As a homeowner, it is important to know how old your roof is. Not so you can throw it a birthday party, silly! It is so you can be sure that it serves its purpose, which is to protect your family and household from elements, such as weather and debris. Knowing the age of your roof is key to determining whether it is due for repairs or a replacement, as explained by Risk Free Roofing Boston, roofing contractors in Boston.
Best Way to Know How Old Your Roof Is
The most reliable way to determine the age of your roof is through factual records. Home design website Hunker recommends accessing public records for documents relating to major home renovations, which include roof replacement. Offices responsible for keeping such records are your county’s real property office, recording clerk and city code enforcement office. Another place you could obtain a record of your roof’s installation is your local area’s roofing company.
A building permit for roof replacement or a roof installation receipt is the most accurate source of information, but if you have no access to your property’s paperwork, here are other ways to know your roof’s age:
- Hire a roofing expert or home inspector.
These specialists are highly trained in the area of home upkeep and improvement, with skilled senses that are able to detect changes and signs of wear and tear. Roofing experts and home inspectors can give an estimate on the age of your roof by surveying its condition.
- Ask your real estate agent or the previous homeowner.
Certified contractors, Richard McGarry and Greg Madsen, suggest asking the seller or the previous homeowner about your roof’s age, but are quick to point out that while it is the easiest way, it may be the least accurate. Over the years, memory may get hazy, thus making it not the most reliable source of information. Save it as your last resort.
My Roof Looks Older Than Its Age, What Should I Do?
Depending on its material — wood shingles, fiber cement shingles or asphalt shingles, roofs usually last an average of 20 to 30 years. However, factors such as weather condition can shorten a roof’s lifespan. More than the age of your roof, it is important to heed the signs of wear and tear before damages get rather unsafe for your family and household.
According to Angie’s List, a home improvement website, there are seven warning signs that let you know that your roof is due for an upgrade:
- Roof age – If your roof has reached its expected lifespan, it is highly recommended to seek for an upgrade before your home gets hit by symptoms of roof aging.
- Curling and/or buckling shingles – These are signs of either an old roof or a defective roof. If it’s the former, seek the advice of a roofing expert; if it’s the latter, contact your roofing contractor for a refund or a rework.
- Roof valleys – Characterized by shingles that are missing and/or falling apart, roof valleys allow elements such as rain and snow to penetrate through the ceiling and cause roof leaks. Water deposit in the roof and/or ceiling could highly compromise the lifespan of your roof.
- Missing shingles – Not only are missing shingles an eyesore, they also indicate that your roof has seen better days.
- Leaking chimney – A leaky chimney can be a symptom of a roof problem, specifically the flashing that connects the chimney to the roofing system. This problem needs urgent attention or it may result in structural damage and cost you big bucks.
- Disintegrating shingles – A roof shingle deteriorates by shedding its granules or by losing the vibrancy of its color. Shingle granules often make their way to the gutter, so make it a point to do regular checks.
- Daylight through the roof boards – If you spot sunlight seeping through the roof boards, it could be a sign that moisture has collected and jeopardized your roofing structure, specifically its decking. Moisture is also symptomized by a spongy feel on the exterior of your roof.
Yup, My Roof Has Matured—Now What?
Once you detect signs that your roof has aged, it is time to determine whether it is due for repairs or an outright replacement. The smartest way to go about this is to consult a professional to assess the extent of damage and therefore prescribe an accurate solution. If your roof is up for a replacement, here are some things you need to decide on:
- Budget – At the forefront of every home improvement project is the budget. According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of a roof replacement is usually within the range of $5,195 to $10,160, depending on size, material, cost to tear off, manner of installation and labor costs.
- Material – This goes hand in hand with number one on this list, but aside from being a budgetary factor, your material will affect your roof’s durability, longevity and, of course, your house’s overall aesthetic.
- Go DIY or hire a professional – DIY can be cheaper but if you don’t have the knowledge and skills for it, hiring an expert is the prudent decision.