Residential building material warranties

This article, at a glance:

When starting a building project, whether it's renovating a house or new construction, there are so many elements to cover that warranties often get pushed to the bottom of the list. They are overwhelming, long to read, and the legal jargon seems like another language. However, warranties serve a purpose. They provide peace of mind, acting as a safeguard for homeowners who want reassurance that if anything goes wrong following their home construction, a repair or replacement is covered.

Warranty types

There are two main types of warranties for residential building: the workmanship warranty and the manufacturer’s material warranty.


A workmanship warranty simply covers the work performed, including any installation errors.


A material warranty promises that the manufacturer properly constructed the product. In other words, that the product is free from defects in material and manufactured quality. This type of warranty has layers, but the good news is that it doesn’t need to be complicated…

Manufacturer's warranty: 4 things to keep in mind

#1. Don’t Shop Warranties

The selection process of products to be used for a residential building project is critical. A material warranty is just one piece of that puzzle. It is not best to shop warranties and compare warranties when selecting products. All manufacturers are looking at what their competitors are offering on their warranties, so it becomes a “me too” competition. Many material warranties are very similar and will not make a big difference. What WILL make a difference, is the quality of the products selected rather than what the material warranty covers. So, look at the track record of the manufacturer and the proven performance of their products versus what their material warranty says. Have they been in business for a long time? Have their products performed well over many years? Do they have project profiles to prove performance? These are all more important considerations than a manufacturer's material warranty.

#2. The Support Behind the Products

When shopping products versus warranties, it is also important to take a look at the type of support the manufacturer provides. Do they have a team of experts that will visit the building site to examine their products and guide the contractor on how to install them properly? If you have a good support team, you will rarely need a material warranty. Look for a manufacturer that has an accessible team of experts to cover all aspects of the building process.

#3. Using Multiple Manufacturers

It is common to use products from multiple manufacturers when building a home. Product compatibility is an issue that leads to material warranty claims. For instance, a problem could arise when one manufacturer's roofing underlayment overlaps with another manufacturer’s flashing and the two products are incompatible. However, incompatibility is rarely covered under a material warranty. Therefore, select high quality products that work together and do not be afraid to use products from multiple manufacturers in a system, particularly if these are made by reputable companies who can provide the necessary support. For instance, it is common to use shingles from one manufacturer and roofing underlayment from another. Don’t go cheap on the accessories in order to bundle products from one manufacturer.

#4. Years Covered

Five years is the most common period of coverage for a material warranty in residential building products. However, the length of a warranty has little value to customers. This is because when things start to go wrong, it typically happens early on. Generally, if there is a problem with a product, it is usually caught before it is installed. On average, there are not many warranty claims for product defects long term, but if there is an issue years down the line, it is typically caused by the way the product was installed, which would be covered under a workmanship warranty. Sometimes newer manufacturers try to sell themselves based on longer term warranties when they don’t have the years of proven performance behind them. Again, it is most important to not focus on what is in the warranty document, but the proven track record of the products themselves.

If you pay attention to these four factors and do your homework to select quality products, a material warranty will be there as a simple safety net, one that is rarely used. The material warranty is a supporting document behind the products, a peace of mind to know that the manufacturer has you covered, weather or not.

GCP warranty

Since 1978, the GCP residential product portfolio has protected homes. What began with ICE & WATER SHIELD® roofing underlayment has expanded into weather barriers, flashings and tapes to complete a fully-integrated home protection system. Download our product sample book to review all products covered under GCP's 10-year warranty.

sample book

To review GCP's complete residential 10-year warranty, click below…

residential warranty

  • Repair and Renovation
  • Roof Protection