How to Prevent Voiding Your Weathertight Warranty

There are specific measures you should take to keep your Sheffield Metals weathertight warranty valid, but do you know what those measures are? How can you ensure that your warranty stays intact?

If you’re a property owner with a weathertight warranty on your commercial building, you’ll know that your standing seam metal roof was a significant investment. 

On top of that, investing in a weathertight warranty for that roof gives you the most protection possible and ensures the roof is installed to the highest industry standards.

There are specific measures you should take to keep your Sheffield Metals weathertight warranty valid, but do you know what those measures are? How can you ensure that your warranty stays intact?

At Sheffield Metals, we’ve heavily emphasized offering weathertight warranties for commercial structures. These warranties ensure that roofs installed using Sheffield Metals sheet and coil are structurally sound and will withstand the test of time for decades. We’ve provided hundreds of weathertight warranties over the years, so we know the ins and outs of what will keep your weathertight warranty valid.

In this article, we’ll recap what a weathertight warranty is and then discuss the specific ways to prevent voiding your weathertight warranty.

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What Is a Weathertight Warranty?

A weathertight warranty is a guarantee from the installer and roofing manufacturer that the roof installed will remain weathertight for the warranty duration. This type of warranty states that if a leak develops in the roofing system due to material defects, manufacturing defects, ordinary wear/tear by the elements, or the installation contractor’s workmanship, then the manufacturer or installer is financially responsible for all repairs needed to return the roof to a water-tight condition.

Example of a weathertight warranty document for a standing seam metal roof

Weathertight warranties are standard in the metal construction industry, especially architectural projects. Property owners can also buy a weathertight warranty for metal wall systems. These warranties are also known throughout the industry as weather-tightness or water-tight warranties.

At Sheffield Metals specifically, we offer two types of weathertight warranties on commercial properties ONLY: Limited and No Dollar Limit. 

Limited Weathertight Warranties

Definition: A Limited Weathertight Warranty covers repairs up to the dollar amount paid for the metal roof materials and installation cost. For example, if the original roof costs $20,000 for the materials and installation, SMI would cover up to $20,000 worth of repairs through the specified warranty timeframe. This is not limited or capped by a single issue if multiple events occur during the warranty duration.

Coverage lengths: 5-year, 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, 25-year, 30-year, and 35-year options

No Dollar Limit (NDL) Weathertight Warranties

Definition: No Dollar Limit Weathertight Warranties do not come with a dollar limit on liability. If the repairs for an affected roof or wall exceed the cost of the materials and installation, then it will still be covered. For example, if the original material and installation cost was $20,000 and it costs $28,000 to fix or replace the roof, the manufacturer/installer will cover the entire $28,000 cost. Should multiple events occur during the warranty duration, the coverage is not limited or capped by a single issue.

Coverage lengths: 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, 25-year, 30-year, and 35-year options.

How to Prevent Voiding Your Weathertight Warranty

If you’ve purchased a  weathertight warranty for your commercial structure, you’ll likely want to do everything possible to ensure the warranty remains valid. After all, your metal roofing system was a significant investment, and you want to ensure what you can to protect it. 

Here are the top six ways to prevent voiding your warranty. 

#1: Call Sheffield Metals immediately (within 30 days) if you find a leak.

First and foremost, if you find a leak stemming from your roof, call Sheffield Metals immediately (800-283-5262). Our warranty documentation states that property owners have 30 days to report a leak to us once they discover it. We’ll still ask you to submit a written document immediately stating what’s happening. Still, we recommend calling first, as you’ll be able to talk to the right people and get the quickest service possible. 

When you call us, we can help with temporary repairs to stop the leaking and start the process of getting a representative out there to inspect it, make sure it’s covered by the warranty, and begin lining up permanent repairs to get the building back to a weathertight condition.

It can technically void the warranty if you go beyond 30 days to report the issue. After 30, 60, and 90+ days of waiting to inform us, the leak can cause a lot of damage that could have been taken care of had been reported sooner. If the roof’s been leaking for a while and you haven’t noticed it, that is different. However, the moment you see the issue is the best time to contact us to ensure that it gets appropriately fixed AND your weathertight warranty remains intact. 

#2: Do not allow ANY unauthorized repairs. 

The next way to ensure that your weathertight warranty stays valid is to make sure there are zero unauthorized repairs or alterations made to the roof. If someone else touches your roof, you are voiding the warranty in those areas. 

The number one point of purchasing a weathertight warranty is to have the repairs made correctly and for free (if covered by the warranty) — that’s what you’re paying for. So while it may seem strange to pay out of pocket for a repair on a warranty-covered system, it can happen and is still essential to note.

A scenario where this might happen is if you found a leak but then called in a repair crew on your own to try to fix it without letting anybody know. The problem with this is that many replacements use non-warranted/non-SMI products or materials and non-warranted installation details. It might temporarily fix your issue, but if another problem occurs again down the road and you do contact us, not only did you have an unauthorized repair done, but you didn’t report the first leak within 30 days. So now, you’ve actually double-voided your warranty. 

As we mentioned, even if you need repairs to your roof immediately, call Sheffield Metals first and talk to our Technical Department. They can help guide the repairs you need immediately. For reference, we always try to work with the original contractor who did the installation to complete any necessary repairs. These contractors have proven track records of quality installs and are familiar with the installation details required to make a panel system warrantable.

In other words, if we issue the warranty and anything happens, we’re here to take care of it.

#3: Verify all alterations, permanent fixtures, or additions with Sheffield Metals before installing anything.

As the first two points have recommended, communication and planning with Sheffield Metals for anything that involves or ties into your roof system with a weathertight warranty are crucial to keeping the warranty intact. 

Several building alterations/additions commonly involve the roofing system, including:

  • Lightning protection systems
  • Snow guards and snow retention systems
  • Satellite dishes 
  • Swamp coolers, air conditioners, and other ventilation systems
  • Solar panels
  • Signs
  • Building additions or add-ons
  • Walkways between buildings
  • Other miscellaneous items that are attached to or involve the roof

For example, the most common scenario we’ve encountered over the years is cable company representatives getting up on the warranted metal roof and drilling into the surface to install a satellite dish. This is the easiest way to void your warranty.

As a property owner, you must not allow anyone to alter the roof system. If you do and it leaks, that condition is not covered. First, because it isn’t done by somebody authorized by Sheffield Metals, and second, because it often isn’t done the way we outline in our installation details.

The great thing with standing seam metal roof systems is that you have many rooftop-mounting options without penetrating through the roof — including most of the attachment solutions from S-5!

Additionally, you may have a building you want to add to, which ties into the warranted roof system. If it’s not a Sheffield Metals roof and is not part of the warranty, always contact us beforehand so we can figure out a way to create a tie-in that is approved and where you can keep the warranty intact. Any modifications or permanent changes to the roof will affect it, so you should ensure that you get those approved before work is done. Note: Building additions only matter if it’s tying into the warranted system. It will not affect anything if it’s next to it or below it because you’re not physically touching the warranted roof. 

Simply put, if you have a weathertight warranty on your building and you’re looking to add something that needs to tie into the roof, the best thing you can do is call Sheffield Metals BEFORE any work begins.

 #4: Proper maintenance of the roof is critical.

Performing maintenance on any standing seam metal roofing system is essential, but it’s especially critical when you have a weathertight warranty. Not only does maintenance keep up the curb appeal of your building, but it also helps to stop any serious problems that can stem from poor maintenance. After all, a metal roof and the warranty are a financial investment, and they should be cared for as one as well.

We have an entire article dedicated to proper metal roof maintenance to reference, which we highly recommend reading and saving.

However, the most significant issue we want to call attention to regarding weathertight warranties is ensuring that there is NOT a backup of water on the roof’s surface. Let’s say you have a weathertight warranty on your low-slope roofing system, and you’re in a spot where you get a lot of debris on your roof. Before you know it, the debris has created a condition where the valley is clogged up and water can no longer drain from the roof. Metal roofs simply aren’t designed to have water sit on the surface for long periods, as standing water can begin to degrade the metal prematurely and ultimately void the warranty.

Most of the time, it’s not hard to properly maintain a metal roof, as most have steeper pitches where almost everything will slide right off and not get stuck. But even if you have a steep-slope roof, regular checks and maintenance are still required; it’s just more urgent for low-slope roofs.

Regular maintenance of your roof includes:

  • Cleaning off dirt and debris on the surface
  • Removing branches and sticks that are touching the roof’s surface
  • Cleaning the valleys and other dead spots (this is where problems usually stem from)
  • Using proper cleaning methods when necessary
  • Cleaning out gutters and drains
  • Preventing ice build-up/ice damming
  • Looking for scuffs, scratches, chipping, flaking, or excessive chalking/fading
  • Checking for any water build-up

If you’re doing maintenance on your warranted metal roof and find something that could be structurally wrong with the roof, do not try to fix it yourself, and contact Sheffield Metals immediately. We can discuss the issue and create a course of action.

#5: Know what is and isn’t covered by a weathertight warranty.

If you have a weathertight warranty, taking out those documents and re-reading the inclusions and exclusions can help determine what may or may not warrant a claim. Additionally, if you know the things that are not covered, you can take more precautions to prevent those incidents from occurring. Or, if you find something you think is covered, you know then that you have 30 days to report it to Sheffield Metals.

Weathertight Warranty Inclusions

Should leaks develop in the roofing system due solely to defects in the material provided by Sheffield, manufacturing defects, ordinary wear and tear by the elements, or workmanship on the part of the installation contractor, then Sheffield and the installation contractor identified shall be responsible for specified costs (varies depending on the type of warranty) of the repairs necessary to return the roofing system to a water-tight condition. This warranty will be fully satisfied by repair of the roofing system, and any such repairs shall carry a warranty against leaks only for the remaining balance of the original warranty period.

In essence, SMI’s weathertight warranties cover the following:

  • Flashing zones
  • Seams, if correctly installed
  • Roofing leaks within the specific timeframe

Weathertight Warranty Exclusions

Sheffield Metals’ Limited and No Dollar Limit Weathertight Warranties apply to roof systems installed in areas of normal atmospheric exposure and, specifically, does not cover leaks caused in whole or in part by the following:

  • Marine (salt water) atmosphere or regular spray of either salt or fresh water.
  • Exposure to or fallout from corrosive chemicals, ash, or fumes from any chemical plant, foundry, plating works, kiln, fertilizer manufacturing plant, paper manufacturing plant, or the like. Any harmful or corrosive substance or any condensation contained within, generated, or released from inside the building.
  • Vent pipe flashing manufactured from rubber-based products.
  • Any condensation or corrosion which is or was caused at any time, in part or in whole, as a result of:
    • The use of an inadequate vapor barrier (permeability rating of 0.5 or less with sealed joints and perimeter) when the insulation is installed immediately beneath the roof panels. AND/OR
    • Inadequate ventilation of the attic space between a roof panel and insulation when the insulation is put in directly on top of an existing roof.
  • Worker traffic on the roof, other than traffic during the installation.
  • Hail, fire, lightning, gale force winds, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or any other act of God.
  • Alterations such as, but not limited to, the placement of structures, fixtures, or utilities upon or to the roof without prior written authorization from Sheffield.
  • Repairs performed to the roof and/or materials furnished with regard to such repairs by an entity or entities other than Sheffield or the installation contractor.
  • Failure by the owner, lessee, or other occupant or user of the building to take reasonable care in maintaining the roof system, such as but not limited to failure to clean the gutter, valleys, etc., to allow water to run off without interruption.
  • Faulty building design or construction.
  • Birds, vermin, rodents, insects, or other animals/pests.
  • Settlement, failure, or cracking of the roof deck, walls, or foundation of the building, or defects/failures of coping gravel-stop due to cracking of walls or any part of the building structure.
  • Any other event, occurrence, or causes beyond the control of Sheffield and/or the installation contractor.
  • Failures due to the use of fasteners other than stainless steel and without an adequate barrier, that comes in contact with pressure treated/ACQ-treated lumber.

#6: Unfollowed steps to transfer the weathertight warranty.

The last way to avoid voiding your warranty is to ensure that the procedure for transferring a weathertight warranty is followed.

For reference, a Sheffield Metals weathertight warranty is transferable for the remainder of the original warranty term only when the following conditions are met:

  1. A re-inspection of the roofing system performed by a Sheffield Metals representative is done, and the roof is found acceptable under the warranty conditions. 
  2. The transfer and re-inspection fees are paid, and warranty paperwork is re-issued.

Final Thoughts on How to Prevent Voiding Your Weathertight Warranty

It can be daunting to wonder what can potentially void your weathertight warranty. However, if you follow the suggestions we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be successful in keeping your warranty active.

It all boils down to a few key points:

  • The moment you notice a leak or an issue with your warranty-covered roof, call Sheffield Metals immediately.
  • Don’t let anyone touch your roof and don’t let any work be done without talking to Sheffield Metals first.
  • Keep up with the maintenance on your roof, as it will help to mitigate any issues before they begin.
  • Stay informed on the inclusions and exclusions for a weathertight warranty.

As the emphasis on structurally sound, sustainable construction continues, Sheffield Metals foresees increased requests for weathertight warranties and metal roofs to be installed to the highest standards. Luckily, we’ve built up our skilled and knowledgeable Technical Department to best manage all weathertight warranty projects. 

Have a question about your weathertight warranty? Or, want to learn more about purchasing one for your commercial property? Contact us today to speak with one of our technical representatives!

Contact Sheffield Metals today!