Warranties provide security and comfort. Particularly with a roof, since so much of your house’s well being is dependent upon a proper roof protecting the rest of the house. But what if that security blanket doesn’t really exist?
Here is a brief review of some items to be aware of, each capable of voiding your roof warranty.
- An improperly ventilated roof can void your roof warranty. Normally, we might get bothered that an attic area is too hot but not consider what else is going on. Lack of ventilation not only prevents the 3-4 gallons of moisture a typical family creates every day from properly escaping the house, but it also leads to the “baking” of your shingles. They are already faced with a huge amount of heat exposure and when temperatures from their bottom side get too hot, the roof will eventually start to lift or blister. A properly ventilated roof should allow a bare minimum of one square foot net free ventilating area per 150 square feet of space ventilated. Improper attic ventilation is becoming one of the most common causes of premature roof failure.
- How about a stray nail? Yep, that could do it too. Shingles come from the manufacture with very specific installation instructions. One such instruction is for all nailing to occur within an exact zone. Even a nail or two outside of this area could give a manufacturer an out for honoring a warranty.
- Improper installation of anything installed through the roof (decorations, dishes and antennas) can also be a cause for voiding a warranty. Penetrations to a roof system need to be done by an experience roofing professional to ensure they are correct and not subjecting the surrounding roof to potential leak damage.
- Improper installation or non-standardized use of flashing. Flashing are a critical part of a roof system and the lack of necessary flashing or the inappropriate usage of it (directing water in a way or to a place it should not be) can put your roof at risk.
- Excessive debris accumulation, especially here is the Portland Oregon area, can be a prime cause of roof failure or voiding a roof’s warranty. I often joke to customers not to use their roof as their compost bin. That is the wrong way to go about “green roofing!”
- Don’t store materials on your rooftop. OK, I agree, that is not my first choice on where I would stare my spare stuff, however we do see in on occasion. Commonly is will be spare roofing materials that no one has ever felt like going up and getting. More common is when there might be a flat roof section involved. Also, old toe boards from past repairs sometimes get left there, possibly in anticipation of future problems (I prefer to be a little more optimistic, myself!)
- Certain manufactures won’t warranty or will offer a shortened warranty if a new roof is installed over an existing old roof. This needs to be taken on a case by case basis. Even if warrantied, a recover, as it is commonly called, will not last as long as the same exact roofing material being installed directly on top of new decking and underlayment.
- High pressure power washing. There are better ways to approach moss removal on most roofs. I say most because there is the occasion roof where that is the only option. Additionally, not all power washing is the same. A power washer is a tool and like all tools, it can be used in different ways. Using one as a high water volume rinsing tool is considerably different that using it at high pressure, treating a roof like it was a concrete driveway.
These are a lot of potential infringements upon the security of your roof’s warranty. As always, it pays to look before you leap.