When choosing a deck building product, the warranty is something that most people will at least consider as an element in their decision making process. Most respected manufacturers stand behind their product and are willing to provide a warranty with new purchases. But what does that warranty really guarantee? Here are a few key questions you should be asking about warranties when you are selecting your decking products:
#1 – How long is the warranty valid?
This is a no-brainer for most people and the automatic first question, however depending on your circumstances; you might want to get a few more details. Is the warranty valid from purchase date or installation date? While usually there is not much of a difference, in some large projects where a missing permit can delay completion by months, this may be something to be aware of.
Duradek’s warranty on our Ultra PVC Membranes is 15 years for leaking due to a manufacturing defect and is valid from the date of installation (reportedly, many homeowners are enjoying the product for twice as long).
#2 – What does the warranty cover?
With building products, it is not unusual for the function of an item and its appearance to be considered separately. It is important to be aware if your warranty covers the integrity of the product only, or if it covers appearance (see item #3) and how well the product performs (see item #4).
Duradek’s warranty offers independent terms for appearance and workmanship.
#3 – Does the product have a separate appearance warranty; and if so, does it have the same terms as the product’s performance warranty?
Often with building products, the warranty does not include aesthetics and only honors performance. If there is an appearance warranty, it is not necessarily for the same duration as the performance guarantee. For example, the image below shows the result of accelerated weather testing of a decking membrane that has been promoting their new coating tested side by side with Duradek Ultra Cork.
Obviously, if this decking material had been installed on your home and turned this dark over time from natural sunlight as the testing emulated, you would want it to be replaced. As far as our research shows, this particular manufacturer does not offer an appearance warranty at all, and you may find yourself in a long debate or simply replacing the product entirely at your cost.
Duradek’s warranty terms include a 5-year warranty on the product’s appearance for our 60 mil Ultra vinyl.
#4 – Is there a separate workmanship warranty?
While a product can be tested for performance in a number of ways, the truest test of all is its success in its intended application. When it comes to waterproofing, no matter how great a product is, if it is not installed with consideration to all of the intricate details involved in proper waterproofing techniques, it is very difficult to guarantee performance.
Duradek is installed only by trained and authorized installers who have completed Duradek’s training in proper waterproofing details and have access to Duradek’s technical staff for support if needed. In addition to the product and appearance warranty offered by the Manufacturer, Duradek installers offer their own separate Workmanship Warranty.While Duradek ensures all installers are skilled in the proper application of PVC membranes, it is still important to check references and past projects when selecting your contractor.
#5 – Is the warranty transferable?
Whether new home developments or renovations in existing homes, often the owner of a property is not the same individual who purchased the building product used if and when it comes time to inquire about a warranty claim.
Duradek warranties are transferable when ownership of the property changes.
#6 – How long has the manufacturer been in business?
Has the product or manufacturer been around long enough to have gone through a warranty cycle?
This is a surprisingly important question to ask. Sometimes if the manufacturer of a product has had a change in ownership, the warranty terms offered through the previous owner is not legally binding to the new owner, even if the product in question retains the same brand name. This issue of manufacturer warranties far exceeding proven lifecycles has come up with new product innovations that have not fully matured through their infancy stage such as some composite decking products.
Duradek has been waterproofing decks and balconies since 1974 which is several warranty cycles, and our PVC membranes have been produced consistently by the same North American manufacturer.
#7 – What are your maintenance responsibilities?
If there is an element of product maintenance required, as a homeowner you may inadvertently nullify your warranty if you have not performed the maintenance recommendations as instructed by the product manufacturer. If there are maintenance requirements, most times they will be indicated on your products’ written warranty.
Duradek is a low maintenance product but does require care and cleaning. We recommend 4 times a year which makes for an easy-to-remember seasonal schedule. The only other responsibility from the homeowner is an annual inspection to ensure all caulking around posts, pillars, vents, and drains is intact and maintaining your deck’s waterproof seal.
#8 – Are there limitations or restrictions to the product’s warranty?
Does the manufacturer limit the warranty to everything imaginable so that you aren’t really getting a warranty worth the paper it is printed on? Phrases that include “subject to”, “with the exception of”, “when used with” or “in the event of” should be read very carefully as you might find yourself in a circle of restrictions that make a warranty claim virtually impossible. Sometimes you may even see the same warranty present contradictory phrases where the “limited to” and “including but not limited to” clauses leave you scratching your head on what the manufacturer is willing to guarantee. While most warranties will not cover damages resulting from improper maintenance or Acts of God, make sure you are getting one that actually backs up the product’s performance.
Duradek Ultra is a proven, reliable product and the Duradek warranty backs that up. While there are certainly realistic limitations as with any warranty, Duradek lays them out in a straightforward manner so that homeowners with a Duradek vinyl deck know what the product expectations are, what the installing contractor is responsible for and what the homeowner’s responsibilities are.
#9 – Do you need to provide proof of purchase?
For the most expedient service when initiating a warranty claim on any purchase, it is very helpful to have your original purchase receipt and hard copy of your written warranty, and in some cases, this is the only way to proceed with a warranty claim should you experience issues with the product. As a homeowner, you should be asking for your warranty and purchase receipt when the project is completed to your satisfaction and you are providing payment.
If there happened to be an instance where you would want to submit a warranty claim on your Duradek vinyl, you would be required to show proof of purchase. Be sure to get your warranty record and receipt from your contractor.
While we like to think we are all being treated fairly, occasionally it happens, whether from misunderstanding or deceit, that you do not always get what you are asking for. With products like Duradek, the brand name is often used synonymously for any PVC membrane, but all vinyl is not created equal. If you have requested Duradek because of its sound reputation and performance history, be sure that is what your contractor is actually installing. There are some contractors out there that will quote ‘Duradek’ on your initial estimate but may install an alternate vinyl product.
Make sure you look for the “Duradek’ stamp on the product you choose, and the best way to ensure this is to select one of Duradek’s authorized dealers.
We hope that you find these warranty insights helpful, but that you never have to go through the process of demanding that product performance promises are honored. And with a product that frequently lasts at least twice as long as its warranty terms, you are very unlikely to ever have to pull your warranty card and receipt for your Duradek.