How Old Is My Roof: 6 Easy Ways to Gauge Roof Age
February 23, 2023
6 minutes read
A roof is one of the integral parts of a house. It is the final line of defense protecting you and your family against the effects of harsh weather elements, among other benefits.
As a result, determining the age of your roof is critical as it provides insight into its current condition and possible future repairs or replacements. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving, and pinpointing how old your roof is can be challenging, especially if you do not know much about roofing.
So, how old is my roof? Here are a few ways to gauge your roof’s age.
Inquire With the Previous Owners
A quick chat or call with the previous owners might be more fruitful than expected. They can give you specific details about their roof history, such as repairs done, the type of shingles used, or the installation date. If they don’t know this offhand, they can always point you in the right direction by referencing old invoices or receipts.
If that doesn’t tickle your curiosity, ask for old house photos at different times, particularly those that capture the roof. Then, compare the images with the present state of your property.
Try to look for variations between the roof’s status then and how it is today. Although a long shot, you may get lucky and find a hint of how old your roof is.
Fortunately, with the advent of social media, reaching out to past homeowners is easier than ever. Send them a private message and inquire politely. Alternatively, contact the realtor who handled the property sale, and they should lead you to the right owner.
Request Receipt Copies From the Roof Installation Contractor
If you cannot reach the previous homeowner or they give inadequate information, check with the contractor who installed the roof. Roof companies usually keep copies of all receipts, contracts, work orders, and timelines for their projects.
Consequently, get in touch with the company via phone or email, request a copy of documentation related to your house’s roof, and review it closely. Typically, receipts will indicate the roof installation date, the amount spent on labor and materials, the material’s brand, the warranty’s term, and insurance coverage.
From there, you’ll be able to determine the approximate age of your roof. However, if this avenue also proves fruitless, check the next method.
Find the Roofer Who Installed the Roof
One of the easiest ways to identify the age of your roof is to ask the person who put it up. Then, like the first method, utilize social media platforms such as Facebook. For instance, post a photo of your property in local roofers’ groups and wait for someone to comment.
Alternatively, a visit to the real estate agent who handled the property transfer should provide you with your local roofer’s name and contact information. If you’re lucky enough to find them, they should give you a rough estimate of the roof installation date.
However, this method is time-consuming and relies on the goodwill of the local roofer, who might be uncooperative. It is, however, a relatively inexpensive solution.
Look for the Building Permit
Most countries globally, especially the developed ones, have stringent building regulations. As a result, residential properties are required to obtain a permit before any construction or renovation commences.
Fortunately, a permit is a matter of public record and, therefore, easy to track down. All you need to do is schedule an appointment with your local building authority, provide proof of ownership, and ask for a copy of the permits.
A building permit contains critical information, including the architect’s name, project site address, file number, date permitted, and inspection records, among other things. Additionally, if the roof is replaced, this information would appear prominently on the permit, including the date of replacement.
Self-assess to Estimate the Roof’s Age
If everything else fails, nothing stops you from picking a ladder and climbing onto the roof to look closer. Specifically, assess visible damage to the roof features, including:
Take note of the curling edges and the general appearance of the shingles. As the roof ages, asphalt loses its elasticity, causing them to curl and buckle. Furthermore, missing shingles or gaps between the shingles and the roof deck are indicators of an old roof.
Flashing is a waterproofing material that prevents water from seeping into the roof structure. Subsequently, if you notice water leaks in your house, your roof is likely old.
Although durable, slates are susceptible to unstable climates. Check their condition, the color, and if any cracks or holes are present. If you find any of these indications, invest in a new roof.
Exercise caution while walking around on your roof, as some materials may be unstable and could collapse under your weight. If possible, bring a friend along for additional support.
Call a Roof Inspector
If you still can’t pinpoint how old your roof is, hire a roof inspector. Their primary responsibility is to assess the roof and ensure it is structurally sound.
Once they arrive on-site, they’ll deduce the roof’s age by examining the exterior condition and inspecting structural features like shingles, vents, flashing, chimneys, etc. Additionally, if the roof was previously repaired or replaced, a professional should be able to spot the signs.
They’ll give you a detailed assessment report and a fair estimate of the roof’s lifespan. As a bonus, the inspector may work with your home insurance provider to offer a discount or full cover for the roof if the cost is prohibitive.
The only downside to hiring one is the expense. However, considering the high costs associated with repairing or replacing a faulty roof, the investment becomes worth it.
You might be wondering, “How old is my roof?” You don’t need to wait for a storm to hit or hire an expensive professional to assess how old your roof is. Instead, consider these six simple and cost-effective ways to gauge your roof’s age and take the necessary precautions before it’s too late. A structurally sound roof is a vital part of any home.