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Spring – time for home repair – Do you really have a warranty?

A number of siding, roofing, window, and painting jobs require installing expensive products. Luckily many of them include warranties that can stretch as long as 30, 40 or even 50 years.
Improper installation can cause shingles to fail more quickly. Photo credit: Todd Sinicorp.

By Todd Sinicrope, Owner, Emerald State Exteriors.

With spring in the air, thoughts turn to home repairs and maintenance.  A number of those jobs require hiring a contractor, as well as expensive products to install.  This is especially true for a home's exterior surfaces such as siding, roofing, windows and painting.  Jobs like these can easily cost thousands of dollars.  Luckily many of them include warranties that can stretch as long as 30, 40, or even 50 years.  But if you want or need to rely on those warranties, you might want to read the fine print.

Asphalt roofing products such as Certainteed Presidential TL, which is a favorite of many home owners associations in Mill Creek, require that the installation of the shingles be done in compliance with their instructions.  Not installing the roof with the right nails, driving the nails into the roof too hard, not hard enough, at the wrong angle, or using the wrong number of nails can all lead to an invalid warranty.  One way to avoid a roofing debacle like this is to use a roofer certified by the manufacturer.  As owner of Emerald State Exteriors, I know that being a certified roofer means that the manufacturer stands behind the shingles and the workmanship done by the installer.  It is, quite frankly, the safest way to make sure you get a quality job done that will hold up to time and warranty claims.

Home siding is another area where proper installation carries a lot of weight.  One of the most popular siding options these days is James Hardie Hardie Plank product, which is a cement based material, that comes with a 30-year warranty.  Many installation errors can result in a voided warranty on this product.  Nails must be of the right type and length, and be placed at proper distances and clearance.  The flashing and roof clearances are tightly controlled and in no case may the siding come in contact with the ground.  As with roof shingles, nails must be nailed in straight and to an appropriate depth, neither raised up or buried in the siding.  These are just a few of the many requirements for quality siding materials to retain their warranty.  Some contractors may pick up day labor to help out with a job and keep costs low.  This type of approach can lead to problems because the workers are not familiar with the specific requirements of the manufacturer.

Exterior painting may be the most troublesome of all. The paint itself is only a small portion of the overall cost of having your home painted. Paint manufacturers usually warranty only their paint and not the labor.  For example, Sherwin Williams has one warranty that is good for 30 years against defects including blistering or peeling. Upon closer inspection, you will find the warranty covers only replacement paint sufficient to cover the area that is blistering.  Paint jobs are only as good as the surface preparation. With exterior painting, more than any other contractor business, you are relying on the skill of the contractor and their willingness to back up and warranty the labor that was put into the job.

With spring here, now is the time to spruce up the house and yard. If you are investing in your home this year, make sure you get what you pay for and that includes a warranty that will really works for you.

About Todd Sinicrope: Todd Sinicrope is owner of Emerald State Exteriors and has been in business since 2006.  He is a life long worker in the residential construction business.  Emerald State Exteriors does roofing, siding, window replacements, and exterior painting in Mill Creek and surrounding communities.

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