The Must-Knows of Material Warranties for Residential Properties

GCP Material Warranties
February 17, 2021

By Mark Franciosi, GCP Applied Technologies.   

Don’t let your warranties get pushed to the bottom of the list.   

Warranties often consist of overwhelming, long and difficult to read documents. However, they also provide peace of mind and are important reassurances in case something goes wrong in a construction project. Whether the job’s big or small, it is important to not overlook a warranty even in the midst of the many other to-dos that are undoubtedly on your list.   

There are two main types of warranties for residential building: the workmanship warranty and the manufacturer’s material warranty. A workmanship warranty simply covers the work performed by the contractor including any installation errors. A material warranty promises that the manufacturer properly constructed the product. In other words, that the product is free from defects in material and manufactured quality. This type of warranty has layers, but the good news is that it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you approach material warranties with these four things in mind, everyone involved in the project will have peace of mind:  

1 - Don’t shop warranties  

The selection process of products to be used for a residential building project is critical. A material warranty is just one piece of that puzzle. It is not best to shop warranties and compare warranties when selecting products. All manufacturers are looking at what their competitors are offering on their warranties, so it becomes a “me too” competition.  

Many material warranties are very similar and will not make a big difference. What WILL make a difference is the quality of the products selected rather than what the material warranty covers. So, look at the track record of the manufacturer and the proven performance of their products versus what their material warranty says. Have they been in business for a long time? Have their products performed well over many years? Do they have project profiles to prove performance? These are all more important considerations than a manufacturer's material warranty.  

2 - The support behind the products  

When shopping products versus warranties, it is also important to take a look at the type of support the manufacturer provides. Do they have a team of experts that will visit the building site to examine their products and guide the contractor on how to install them properly? If you have a good support team, you will rarely need a material warranty. Look for a manufacturer that has an accessible team of experts to cover all aspects of the building process.  

3 - Using multiple manufacturers   

It is common to use products from multiple manufacturers when building a home. Product compatibility is an issue that leads to material warranty claims. For instance, a problem could arise when one manufacturer's roofing underlayment overlaps with another manufacturer’s flashing and the two products are incompatible. However, incompatibility is rarely covered under a material warranty. Therefore, select high quality products that work together and do not be afraid to use products from multiple manufacturers in a system, particularly if these are made by reputable companies who can provide the necessary support. For instance, it is common to use shingles from one manufacturer and roofing underlayment from another. Don’t go cheap on the accessories in order to bundle products from one manufacturer.   

4 - Years covered   

Five years is the most common period of coverage for a material warranty in residential building products. However, the length of a warranty has little value to customers because when things start to go wrong, it typically happens early on. Generally, if there is a problem with a product, it is usually caught before it is installed. On average, there are not many warranty claims for product defects long term, but if there is an issue years down the line, it is typically caused by the way the product was installed, which would be covered under a workmanship warranty. Sometimes newer manufacturers try to sell themselves based on longer term warranties when they don’t have the years of proven performance behind them. Again, it is most important to not focus on what is in the warranty document, but the proven track record of the products themselves.   

If you pay attention to these four factors and do your homework to select quality products, a material warranty  will be there as a simple safety net, one that is rarely used. The material warranty is a supporting document behind the products. Product performance should always be in the forefront.  

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Original article source: GCP Applied Technologies   


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