Congratulations! You have a new roof (or you’re getting one soon). And of course there’s a warranty, so you’re golden. Nothing can go wrong! Not to burst your bubble, but too often people let the idea of a warranty lull them into a false sense of security, and what you don’t know could indeed hurt you. First, there’s a lot of fine print that most of us never take the time to read. Most roofs come with a 10-year warranty, but coverage can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. For example, some warranties say they will “fix all defects,” and some say they will “keep the roof water tight.” Those are two very different things. It’s subtle differences like this that can make a big difference when push comes to shove if a roof develops issues. Second, don’t think that it doesn’t matter which commercial roofing contractor installs the roof just because it will have a warranty. With most warranties, the installing contractor covers the first two years. So using a reputable and certified roofing contractor who will be responsive to any problems (and be in business!) is important. Some manufacturers are very strict about this, and some are not. If anything, it highlights the importance of using a contractor you trust, because once there’s an issue, that’s not when you want to start learning the details of what is or isn’t covered, and hope you’re now working with someone who really has your back. A good contractor will provide you with advice, and provide clarity on the often-misunderstood aspects of a warranty. Another thing often overlooked is that a warranty can become invalid if there hasn’t been regular preventative maintenance performed on the roof. Think about it. If you had a problem with your car, but had never so much as changed the oil, chances are the warranty may not be honored. People who are expected to cover warranty items want to know you’ve at least taken reasonably good care of the product. Finally, don’t rely on warranties for long-term piece of mind. A 10-year manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t mean you’ll have a great roof in 20-30 years. The real value of a warranty is for someone who is thinking of selling in the near term. After the warranty period, it won’t matter how good a warranty was…what people will care about is how well the roof has been maintained. Whether you’re looking at residential or commercial roofing, it’s all good information to be thinking about before you sign on the dotted line.