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How to Find the Age of a Roof

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If you ask the majority of the homeowners that we work with, there’s a solid chance that they had no idea how old their roof was before we got up there and inspected it.

Do you have any idea what the age of your roof is? If not, do you know how to find out? On some houses it could be as easy as knowing the date your home was built, or maybe you have paperwork from when it was sold that document any improvements made to the house.

On homes that weren’t recently built, and haven’t received a roof replacement, though, it is much more difficult to figure out without getting a roof inspection.

In this blog, we’re going to be discussing how to best find the age of your roof:

Let’s get started!

Who should you ask?

There are really two ways you can go about trying to find the information you’re looking for. You can either try asking around to find the paperwork documenting when the roof was replaced, or the home was built. Or, you can reach out to a roofing company to come inspect the roof and use their knowledge of roofing materials to make an educated guess on its age.

We’ll be talking about that in a later section, but first, we’ll go over who should look to ask, as that’s the least expensive, and less disruptive option.

Your neighbors

One of the resources that is most accessible to you to find out the age of your roof, is to ask those around you, your neighbors! If the houses in your neighborhood were all built around the same time, it will be likely that when one roof needs replacing, the rest will follow.

high above lots of roofs_WebPThis is because all asphalt shingle roofs will most likely last around the same lifespan, the homes that are built at the same time in a neighborhood will all have the same level of materials, and they’ll all be exposed to roughly the same weather and damage over the years. All of that compounds to mean that they will usually start to fail, and develop leaks around the same time.

If the neighborhood was built using three-tab shingles, which are a flatter and blockier looking shingles commonly used by large scale builders, most of the roofs will need to be replaced around 15 years after the homes were built, as that is the average lifespan of a three-tab shingle roof in good conditions. Architectural shingles, which have become much more common in recent years are a two-ply shingle that have a more textured look than three tabs, and are a bit more durable, lasting around 25 years in normal conditions.

The previous owner, Builder, or Real Estate Agent

The best option if the homes in your neighborhood were all built at different times, is to ask someone who was involved in the transaction, or building, of the home! If you know or still have contact with the home’s previous owner, or still could get in touch with the real estate agent who you worked with to buy the house, there’s a good chance they have access to the paperwork that would document the age of the roof.

It might sound simple, but it’s somewhere that homeowners might not think to look, especially if they’ve been in the home for several years.

If you purchased the home as a new construction, you probably know the age of the house already, but if you don’t, finding out the builder and contacting them will point you in the right direction for learning the age of the roof.

Contacting a roofing company

If you aren’t able to find any paperwork documenting the roof replacement or installation date, the next step you can take is to contact an experienced local roofing company.

They will be able to help you in a couple of ways, but primarily by inspecting the roof, and using their knowledge of how roofs wear over time to determine the age.

Some signs your roof is aging

Your roof inspector will be looking in a couple of key areas to figure out the age of your roof, and what it’s future will look like. Some of these include on the shingles, the flashing, and your roof’s decking.

worn shingles_WebP

On your shingles, the inspector will primarily be searching for areas where the shingles have been cracked or knocked off by debris or weather, or where there has been heavy granule loss. When we say granules, we are referring to the top layer of the asphalt shingle, which is made of a mixture of protective rock and metal granules. Often these will turn up in gutters after losing their grip from the beating they take over the years. Losing some of these granules is okay, and happens over time, but once a lot of them start pouring off, your roof will be much weaker to damage, and leaks.

old flashing_WebPFlashing, if you aren’t aware of that term, is a metal material that is installed to cover gaps in the roofing surface, whether it’s around the chimney, at a wall, or covering a vent. At these points, your roofer will be looking for rust that builds over time, or for holes and tears that have occurred because of storm damage.

If you find that there is some damage to your flashing, it should be fixed as soon as possible, as this is a prime area of danger for leaks to form, and damage the sensitive areas under your roof.

The last place that will show that your roof is aging and in need of some work, is your roof’s decking, the wood boards that attach your roofing material to the frame of your house. When there is damage to your roof that causes leaks, the decking will take on water, causing it to rot. This will weaken the entire structure of your roof, and open it up for much further damage in the future. The more damage that this part of your roof has taken, the older your roof is, and the more likely it will need to be replaced.

Are you looking into getting a roof inspection?

If you’re looking into the idea of getting a roof inspection to determine your roof’s age, you might be curious about how much a roof inspection would cost you.

In our blog on How Much a Roof Inspection Costs, we cover that and more, so give it a look!

On Tops Roofing has been helping homeowners in Raleigh, North Carolina figure out the age of their roofs since we started in 1991! Whatever your roof has been experiencing, we’ve dealt with it before, and we know how to fix it!

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