How Old Is My Roof? 4 Ways to Find Out

If you’re wondering, “how old is my roof?” It’s important to understand that every roof ages differently. 

For example, common materials like asphalt shingles should last between 12 and 25 years, while metal roofing should last between 40 and 70 years. Depending on the installation method and materials used, your roof will age in different places compared to your neighbor’s roofs, so you won’t be able to tell just by looking.

Fortunately, there are a handful of ways to determine the age of your roof that don’t involve climbing a ladder and examining it. Of course, they may not all be viable — especially if your home is older. There are also several very specific signs that your roof is not only aging but likely in need of repairs.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about how to figure out the age of your roof as well as the signs that it is, in fact, aging. Keep reading to learn more.

The Signs Your Roof Is Aging

close up of missing shingles on aged roof

Even if you’re not concerned with the age of your roof at the moment, it’s still important to know what the signs of an aging roof look like. These signs are what can help you determine whether you need repairs or a completely new roof — both of which have substantially different costs.

Curled or Missing Shingles

Curled shingles — whether they’re asphalt shingles or another material — can result from the pressure of heavy winds, excessive exposure to heat, and time. Once the shingles on your roof have begun to curl, they won’t function as they should to protect your roof, which means they’ll need to be replaced.

The same goes for missing shingles, which inevitably occur over time as the adhesive used to install them begins to wear off. If you have loose shingles due to worn-down adhesive, all it takes is one bad storm to send them flying off your roof. More often than not, missing shingles mean that you need a new roof.

Damaged Roof Valleys

Roof valleys are what enable water to flow off your roof. Whether they’re aging or were installed improperly, they can easily become a risk for serious leaks. Once your roof valleys are no longer working, your roof can begin rotting and severe water damage to the inside of your home can occur.

Damage to roof valleys can look like wrinkling, holes, cracks or tears.

Rusted Flashing

close up of rusted roof flashing in need of repair on old roof

Roof flashing is a thin, flat piece of metal designed to prevent leaks. It’s also one of the components of a roof that usually needs replacing or repairs long before the roof has reached the end of its lifespan. 

If you notice that your roof flashing has become cracked, damaged, or rusted, it’s usually a sign of both aging and damage. Conversely, if your roof is missing flashing altogether, it’s a sign that your roof was installed prior to 2009 when the International Residential Code (IRC) requirements were updated. Knowing whether or not your roof has flashing can give you a much better idea of its age.

Other signs of aging and damage include:

  • Missing shingle granules
  • Moss or algae growth
  • Rusted or exposed nails
  • Upper-level leakage

You’ll also know that it’s time to consider a roof replacement when you notice all of your neighbors replacing theirs.

How Old Is My Roof?

Damages from the elements and aging aside, it’s essential for all homeowners to know the age of their roofs. By knowing the age of your roof, you can better prepare for repairs or renovations — which are both costly and time consuming.

Here are four things you can do to determine the exact age of your roof:

1. Get in Touch With the Previous Owners

homeowner getting information about roof age from previous owner

If you’ve recently purchased your home within the past few years, tracking down the previous owners is often the easiest way to find out the age of your roof. Of course, the previous owners may have no idea if they weren’t the first owners or they may be unreachable. In this instance, it’s safe to assume that you need a new roof.

2. Track Down the Building Permit

Your home’s building permit will have the information regarding any contracting work that has been previously done — including roof replacements or repairs. With a bit of research, you can find out if your county requires building permits for roof installations. If it does, you can reach out to your local county government and request a copy of the permit.

If roofing work in your area requires a building permit, it’ll likely contain the exact date of your roof’s installation.

3. Locate the Original Roofing Company For a Receipt

If you know the brand of shingles used for your home’s roof or can find out the name of the roofing company that did the last roof install, you should be able to contact them and inquire about their records. All you have to do is give them your address, and they’ll be able to tell you the exact date of the installation and any other information regarding your roof.

4. Get an Inspection

contractor inspects old rooftop after age requires repair

If the above three options don’t pan out, getting a professional inspection carried out by an insurance adjuster or local roofing company is your next best bet. It’ll cost you a few bucks, but either the roofing company or inspector will be able to provide you with an accurate estimate of your roof’s age based on the aging and damage factors listed above. 

These professionals will also likely be able to obtain any records on your property, which will not only give you an idea of how old your roof is but how much time it has left. What’s more, they’ll be able to detect damages that you can’t, so you’ll know if you need an immediate repair or complete roof replacement.

Unsure About the Age of Your Roof?

Knowing the age of your roof is essential to keeping your home in the best possible condition. After all, your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements and any other potentially damaging forces. 

Need a professional’s opinion? You can schedule a free inspection with Level Edge today to have a professional roofing contractor come and assess your roof’s condition. We ensure that every inspection is thorough and accurate, so you’ll know exactly how old your roof is and what it needs.