Uncovered: Roofing Warranties; Types and Coverage

Roofing Warranty

You are ready for a new roof on your commercial property. But what kind of roofing warranties are available? What is covered by the warranties? Are they worth the paper they are printed on?

There are different kinds of roof warranties. The kind most people might be familiar with is the warranty you can get for shingles on a residence.

Residential Roofing Warranties


Shingle Warranties are Pro-Rated, and the base warranty only covers the original cost of the materials. They usually only cover material failures from manufacturing defects, and not workmanship or labor.

Pro-rated means that the amount covered by the warranty is based on how long into the warranty term the product is when it fails. So, if you are halfway through your warranty term, you will only get 50% of the original cost of the shingles.

Shingle manufacturers have been offering a better warranty with a 5–10-year start period where the warranty does cover workmanship and is not limited to the original cost. After that initial period, they are pro-rated for the remainder of the warranty and back to only material. These types of warranties require that all materials be provided by the shingle manufacturer and be installed by a certified installer.

It is important to understand that Shingle Warranties are for residential roofs, and when installed on a commercial roof the same warranty is usually not available or is only available for a fee.

Commercial Roof Warranties

Commercial Roof Warranties come in a couple varieties. The two most common are Membrane Only, and NDL.

Membrane Only warranties only cover manufacturer’s defects and are pro-rated. They are either free or a small fee. These are typically a 20-year warranty. Defects in the material are very rare in commercial roofing products. Our company has only seen about 4-5 cases in the last 20 years.

NDL stands for No Dollar Limit. This warranty is the industry standard for quality work. NDL warranties are not pro-rated, not limited in dollar amount, and cover materials and workmanship.

A fee based on the square footage of the project is paid to the manufacturer for the warranty. The roof must be inspected by the manufacturer to issue the warranty and the contractor must make repairs as directed by the manufacturer, at no cost to the customer.

Warranty Period can be from 10-40 Years and to get the warranty, the roof must be installed according to the manufacturer’s requirements. This includes minimum requirement for fastening, insulation, and membrane thickness and type.

What is covered by a roofing warranty?


Membrane Only warranties are only for leaks caused by a problem with the material itself. The warranty also only pays for the cost of new material and is usually pro-rated.

NDL warranties cover the cost of repairing leaks due to materials or workmanship. There is no limit to the number of leaks that can be repaired with this warranty. The cost of repairs can even eventually exceed the cost of the original roof. Even if the entire roof fails, if it is due to materials or workmanship the manufacturer will pay to have it replaced.

Wind damage is also included in the roof warranty. The industry standard is a 3 second gust at or below 55 mph. Enhanced wind speed coverage is available up to 120 mph for a 3 second gust if the manufacturer guidelines are met.

Hail damage is usually excluded from coverage. For an additional fee and with using certain materials you can get hail damage coverage that includes damage up to 1-1/2” hail.

Punctures are usually excluded. Whether from a falling limb or a dropped tool. You can pay an additional fee to get puncture coverage which covers a certain number of punctures per year.

Edge metals are only covered under the warranty if they are provided by the roof manufacturer. Only materials provided by the roof manufacturer are covered under the warranty.

Leaks caused by sealants, pitch pockets, or other maintenance items are not covered.

Warranty Claims

It is the owner’s responsibility to follow the maintenance and care instructions to maintain the warranty. This usually includes inspecting the roof annually (does not need to be by a professional), keeping the drains clean, keeping the roof free of debris, and replacing sealants that deteriorate.

If you have a roof leak and you have a roof warranty. All you need to do is call the warranty services number of the manufacturer and they will call the installer and have them come to do the repair. If they find the leak is from a cause covered by the warranty, you will not be charged.

NDL Warranties from the manufacturer are highly recommended for any commercial roof. Not only do they protect the owner by covering leak repairs. But they ensure that minimum standards of quality are met during installation.

Some installers give their own warranties. These are much riskier for the owner. Not only is the manufacturer not going to do an inspection, but there is no guarantee that the company will be around in 10-15 years. Roofing manufacturers are required by law to keep warranty fund reserves and are large national or multinational companies. The risk of getting a bad roof without remedy is much lower.

To learn more about roofing warranties, or to see if your damage is covered by your existing warranty, call A.H. Sturgill Roofing at 937-254-2955 and schedule your consultation with our warranty specialists.