Estimating roof age

A few posts back, someone brought up an interesting point. How much can you believe and use from the sellers disclosure statement? It’s a legal document, right? So if the seller says on their disclosure statement that the roof is 2 years old, and you put that in your report, but the buyer later discovers - clairvoyantly - that the roof was really 12 years old, who’s going to court, you or the seller who lied on the disclosure?

Most times you can take what is in a sellers disclosure with a grain of salt.

Personally, I do not ask, or look at them.

I completely agree with david, but my question is,Why would they do that to the vents!!! looks like they got some bad advise from the bro in law who helped roof three roofs back in college!!!
I really like RRAY’s useful life terminology

I used to cover my roof turbines in the winter here many years ago, it gets cold in January, sometimes into the thirties at night…what little heat is saved from the daylight hours will keep your home warm at night in the desert.

You just need to remove the plastic in February, since it was about 85 today…:smiley:

The disclosure statement begins: “To the best of my knowledge. . . .”

Who can truly tell what knowledge the seller does or does not have?

Or no advice at all.

I’ve never read any research that agrees with you. If there were any, then I would suspect that one might find auto-closing vents where, when the temperature fell below, say, 60°F, the vents would close themselves. Hey. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe I’ve just invented something that I can sell through Home Depot.

This got me thinking, yesterdays house had two layers of asphalt shingles. Should I add the ages together? Should I mention that the first roof was done?:wink:


Form our experience we have found using probabilities to be a better approach. We know what we are doing is not an exact science so we must use whatever clues we can see to come up with the most probable answer.

With roofing systems there are two issues that attorneys will get you one. One is for leakage and one is for replacement. In our reporting we cover both. I have attached a picture for a better understanding.

Firstly, what is the 5 year replacement probability of the roof that you are looking at? Determining the age is normally not a problem based on the condition of the roof covering, age of home, surrounding homes, slope, material etc.

Yes the lower the slope the shorter the life expectancy and the steeper the slope the longer the expectancy. Ventilation issues will cause granule wear and lesson the expectancy, roofing over with a second layer will also lesson anticipated roof life.

In our company for example, almost every roof less than ten to 12 years old has a low probability of replacement. Shallow roofs at 12 years may have a medium to high replacement probability.

On the other issue of leakage we use leakage probabilities based on roof complexities and age. The more complex a roof system, the higher the likelihood or probability of leakage. The older the roof the higher the likelihood or probability of leakage. On complicated or specialized roofing systems we also notify our clients to budget for higher annual maintenance where we believe it is needed.

Using probabilities is an excellent method of limiting your liability whether it is a roof system or HVAC system. Our software merely notes these within the report until such time as your client suffers from amnesia and you get the dreaded call that starts like “you did an inspection for me ……”

In closing our job is to reduce or minimize the likelihood to issues not eliminate the risk of home purchase. We are limited to what is visible and accessible and we cannot use destructive measures or specialist testing. In the same way every other business uses statistical information to make decisions and predictions we must do the same.

You would probably need to speak with a Hillbilly for corroborating evidence covering roof vents in the winter keeps a home in the Desert warm at night from the sun which shines everyday here…:smiley:

When I was young and had my first home here, I covered the turbines with plastic trash bags in December and January because most homes have very poor insulation here, the older ones, not being able to afford more insulation twenty five years ago it worked very well.

Make-shift enterprising you could call it. Removing the trash bags in February would be necessary, because the sun begins to regain its intensity, thus, starting to cook the attic and roof covering for the next year, which would lead to very premature deterioration of the shingles.

Dont forget your trash bag over your swamper on the roof too :wink:

A guy could make his living installing trash bags on roofs in that town…

Damn, I did have a Evaporative Cooler back then also, I forgot to mention it.

Thanks, Tony…:smiley:

Directly contradicting an owners statement about the roof age seems to be asking for trouble. The owner may produce proof as to the age of the roof.
We all know that many conditions, proper ventilation, proper installation and etc. control the life of a roof covering in our own geographic areas.
I simply put in my report that the roof covering material is PERFORMING as DESIGNED at the time of the inspection. IF I can find no evidence of leaks and no shingles or flashings show visible signs of lifting, rusting, curling and etc. If I observe that anything is marginal I input the phrase " Inspector recommends having a professional roofing contractor be retained to give an estimate of the roofs remaining use full life. No liability doing it this way.

Several years ago the property I was inspecting had a badly deteriorated roof. I stated that it was at the end of its useful life. The seller and her Realtor got me on a conference call and really laid into me. They had proof that the roof was only two years old, that proof being receipts for the new roof that was installed two years earlier.

Turns out that the roof installers put in a few new turbine vents to help with ventilation. Turns out that the owners’ neighbors came over and convinced them to put huge plastic trash bags on all the turbine vents to keep the cold air out of the attic. Cold air in San Diego doesn’t last long, so all the heat that we have literally burned the roof up.

Turns out that the roofing contractor would not honor the warranty, and neither would the manufacturer. The Seller wasn’t willing to put another new roof on, so my Client pulled out of the purchase.

Me too.

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Yeah, I went to an inspection last week, the listing agent was there and told the buyers that “Tom will tell you how old the roof is.”

Not. Once she went away I informed the clients that no one could tell how old the roof is by looking at it or touching it. I can tell them what I don’t see, such as staining, curling, moss/lichen growth etc. which would give some indication that it is older.

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Come on Kenton I can help you:p:D

I have been researching the age of asphalt shingles for 18 years and never once has it ever bitten me. Roof covering is one of the greatest expense of home ownership and in my opinion the buyer should have a general idea of when to expect to replace the roof covering short of a hail storm.

We as inspectors are in the liability business I meet it head on and do my best to manage it;-)

I give a guestimate as to the life expectancy. I don’t warranty my guess. People want to know and I think they deserve an opinion. So a guess, not a guaranty.
The reason is up until I get there all people have is the seller and Realtor, if in doubt I can refer them to the inspections department and they can see when and if a permit has been pulled.

Shingles are easier than the rest.

Its all easy Roy its just a matter of preconception :wink: