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  1. #1
    Todd Thomas's Avatar
    Todd Thomas Guest

    Default Shingle Life Question

    Good Day…
    I’m new to the profession and have an easy question for you old pros. How do you go about telling the age or gauge the life of an asphalt shingle?

    Thanks,
    Todd

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Memphis TN.
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Thomas View Post
    Good Day…
    How do you go about telling the age or gauge the life of an asphalt shingle?
    Thanks,
    Todd
    Todd,

    I don't. All I report is condition.

    Why would you want to state age, gauge,remaining warranty, remaining life of roof?

    If it needs repair/replacement call in the Roofer.If there is an active warranty The Property Owner may take advantage of it.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    In the home inspection business, I don't have to find out or identify the warranty type composition shingle. However, as an insurance adjuster, I do-- every claim.

    To effectively identify the proper shingle, I use the Haag Engineering shingle gauge:
    Haag Education

    It is the industry standard. You will also find publications there on one of those pages that will assist you greatly in dealing with failure analysis.

    If you ever get a chance, take the Haag Certified Roofing Inspector course. This is an expensive course, but well worth the money. The course I took, there were folks from almost every state in the union there and to a person, stated it was the best education value they have ever taken.

    rr


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Todd,

    I look for granular erosion, cracking and curling. I also pay attention to the starter strips at the first course cutouts. I'll usually give a range of age, 3-5 years, 10+. I let the client know that my numbers are more of an guesstimate but I usually am pretty close.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Healdsburg, CA
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Todd, your getting good advice and here's what I would add: Before you inspect the roof covering always check the electrical main service as many jurisdictions leave their job-site inspection permits within the service enclosure. This will usually tell you the age of the building, which can be an important clue if the roof covering is original. On a comp shingle roof I always bent the tip of a shingle between thumb and forefinger to check brittleness. A shingle with lots of life left would be pliable and bend easily where an old shingle would snap off. Never attempt to guess how long any roof covering will last as that’s not your job, but only its current condition at the time of inspection. Be sure and look around at the neighboring roofs as that info also supplies clues. Remember, we are “real time” detectives at a crime scene disclosing what we see in the now - not clairvoyant’s prophesizing the future.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  6. #6
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    Oct 2003
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    Rockwall Texas
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Todd,

    As with the other comments, I agree. When my client asks me how much life is left on a roof, I tell them "Till the day when it needs to be replaced"

    If I told them it has say 5 years, and a hail storm or a summer of 100+ days it could lessen the life or even need to be tore off and replaced. Yet, they are going remember I told them 5 years.

    Giving guessimates as such is a bad idea in my opinion.

    rick


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Perhaps I should clarify. In my experience, asphalt shingles last 15 - 20 years. After you do enough of these inspections you begin to get a feel for their approximate age. I've seen them last quite a bit longer and fail sooner than expected.

    Rick is correct, clients tend to have selective memory. I don't hesitate to tell clients that I've occasionally been way off base in my guesstimates. It helps them realize that as an inspector I also can have my limitations like anyone else and getting that point across to them is paramount to me. Clients seem to appreciate such effort in providing as much info as you can, even if it may sometimes be a bit "iffy."

    It's been shown that if you genuinely and honestly do your best and convey that to the client, that they are significantly more inclined to be forgiving of oversights or problems found after the inspection.

    Whether or not an inspector gives out age or remaining life estimates is a personal call. I fault neither approach and understand both.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  8. #8
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Here is the one I like....

    Buyer(lookin up at me on the roof): "How'z the roof?"

    Me (looking down from the roof): "You don't have alot of life left on it. You'd better budget for replacement as it's on the back-slide of it's life expectacy. You might get 5 years out of it, but the next good storm should take care of any remaining life it has."

    Buyer: "What!! The seller said he just replaced the roof a couple of years ago..."

    Me: "Yep. There are a couple of shingles that were replaced at the ridge-- that's the shingle replacement he talked about."


  9. #9
    Todd Thomas's Avatar
    Todd Thomas Guest

    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Thanks for all of the great advise and comments....I'm not looking to give the age or remaining roof life so much.....as a few of the other inspectors in the area do tell those things in their reports and I was trying to figure out why and how they did it. I've seen the reports and have had a RE agent ask me why I didn't put down how old the shingles are and the remaining years in the report.

    Oh well......

    Thanks again.

    Todd
    Thomas Certified Home Inspections, LLC


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Thomas View Post
    Thanks for all of the great advise and comments....I'm not looking to give the age or remaining roof life so much.....as a few of the other inspectors in the area do tell those things in their reports and I was trying to figure out why and how they did it. I've seen the reports and have had a RE agent ask me why I didn't put down how old the shingles are and the remaining years in the report.

    Oh well......

    Thanks again.

    Todd
    Thomas Certified Home Inspections, LLC
    As you are in TN, the owner is suppose to list the age of the shingles on the state required disclosure form. Yes, I know that this does not always happen, but the RE agents should not depend on you looking into your crystal ball!

    In your area 20 year, 3-tab shingles will last about 12-15 years. The architectural grade shingles, last 15-20 years maybe a little longer. It all depends on the weather, slope, ventilation, trees, and several other factors.

    I don't attempt to give an age but I do report that the roof is in the last third of its life if it looks like the roof has some age to it but it does not need replacing. To me if I see the white threads of the fiberglass mat, the roof is toast and needs replacing. If I see hail damage, curling, puckering , tearing, cracking, etc., it needs replacing.

    Bottom line is that it takes experience and looking at hundreds to thousands of roofs to really know the approximate age of one. Once you understand the various stages of ageing and the conditions that impact a roof, it is fairly easy.

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 11-03-2007 at 08:09 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
    Joe Nernberg's Avatar
    Joe Nernberg Guest

    Cool Re: Shingle Life Question

    How long will a 30-year roof last... in Alaska and Florida? Same roof - different climate. After you answer, then tell me if orientation, color and roof pitch play a part in life expectancy.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
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    Default Re: Shingle Life Question

    Plumbing vent flashings often have ages stamped on them which can be a good clue.

    On newer buildings you can often estimate and age just by the year the structure it was built. For example, you're called to a 1980 house.... it's 2008 and the roof is definitely not original..... most likely it was installed around the 15-20 year mark so it would be about 8 to 13 years old.

    I don't use any single approach.... it's more a group of clues I gather that eventually leads to an estimate.

    I'm one who lists an approximate age on the report. If I can't gather enough clues I will occasionally use the 'unknown' designation. I've never had a problem related to and age estimate I gave on a report. As someone else mentioned, I can see both sides of the argument. Like a lot of things it comes down to how I was shown the business.

    edit: And of course the most obvious..... what it looks/feels like.


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