Warranties guarantee the integrity of a product. They also provide valuable peace of mind that a roof will be covered should anything happen to it. But, as homeowners and contractors know, warranties can vary widely. This is especially true for metal roof systems, as many incorporate multiple components into one product and are influenced by environmental factors, seam profiles and installation methods.
Because each metal roofing project is unique, manufacturers usually offer several warranty types and options. It is almost impossible to have an effective “one size fits all” warranty. While this can help customers choose the warranty that best suits their needs, it can also be confusing for those new to metal roofs. Below are three important coverage options to consider when choosing a metal roofing warranty.
First and foremost, roofs protect the homes and buildings they cover from all types of weather. As such, they should be able to keep interiors dry. For metal roofing systems, the standing seams are often the places where leaks can most commonly occur. When choosing a metal roof, home- and building owners should look for weather tightness warranties. These warranties focus almost exclusively on standing seam roof systems and warrant the seam will not leak or otherwise fail.
While not every metal roofing profile is eligible, quality manufacturers with weather tightness warranties often have many standing seam profiles that are eligible as well as several options for this kind of warranty—provided these systems are installed over an approved underlayment. Weather tightness warranties can be perfect for builds as simple as a standard roof or as unique as a church’s radius roof.
In addition to seams, customers should look for warranties that cover substrate corrosion. One of the most common areas of confusion is knowing the difference between a paint and a substrate corrosion warranty. But this begs another question first, what is a metal roofing substrate?
At its simplest, a metal roofing substrate is the actual metal that makes up the roofing panels. There are several substrate options, from aluminum to copper. Each has its unique benefits, including whether it is covered by substrate corrosion warranties or not. While many of these warranties provide reliable coverage, one way these warranties can differ is through their coverage of roofs near saltwater coastal environments.
Salt (and saltwater) can corrode metal roofing, which often leaves contractors and designers on the coast in the lurch when it comes to using metal roofs in projects. Companies that offer substrate corrosion warranties ensure the durability of the metal roofing substrate in marine environments but often have specific coverage stipulations. For example, Drexel’s PVDF Coated and Aluminum Product Warranty and 25-year Drexlume® Warranty cover roofing substrates near saltwater. Both warranties recommend following a routine fresh water rinsing program to prevent the accumulation of concentrated mineral deposits. However, they differ from each other slightly in how close an application can be to saltwater and the duration of the coverage, so it is important to read the details to find the best fit.
Finally, metal roofing systems are often painted with high-quality resins to top off a cohesive design aesthetic or to aid energy efficiency goals like cool roofing. For metal roofs, paint warranties can use specialized terminology, prompting those new to the industry to ask, “what do these warranties really cover?”
A typical paint warranty covers film integrity (paint will not crack, flake or delaminate from its substrate’s surface), color fading (paint will not drastically change color) and chalking (a naturally forming powdery residue will not severely affect the paint’s appearance). For color fading and chalking, paint warranties acknowledge that these conditions will happen but should not exceed a certain threshold. For example, Drexel’s Gold Standard Warranty ensures paint will not fade more than 5 Hunter Units, which indicates a noticeable but slight color fade, over the course of 35 years. The same warranty covers chalk protection up to 6 ASTM units for metal roofing systems.
While film integrity, color fading and chalking focus on a metal roof’s appearance, they are more than just cosmetic. Paint systems protect the metal substrate from the elements and are one of the reasons a metal roof can last up to 50 years. When home- and building owners choose a warranty for paint, they are protecting their roof’s first line of defense.
With so many options, those new to metal roofing may be tempted to try to get several warranties instead of selecting the ideal warranty for their roof. Before going this route, it is important to consider any conditions or limitations. Many warranties across the metal roofing industry include clauses that specify a given warranty will exclude any others. Accordingly, researching warranty offerings to find the best fit is highly recommended.
But the research does not need to happen alone. Drexel Metals encourages metal roofing customers, from designers to fabricators, installers to owners, to contact a regional representative to get experienced insight on which warranty will work for their metal roof in their location.
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