In recent days and weeks we have had a lot of questions about warranties from Board Members and Property Managers that are unsure about what warranties they need to be concerned with. We hope this will help.
When you’re dealing with the proper maintenance of your roofs, there are a couple of warranties that come into play:
- The Roofing Manufacturer Warranty
- The Roofing Company Workmanship Warranty
- The Roof Cleaning Warranty
These are the warranties relating to the actual roofing materials: Asphalt Shingles, Concrete Tiles, Clay Tiles, Etc.
When it comes to choosing a roofing product, the NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) has this advice:
“A roofing warranty's length should not be the primary criterion in the selection of a roofing product or roof system because the warranty does not necessarily provide assurance of satisfactory roof system performance. The selection of a roof system application should be based on the product's qualities and suitability for the prospective project. A long-term warranty may be of little value to a Customer if the roof system does not perform satisfactorily and leaks. Conversely, if a roof system is designed, constructed and manufactured well, the expense of purchasing a warranty may not be necessary.”
Manufacturer Warranty issues with the actual roofing product are extremely rare, they usually only cover the cost of the materials, and they usually do not cover the labor and other costs associated with the removal and replacement of the existing roof.
Roof cleaning is unlikely to void your Manufacturer Warranty unless it is done in a grossly negligent manner. The more important warranty to be concerned about is your Workmanship Warranty.
Manufacturer warranties are assurances of the roofing product and usually not the roofing system. In most cases, the roofing system is covered by the Workmanship Warranty of the roofing company and Customers should consider the Workmanship Warranty as equally, if not more, important for their roof. This is most likely to be the warranty that comes into play if you have problems with your roof in the first ten years after installation. And this will usually be the first warranty that might be voided by improper roof cleaning.
Customers needing a new roof should work with a reputable roofing company that offer ongoing inspection and maintenance programs to service the roofs that they install. This helps ensure that the roof is installed and maintained properly so that it has the best chance of long-term performance. And in the event of an issue, the Customer is covered by, and has not voided, either the Manufacturer or the Workmanship warranties.
Note: While the use of strong chemicals like Chlorine Bleach will usually not do immediate damage to the main roofing materials themselves (Shingles, Tiles, etc), these methods are much more likely to do irreparable damage to the underlying structure of the roof that protects the home such as the underlayment, valleys, flashings, and joints – the areas most vulnerable to leaks. These methods are also most likely to void the Workmanship Warranty and most roofing companies will not cover leak or roof damage that result from improper cleaning.
This is why some of the largest and most established Roofing Companies in the US, and especially here in Florida, will NOT use High-pressure or Chlorine Bleach but they WILL use and recommend Roof-A-Cide for their Customers’ roofs.
Unfortunately, many roof cleaning contractors are now starting to realize that Customers are becoming educated to the damaging effects of using chlorine bleach and these contractors are using creative names to hide the fact that they’re using it. (link to bleach synonyms)
Roof Cleaning Warranties:
Roof Cleaning warranties are generally issued by the company that performs the roof cleaning. This should be a written guarantee that the roof will stay clean for a specified period of time and should specifically state what the recourse and costs are to the Customer in the event that the roof does not stay clean.
We are seeing more companies offering very vague and unenforceable warranties as a sales gimmick. With terms like “Lifetime Warranty*” and “5-Year Limited Warranty*”, these do not provide the Customer with any real guarantee. Instead, the Customer will pay for a service every 6 months or pay to have the roof cleaned again when stains reappear.
Customers evaluating a roof cleaning service should be aware of these important things:
- Voiding Manufacturer or Workmanship Warranties: Many roof cleaning contractors make the false claim that cleaning your roof with anything other than bleach will void your roof warranty. This is not only a false scare tactic (Roof-A-Cide has been Evaluated on Approved by all of the largest Roof Materials Manufacturers in the US), but it ignores the importance of the Workmanship Warranty. For most people, common sense would dictate that an asphalt shingle roof should not be pressure washed because it will damage the roof. But when it comes to using Chlorine Bleach, most inexperienced pressure cleaning or roof cleaning companies ignore the common sense that strong Chlorine Bleach solutions will damage the roof as well. When the Chlorine Bleach corrodes and destroys the metal fixtures on the roof, your Manufacturer Warranty may still be valid, but your Workmanship Warranty will probably be void.
- Length of the Roof Cleaning Warranty: Limited Lifetime and 5-year Limited Warranties have been a sales gimmick for decades in Florida and they are starting to crop up in areas of the country that are relatively new to roof cleaning. Most experienced Property Managers here in Florida know enough to not take them seriously. If you are being offered a warranty, get it in writing; read the fine print to learn what is covered, which company is covering it, and what recourse you have in the event that you need to call on it. And a real warranty will not make you pay to have problems corrected.Note: All Authorized Roof-A-Cide Applicators are Trained and Equipped to offer our system, which is EPA Approved, Approved by the largest Roof Materials Manufacturers, Guaranteed in Writing, and has been used successfully on over 200,000 roofs since 1992. No matter where they are, in the US, Roof-A-Cide Customers receive an Unconditional 2-year Written Warranty that is backed by both the Authorized Roof-A-Cide Applicator as well as Roof-A-Cide as the Manufacturer. Roof-A-Cide is the ONLY company in the US that offers Customers this assurance.
- Experience and Qualifications: Since simply spraying Chlorine Bleach or Pressure Washing a roof does not require a significant cash outlay for equipment, many smaller Pressure Washing, Painting, and Window Cleaning contractors are adding roof cleaning as a service without any having any real experience, training, or knowledge of basic roofing structure. A Customer considering having their roof cleaned should do some basic research to determine of the contractor they are considering is Licensed, Insured, and Qualified to work on their roof.
Links to Additional Information: