It is one of the most common questions asked by homeowners when buying a home – “How old is the roof?” It can be difficult to know exactly how old a roof is by looks alone. While the average lifespan of a roof ranges from 15 to 25 years depending on the quality of the installation and level of maintenance performed, certain factors can cause a roof to deteriorate more rapidly than normal.
How To Tell The Age Of A Roof In 5 Ways
If the prior owner of the home does not have records or knowledge of when the roof was last replaced, it can be almost impossible to determine the real age of a roof. However, there are certain signs that can help you narrow down the approximate age based on the appearance, amount of damage, and overall condition of the roof. Learn how to tell the age of a roof by looking for the following red flags.
1. Condition of Current Shingles
Your roof’s shingles can tell you a lot about the age of your roof. When in good condition, roof shingles overlap, starting at the bottom edge of a roof, to create a barrier that repels water, snow, and ice. If functioning as it should, water will run along the roof surface, over the shingles, and pass the eaves where it drips into the gutters. As your roof starts to age, the shingles start to break down which makes the roof more vulnerable to leaks and damage.
One of the first signs you may notice are shingle edges that appear curled or cupped. Shingles may also begin to crack or may break off into pieces. If moisture is pooling on your roof due to inadequate shingles, moss may grow on the roof surface. Airborne algae may also cause dark streaks on the roofing deck. As the roof reaches the end of its lifespan, the roof will start to shed granules which give it its color and UV protection.
2. Leaks & Water Damage
While leaks and water damage can certainly occur in roofs that are just a few months or years old, they are much more common in older roofs. Some signs of water damage are obvious, such as active leaks in your attic, water spots on your ceiling or interior walls, or rotting on the inside of the roof. Water damage can quickly escalate so it is important to have it inspected by a professional immediately.
Sometimes signs of water damage are not so clear. If you have recently purchased a home, you may find what appear to be water spots on the ceiling but the spots could have occurred before the roof was fixed. It is also important to realize that just because you have a small leak or a few damaged shingles does not mean you need a complete roof replacement. In many cases, the problem can be remedied at the source and your roof could last many more years before replacement is needed.
3. Condition of Gutters
Your gutter system plays a vital role in the overall health of your roof. The gutters are responsible for bringing water from your roof away from your home’s foundation to prevent flooding and similar issues from occurring. However, if your gutter system is too old or not functioning as it should, damage can occur. Check to see if your gutters have cracks, rust spots, or holes which can affect their performance. The gutters should also not be pulling away from the roof as water can seep between the gaps.
Another sign that your gutters may need to be replaced are frequent clogs. Gutters can quickly fill with leaves, twigs, and other debris which prevents water from draining away from the home. If water is unable to leave the roof, it may pool causing even more damage. If you look into your gutters and see a lot of granules, it could also indicate that your roof shingles are past their prime. Without these granules, your roof is not properly protected from moisture and UV rays. If you are unsure whether or not your gutters need repair, read these 7 ways to tell you need gutter repair.
4. Condition of Roof Boards
If your roof is showing signs of wear and tear, it is best to have an inspection performed by a licensed contractor. Experienced contractors can often estimate the age of a roof by looking at components like the roof boards. While inspecting the decking, a contractor will usually look for missing nails, vulnerable points, or wood rot that could affect the integrity of the roof.
You will also want to look at the underside of the wood decking. If possible, go in the attic and look for red flags like rusted nails, mold, or moisture stains. If you find these types of problems, the boards may need to be replaced. Also look for gaps or cracks in the wood. If you are able to see sunlight coming in from gaps in the ceiling while in the attic, then the roof will likely need to be repaired or replaced.
5. Valleys in Roof
Valleys are created when two slopes of a roof meet. Roof valleys are highly prone to leaks, especially as they age, as the lower slopes along valley lines often collect water. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a failing roof valley, such as inadequate installation, structural issues, and material deterioration. Leaks can also occur from a missing ice and water shield, aging shingles, and improperly placed nails.
Roof valleys are often one of the first places a contractor will look when inspecting a roof for the source of a leak. Old age and general wear and tear are often to blame for leaks in this area. If the damage spans over a large area, it may be best to have the roof completely replaced rather than to make constant repairs.
Schedule a Roof Inspection With A Roof Replacement Contractor
If you have noticed signs of roofing problems or simply want to know the approximate age of your roof, a skilled contractor can get you the answers you seek. For more information or to schedule a roof replacement, contact the roof replacement contractors at Beyond Exteriors.