How to replace your roof

Don’t sweat the warranty

Under normal conditions, a new roof can last decades, depending on the material, if it’s installed and vented correctly, says Josh Noel, owner of Quality Roofing in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The National Roofing Contractors Association says long warranties are sometimes used as marketing tools. Don’t choose your roof based on the warranty, but on the quality of the roofing materials.

Indeed, a warranty is not a prediction of life expectancy. The number shouldn't lull you into a false sense of security, as the warranty covers manufacturer’s defects, but normal weathering — which is excluded from many warranties — typically causes a shingle to fail sooner.

You also need a labor warranty from your contractor. It might range from one to 10 years.

For potential claims, keep the written warranty, contractor’s invoice and contract, and proof that you were the homeowner when the shingles were installed or proof of warranty transfer.

There are significant differences in the quality of roof warranties. The more the warranty covers, the more confident the manufacturer is in the quality of its product.