Roof repairs and replacements are a large expenses for many property owners. As such it is important to look beyond the aesthetic look of a new roof and be mindful of the usefulness of that roof over a period of time. Roof warranties often protect owners from issues encountered during warranty periods. For example, as Tesla is set to begin installations of its solar roofs in June 2017, Tesla has declared that the company’s “Infinite Tile Warranty” is the “best warranty in the industry.”  While this may be the case, Tesla’s claim serves as a reminder to any homeowner contemplating a roofing project to know what is covered under any roof warranty.

Most construction contract warranties include material coverage. For example the aforementioned “Infinite Tile Warranty” is stated to cover the glass in the solar tiles and last for the “lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.” However, as Tesla indicates on its website “[y]our entire roof is not eligible to be covered with solar tiles due to building regulations and obstructions.” Therefore, it is not clear whether the tile warranty extends to non-solar tiles.

Warranty labor is usually specified in a separate section of the contractor’s roofing contract and provides the terms of warranty length and maximum claim coverage. If the manufacturer deemed the product as defective, the contractor should cover their labor under warranty. Contractors are often able to submit a warranty claim to the manufacturer to get reimbursed based on a defective product.

Often times owners are under the impressions that the manufacturer’s warranty will cover leaks in their roofs; however, this may not be the case if there was an issue with the installation. Submitting installation documents is traditionally required to ensure the product was attached correctly. If a defect is found, sometimes the warranty covers the parts only. In this regard, Telsa boasts an interesting 30 year “Weatherization Warranty”  which it defines to mean that there will be no water leaks or other weather intrusions during the warranty period that result from their installation. As is the case with many product manufacturers, the installation of the Tesla roof may only be covered under warranty if the installation was done by an appropriately trained and licensed contractor.

Owners and contractors should keep a paper trail to get the benefit of any parts and/or labor warranty. If an owner or contractor suspects defective roofing material, they must contact the manufacturer. In many instances, contractors specify that they must work on a roof exclusively to cover any warranty labor. An issue may arise when a different roofer performs any repairs, as it becomes difficult to cover problems that may not be the main contractor's fault. Therefore, it is important to follow all the contract's rules and warranty provisions to take advantage of any warranty coverage.

The attorneys at Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, LLP are well versed in handling cases involving construction defects and contractor risk management. For more information please feel free to contact Peter K. Oliver at 732-545-4717 or poliver@hoaglandlongo.com.