As contractors, sometimes our customers ask us for 30 or 50-year shingles or shingles with a 30 or 50-year lifetime. Who wouldn’t want a roof that lasts 30 or 50 years?! Unfortunately, that’s not what these terms mean, so we’re going to set the record straight so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you get 50-year shingles.
This is a bit of a trick question because the 30-year roof shingle is no longer the industry standard, so they’re not really talked about. Thanks to innovations in asphalt shingle manufacturing, companies can produce shingles 50-year “lifetime.” In fact, if you were to visit the website of GAF, a manufacturer producing roofing material used by Proven Contracting, then you’d even see that the company refers to its Timberline® HD™ as “Formerly Timberline® Prestique 30”.
If you hear a contractor talking about a 30-year roofing shingle, it may just be that they haven’t been keeping up with the name change. The Timberline® Prestique 30 was one of the most commonly used shingles in residential roofing, and it’s got the number 30 right in its name. So, it might just be the force of habit that’s driving a contractor to talk about 30-year shingles.
Terms like “lifetime,” “lifespan,” or “50-year roof” are misnomers that have unfortunately caught on across the roofing industry. For some, these terms create the impression that your roof is going to literally last a certain amount of years before it needs to be replaced. In reality, these terms refer to the lifetime limited warranty that’s provided with your shingles and roofing accessories.
The “lifetime” of a good is defined differently by each manufacturer. GAF, for example, has its own definition of what is covered by its lifetime warranty.
“The word ‘Lifetime’ means as long as you, the original owner(s) [or the second owner(s) if coverage was properly transferred during the Smart Choice Protection Period], own the property where the shingles and/or accessories are installed. The Lifetime warranty is applicable only to shingles and accessories installed on a single-family detached residence owned by individuals.”
You could ask a contractor how long the roof they’ve installed is expected to last and call that answer the roof’s “lifetime,” but that answer isn’t necessarily going to match up with the “lifetime” of the warranty. The shortest lifetime of GAF’s Smart Choice Protection Period is ten years, but the longest lifetime is 50.
Is a roof with a 50-year lifetime warranty going to last 50 years? Probably not. How long will it last? We can’t say with certainty since the Timberline® HDZ™ Shingles, which are the shingles Proven Contracting uses often, haven’t even been around as a product for 50 years.
In the past, three-tab shingles had an estimated lifetime of around 20 years. Sometimes, you could hold out and avoid replacing your roof until it was as old as 25-years. But, in general, contractors knew that when your roof was between 15 to 20 years old, you should have it inspected for potential replacement.
Given that figure, you may think it’s smart to use the lifetime of the roof to stash away a roof repair fund, and it is. But not everybody can stash away a replacement roof fund. Luckily, there are many ways to pay for a new roof with no money, the easiest of which is with financing offered by Proven Contracting.
If you’re asking about the warranty of a new roof, you’re asking about one of three things: the manufacturer’s warranty, the workmanship warranty, or homeowner’s insurance.
Manufacturer’s Warranty: This is the “lifetime” warranty on the shingles themselves. This warranty applies if there’s a defect in the shingles themselves that has nothing to do with their installation. For example, Timberline® HDZ™ Shingles come with something called StainGuard® that keeps algae and mold from growing on your shingles. If soon after installation, you find algae growing on your roof, then you may be eligible for compensation under the manufacturer’s warranty if it’s found that the StainGuard® was somehow faulty.
Workmanship Warranty: The workmanship warranty refers to the workmanship/craftsmanship of your roof’s installers. If the materials are fine but improperly installed, then the workmanship warranty will cover the replacement of the roof. You should be able to determine the quality of the workmanship pretty quickly after a major storm (if your roof can survive one major storm, it’s likely to do so again).
Homeowner’s Insurance: Homeowner’s insurance tends to only cover the cost of repairs if your roof is damaged by an “act of nature.” The insurance company ultimately decides what counts as an act of nature and if the act of nature is responsible for the damage. To successfully file a claim, your roof cannot exceed its intended lifespan. You also have to maintain your roof per the specifications of the policy.
Ideally, your roof will be the result of an equal mix of high-quality materials and high-quality craftsmanship. With Proven Contracting, you don’t have to make that choice because we use all GAF materials and have earned Master Elite® certification from GAF, which is a distinction awarded to only the top 2% of roofing contractors in North America.
However, if you have to choose between one or the other, you’d want the workmanship to be better because if your roof is improperly installed, it may void the manufacturer’s warranty. That’s why it’s so important to do your due diligence by following the checklist for hiring a roofing contractor and knowing the questions to ask to identify a good contractor. Proper installation is also a reason why you shouldn’t try to fix your own roof. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up voiding the warranty on your materials, damaging your materials, improperly installing your materials, and then having to pay for a roof replacement anyway.
To determine whether or not you’re eligible for GAF’s manufacturer’s warranty, either you or your contractor would have to physically take your GAF shingle and ship it in for inspection to identify a defect. The inspection isn’t performed by GAF but by Home Innovation Research Labs, an independent research lab.
If a defect is detected, then the amount of compensation will depend on the warranty that you have. The cost of labor will not be covered unless you get the System Plus, Silver, or Gold Pledge limited warranty, which can only be offered by Master Elite® certified contractors such as Proven Contracting.
No, your warranty will not be affected by the color of your shingles. In general, you don’t need to worry about the best color for your roof shingles in Southern New Jersey. There aren’t enough full days of sun to overheat your home or even make a noteworthy difference.
Roof permits have nothing to do with warranties. Roof permits haven’t been issued in NJ since March 2018, which has its pluses and minuses. There’s one less check on the quality of roofs, which is just one more reason that due diligence is so important.
So, there may not be an asphalt roof just yet that will go 50 years without needing replacement, but you can still get a 50-year lifetime shingle roof. Just not from everybody! As mentioned, Proven Contracting is able to offer System Plus, Silver, and Gold Pledge warranties because we’re GAF Master Elite® certified. Getting the certification requires a lot of hard work.
You need the right insurance and licenses.
You need a good reputation and to be trustworthy.
You must be highly skilled.
If you don’t opt for the System Plus, Silver, and Gold Pledge warranties, GAF still offers a 10-year warranty on shingles if you meet certain requirements. If you want the 50-year warranty but need additional funding to get it, we’ll work with you to make sure you can afford the roof you want!
GAF no longer sells asphalt roofing shingles with a 30-year lifetime roofing warranty. If you’re not getting the 50-year lifetime warranty roofing option, you’ll get the standard-issue 10-year warranty. In order to get that warranty, you’ll definitely need good craftsmanship so that your asphalt shingle roof is properly installed. Even using the incorrect patterning during your asphalt roofing shingle installation could void your warranty! So, here are some ways to find a good contractor (other than finding one with GAF Master Elite® certification).
Check reviews on Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and more. If a company has consistently good reviews, that’s a sign that they do consistently good work! Check with the
Better Business Bureau (BBB) and your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
Don’t discount a contractor if they have some negative reviews, however, if they remedied the complaints. Everybody makes mistakes, including roofers. It takes humility and a commitment to professionalism to admit when you’re wrong and to fix a mistake.
The benefit of working with a local contractor is that you can see finished works and works in progress in person. For example, if you live in Manasquan,Lacey Township, or Jackson Township, we can let you know where you can find our roofs.
Since proper installation is crucial to being able to make use of a manufacturer’s warranty, you need to look for the hallmarks of professionalism when visiting a work in progress or recently completed roof.
Good clean-up isn’t going the extra mile; it’s part of doing the job! Make sure that there aren’t any discarded nails, shingles, etc on the lawn.
The crew should work like a well-oiled machine: no playing around, no joking, no unnecessary breaks, and no smoking. Ideally, there will also be an on-site supervisor. A roof is too expensive and important of an investment to not be supervised! After all, you’re likely to have a roof installed at most only three times during your lifetime. Better make it count!
You don’t want a contractor that’s inexperienced or cutting corners, so check for the details that take more time and craftsmanship.
Proven Contracting offers financing, which is good to know even if you don’t need financing because the criteria a company has to meet in order to offer financing are themselves indicative of high quality.
Now that we’ve clarified the meaning of 50-year shingles, you can also appreciate how important it is to have good contractors. Roofs are one of the biggest and most important investments in your home you can make. Do your research so that you get the best roof possible and so that, if need be, you can make use of your manufacturer’s warranty.