Lifetime Roofing Warranty?

This questions has been asked so many times and I’d like to talk a little (a lot) about this warranties that came up a few years ago. Most manufacturers are now offering Lifetime Roofing Systems on most of their products and I get all kinds of questions from homeowners or building owners here in the Hampton Roads area.

Some people would ask me :

is this my own lifetime?

the lifetime of my house?

The lifetime of my roof?

Obviously it will be the Lifetime of the product we are installing but then raises the question, well isn’t everything going to last their lifetime, even if that’s 1 day or 100 years?

The way the manufacturers describe it is that : “LifeTime Warranty” is as long as the original individual owner of a single family detached residence owns the property where their products were installed.

Acts of God will void the warranty (an other things, we’ll talk about that later). That’s what insurance is for, right?
It gets a little confusing! I truly wish the manufacturers would go back to their 15-25 year warranty’s, at least it made more sense back then.
Now they are selling some of the same shingles but offering a Lifetime warranty, it does not make sense to me.

It would appear to me that some of the big names in the industry simple have done some statistical analysis. The average Home changes ownership once every 7 years. From what we know the Lifetime Warranty allows only for one transfer. So statistically speaking, a lot of homes that had the Lifetime Warranty products put on it, won’t have any warranty after 14 years.

Inflation is another thing to consider. Some of the manufacturing products used in the process such as Oil will go up in price. Shingles being a petroleum based product, will go up as well. So a person who purchased a new roof 15 years ago and has a warranty claim gets what? Say it was a 30 year warranty and they paid $35 per square for the shingles. So you get a 50% pro rated amount off the $35 per square and you end up getting $17.50 per square. So a 30 square roof gets you $525 towards a new $9,000 roof. Once people actually grasp what they’re getting, how many of those will actually go through the whole process to recover that amount? 15 years from now, shingles could very well be $200 per square or more. Same scenario.

Now let’s not all forget about all the disclaimers, caveats, etc. in the warranty, throw in hail storms, tornadoes, etc. and what do you really have in terms of liability? Obviously on top of all that, consider the percentage of roofs that wouldn’t qualify for a warranty claim due to improper installation and/or inadequate ventilation.
We know for a fact that many manufactures didn’t change or improve their product (some did, and we will talk about that). The only thing they did was do the the math and simply made what appears to be a reasonably intelligent marketing decision. I just hope that in 20-30 years we contractors or our sons will be left to explain why these Lifetime Warranties only lasted 20 years!




“The new technology”

Some Manufacturers in an effort to improve their products starting using new technics  to prevent premature failure and longer performance on their Roofing Systems. Some of them was made thicker shingles, adding more seal to each shingle to prevent blowing offs, create accessories that would improve the performance of the System and the biggest one in my opinion was start adding chemicals such as copper, zinc and magnesium to prevent algae and moss growth, improve the reflectivity of the roof and give the roof a newer look for a longer period. Copper & Zinc Laden granules saturated with other chemicals and some algaecides were added with the rest of the granules to make it a more effective and durable product.

Many Homeowners in the Hampton Roads area will start seeing black streaks on their roofs and wonder if their roof is being damaged or the life span of the roof will be shorter by the algae , well the answer is no. It’s purely a cosmetic problem.


The moss actually can cause damage to your roof, as the moss thickens and grows on an asphalt shingle roof it can raise the shingles up allowing water to get it or wind damage.


In regards with algae resistant shingles, they have been around for a while, they have different expected performance periods with respect of how long they will keep algae and moss from growing. One thing to consider is that they are called Algae Resistant not “Algae Proof”. In fact if a roof with Lifetime Warranty shingles don’t see much sunlight, has high humidity or it’s usually covered with tree leaves, pine needles ,etc. will eventually, sooner than later will develop some Algae.

That’s why the importance of giving good maintenance to your roof. Here’s an article for it:   Maintenance


As far as I’m concern most major manufacturers of Asphalt roofing shingles offers now a lifetime warranty, the best thing in order to know about which is the best product that actually backs up their warranties is to contact a trusted roofing company.

Thanks for reading.


roofing systems of hampton roads J.Montes Inc.