As a homeowner, there are so many considerations that go into maintaining and caring for your home. From landscaping and maintaining your yard to completing any repairs you may need, it can feel like the process is never-ending. In terms of home maintenance, your roof is one of the most important components you need to be aware of in because it is essential to the function and safety of your home.
If you own the same home for an extended period of time, it is extremely likely that you will need to replace the roof at some point. Whether your roof has been damaged or has simply worn down due to age, a replacement will be inevitable. It can be difficult, however, to know when it is the appropriate time to replace your roof. Knowing when your roof was last replaced can help you plan when another replacement or repair may be needed.
How to determine when your roof was last replaced
While knowing the history of your home’s maintenance is a key aspect of making sure that you can well care for it moving forward, finding the information about when the roof of your home was last replaced can be tricky. Here are several ways you can find out when your roof was last replaced.
Check the documents you have
Depending on the circumstances of how you obtained your home, you are likely to have a collection of documents pertaining to the history of the house. This could include your deed and any necessary tax information. If your home has had significant work completed in the past, there may also be a copy of a building permit among your documents.
If you have copies of any building permits in your home’s history, they are a great way to determine when your home had renovations done and how significant those renovations were. It is important to note, however, that the date indicated on a building permit may not be the specific date the roof replacement was completed. These permits can be valid for several years, so it will only give you a general window of time for when the work was completed.
Ask the previous owners
If you do not have a building permit or similar paperwork in the documentation regarding your house, you may be able to contact the previous owners and ask when they had the roof replaced. Getting in touch with the previous owners is a great way to find information about work that was done on your home in the past. In many cases, the family that owned the house before you will be happy to share any information that they have with you. It is important to be respectful and appreciative if you are able to contact them.
While this is often the easiest option, it may not be possible for a variety of reasons. If the home was purchased through any type of auction or left to you in a will, you may not be able to contact the previous owners. If you are unable to contact the prior owners of your home, there are other ways that you can find the information you need.
Look for public records
Another method of finding out when your roof was last replaced is to find the public records related to your home. This process is a little bit more work-intensive for you, but it guarantees that the information you receive is correct and reliable. There are three necessary steps to obtain the necessary records.
- First, you will need the parcel number of your home on a tax map. You should have this on your deed, but if not, you can find it through your town’s recording clerk.
- Once you have the correct parcel number, you will have to visit the code enforcement office for your city. They will ask you for the necessary information about your home and then provide you with previous building permits that were issued to the address.
- After you have that information, you should visit the clerk’s office for any additional documentation regarding renovations at your address.
All of this information will let you know when your roof was last replaced and how large the project was.
Ask for an assessment from an inspector
If you are unable to connect with the previous owners and you do not want to deal with the potential hassle of going through the necessary local channels, there is another option. Reaching out to a reputable contractor to schedule an inspection and assessment of your roof could provide the information you need.
A contractor or building inspector will not be able to give you a specific date for when your roof was replaced unless they completed the work themselves. They will, however, be able to give you a thorough assessment of the age of your roof, as well as any major wear and tear that they observe. This inspection can give you a stronger idea of what kind of shape your roof is in and when you will need to complete any repairs or replacements. Though taking this avenue will incur a cost, it will provide you with the most immediate and thorough assessment of your roof’s current and future needs, which is ultimately the goal of discerning its repair and replacement history.
Seek out the company that replaced it
If none of the ideas included above are possible for you, there is one final possibility for finding out when your roof was last replaced. If you cannot contact the previous owners, it might be possible to get information about the company that completed the work. You could potentially get this information by asking your neighbors.
Once you have identified the company, you will be able to contact them and ask for any records they have connected with your home. If they are able to provide you with that information, it will help you move forward with any necessary repairs. This is not an ideal process, however, because the company may not have the necessary records, or the information from neighbors may not be correct. If you have exhausted other options, this could be a last-ditch effort.
Knowing the history of your home’s roof is important when planning the best way to maintain it moving forward, but it is not the only thing you will need to know. It is also important that you, as a homeowner, are aware of the various signs that may indicate when your roof is in need of repairs.
Signs that your roof needs to be replaced
Understanding what to look for when assessing the status of your roof is important. There are several things that you can watch out for when judging wear and tear on your roof.
- Damaged or rusted flashing
Flashing is used on your roof to prevent leaking and additional water damage to your home. If this material is split, rusted, or damaged in any way, it could be allowing water under the shingles and other material of your roof, which will cause significant damage. If your roof is old, there may also be some flashing missing because it was not required when your roof was installed. If you notice any problems connected with the flashing on your roof, schedule an assessment as soon as possible.
- Curling or damage to your shingles
Over time, the shingles on your roof will be worn down by the weather and any other hazards they encounter. If you notice that some of your shingles are beginning to curl, it means that your roof is likely 12-15 years old and will need to be replaced. Some shingles may also be damaged or have even fallen off as the result of severe weather, which will also need to be quickly addressed. Evaluating the strength and durability of your shingles is a great way to assess the health of your roof.
- Defective roof valleys
The valleys on your roof, which are created when two angles meet, are essential to making sure water drains off of your roof correctly. This helps avoid water damage and other types of build-up that could cause problems with your home. If you notice that the valleys on your roof have a lot of debris built up or are defective in some way, it is a good idea to schedule an inspection to assess any potential damage.
- Plant growth on your roof
Moss and algae may grow in the shingles and valleys of your roof if it is not cleaned and maintained regularly. This is an indication that there is excess moisture on your roof, which can cause significant problems. If you see moss or algae growing on your roof, then it may be time for a cleaning or a full replacement.
- Nails that are rusted or clearly visible
Over time, exposure to the elements, such as wind and snow, can damage the shingles on your roof. One key way to recognize this is if you can see nails under or around the shingles on your roof. The exposure of nails can also indicate that your shingles are lifting, which then heightens the risk of water damage and other problems. If you are able to see nails on your roof, it is time to get in touch with a contractor.
Contact Mr. Roof
If you see any of these or other signs on your roof, contact Mr. Roof for consultation and assistance.