4 ways you might accidentally void your roof warranty

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Before installing that new satellite dish or skylight, make sure you can do the work without turning your roof warranty into a useless piece of paper.

Homeowners sometimes neglect to think about their warranty. Roof warranties vary — what voids one may not negate another — but all homeowners should follow the same advice before hiring someone to tromp on their roof.

If you want roof work, contact the company that installed the roof first. Your original roofing company can help you understand if the work you want done will void your warranty before you hire someone to start drilling holes through shingles. Also, your roofing company can coordinate with the contractor doing new work — installing a solar panel, for example — to make sure your warranty stays valid. If you didn’t like your original roofer or he or she is no longer in business, contact a reputable roofing contractor.

Highly rated roofers on Angie’s List share some of the more common causes that could void a roof warranty:


Antennas and satellite dishes

If you install an antenna or satellite dish, you could void at least part of the warranty, says James Braddy, co-owner of highly rated Over the Top Roofers in Orlando, Fla. For example, if you install a satellite dish and your roof starts to leak, your warranty might no longer cover leaking, because you drilled holes in your roof to install the dish.


Skylights and solar panels

Keep your warranty in mind before starting a home improvement project that involves major roof work, such as installing skylights or solar panels that require roof penetration or the removal of shingles. A solar panel company might drill holes through your new roof without any regard for the impact, says Dave Hancock, president of highly rated Raneri & Long Roofing and Windows in El Cajon, Calif.

“That’s not good from a manufacturer’s standpoint or a contractor’s standpoint. You can’t have a new roof full of holes and expect it to work,” Hancock says.

Does that mean you can’t install anything onto your roof without voiding your warranty? No. Check with your roofer and ask him or her to coordinate with your contractor, Hancock says. The roofer can remove shingles or tiles so the contractor can start the installation, and then afterward, the roofer can restore his or her work, along with the warranty, Hancock says.

Also, your skylight or solar panel contractor might offer a warranty that covers at least part of your roof — be sure to check, but also still consult your roofer. An installing company’s warranty for part of the roof might still void the roofing warranty, which is why you should contact your roofer, Hancock says.

“It’s a matter of coordination,” he says. “If you want something done to your roof after the fact, you should involve the original roofing contractor.”


Pressure washing

Homeowners might choose to pressure wash their roof because of issues such as moss buildup. But they can severely damage their roof in the process because of the strong force of pressure washing.

For example, Hancock once worked with a commercial client who pressure washed his roof to get rid of grease buildup, he says. “Whoever did it put huge gouges in the roof; they literally destroyed the membrane,” he says.


Ventilation

Improper attic ventilation can also nullify your roofing warranty, says Mike Carter, general manager of highly rated Fentress Builders in Indianapolis. Inadequate venting can trap heat in your attic and wear out your shingles, Carter says. Test attic ventilation for proper airflow before installing a new roof, he says.


by Jason Michael White, Angie’s List

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