on an aluminum roof with safety cables on a big building to demonstrate roof warranty basics

What Every Property Owner Needs to Know About Your Commercial Roof Warranty

Understanding the intricate details of a commercial roof warranty is essential for any building owner looking to protect their commercial roofing investment. A commercial roof warranty offers an assurance that the roofing system has been installed per the manufacturer’s requirements and meets roofing industry standards.

However, roof warranties come with varying terms and conditions, and knowing what is and isn’t covered is important. Commercial Roof Warranties are available with different durations, maintenance requirements, and coverage nuances.

Continue reading as we explore the most common features and questions property owners have about their commercial roof warranty.

Roof Warranty Basics

At its core, a roof warranty is a pledge from the roofing manufacturer or contractor, guaranteeing the performance and quality of your commercial roof. This assurance is not just about materials or craftsmanship; it promises reliability and durability over a specified period of time.

Buyer beware, the majority of commercial roof warranties are limited to repairing leak issues.

In general, there are two primary types of roof warranties: the manufacturer’s warranty and the contractor’s warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty typically covers defects in roofing materials and in the case of NDL or System Warranties, the manufacturer warranty will also cover workmanship. Roofing Manufacturer’s warranties are typically 5 to 30 years with the average duration being 20 years.

Conversely, a contractor’s warranty is provided by the roofing installer, covering aspects of workmanship and installation quality. Roofing Contractor Warranties are typically 1 to 5 years in duration with the average duration being 2 years.

It’s important to note that these warranties are not one-size-fits-all. The terms, conditions, and lengths can vary significantly based on the roofing material used and the specifics of the installation. Some warranties may last a few years, while others can extend over decades.

Maintaining a Commercial Roof Warranty

Regular inspections and routine maintenance are essential to keeping your commercial roof warranty in good standing with the manufacturer. These preventative steps are not simply a matter of best practices for maintaining your roof; they are often mandatory warranty conditions. Failure to meet these requirements can result in the warranty being voided, leaving you without coverage when needed.

Routine inspections conducted by professional roofers are critical for identifying issues that, if unaddressed, could void your warranty. These inspections should be scheduled as required by the terms of your roofing warranty, usually annually or biannually.

Maintenance involves addressing the issues identified during these inspections. Issues can range from removing debris and securing flashing to patching punctures and applying sealant. It’s crucial to complete the maintenance recommendations that follow an inspection, as neglecting them can lead to more significant problems that may not be covered under your warranty due to non-compliance with maintenance requirements.

Maintaining a record of all inspections and maintenance work performed on your roof is also necessary. This documentation is your proof of compliance, which is crucial if you need to file a warranty claim.

No Dollar Limit (NDL) Warranties vs Material Only Warranties

Selecting the appropriate warranty for your commercial roof requires understanding the different levels of protection offered by No Dollar Limit (NDL) and Material Only warranties.

Here are the distinct types of protection each typically offers:

NDL Warranties

  • Unlimited Repair Costs: An NDL warranty covers the total cost of warranted repairs related to leaks issues caused by material failure or faulty workmanship.
  • Steady Coverage Over Time: NDL warranties don’t reduce or pro-rate their coverage as the roof ages.
  • Ideal for Future-Proofing: Best for those who prioritize long-term stability and wish to avoid unexpected expenses in the future.

Material Only Warranties

  • Limited Coverage: Generally speaking, these warranties will cover the cost of material needed to repair leak issues during the warranty period. Note: these warranties do not provide for the cost of labor.
  • Economical Upfront Investment: While they are less expensive initially, material-only warranties may result in more significant costs over time due to their limited nature.

Choosing between an NDL warranty and a Material Only warranty often comes down to balancing cost and coverage. NDL warranties offer a more robust safety net at a higher initial cost. In contrast, Material Only warranties, while less costly at first, might lead to more significant expenses in the future due to their capped or decreasing coverage.

The Coverages and Limitations of a Roof Warranty

While a warranty protects against specific roofing issues, it’s important to recognize that it’s not an all-encompassing safety net. Unlike comprehensive insurance policies, roof warranties don’t guarantee that all expenses will be covered, leaving no costs for the owner. Understanding these limitations can help you better manage expectations and plan for potential out-of-pocket expenses.

What’s Typically Covered:

  • Material Defects: Warranties often cover failures due to manufacturing defects in roofing materials. If a roof fails prematurely due to the quality of materials used, the warranty will cover the cost of repairing the roof to warrantable condition.
  • Installation and Workmanship: Coverage typically includes issues arising from improper installation, ensuring any faults due to poor workmanship are addressed. This coverage is essential, as installation quality dramatically influences the overall longevity and performance of the roof.
  • Duration of Coverage: Warranty periods vary, often between 5 to 30 years, offering long-term protection. Knowing when your warranty begins and ends is important to ensure you’re covered throughout your roof’s expected lifespan.

Exclusions to Keep in Mind:

  • Routine Maintenance and Neglect: It’s important to note that roof warranties do not cover routine maintenance costs, such as cleaning or periodic servicing. Additionally, issues that arise directly from failing to perform this necessary maintenance are also not covered. If damage occurs due to a lack of regular care, the repair costs will fall outside the warranty’s protection.
  • Unauthorized Modifications: Modifications, installation of overburden, or repairs without approval can lead to exclusions. Always check with your roofing contractor or warranty provider before undertaking any significant work on your roof.
  • Severe Weather Damage: Roofing Manufacturer’s Warranties have explicit exclusions related to severe weather such as wind, hail, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
  • Damage to Building Contents: Warranties typically don’t cover interior damage from leaks, highlighting the importance of prompt leak detection and repair. This exclusion underlines the need for regular roof inspections to catch and fix leaks before they lead to interior damage.
  • Wear and Tear Over Time: Normal wear is often not covered, especially in older roofs. Budgeting for these replacement or repair costs is necessary as your roof nears the end of its warranty period.

Secure Your Roofing Investment with Ideal Building Solutions

Warranties offer essential protection for your commercial roof, covering material defects and installation errors, but they don’t cover everything. Exclusions like neglect, unauthorized modifications, and severe weather highlight the importance of regular maintenance to keep your roof warranty in good standing.

Ideal Building Solutions recognizes the importance of consistent roof upkeep, which is why our Ideal Maintenance Membership plan is designed to help protect your investment.

This comprehensive program includes:

  • Manufacturer Warranty Support: This support ensures compliance with all manufacturer requirements, a crucial step in protecting your roof and preserving its warranty.
  • Roof Assessment: Regular assessments provide critical insights into the current state of your roof, allowing for timely maintenance that extends its service life and maintains its performance.
  • Two Comprehensive Inspections a Year: Inspections are key in identifying issues early, maintaining the roof’s integrity, and avoiding unexpected repair costs.
  • Priority Leak Service: In the event of unexpected damage or the need for emergency repairs, members can receive priority service within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.

The benefits of this membership extend beyond warranty preservation. Regular maintenance addresses minor issues before they escalate, enhances energy efficiency, and ensures the safety of your employees. It’s an investment in the predictability and longevity of your roof.

Contact our team today to discuss enrolling in the Ideal Maintenance Membership to receive the peace of mind that comes from safeguarding your investment for years to come.


What is a commercial roof warranty?

A commercial roof warranty is a guarantee from the roofing manufacturer or contractor that ensures the performance and quality of your commercial roof. It covers defects in materials and workmanship and provides reliability and durability over a specific period of time.

What is the difference between a manufacturer's warranty and a contractor's warranty?

A manufacturer’s warranty covers defects in roofing materials and, in some cases, workmanship. It typically lasts 5 to 30 years. On the other hand, a contractor’s warranty is provided by the roofing installer and covers aspects of workmanship and installation quality. Contractor warranties usually last 1 to 5 years.

How can I maintain my commercial roof warranty?

To maintain your commercial roof warranty, you need to schedule regular inspections and perform routine maintenance as required by the warranty terms. Professional roofers should conduct inspections annually or biannually to identify any issues. Additionally, you should address the maintenance recommendations following an inspection to ensure compliance with warranty requirements.

What are the limitations of a commercial roof warranty?

While a commercial roof warranty provides coverage for material defects and installation issues, it doesn’t cover routine maintenance costs, damages from severe weather, unauthorized modifications, or interior damage caused by leaks. Normal wear and tear over time is also generally not covered. It’s important to understand these limitations and plan for potential out-of-pocket expenses.