Our roofs become less strong with age. The impact of the environment, such as harsh weather and fallen debris, can cause our shingles to crack, create leaks in our ceilings, and even allow animals to get inside. This is why it’s important to get our roofs repaired and replaced relatively often. The older the roof is, the more work you might need to do to get it back into shape. Knowing how old your current roof is can give you an idea of what sort of maintenance it needs.
What if, though, you don’t know how long it’s been since the roof got replaced? Whether your house is newly purchased from a previous resident or you simply lost the original papers, there’s no need to fret. You can still figure out how old your roof is. In fact, there’s more than one way to go about it.
Asking the previous owners
This one is pretty straightforward. If you weren’t the first person to live in the house, someone else was there before you, and they likely had the roof replaced at some point in the past. If you know who they are, chances are you can reach out to them and see if they remember when it happened. Even if they don’t, then that could be a sign in and of itself that your roof needs to be replaced, especially if it’s built with asphalt shingles, which have a short lifespan compared to materials like metal and slate.
Of course, this only works if the house actually did have a previous owner that you’re able to contact. If you’re the original owner of the house, or if the previous owner is out of reach, then it’s time to move on to a new plan.
Asking the neighbors
This one might not come to mind right away, but it makes sense. Your house was likely built at the same time as every other house in your neighborhood. If your neighbors have lived there longer than you have, then they’re likely to know when their own roof was replaced, which can help you decide your situation.
If your neighbors are all starting to do roof work around the same time, then it’s a good idea to also think about getting your own roof done since they’re all probably reaching their roof’s expiration date. If they are, that means you’re probably in the same boat.
However, if this doesn’t work either, there’s another approach you can take that’ll give you an accurate roof replacement date.
Track down the building permit
In certain counties, you need a building permit to get a roof installation. If this is the case, then all you need to do is get a copy of that permit from your local government. Not only are these permits more accurate than other sources – down to the exact date of the replacement – they’re not hard to obtain. Your county government should be able to provide a copy for you without much hassle, and this will tell you what you need to do next.
Granted, your luck in this area depends on where you live. If permits aren’t necessary for a roof installation, then this step isn’t going to work for you. Still, there are other options available to you.
Getting your roof inspected
A professional roof inspection might be a bit more costly, but it’ll give you a good idea of not only how old your roof is but if anything needs to be done to fix it. While these inspections can’t be down to the date like permits are, these professionals know what they’re looking for when it comes to determining the age of a roof. They check for specific damages and other warning signs that your roof is nearing its limit, and that can help them determine how long it’s been since the last replacement.
Damaged or warped shingles
There are many forms of damage from which your shingles can suffer, and while they’re not all due to age, age is a factor in many of them regardless.
If your roof’s shingles are starting to curl or buckle, this is often a sign that your roof is reaching the end of its life, which usually happens about 12-15 years into the life of an asphalt shingle roof. It’s not a definite answer, however, as there are other factors that can cause these shingles to warp. For example, trapped heat in the attic can cause the exact same thing to happen. Regardless, shingles like these need to be replaced when spotted, and if it’s happening due to age, then you know it’s been at least a decade.
If your shingles are cracked, broken, or missing entirely, there are a few possibilities for why. Awful weather can cause quick damage to your roof regardless of how new it is. Extreme cold, harsh winds, and storms of all kinds can all hurt your shingles either directly or through falling debris. However, if there’s no severe weather to which you can attribute these problems, it’s more than likely your roof is simply just suffering from some wear and tear after years of being in use, which generally means you’re due for a replacement.
A metal flashing serves an important function on your roof. It carries water into your gutter before it seeps into the rest of your roof or even into your house. Because of this, you expect these flashings to be water resistant, and they’re designed to be. This resistance is true, but if your roof is old, then there’s a higher chance of the metal starting to corrode and oxidize. Not only does a rusty roof flashing need to be fixed anyway, but it also means that you’ve probably gone too long without a new replacement.
Exposed and damaged nails
Like your flashing, the nails keeping your roof together can get old and damaged over time. Unlike your flashing, nails usually aren’t designed to be waterproof and thus are more likely to become rusty after being exposed. Such a situation isn’t possible unless the rest of your roof is also suffering damage, as your shingles need to be cracked or broken in order to reveal the nails. While this can again be the result of bad weather, it can just as easily be the result of age.
The growth of fungi
Fungi tend to grow wherever there’s water and end up creating more moisture as a result. Moss and algae, along with worse forms of fungi like mold and mushrooms, can all end up growing on your roof if there’s a lot of moisture in the air and if you haven’t kept your roof well-maintained. If you notice an outbreak of fungi growing on your house, it’s time to get a new roof, or at the very least, to remove the fungi.
If any of these things are present during your inspection, your inspector might not be able to tell you the exact time or date your house was built, but they can tell you if your roof is old enough to be replaced. Luckily, a roof inspector is already a professional when it comes to roof maintenance, so you might be able to schedule a renovation right then and there.
Call the roofing company
If all else fails, there’s at least one more option at your disposal, and that’s asking the very company that built your roof in the first place. They won’t necessarily know the information right away, but they can send you a copy of the receipt for the most recent roof replacement, and that should have the date on it.
This has the extra benefit of, similar to the inspection, putting you into a position where you’re already speaking with a professional roofing company in Columbus, Ohio that can answer any questions you have and help you schedule your replacement. So, if your roof does need replacing, this is a good time to get it all sorted out.
Schedule a roof renovation now
Whether your roof is a decade old, damaged from the weather, or is functioning below average, you should think about getting your roof replaced before more problems occur. A new asphalt roof can last up to about 15 years and, in the meantime, protect your home from water damage, falling debris, intrusive pests, and harsh storms or sunlight. Your roof isn’t getting younger, so replace it while you can. If you need to replace your roof, contact Able Roof today. Our expert team can inspect and replace your aging and damaged roof with something that can withstand the elements and last for years. We’ll also do it quickly so that you can get the new roof without the stress of being exposed or rearranging a busy schedule. If you have any questions, you can call to speak with a professional and get advice or a free quote before deciding to go through with the replacement. Check out our news and resources page for further help and advice regarding roofing and other home improvements.