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Compare Vinyl Decking Warranties with 9 Specific Questions
At Duradek, we pride ourselves on having the best warranty in the vinyl decking industry, but we wouldn’t want to be complacent in our assumptions of offering the industry’s best warranty without checking out what other vinyl manufacturers are offering with their warranties from time to time.
We encourage you to do a similar comparison on vinyl decking product warranties before you make your product choice as well. There are several ways that a company can portray that it has a great warranty, but it is up to the homeowner to determine its real value. Don’t be swayed by being sold on a point that really isn’t that important. Similar vinyl products can be vastly different in their performance and their warranties can make that difference even broader still when you read the fine print and ask specific questions.
In evaluating the Product Warranty of 8 vinyl decking manufacturers, in most cases there is some variation of the statement, “The vinyl will be Free of Manufacturing Defects that may results in Leaks”.
Further to this, we noted some insightful questions for you to ask so that you can assess what actual value a vinyl decking product warranty provides to the end-user.
What exactly is the ‘Product Warranty’?
The Product Warranty is relevant only to the actual material and protects you from leaks resulting from a manufacturing defect. Given the nature of pvc (polyvinyl chloride) membranes, once vinyl decking is installed on a deck, any issues resulting from a manufacturing defect would typically be discovered during the first year or two (after the deck has gone through all seasons). If you have not experienced any defects in the material in the first year, you can be fairly confident that the vinyl was manufactured to adequate standards. So the actual duration of your vinyl ‘Product Warranty’ in years makes little difference since any manufacturers defects would be discovered long before the duration of the warranty term.
Does the Vinyl have an ‘Appearance Warranty’?
Since decking products are continually exposed to the elements, there will always be some level of appearance degradation over time, but there can be a big difference in what is considered ‘normal’ aging versus a product with an appearance failure. Most vinyl manufacturers will specifically state that they do not cover any appearance issues. But what happens if your brand new vinyl decking displays an extreme change in appearance over and above normal aging? With many vinyl decking warranties, you have no recourse if your vinyl’s appearance failed but the waterproofing was still performing.
Duradek’s warranty, however, offers 5 years of protection on surface appearance. That provides a higher level of real protection so that homeowners aren’t left with an aesthetically unsatisfying deck surface even if the waterproofing is still intact. Of course, this appearance warranty is applied only to excessive discoloration, blotchiness or any other shortcoming over and above normal aging and weathering and not resulting from misuse or neglect. If a company is not willing to warranty the appearance of their product, then one should always question, “Why not?”.
Does the Vinyl have a ‘Workmanship Warranty’?
Many vinyl deck membranes offer a warranty only on the actual product, but some do offer a limited warranty on workmanship. Vinyl membranes are one of the most superior methods of waterproofing when installed correctly, but shoddy installation and poor details can result in leaks for the homeowner. That is why Duradek is not a do-it-yourself product and is only available as an installed product through trained and authorized dealers. Duradek’s warranty includes a separate workmanship warranty that is dictated by the installation company. Any performance issues resulting from installation can be addressed specifically with the installing company. Double your protection with the vinyl decking – Product Warranty from the Manufacturer and Workmanship Warranty directly from the Installation Company that performed the Install.
If repair or replacement is offered as the Product Warranty solution, is labour included? What about for an Appearance Issue?
Some vinyl decking product warranties allow for repairing or replacing the affected portion of the membrane, but not necessarily the labour required to install the replacement product to complete the repair. Duradek covers the cost of both material and labour on repairing vinyl that has failed due to a manufacturing defect. Further, if a vinyl deck appearance warranty claim was made in the first 2 years of its 5 year term, Duradek would cover the labour costs on that as well (past the 2nd year to the 5th year, the customer would be responsible for the labour on appearance issues).
If a refund is offered as the Product Warranty solution, is it based on what the customer paid, or simply the wholesale cost of the vinyl that the Installation Company paid?
Some vinyl decking manufacturers, particularly the ones that have longer term warranties, offer a refund amount on a failed deck. This refund amount is sometimes a percentage of the cost of the vinyl membrane that decreases each year of the warranty term. So if a vinyl deck membrane were to fail half way through the warranty term, the homeowner may only be provided with half the cost of the vinyl. Not only does that not address the cost of labour to replace the failed deck, but that portion of the vinyl cost can be the wholesale cost of the vinyl to the installing company, not what the homeowner paid. So in the interest in avoiding a lot of boring mathematics, suffice it to say that a refund based warranty, even when covering a 15 year term, does not leave the homeowner with adequate funds to replace the failed deck.
How long has the vinyl decking manufacturer been around? How many warranty cycles has it been through?
When it comes to building products, new does not always mean better. When investing in your home, would you rather take a chance on a new, unproven product or choose a product that has a proven performance history? If a company has been around long enough to have gone through several warranty cycles, they can be confident that their product performs as intended and as their warranty promises. For example, Duradek with a 10 year warranty has been around for over 40 years, and has seen Duradek vinyl perform for 3 times as long as its warranty coverage.
Is the vinyl decking warranty transferable to a new owner?
Most vinyl decking warranties are not transferable to a new owner; however Duradek is proud to stand by its warranty even when the building it is installed on is sold to a new owner. While having a new Duradek deck is something to be enjoyed, it is also a great value-added feature on homes being sold to have a reliable, low-maintenance deck. Duradek honors warranties when the home has been sold (but the new homeowner must be able to provide some documentation of when the work was performed to process any warranty claim).
What are the homeowner’s maintenance responsibilities?
It is important for homeowners to note that most vinyl decking warranties will indicates what maintenance responsibilities must be performed to keep their warranty intact. Similar to automobile warranties, there are some maintenance tasks that if not performed will void a warranty. Homeowners should be prepared to perform cleaning and an annual inspection and maintenance of any sealant (caulking) that applies to their deck.
What’s Really in the Warranty
Overall, the general length of the warranty term does not hold as much relevance to actual protection for the home owner as some of the other restrictions and limitations.
We found it very interesting to note that several vinyl decking companies had either very little or no public information on their warranty programs, which in itself raises a question.
According to the information we have available, at this date, there are some clear advantages to Duradek’s warranty:
- Duradek is the Only Company to Offer a Warranty that is Transferable to a New Owner.
- Duradek is the Only Company to Offer an Appearance Warranty.
- Duradek is the Only Company to Cover Labour Costs on Appearance Related Issues (and perhaps even Product Related issues).
- Duradek is the Only Company that has been around for over 4 Warranty Cycles (Over 40 Years).
All in all, Duradek is proud of our Warranty and how we handle warranty issues. We feel that we actually Do what we state and often go over and above.
As you can see, the length of the warranty term is only one small factor in what the warranty actually will do for you. If you had a deck that looked like this one below after only a year, we are pretty sure you’d want a vinyl warranty that includes appearance and would cover the installation cost for the replacement.
If you’d like a little more detailed information on Duradek for your decking needs, contact one of our trained and authorized Duradek Dealers near you.
Other resources you may find useful in your research on vinyl decking:
- Vinyl Purchase Checklist (pdf)
- Before You Buy, Consider This (pdf)
- Duradek Warranty (pdf)