How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
How can I find out the age of a roof?
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
There are four ways to determine the age of a roof of a home your are considering buying or already own:
1) Find out the date of the building permit. This the most accurate way to age a roof, but not all jurisdictions require building permits for roof replacement and sometimes the homeowner has the roof replaced without a permit. Many of the larger municipal and county governments in Florida have a database that the public can access online to find all the permits issued for a property. The address of the property or property appraisers’ parcel number can be used to start your search. Smaller building departments will often provide permit record information over the phone or from a fax request.
2) Request a copy of the receipt from the roofer for the completed work. This is not quite as foolproof as a roofing permit, but better than the next two options. Look at the document carefully to be sure it is not just a proposal to do the work. Also, if they are still in business, call the roofing contractor for verification that they did the roof.
3) Ask the seller or previous homeowner. While this is an easiest solution, it is often less accurate. Memory of years gone by gets slippery, especially for senior citizens. Also, don’t be surprised if the the response you get is something like “Well, when we bought the house in 5 years ago and the previous owner said she thought the roof was about 7 years old.”
4) Have a home inspector or roofer estimate the age of the roof. What you will get is an educated guess and, because a number of conditions can make a roof age faster or slower than average, it will be a rough estimate at best. But the inspector or roofing contractor can often make a more accurate estimate of the years of life left in the roof based on its current condition—which is even more important to know.
Also, see our blog posts How can I tell if the house needs a new roof? and If my roof is not leaking, why does it need to be replaced?
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To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:
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