We spend a lot of time talking about how important your roof really is. After all, we all know that nature has always declared constant war on all manmade structures, as any abandoned building will very, very quickly exemplify. Nature wants to swallow up the building quickly, the sun is forever beating down on your roof with UV and heat, the weather is always looking for ways to blow debris and water in.
Your roof is your first and last line of defense against the invasion of pests and the loss of climate control. It prevents water damage which can cause your house to decay, become unpleasant and cultivate often toxic molds and mildews. What some may not realize is just how far-reaching your roof may be if it’s in bad shape or too old.
It will drastically impact your resale value for starters. You probably know this one, you investigated the roof of the house you bought pretty early on in considering that particular house, right? Even if you don’t know the depth of the impact, you know your roof totally matters. You may not know that the impact this has on curb appeal will affect everyone nearby’s resale value as well, and this can breed some real contempt, and mob mentality is a twitch reflex among connected people.
Finally, what about your insurance and code compliance? Your roof will affect what your insurance will and won’t cover, your premiums may skyrocket, and your provider may flat out drop you entirely if your negligence runs rampant. If it gets bad enough, though, the worst will happen – your home will be condemned, leaving you homeless and facing a daunting level of repair by the time you get your ducks all in a row.
Ouch, this all clearly indicates that being on top of roof repair is pretty important. We all know that roofs aren’t immortal, so once they reach a certain age, it’s wise to replace them, even if they seem to look alright at a superficial glance. If you put the last roof on there, you probably know darn well how old it is. But what if you bought the house, or inherited it? What if these records weren’t ship shape and inclusive at the start? How do you tell how old a roof is in this case?
A roofing expert is going to be pretty good at examining the types of shingles, the state of them, and comparing that with the environment to give you a legitimately scientific estimation of its age. However, there are some ways to find this out on your own. We’re going to go over a few of these.
If you inherited the house, or the house was sold in an estate sale after the passing of the previous owners, this obviously wouldn’t work out. However, in cases where the previous owners simply sold the house to relocate, it’s actually completely possible to find out who they were, if that information wasn’t made known when you purchased the house.
From there, especially in modern times, tracking down a working contact, and just talking to them is probably going to be the easiest way to find out how old a roof is. They may not remember to the date, but within a year’s time for an estimate is solid enough to go on, for the most part. A lot of people are hesitant to hunt down previous owners of a house, but in most cases, people turn out to be pretty alright with this, at least in our experience.
In many places around the world, anything as significant as a roof installation or replacement requires its own building permit, which will be a matter of public record. City, township or county records in most first world nations will be able to provide this information, along with the company which installed it, date of project beginning and date of completion, alongside inspection records, as these projects have to be signed off by inspectors in these nations as well.
It’s important to note that in the case of the United States, this can actually vary a bit from state to state, and even county to county due to the autonomy gap between federal and local government. This can make this option potentially less viable depending on your location.
Roofing Company Receipt
If you can track down the company which worked on the roof (which if the prior two options are off the table, this may as well), they will often happily provide a copy of the receipt, at least the dates and prices if the personal information is redacted.
In some countries, they are required by law to file these receipts with records alongside building permits, but again, in places like the USA, this isn’t a guarantee, where local government has a lot more sovereignty and autonomy.
Roofing Contractor or Home Inspector
When all else fails, this is a sure bet. An inspector or a roofing expert can, within a reasonable margin of error, deduce how old a roof is by, as we said, examining the shingles, their condition and the environment which is aging it. If you have your doubts about how easily the other three avenues may be pursued for this, then there is no harm in simply defaulting immediately to this approach.
Most roofing companies are happy to help, ourselves included!
Do I Need a New Roof?
What if you just want this information to determine if you need a new roof? Well, if it’s past a certain age, that’s a big criterion, but you can determine beyond that just by observing some wear and tear.
The following are common signs of it being time to invest in a new roof, especially if these symptoms are widespread:
- Shingles are missing in many places, or are cracked or peeled or deformed in a lot of places.
- Shingles are losing their granularity and their luster.
- Discoloration is widespread.
- Many leaks are occurring across your roof.
- Most of the flashing is damaged.
To learn more about the lifespan of roofs and how to estimate when it’s time to remediate this structure, fill out our contact form today!