Manufacturer’s Defect vs. Roofer’s Error
Shingle warranties only pay homeowners when the shingles are found to have a manufacturer’s defect – when you use good quality shingles the shingles aren’t usually to blame for roof problems.
Most roofs that fail during the warranty period do so because they were installed incorrectly. For example, Decra — a California-based shingle manufacturer — often receives calls from homeowners whose roofs failed because their installers used nails instead of the recommended screws in a high-wind area. Since the roofer is more likely to cause a problem than the shingles are, a written guarantee from a reputable local roofer is your best chance of getting a roof problem fixed.
Even if you are one of the rare homeowners whose roof fails due to defective shingles, getting reimbursed for a dozen bad shingles won’t take the edge off the cost of repairing your roof. The shingles are not the most expensive part of any roofing job — the labor is. Shingles account for only about 10-20% of the total cost of a repair job or a new roof. Other materials are needed, such as roofing cement, flashing, nails or screws, and underlayment, but labor is the largest expense by far. A warranty that covers replacement shingles, but not labor, may be worth only a few hundred dollars of the thousands needed to repair or replace your roof. So always ask about labor warranties when getting roof work done.