Is Your Roof About to Expire? A Checklist for Identifying Old Roofing

Roof Owner's Checklist | March 16, 2021

The Age of Your Roof is Important

Learn how to spot an old roof by visual inspection

No matter what kind of roof you have, it has an expiration date. It might be next year, or it might have technically been five years ago. It might be thirty years away. But every roof has a lifespan and it’s important to know how many years your roof has left before it needs to be replaced.

Keeping your current roof for too long can cause damage to your building, including leaks and long-term structural problems.

Even if you’re within the warrantied lifespan of your roof, you’ll want to monitor it as it ages, because a variety of potential problems can threaten newer roofing. Severe weather, improper maintenance, and poor installation can all shorten the life expectancy of your roof.

Know Your Roof’s History

If you’ve owned your building for a long time, chances are you remember the last reroof. If you remember when it was, it’s easy to figure out your roof’s estimated expiration. You might need to contact the company that installed it for warranty information.

If you’ve bought your home or business location since the last reroof, it’s even more important to learn about your roof and monitor it for signs that it needs to be repaired or replaced.

Keep an Eye On Your Roof

If you know what to look for, you can monitor your own roof and be prepared for signs of damage or aging.

How can I identify an old roof?

Watch your roof surface periodically for signs of aging, like:

  • Torn or crooked roofing material
  • Missing shingles
  • Dips or bulges in the roof
  • Stains on the roof
  • Pooling water or standing ice
  • Moss or other growth on the roof
  • Large icicles in the winter

If you have attic access, it’s also important to check the underside of the roof for things like:

  • Moisture
  • Stains
  • Excessive heat or cold
  • Dips or bulges
  • Rotten wood

If you have safe roof access, you can also walk the roof to look for signs of damage. If your roof is high or has a steep pitch, don’t attempt to inspect the roof yourself – hire a professional roof inspector. For more info on hiring a professional roof inspection, contact Joyland Roofing today.

Warning Signs for Residential Roofing

In addition to inspecting your roof’s surface and underlayment, you’ll want to look at the components of your home’s roof. These warning signs include:

  • Flashing (the metal that goes around things like chimneys and skylights – it should all be solid and no pieces should be missing)
  • Caulk (anywhere caulk is present, it should be unbroken)
  • Corners and gutters (any buildup of debris or leaves should be removed)
  • Decking (the roof should feel strong and stable everywhere)

Warning Sings for Commercial Roofing

Wear and damage on commercial flat roofing will look different. Here are some warning signs to keep an eye out for:

  • Soft spots
  • Cracked or brittle tape on corners or seams
  • Curling or peeling tape and seams
  • Pooling water
  • Caulk (anywhere caulk is present, it should be unbroken)


An Ounce of Prevention

It’s better to learn about small problems with your roof while they’re still small problems. Maintenance is especially important if you have a flat or low slope roof. Rubber, TPO, or other membrane roofing systems for flat roofs require consistent maintenance to stay watertight for their estimated lifespan.

With proper inspection and maintenance, you can add years to your roof’s life. You can also prevent problems spreading to the rest of your house, and protect your possessions from possible weather damage.

At Joyland Roofing, we offer professional inspection services for both residential and commercial roofs. Our expert inspectors will carefully check your roof and attic to assess the lifespan of your roof and any potential problem areas, taking thorough pictures and discussing your options to maximize the durability of your roof.

To learn about the condition of your roof, and to develop a maintenance plan that will protect your roof for years to come, contact Joyland Roofing to request an inspection for your roof.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in March 2021.