7 Surprising Things That Can Void Your Roof Warranty

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Reviewed by Jose Figueroa
Updated March 1, 2022
An roofer installing flashing on skylight
Photo: Huntstock / Brand X Pictures / Getty Images

Skylights, satellite dishes, and even improper ventilation are just some of the factors

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When you have a new roof installed, you’ll likely get a manufacturer’s warranty for the materials and a workmanship warranty from your contractor. These roof warranties will help offset the costs of roof maintenance and repairs should the need arise. Of course, roof warranties vary in length, transferability, and coverage exclusions. 

There are, however, some common missteps homeowners make that void a roof warranty. Check out these seven major reasons that roofing warranty claims face rejection.

1. Improper Roof Ventilation

There are many types of roofing ventilation systems, but they all typically work by pulling in air from intake vents that are placed on the lower part of the roof. The outside air that's taken in disperses through higher parts of the roof, but inadequate venting traps moisture and heat in your attic and roof decking. 

This damages shingles, causing them to wear and fade, and can severely damage the structural integrity of both your roof and your attic space. Keep an eye on your ventilation system and inspect it regularly to ensure it’s working properly.

2. Poor Installation

Roofing materials manufacturers are extremely finicky when it comes to the installation process. They have strict regulations, including the number of nails per shingle, the length of nails used, and more. 

If you go with an inexperienced contractor that makes rookie roofing mistakes, you’ll be looking at a voided manufacturer’s warranty. Because of this, it’s strongly recommended that homeowners work with a contractor familiar with the type of roof they are installing.

3. Antennas and Satellite Dishes

Two satellite dishes on a house roof
Amirul Syaidi/EyeEm via Getty Images

Satellite dishes and related antennae are great for watching 200 channels on your brand new HDTV, but they can impact your roofing warranty. Damage related to both satellite dishes and antennas (as well as skylights) technically wouldn’t void your full roof warranty, but they could void workmanship warranty in the areas the work was done. This is called "mechanical damage"

If improperly installed, satellite dishes and antennae can cause roof leaks, as they drill directly into the exterior of your home. The fine print regarding warranties and satellite dishes varies between manufacturers and contractors, so contact your installation pro before affixing that cumbersome dish to your roof. 

4. Skylights

Any fixture that involves major roofing work, including penetration and shingle removal, can void the warranty. This includes the aforementioned satellite dishes, but also skylights. Skylights look great, but they also drill right into your roof, making it susceptible to leaks and other issues. If you want to install skylights, talk with your technician when they are laying down the roof. 

5. Hot Roofs

If you choose to use spray foam insulation on your roof sheathing—a process known as hot roofing—the ventilation will suffer and the shingles will heat up. The result? Your shingles fade and their overall lifespan shortens considerably. Your warranty could also nullify. 

Before moving forward with a hot roof, check with the roofing manufacturer to make sure that doing so will not void your roofing warranty. Also, be sure to check with your city to see if they have restrictions on hot roofing before proceeding with your project.

6. Pressure Washing

Most homeowners enjoy a clean roof that’s free from clutter, debris, and most importantly, moss. Moss can damage a roof over time because it traps moisture against the surface, leading to increased frost damage, cracking shingles, and other issues. However, the solution to moss is not pressure washing. 

Pressure washing your roof damages the shingles, as they simply cannot withstand the close-range pressure of the cleaning process. This, in turn, nullifies your roof warranty. Instead of pressure washing, go with metallic zing strips affixed near your roof’s peak. These strips activate whenever it rains, releasing a powerful fungus inhibitor.

“If you need to clean your roof, we recommend hiring a professional who can do a ‘soft wash’ rather than pressure washing,” says Jose Figueroa, Expert Review Board Member, crew supervisor, and sales representative at Artisan Quality Roofing in Apex, N.C.“Be sure they use a gentle solution for the roof and always direct water downward on the roof rather than upward under the shingles and flashing.”

7. Layering Over a New Roof

Contractors sometimes prefer to simply lay a new roof right over the old one, as this saves on labor costs. Installing a new roof on top of your old roof, however, will void or shorten your warranty in most cases. The second layer of shingles causes heat to expand more slowly, which shortens the lifespan of the shingles. It also causes the new shingles to stick to the old shingles, causing bulges. The additional weight also wears down the structural integrity of the roof, leading to sagging over time. 

Not only that, if you install a new roof on top of a damaged or rotted roof, you’re just covering the problem instead of fixing it. Pros recommend removing the bottom roof layer first.

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