense to you?

The problem is causing a hardship on reputable roofing contractors who have been in business for decades, who know better, and would never make such a bold and unrealistic offer to their customers. Buyer’s perceptions are being confused and distorted, and causing unrealistic expectations.

With over 30+ years of experience, Pacific West Roofing knows a “good” shingle has a realistic lifespan of 16-19 years, a ”better” shingle can give you 22-26 years, and “best” can reap you up to 28-32 years. And if anyone tells you otherwise, it will likely result in a warranty default, a roofing contractor bankruptcy, or even worse, costly litigation on YOUR part.

There are myriad ways a warranty can be exploited, and unfortunately the consumer is usually on the wrong end of the stick. Keep in mind (depending on the state in which you live) warranties have a statute of limitations, and contractors can use this to their advantage.

At Pacific West Roofing, we’ve got you covered. Please don’t believe everything you hear. And if you have any questions, or concerns, you know where to find us…503-635-8706.

Portland Roofing Contractor Since 1980

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