The Ins and Outs of a Metal Roof Warranty

Installing a metal roof warranty

Metal roofs are investment pieces meant to provide lasting value for decades at a time. But if the worst does happen, a leak springs, or the roof’s color doesn’t hold up as long as it should, you need to know what your metal roof warranty actually covers. The last thing you want to do is spend extra cash on a repair that’s covered by your warranty or, worst case scenario, isn’t covered by the warranty you thought covered the roof from top to bottom.

One of the biggest myths about a metal roof warranty is that it covers the entire roof from installation to paint to scratches. Here’s the truth of the matter: it doesn’t! Metal roof warranties cover very specific parts of a metal roof, while other factors are entirely in the hands of the metal roofing installer.

At Great Northern Metal Company, we typically don’t see customers have many warranty issues, but we want to make sure you know exactly what a metal roof warranty covers so you can accurately review and compare warranties with peace of mind. Below, we’ll review some of the top questions we get about metal roof warranties and our expert’s recommendations so you get the most out of your metal roof.

Understanding a Metal Roof Warranty

Before we dive into the details, we wanted to pass along our top pieces of advice for warranties for metal roofing systems. If a warranty is very important to you, we highly recommend you ask questions upfront before the metal roof is installed. Whether it’s a commercial or residential metal roofing project, once the metal roof is installed, you are set with the warranty in place for the panels and paint you chose.
Got it? Great! Now, let’s dive into the top questions we get about metal roofing warranties.

Who Offers the Metal Roof Warranty?

At Great Northern Metal Company, we don’t offer metal roof warranties. Most metal roofing suppliers are not the ones who offer roof warranties, as they don’t cover aspects that relate to our services. Warranties are usually offered by two entities: the paint company that coats your metal roof and the contractor you choose to install your metal roof. When choosing your roofing contractor and panel type and color, ask what warranties they offer.

What Metal Roof Warranties Do Roofing Contractors Offer?

Most Bozeman roofing contractors will offer two types of warranties: workmanship warranties and material warranties. Workmanship warranties cover the contractor’s work during the metal roofing system installation. Material warranties cover any problems with the metal roof installation, such as a worker misinstalling a panel. Typically, costs such as tearing off and reinstalling a roof due to installation mistakes and damage to panels are covered by one or both of these two warranties. Workmanship and material warranty lengths vary depending on the contractor, so do your research before selecting a roofing contractor.

What Warranties Do the Paint Companies Offer?

Typically, the warranty offered depends on the paint company you choose. Per the industry standard, warranties will usually cover colors and trims, and weathertight warranties may be offered, as well. When looking at specific colors and profiles, ask your sales representative what type of warranty is offered for the panel and color you are interested in.


Paint warranties cover the protective coating (the painted finish) that goes on top of metal roof panels. The average warranty on paint is 30-40 years, but a variety of factors can alter the type of paint warranty you receive. For example, the type of metal panel you choose for your roof impacts the type of paint warranty you get, since different types of panels require certain coatings for maximal protection.

The paint color you choose can also affect your paint warranty, as some colors have a higher likelihood of chalking, the whitish residue that becomes visible on a painted metal roof over time due to excessive sunlight exposure. They are the same warranty but they have different chalk and fad allowances depending on the color. For instance, blues, greens, reds, and some black roofing paints are made more with natural pigments which tend to chalk and fade at a higher rate. This can change the type of paint warranty you receive, so do your research before choosing a paint color.

Additionally, the closer your metal roofing and siding project is to salt water, which can corrode the paint on metal panels, the paint warranty lowers.

Overall, paint warranties usually cover three factors:

  • Chalk – As we indicated earlier, chalk happens when the paint starts to fade and gets a milky, chalky color to it. This is due to the primer rising to the top of the paint.
  • Fade – Fade is the change in color over time. With any given paint warranty, there is a specific unit of fade or chalk your metal panel must reach for the warranty to kick in. Paint companies will compare the chalk/fade your panel is experiencing with a freshly coated panel to track and compare the level of chalk/fade your panel has. They keep a chip from the same paint lot and coil number to compare, which is stored in a controlled environment.
  • Film Integrity – Film integrity relates to defects in the paint that cause it to bubble, peel, chip, or not adequately adhere to the substrate.

Substrate, or the metal underneath the paint, can also be covered by a warranty. Typically these warranties range from 15-25 years in length, but it all depends on the substrate you choose and what the company in question offers. Galvalume, aluminum, and galvanized are a few of the most commonly used substrates for metal roofing panels, and each comes with its own unique warranty based on its performance level. Consult with one of our Bozeman roofing professionals to select the best substrate for your metal project that gets the most out of your investment.


A weathertight warranty is either provided by the roofing manufacturer or contractor that guarantees the metal roof is weathertight for the length of time specified in the warranty. This covers leaks due to misinstallation, manufacturing defects due to material defects, elemental wear and tear, etc. Essentially, if the metal roofing system fails to protect your home or building from the weather, then the manufacturer or installer who provided the warranty is financially responsible for all repairs. Manufacturer warranties are usually reserved for large commercial projects and come with a price tag.

How Long Does a Metal Roof Warranty Last?

Warranties can range from 25 to 40 years depending on the panel and paint system. You can ask your sales rep when looking at specific colors and profiles for exact warranty lengths.

Still Have Questions?

If you have specific questions about covering a commercial metal roofing project or are wondering what color would give your metal panels the most value, we’re here to help. At Great Northern Metal Company, our Bozeman metal roofing experts can advise you on which panel type and colors will give you the best bang for your buck and give you extra insight into the specifics of metal roofing warranties. Drop us a line today or give us a call at (406) 624-0435—we’d be happy to answer any questions!

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