How Old is My Roof? 6 Ways to Find Out

August 8, 2023

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how old is my roof

Do you ever look up at your roof and wonder just how long it's been up there? Knowing the age of your roof can help you determine when it may need replacing or repairing.

So, how old is my roof? The age of your roof can be estimated by looking for date stamps on the shingles and contacting the manufacturer with the code. Checking with your local building permit office can provide records of when the roof was last replaced. The roof's material and style can give clues - slate can last over 100 years, while asphalt shingles last 15-30 years. Hiring a professional inspector to examine wear and do an attic check is the most accurate way to date a roof. Talking to neighbors who have been in their homes for many years may yield useful details on roof work done.

Here are six in-depth ways to find out approximately how old your roof is.

1. How Old is My Roof? Find Out By Checking the Permit History

When you contact your local building department permit office, be prepared with your address and as much information about your home as possible. Depending on their records, they may need your legal lot number, home construction date, or previous owner names to locate permits.

Ask if the permits related to your home can be searched by address alone or if additional details are needed. Provide the year you purchased your home, if known, as a starting point for their search.

Some municipalities have robust online databases you can search yourself for permit histories on specific properties. If available, this public access can allow you to search and find roof permits issued without needing to contact the office.

If your search comes up empty, don't be afraid to follow up with the permit office again and double-check records under previous owners' names or your home's year of construction.

Permits can occasionally be misfiled or lost, so perseverance may pay off tracking them down.

If no roofing permits are found, but you have reason to believe the roof is not original, unpermitted work may have been done. This would make documentation more difficult, but inspectors can still gauge roof age through physical assessment.

shingle roof with chimney

2. Look for Date Stamps on Shingles

If you can safely get up on your roof (or peek from an upper-story window), check to see if the roofing shingles have a manufacturer's date stamp on them. These stamps will usually indicate the year and month the shingles were made.

While shingles aren't always installed right away, the date stamp will at least give you a ballpark figure to work with. Shingles are typically good for around 20-30 years, so add that range to the date stamp, and you'll get an approximate roof age.

workers fixing roof

3. Research Your Home's History

If you have access to your home's records, you may be able to find out when the previous roof was installed. Receipts, insurance records, and invoices can potentially indicate roof replacement or repairs.

Real estate listings and MLS records for when you bought your home may also mention the roof age or last replacement. Digging into your home's history can provide helpful clues.

A home with a new roof in Cranston.

4. Hire a Professional Inspector

When hiring a professional roof inspector, make sure to choose someone experienced in assessing roof age and condition. An inspector that has been regularly examining roofs for many years will be knowledgeable about different materials, installation methods, and manufacturing date ranges.

Ask for references from previous clients who specifically had their roofs' ages assessed during an inspection. You want someone who has a proven track record of determining approximate roof ages.

A thorough age assessment will include an interior attic examination to check for signs of leaking or water damage over time. They should also inspect the roof's underside if safely accessible.

Photos of any date stamps, wear patterns, and material details should be included in the inspection report as evidence to support the inspector's age estimate.

Don't hesitate to ask questions about their process for dating a roof and have them walk you through what factors they look for. A reliable professional should explain their age assessment methodology to you clearly.

Hiring a certified inspector from a major independent home inspection company can give you added peace of mind in their knowledge and accountability. But individual local inspectors can also provide an experienced eye to help date your roof.

how old is my roof

5. Consider the Roof Style and Materials

If you can't uncover the exact age, the style and materials of your roof can offer hints. Slate or tile roofs can last over 100 years, while average asphalt shingles last around 15-30 years. A well-maintained metal roof may make it 50+ years.

Also, consider when certain styles were popular. For example, architectural laminate shingles gained popularity in the 1990s. If your roof has those, it's likely 25 years old or less.

how old is my roof

6. Talk to Your Neighbors

Neighbors can be great resources when it comes to home info. Chances are, at least one neighbor on your street has some knowledge about when the roofs were last replaced.

Longtime neighbors may even recall the roofing company used or have copies of old bids or invoices. Talking to neighbors who've been around a while can provide useful clues.

roof on two-story house with blue siding

In Conclusion

Determining the age and condition of your roof is important for staying on top of maintenance and knowing when replacement is needed. With some sleuthing using these methods, you should be able to get a good idea of your roof's age.

If you're planning to sell your home soon or just want peace of mind about your roof's condition, consider having a professional inspection done. An expert inspection will be the most accurate way to assess your roof and its remaining life span.

Knowing your roof's age will help you make informed decisions about proper care, repairs, and replacement timing. But the most important thing is that you have a weather-tight roof over your head, no matter its age! With the right maintenance and repairs, your roof will keep you dry for many years to come.

About The Cranston Roofers

Are you looking for a full-service roofing company that delivers on its promises? The Cranston Roofers is a company built on integrity. We offer low prices, FREE estimates, and service with a smile. Your roof is one of the most important components of your home. Make sure the best and brightest roofers are working on it. Please call (401) 208-2324 to schedule an appointment.


What determines the age of a roof?

The age of a roof can be determined by checking permit records to see when it was installed, looking for date stamps on the shingles, researching the home's history for roof replacement documentation, and considering the roofing materials and style, which can indicate approximately when the roof was likely installed. The condition of the roof and signs of wear can also give clues as to its age. Hiring a professional inspector is one of the most accurate ways to determine the age of a roof. Talking to neighbors who have been in the home for a long time can also provide useful insight into when roof work was done.

How can you tell how old your roof shingles are?

One way is to look for any date stamp markings on the shingles - manufacturers often imprint a date indicating when the shingles were produced. You can also check your permit history with the local building department to try to find the installation date for your current shingles. The approximate age range can be estimated based on the lifespan of your shingle material, usually 15-30 years for asphalt. Consulting with roofing professionals and neighbors familiar with your home can also provide clues to help estimate the age of your current shingles.

What is the typical age of a roof?

The typical life expectancy of a roof can vary greatly depending on the material and quality of installation but is often in the 15-30 year range. Asphalt shingle roofs, on average last around 20 years before needing replacement. Tile and metal roofs can last significantly longer, often 50 years or more, if well-maintained. The climate the roof is exposed to is also a major factor determining age - roofs in extreme cold, heat, and precipitation will wear faster. Proper roof maintenance and repair can help extend the typical lifespan of a roof regardless of material.

Does roof age matter in insurance?

Roof age is an important factor for insurance companies when assessing risk and pricing homeowner's premiums. Older roofs are seen as more likely to suffer damage, leaks, and failures requiring claims. Most insurers consider roofs older than 20 years to be near the end of their useful life and at higher risk. Homeowners may get requests from insurers to have roofs inspected or replaced in order to continue coverage, especially if the roof is 25-30 years old or more. Keeping roofs maintained and updated as they age can prevent insurance issues and help homeowners qualify for the best premium rates.

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