From cars to roofing, we often associate the presence of a long-term warranty with quality, dependability, and performance. However, the truth is that warranties are often designed to favor the manufacturer. Actual performance is a much better measure of quality than warranties.
For instance, the metal panel quality needed for a residential roofing project may be different from the quality needed for a general shade and shelter application like a carport. Although the performance of two metal panels may vary greatly, the warranties may appear to be similar. In fact, the lesser quality panels may even have a warranty that appears to be better. The difference is the fine print and warranty terms. A homeowner should, of course, choose the metal panel that performs appropriately for their application and long-term expectations.
Warranties are written with acceptable levels of failure baked into the warranty. This often means that an issue a homeowner might consider claim worthy is in fact denied by the manufacturer based on terms and conditions of the warranty. Our Metal Roof Warranty Education page is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn more about why warranties aren’t guarantees of quality.
Your best bet is to understand the various components of the warranties you are considering, what they include, what they exclude, and the industry terms necessary to understand what you’re looking at.
What You Need to Know About Metal Roofing Warranties
Metal roofing warranties will also vary significantly between manufacturers. For instance, we have seen some industry warranties offering “Lifetime” terms with so many exclusions that the warranty is worth next to nothing.
We have also seen some companies offer longer term warranties for lower quality metal panels. Our Kynar 500® coated panels, for example, have warranties that may not be as long but they are a much higher quality product. If you were to simply compare warranty length you might assume the lower quality product was better because of a longer warranty, but then you would be left with a product that didn’t perform as well in terms of service life, color retention, or chalk.
Metal roofing warranties focus on the paint system for film integrity, fade and chalk while the substrate warranty is for perforation due to corrosion. The key to understanding the warranty is understanding each of these components.
There are three basic types of paint system available (you can learn about them in-depth here) with Kynar 500® (PVDF) coatings being the best for long life, color retention, and chalk resistance. Silicone Modified Polyester is the "better" coating and performs well in general use while Polyester is the "good" coating and performs well in shade and shelter or basic applications.
Fading occurs naturally over time as the environment attacks the pigment portion of the paint system and chalking occurs as the resin in the paint degrades. Kynar 500® based coatings offer the best protection against both issues and also tends to offer the best warranty in terms of performance limits.
Film integrity refers to the ability of the coating to stay adhered to the metal substrate and has little to do with chalk or fade. Film integrity is sometimes used to extend the length of warranties. An original bright red wall/roof can be a muted pink (or even white) over time yet the film would still be intact so the product would perform as expected by the term. Here, again, Kynar 500® offers the best long-term film integrity.
As for substrates, there are two popular substrates used in the metal roofing and siding industry, Galvalume® and Galvanized. Galvanized substrates feature a zinc coating applied to the raw steel while Galvalume substrates feature an alloy of zinc plus aluminum. Performance testing shows Galvalume offers improved long-term performance and is backed with a 25-year Steel Mill Warranty. Galvanized substrates do not have a Steel Mill Warranty. It is important to note that while the Galvalume® warranty protects against perforation (rust-through) of the substrate, surface rust is not covered.
When comparing warranties, you should always keep in mind that performance is the best measure of quality, not a warranty. You can contact us at any time to learn more about any of our products and the warranties associated with them.
Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The family-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.