How Old Is My Roof? 4 Ways to Determine Your Roof’s Age

How Old Is My Roof?

How Old Is My Roof? Determining the age of your roof is important for assessing its current condition and remaining lifespan. Older roofs are more prone to damage leaks and require replacement sooner. Use these tips to research the install date of your roof.

Key Takeaways for Finding Your Roof’s Age

  • Check building permits with your local government for the roof installation date.
  • Request past receipts and paperwork from roofing companies who did the work.
  • Ask previous homeowners when the current roof was installed.
  • Hire a roofer to inspect and estimate its age and condition.
  • Look for clues like roofing type wear and tear. New roofs last around 15-25 years on average.
  • Document your roof’s age and type for future reference.

1. Check Building Permits for the Install Date

One of the best ways to pinpoint your roof’s age is to check permit records with your local county or municipal building department.

Why Roof Work Requires Permits

Most areas require homeowners or roofing contractors to obtain a building permit before re-roofing houses. Reasons permits are needed include:

  • Ensuring roofing work meets local building codes for safety and storm resilience.
  • Complying with zoning rules about structure height, roofing materials, etc.
  • Providing documentation in case of any issues down the road.
  • Allowing the city to assess any applicable taxes or fees.
  • Tracking roof ages, materials, and contractors doing the work.

Gather Key Info

Contact your local building permits office and provide the property address. Request copies of all roof-related permits. Look for key details on the permits like:

  • Date of issuance – this should match close to the roof installation date.
  • Scope of work – new roof, roof replacement, repairs
  • Materials used – shingles, metal, tile, etc.
  • Contractor name
  • Total job valuation
  • Notes from the building inspector

Having the official permit helps establish an accurate age timeline for roof planning and any potential warranty claims.

2. Search Receipts and Paperwork

Any receipts, invoices, or installation documents related to your roofing can also reveal helpful age and material clues.

Check Past Homeowners’ Records

Ask the previous homeowners if they have any roofing paperwork from their ownership, if possible. Longtime owners may have extensive records about replacement work.

Contact the Roofer

If you don’t know who installed the current roof, inspect the attic for any business cards, flyers, or markings identifying the roofing company. Contact them with your address to request past work records and roof age details.

What to Look For in Paperwork

Key information to look for includes:

  • Installation date – will confirm the roof’s age.
  • Contractor name – search their business records for the job specifics.
  • Materials installed – useful for maintenance and age estimation.
  • Warranty forms – show age and warranty expiry.
  • Payments and costs – verifies it as new construction vs repairs.

Any paperwork evidence helps narrow down your roof’s age range and history. Keep records in a home maintenance file for future use.

4 Ways to Determine Your Roof's Age

3. Ask Previous Homeowners When Possible

Trying to contact the previous homeowners of your property can provide firsthand details about the roof’s age and history.

Where to Find Contact Info

To find previous owners’ contact information:

  • Check your closing documents and real estate agent for their names and forwarding address.
  • Search public records like phone directories or social media.
  • Ask neighbors if they have contact info for the former residents.
  • Look for a phone number on sites that compile public data records.

Questions to Ask About the Roof

When you do reach the old owners, kindly ask probing questions to pin down roof facts like:

  • Do you recall when you last had the roof replaced? Are any repairs done?
  • Did you re-roof the home during your ownership? When and why?
  • Can you share any paperwork or warranty info on the roof installation?
  • Do you know the roofing company that did the work?
  • What roofing materials were used – shingles, metal, tile?
  • Did you experience any roof leaks or storm damage? When?

Any clues they provide will help narrow down the roof’s age range. Thank them for their help!

4. Hire a Roofer for a Professional Estimate

If you are still uncertain about the roof’s age, hire a professional roofer to inspect and estimate its age and condition. Here’s the information they will gather during their assessment:

Roofing Material and Type

The roofer will identify your roof covering type, which provides clues about its age:

  • Asphalt shingles – Most standard 3-tab shingles last 15-20 years, while architectural shingles go 20-30 years.
  • Metal – Metal roofs can last 40-70+ years depending on the gauge, coating, and installation quality.
  • Flat roofs – EPDM rubber roofs last around 25 years. Built-up roofs 20-30 years.
  • Tile/slate – Can last 50-100 years, but weathering can affect appearance over time.
  • Wood shake/shingle – Lifespan around 20-30 years, depending on climate and material grade.

Amount of Visible Wear

The roofer will check for signs of aging like:

  • Brittle, cracked, or missing shingles
  • Pitted or rusted metal panels
  • Broken or slipped tiles
  • Moss buildup in damp areas
  • Roof surface granule loss
  • Thin or bald spots when shingles erode

The more wear present, the older the roof. New roofs show minimal aging, while those nearing replacement show extensive deterioration.

Number of Layers

In roof tear-offs, the roofer can determine the number of layers present by examining the roof sheathing. This indicates how many times the roof has been re-done in the past.

Installation Quality

A roofer can spot clues about roof age from the workmanship quality:

  • Very old roofs often show inferior installation versus modern best practices.
  • Outdated roofing products or colors also signal an older roof.
  • Signs of corrosion, outdated fasteners, and residual asphalt are other age giveaways.

Document Your Roof Age and Details

Once you’ve determined your roof’s age, keep records for future reference:

  • If known, note the age, roofing product, contractor details, and warranty period.
  • Keep any related installation paperwork in your home records.
  • Take dated photos showing the roof’s condition when new for comparison as it ages.
  • Remember to re-evaluate your roof’s condition every few years or after major storms.

Knowing your roof’s age helps you budget, plan for eventual replacement, and perform preventative maintenance to maximize its durability. Pay attention to any aging signs like leaks or damage, too.

Roof Age and Replacement Recommendations

Use the standard lifespan estimates for planning roof replacement:

Roofing TypeAverage Lifespan Range
Asphalt shingles15-30 years
Metal roofing40-70+ years
Flat roofing – EPDM25 years
Concrete/clay tile50-100 years
Slate shingles70-150 years
Cedar wood shake20-30 years

Schedule professional inspections every 5 years or so to assess remaining life. Plan replacement before major leaks or repairs occur. An aging roof is more vulnerable to storm damage as well.

Knowing your roof’s age provides valuable insights to protect your home’s critical first defense from the elements. Keep accurate records and proactively replace roofing near the end of its lifespan.

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