Understanding the Truth Behind Metal Roofing Warranties

Many consumers associate metal roofing warranties with dependability and performance. In reality, this isn’t always the case.

This misconception is due to suppliers in the roofing industry using warranties to sway buyers—when homeowners see the big, flashy term “lifetime warranty,” they rarely read the fine print or take the time to fully understand what that warranty actually covers.

Even though lifetime warranties are quite popular, they simply cannot guarantee that your installed metal roof will last forever. Remember this: an extended warranty doesn’t automatically equal better coverage or higher performing products. The vast majority of industry insiders believe the best performing product for residential applications is a Galvalume steel substrate with a Kynar 500® (PVDF) coating. However, there are many panels with lower quality substrates and coatings that offer longer term warranties.

So, while you’ll likely take warranties into account when selecting a metal panel, it shouldn’t be your only consideration. That being said, while you’re taking the time to review and compare warranties, below are some major factors you should watch out for.

Major Factors You Should Watch Out For:

1Length of the Warranty Term

This is where you should be most cautious, because there are many ways for manufacturers to manipulate this information. One of the most common is prorating the amount of coverage—for example, while the headline reads “Lifetime” or “45 Years,” the fine print and exclusions could reveal your product is actually only warrantied at 20% value within just a few years.

2Substrate Warranty

Galvalume® and Galvanized are two commonly used substrates in the metal roofing industry. Galvalume® carries a warranty from the steel mills that protects against perforation (or rust-through) of the substrate, but not surface rust. Galvanized doesn’t include a steel mill warranty, but is still popular for many applications and can perform strongly.

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3Fade/Chalk Allowed

Fading occurs when the environment attacks the pigment portion of the coating system. When testing for fade, all chalk and other surface impurities are removed using cheese cloth and detergent, then the test is conducted on the cleaned area. This often results in a denied warranty claim.

Chalking occurs when the environment attacks the resin in the coating system. The resin then takes on a whitish appearance as it degrades, referred to as “chalk.” Again, acceptable levels of failure are built into warranties that can prevent you from making a successful claim.

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4Film Integrity

Film integrity is the ability of the coating to stay adhered to the metal substrate, and is commonly used in the metal panel industry to extend the length of warranties. For example, a bright red roof could experience severe chalk and/or fade to be a muted pink or white, but the film would still be intact, so a warranty claim would be denied. Film integrity is often the warranty category used for extended life warranties, such as lifetime.

The Reality of Metal Roofing

It’s important to keep in mind that warranties are usually written to protect the manufacturer—not the buyer. Therefore, at McElroy Metal, we believe that installed performance is a much more accurate measure of quality than warranties.

That’s why we suggest our customers and dealers always take warranties with a grain of salt. While they may certainly play a factor in your decision-making process, they should never sway it completely.

So, now that you know the truth behind metal roofing warranties and a little bit more about what they include, here are our recommendations when considering your warranty options for a metal roofing project:

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Ask for a copy of your supplier’s warranty, read it in full, and ask any questions before making a final decision and signing a contract.

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In the event of a legitimate claim, take a close look at the remedy. The maximum liability for many warranties is limited to only the amount of money paid for the roofing material. No labor or materials!

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Make your purchasing decision based predominantly on panel performance, not warranty.

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For long-term satisfaction with your metal roof, ensure you’re using the best combination of substrate and coatings.

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Benefits of a Metal Home

All across the country, homeowners are ditching their shingle roofs and upgrading to metal! While residential metal roofing isn’t new, it is gaining in popularity because more homeowners are recognizing the many environmental and energy-related benefits that metal roofing has to offer.

This eBook was developed to help guide homeowners who have an interest in metal roofing but are seeking a little more knowledge and understanding before finalizing their decision. If that’s your situation, this information is for you.

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Have More Questions About Metal Roofing Warranties?

At McElroy, we want to make your dream home or building a reality. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you find the products that meet your unique aesthetic, budgetary, and warranty needs. To explore your options and receive guidance throughout your metal roofing project, contact a McElroy Metal distributor or contractor in your area today!

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