Material Warranties

Too often an architect requires a warranty based on length rather than content. Knowing what is warranted is as important as how long it is warranted, and the coverage says a lot about the manufacturer’s faith in the products it sells.

Find added value in your material warranty fine print with a little Latin

By Yajaida Pacheco

Alpolic Mar23

Not All Warranties Are Created Equal

Find the strongest warranties in the business by looking for an easily overlooked Latin phrase, In situ.

A Latin phrase meaning “in place,” these two words make all the difference. In the event you ever have to execute a warranty claim, some manufacturers will only cover the cost of the material. Others will only cover a prorated portion of the material cost over the lifetime of the warranty period. The bulk of the replacement or repair costs would then fall on the building owner.

Typically, such warranty details are moved to the second page of a lengthy warranty document and often ignored. Statements like Material Only, No Labor or Refund Purchase Price are red flags that the warranty is only covering a small portion of the replacement costs. In situ is your protection against unwanted and undeserved replacement costs for non-performing materials.

Three Common Types of Panel Warranty Coverage

  1. Prorated Material Cost: The value of the warranty coverage begins with the material purchase cost but decreases over the time limit of the warranty. A prorated warranty executed at the end of the warranty time limit gets very little back.
  2. Material Only: The original purchase price for the material is covered over the warranty time limit. However, the cost of materials increases over time, and this may not cover the current MCM cost, let alone the other costs associated with remediation.
  3. In Situ: This warranty covers repair or replacement costs over the time limit of the warranty. The cost of the material is not prorated. The value of the material is not lessened by inflation. This warranty covers the costs of the current value of the material, the removal of the wall panels, and fabrication and installation of the new panels.

Calculate the Value of Your Warranty

Before your next building material purchase, know that you deserve a warranty that stands firmly behind its material. You deserve to know more than the length of warranty. Ask for in situ, with clearly stated exclusions. A simple heading at the top of the document stating “number of years of warranty” will not protect your client.

What does that difference look like? We invite you to use the calculator on our website at to estimate the lifetime value of your warranty.

Yajaida Pacheco is the marketing communications coordinator at Mitsubishi Chemical America Inc.–ALPOLIC Division, Chesapeake, Va. For more information, visit