10 Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask About Their Construction Warranty

Warranties Are Dumb, Until They’re Not

We’ve all been there. You finally pull the trigger on that expensive item you’ve been saving for. Not even a year down the road, the item fails! Luckily, you have that small peace of mind because you bought the warranty. Only to play the “who’s going to fix it, the store or manufacturer” game. It is maddening!

Believe it or not, I have a Blog Pledge written on the whiteboard in my office. Part of that pledge is to be true to myself and true to our readers. When I say I have little to no faith in the word “warranty” or “guarantee”, this is the truth. I owe it to you to be honest about the topic. I can’t tell you how many times I have allowed someone to tack on an additional line item on my receipt for an extended warranty just to be completely let down when I needed that warranty the most. So how reliable is a warranty in the construction world? I’m learning that just like everything else, the devil could be hiding in the details. I want to help you avoid some potential pitfalls in the construction world. To help this process, I am going to include a 10 Questions Every Homeowner Should Ask About Their Construction Warranty below that you can utilize the next time you meet with a contractor. This can serve as a jumping off point for really great dialogue between you (the Owner), and any company you might work with on your next project.

What makes a Limited Lifetime Warranty… Limited?

That’s a fair question, right? First, let’s start with the word “Lifetime”. This definition varies among manufacturers. Lifetime can mean for as long as you own the home or the life expectancy that the manufacturer assigns to that particular item. Ask for clarification! Let’s say “Lifetime” means for as long as you own the home. I like this scenario, if I have no immediate plans to move. What happens if you move? It’s good to ask if that warranty is transferable to help the next person down the line. What happens if you just bought a home that has recently been updated with a new roof or new windows? Many of these Lifetime warranties can be transferred to a new owner, but usually only once, and that process usually comes with a 30 - 60-day deadline from the purchase date of your home. Meaning, you would need to work with the original homeowner and/or realtor and have them help you transfer that warranty to you, and within the allotted timeline before it expires. If you are buying a home, check for a list of updates the homeowner may have recently made to the home. If new items exist, consider asking if anything is still under warranty so you can see if it can be transferred to the new buyer. You would be surprised at how many times this step falls through the cracks!

What if “Lifetime” means the life expectancy that the manufacturer assigns to that particular item? I encourage you to get an understanding of what that specifically means. Maybe it’s a 15-year shingle on your roof? That means the manufacturer is stating that the shingle is only expected to last 15 years. Anything past the 15-year mark is no longer covered or could be prorated, depending on age at the time it needs to be replaced. Who knew just one word could be so confusing? But we aren’t done yet!

Let’s look at the word “Limited” in Limited Lifetime Warranty. Limited could mean that the manufacturer only honors certain parts of an item under this warranty. It’s absolutely worth asking for clarification on this point. When it comes to windows, there could be a lot of moving parts. This is important because maybe that limited warranty only includes the locking or opening mechanisms. Limited could also mean that the labor is not included even if a part is covered under the warranty. It’s really worth diving into the weeds to figure out what those limitations are under the limited warranty!

Things You Should Know About Construction Labor Warranties

Labor Warranties are another way to hopefully put the consumer at ease, and protect your investment. Labor warranties cover the workmanship of someone like TrueSon contracted to install the project. Like everything else mentioned above, you really do have to read the fine print. TrueSon Exteriors | Interiors, Columbia MO utilize a FREE 5-Year Express Workmanship Warranty. This warranty warrants the installation of products to be free from defects in workmanship from the date of installation of the product for a period of five (5) years thereafter. This means we agree to repair or replace, without cost to the Owner(s), any defective work and any damages cause by faulty workmanship and/or faulty installation done by TrueSon Exteriors or by persons under contract to TrueSon Exteriors for five (5) years following completion. If you read through our warranty, we are specifically talking about the workmanship, again, not to be confused with defects from the manufacturer which would be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.

TrueSon Exteriors | Interiors Labor Warranty can be found Here

As I read through our warranty, I have to admit, I was looking for any loopholes that could spell bad news for the homeowner. I’m just not finding any. To sum it up, the TrueSon warranty is straightforward and based on common sense. TrueSon isn’t going to cover something under the Labor warranty that was caused by neglect from a homeowner. They aren’t going to cover something that was caused by “an act of God” – you would probably need to check with your insurance. TrueSon also won’t cover all of the siding of your home if we are called out to repair a couple pieces (if we weren’t the original installers of your siding). We can put a bandage on your repairs, but we aren’t going to cover projects we didn’t originally install under our warranty if we’re just helping to fix an issue we didn’t create. One item of note that I find extremely important is that the owner is to provide notice within thirty (30) days of discovery of the alleged defects and prior to performing any permanent repair by the Owner or some other entity and/or person. In other words, TrueSon doesn’t want a problem to be ignored and neglected which could potentially exacerbate the issue, making it worse. And they don’t want you to try and permanently fix it yourself or have someone else do it, before our team can verify it’s a workmanship issue and provide the fix ourselves. The issue here is that a permanent fix over our workmanship could make identifying the initial cause extremely difficult.

*It should be noted that this blog is in no way a substitute of the verbiage in the signed warranty. This blog is not a legal document.

Why the TrueSon Construction Labor Warranty is Special

TrueSon Exteriors | Interiors, Columbia MO just celebrated a pretty big achievement recently for winning Gold as The Best Home Remodeling Company in Columbia, Missouri. This award is presented by Inside Columbia Magazine’s issue – The Best of Columbia. If you aren’t familiar, this award is a pretty big deal in our city. It takes being nominated and then a public vote to be recognized. A bit of a “humble brag”, but this achievement was built on a decade + of hard work and dedication to our customers. Afterall, it was our customers that voted.

Over this past decade, TrueSon has vetted the best vendors and suppliers for the products and materials we use. If you buy a Pella window or door, you are buying a product that is backed by a great company. They take care of their customers with an outstanding warranty, and they do a great job of taking care of us when we need to step in and help a customer with their product. The same can be said about LP Siding. The LP Siding brand is a brand we trust because they are going to take care of their customer and the quality of their product speaks for itself. And at the end of the day, if you are a customer of TrueSon, we are going to take care of you to the best of our ability. The best way to foster great relationships is to do what other companies aren’t willing to do, and that’s what we do with our Labor warranty. One of the best things about our TrueSon Labor warranty is that it is FREE! We aren’t tacking on any additional fees for this warranty. It’s standard because we stand behind the work we do, and we’ve been here a long time. We aren’t going anywhere.

I’ve mentioned before how important it is to avoid those fly-by-night "Chuck and a truck" companies that promise the world but can’t be found when something goes wrong. Frankly there are too many of these companies and they do nothing but cause distrust in our industry. Some of these companies will promise a 10-year labor warranty, but if you do your homework, you’ll see that they’ve only been in business for a year or two. A labor warranty is only as good as the company that backs it. If they aren’t going to be around in a few years, your labor warranty is worthless. Choose a reputable local company to start building a relationship with. That’s why we are here. That’s why we are the best in Columbia at Whole-Home Remodeling and Construction. With that in mind, here is a Questionnaire that can help you through the process, especially if you aren’t in an area TrueSon Exteriors | Interiors, Columbia MO serves. I hope this helps you find the right company for your project!

10 Questions Every Home Owner Should Ask About Their Construction Warranty

1. How long is the manufacturer’s warranty?

2. If a “Lifetime” warranty, can you specify if this means the product is covered for the rest of the home owner’s life, or does this mean the manufacturer has a life expectancy assigned to this product (and how long is that)?

3. What are the specific limitations of the “Limited Warranty”?

4. Does the Manufacturer’s Warranty cover all parts or just certain parts?

5. Who covers the cost of labor or cost of disposal if I have to have something replaced or disposed of under a Manufacturer’s Warranty?

*Remember, things like siding or shingles can really add up if you have to pay for labor and a disposal service

6. How long has this specific manufacturer been around and what is their reputation?

7. Why do you prefer this manufacturer or material?

8. Tell me about a time you’ve had to replace a manufacturer’s defect with this company.

9. How many times can the warranty be transferred?

a. If I sell my home, how do I transfer the warranty to the new buyer?

b. If I buy a home that is still covered under your warranty, how do I transfer it into my name as the new home owner?

10. Tell me about your Labor Warranty?

a. How long have you been in business?

*Hopefully you are choosing a reputable local business to take care of your project like TrueSon Exteriors | Interiors

Addressing these 10 questions will help get you started on the right foot. This is one of those areas in life where it pays to do your due diligence. Ask for a copy of everything. Know the small details of your warranties (Manufacturer & Labor) before diving head first into a major project. The last thing you want to play is the “who fixes it” game, or even worse… the “who pays for it?” game.

Calcareous Clays – Construction Term or Band Name?

The actual meaning: Clays containing at least 15 percent calcium carbonate.

Verdict: If you have more than 1 “Clay” in your band, you should already be using this band name. In fact, if you don’t have any “Clay(s)” in your band, nobody needs to know. Just refer to each band member as “Clay 1, Clay 2, etc.” at every show and you will win. You can’t lose with this band name.

**Want to learn more about a specific topic with me? Let’s have some fun and learn some things together along the way! Reach out to me at jeff@truesonexteriors.com.

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