Determining the exact age of a home’s roof can pose a challenge for anyone without the right information, whether you’re a first-time homeowner or a seasoned roofing contractor. If you’re not the original builder or homeowner of your house, things can get even trickier when attempting to nail down a roof’s exact age.
Fortunately, many factors can help figure out how old your roof is and how much time is left in its lifespan before extensive repairs or an entire roofing replacement is required.
Roof Lifespans: How Long Should a Roof Typically Last?
Asphalt shingles are some of the most popular options when it comes to roofing, with nearly 80 percent of US homes featuring this sturdy yet flexible material in the form of three-tab shingles.
Asphalt roofing is known to last anywhere from 20 to almost 30 years with the proper care and maintenance. Other roofing material options like metal roofs and tile also have long, varying lifespans that can be cut short if high-quality materials, installation, and regular upkeep aren’t prioritized.
Asphalt shingles, metal roofing, tile roofs, and even cedar shakes can provide your home’s outermost layer with protection for years or sometimes decades. Remember, though: whether or not your roof lasts throughout its entire lifespan will ultimately hinge on a few distinct factors. The lifespan of a residential home’s roof depends on the:
- Materials used
- Level of craftsmanship
- Upkeep and annual maintenance done
- Local climate conditions
- Number of prior repairs made
Knowing how old your roof is will be essential when deciding when to get started on a replacement, but it can often be challenging to determine the age of your roof if you’re not the original owner of your home. You have no way of knowing if previous homeowners handled annual maintenance, made necessary repairs, or worked with a reliable roofing contractor.
It’s vital to stay vigilant with your roof maintenance and look out for common signs that your roof is reaching the end of its lifespan so you can take the appropriate action as necessary.
Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Roof
Your roof is one of the most vital aspects of a high-functioning house since it’s essentially the first line of defense against weathering and exposure. With that said, your roof will take some heavy hits over the years that require emergency repairs and, at some point, an entire replacement. Roofs are typically damaged by things like:
- Heavy winds
- Falling or blowing debris
- Sun exposure
Whether the need for emergency repairs is evident after a particularly severe storm or damage arises more subtly over time, there are many classic signs it’s time to consider replacing your roof. Keep an eye out for common residential roofing issues such as:
- Cracked or missing shingles
- Sagging eaves
- Broken flashing and vents
- Crumbling chimneys
- Mold, mildew, or algae growth
- Shingle discoloration
- Ice dam formation
If you’re experiencing any of the issues listed above with your own roof, there’s a solid chance it’s starting to deteriorate and decline with age. Although minor repairs and quick fixes can be excellent temporary remedies, there comes a time when it’s necessary to accept that your roof is simply too old to keep functioning and protecting your home at full capacity. Once you recognize that your roof has reached the end of its lifespan, you can start considering a roofing replacement project with help from a team of experienced roofing professionals.
7 Ways to Determine Your Roof’s Age
Figuring out just how old your roof actually is will be beneficial for you down the line when repairs or a replacement is needed, and making this determination doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Here are seven of the most reliable methods homeowners can use to estimate the age of a roof:
Inspect Your Shingles
Shingles are typically installed on a roof in two layers and nailed down. Your roof’s shingles are exposed to intense weathering and sunlight every day, causing damage over time. While a new roof will have high-quality shingles that should lay flat (at least for the first few years), older roofs will likely show wear, with shingles that curl, buckle, are missing granules, or simply missing in entirety themselves.
You don’t want to leave broken or missing shingles to worsen without giving your roof the attention it needs. This can leave your home susceptible to even further damage down the line. Keep up with regular maintenance and do minor repairs as needed, but if your shingles look like they’re past their prime, you know it’s time to replace your old roof.
After assessing your shingles, do you already suspect that your roof has seen better days and your home would benefit from a replacement? Learn more about how you can install a roof like one of the pros right here.
Assess the Attic Space
Another great way to gauge your roof’s age is by climbing up into your attic space for a thorough assessment. This safe interior inspection allows you to get a better idea of the current state of your roof without ever stepping foot on its outside surface, saving you from a stressful climb.
Look around your attic for any kinds of issues connected to your roof. Are there leaks or water damage? Can sunlight be spotted streaming through any gaps overhead? Is the roof itself sagging down towards you? These problems can be signs that your roof is reaching an old age that requires more intense repairs or a replacement.
Look Out for Leaks
When you’re up in the attic doing your initial interior assessment, keep your eye out for any signs of leaks or water damage. You can even climb into your attic during a rainstorm to see if any sort of leaking or dripping appears. New roofing will have fresh coats of sealant and shingles that haven’t worn down just yet, so leaks shouldn’t be a concern. Unfortunately, leaking shingles can quickly become an issue in older roofs. If the leaks and networks of cracks or gaps grow too large over time, you’ll need to replace your roof.
Get Into the Gutters
Remember when we mentioned missing shingle granules in an earlier section? That will also come into play again when estimating your roof’s age. Asphalt shingles are made from a durable material, but nothing can last forever.
When your shingles start to fail, you’ll likely find a buildup of asphalt granules within your gutters. Like other debris lodged in your gutter system, asphalt granules can create blockages that stop rainwater and snowmelt from moving safely away from the house. This can cause even further problems, like the formation of dangerous ice dams, if the shingle granules aren’t cleaned out and kept at bay continuously until you can get your roof replaced.
Consider Roof Discoloration
You can also estimate a roof’s age simply by looking at it for things like algal growth or obvious discoloration over time. Your roof can become discolored due to a variety of impacts, including:
- Sun bleaching
- Bare shingles
New roofing materials retain their color and hue far longer than outdated systems. Noticeable fading, color changes, or even the growth of living things like moss or algae can indicate that a roof is getting too old.
If the opportunity arises, you can always just ask about your home’s roof. Perhaps you know the previous owners personally, or you’re still in the process of purchasing your home and have their contact information on hand. Or, maybe you have the time and money to request access to old building permits and records at your local town hall.
If you’re truly determined to figure out your roof’s age, asking can be a quick and (relatively) painless way to acquire the information you need. However, there’s no guarantee you’ll actually get your hands on an answer without help from an expert.
Hire a Professional
Lastly, if you’re still unsure or struggling to determine your roof’s age properly, don’t worry. You can always consult with a professional roofing contractor or restoration company in your area to come to check out your house. With help from a seasoned professional, you’ll receive a fast and accurate estimate of just how old your home’s roof is and if a replacement or repair job is necessary.
Are You Ready for a Roof Replacement?
Age can be a huge factor in your roof’s efficacy. After reading this helpful guide, you might become more acutely aware of your roof’s age and the issues that come along as it gets older. If you start noticing some of the common signs that your roof is coming to the end of its lifespan, consider hiring a professional team to handle your roofing replacement.
Work with the knowledgeable and experienced roofing specialists at WISA Solutions to replace your aging roof and have it looking (and operating) like new again in no time.