Know your roof’s age

There are several important factors to consider when evaluating the value of a house, and the upcoming maintenance costs and priorities.


One of these is the age of the roof.


Because the roof is the guardian of the house in many ways, it is an important factor in the value of your property. How long has it been doing that job? And how can you tell?


Here are some things to consider.


Check the paperwork. Obviously the first and best place to check is in the homeowner records. If there is information about the company or individual who did the work, including receipts and warranties, this is your best guide.


But you’re probably not reading this article if you have the paperwork on hand. You need to use visual cues to estimate the age of your roof. This can vary by roof type and will likely require getting up on a ladder to get close and personal with different parts of the roof in question.


Asphalt shingle or composition shingle roof: Assuming the roof was properly installed and vented, you will want to inspect the quality and quantity of the shingles themselves to determine if you are approaching the 20-25 year age limit of an asphalt roof. Are there still plenty of granules on the shingles, or are there dark spots starting to form where they have all washed away?


Rubber roof: Rubber roofs can last over 30 years, but still require regular visual inspection. Signs of wear include being able to see wood or underlayment material through worn patches of roof. Search carefully at joints to pipes and corners. Also, look where contractors might have been working on a repair not related to the roof.


Slate or wood shingle: check for uniformity and consistency of the roof materials – are all the shingles present? A missing shingle can be replaced. Are any shingles split or cracked? Is there a pattern? These can be kept or replaced, depending on the extent of cracking and where it happens.


Concerns about any roof: Aside from specific concerns in different types of roofs, there are some general signs you might see on inspection that should cause you concern. If you see any of these, it is time to seek a replacement roof ASAP.


  • Sagging roof: any place where there is visual sagging is a sign that the roof is on an unsteady or insufficient surface and needs to be replaced or at least inspected.
  • Pooling: if your roof is exhibiting pooling instead of directing rainwater to downspouts, it is time to act.
  • Daylight: this should go without saying, but if daylight is streaming in from above, inspection is urgent and replacement might be necessary.
  • Breezes: a well-vented roof will allow for circulation of air. However, active cross drafts undermine the efficiency of your roof and require inspection.

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