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  1. #1

    Default Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    I am a home inspector for about two years now in the Saint Louis area.

    One thing I have had a very difficult time with while trying to constantly become a better inspector is estimating the age of the roof shingles, and it seems to be one of the most common questions I get.

    I can obviously tell when shingles are at or near the end of their useful life and I can also tell when they are less than six months old or so but everywhere in the middle is very hard for me to be sure and I often try to guess if my client really wants to know (while also notifying them that I can in no way be certain) but I don't want to have to guess at all.

    How confident are some of you at estimating the shingle age and how do you do it and how do you express that to your client?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    I try and give an estimate as to age but usually give a range of age. Example, the shingles appear to be 5-10 years, 10-15 years, et cetera. It can be daunting. However I am also quick to tell the client to query the vendor as to age and/or if there is a warranty remaining on the shingles and whether they have undertaken repairs. Further I indicate exposure, ventilation, colour, slope, quality of shingle, installation, all play a part in aging.

    Thats how I have always relayed info to my clients and touch wood after 24 years of inspecting have never had a problem in reporting in the manner I do.

    Last edited by Raymond Wand; 02-17-2015 at 03:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    One clue is to look at the rubber flashing boots at plumbing vents. In my area, they usually start cracking at 7 - 8 years. I look for stuff in the gutters, and gradual loss at edges of shingles.

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    One clue is to look at the rubber flashing boots at plumbing vents. In my area, they usually start cracking at 7 - 8 years. I look for stuff in the gutters, and gradual loss at edges of shingles.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    In my area, 3 tab last about 20 yrs. Look at the age of the home. 30 year old home, they probably replaced the roof between 17-23 years of house life. Shingles are probably about 15 years old.

    Architectural shingle last about 25 years in my area. Based on age of home, can usually get within a 5 year range. We have hail storms here and the insurance companies replace roofs right after the storms. Sellers often say thing like we replaced the roof after the hail storm of 07.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Sadly, it takes experience with roofs of known age to get competent in estimating age. Like several have said, aging is area dependent. Around here, our UV eats roofs. Poor attic ventilation is common which accelerates aging. Always try to learn the age of the roof. Then you can say profound things like, "The shingles look about right for that age" or "The shingles look worse than I'd expect for that age." All the while, you are learning how to estimate the age.

    Also, staying abreast of code changes and area hail storms can help. For instance, here most of the AHJs started requiring edge flashing on gable ends about two years ago. So, when I see that edge flashing on a good looking roof, I can reasonably estimate it at less than two years.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Of course I use the age of the home, the last hail storm, etc. I tell clients on site that there are 3 'main' indicators I check to determine the age of the shingles (if they are not very old). Deterioration around the edges. Cracking or loss of aggregate in the body of the shingles. And how flexible/brittle. Between the 3 I come up with a good 'guess'. I also tell them it is still a 'guess', and I limit it to less than 5 years old, 5 to 10, 10 to 15, more than 15 years, or old (replace now or budget for replacement in a few years).

    I also have disclaimers in my comments. Here is my comment from yesterdays inspection.


    "The roof is covered with one layer of architectural composition shingles. The shingles are in good condition. Some minor deterioration around the edges was noted, mostly on the rear and right slopes. The shingles are likely original, or about 10 years old. Typical life expectancy for shingles in our area is 15 to 20 years, although I have seen some architectural shingles make it 25 years. Please keep in mind that it is very difficult to estimate age or remaining life of composition shingles. Some shingles start showing wear within 2 or 3 years, and I have seen 10 year old shingles that look almost new. Both usually have similar life expediencies, the shingles that don't show wear for many years can deteriorate rapidly when nearing the end of their useful life."



    If the home is older the comment will not have 'are likely original'. It will be replaced with "are estimated to be 5 to 10 years old". I always describe the basis for my age estimate: deterioration, cracking, curling, brittle, etc. Some will say I'm being wimpy. By saying 5 to 10 years old, and life expectancy is 20 to 25 years, there could be 20 years left or 10 years left. I'm not doing that to cover my but. I'd doing it because it's the best I can do. I have seen shingles that looked 10 years old, but when I inspected the same home 6 years later they were almost shot. Looking at the photos from those 2 inspections you would never have guessed that only 6 years had passed. Some shingles look good for a long time, but then go downhill very fast.

    I always take photos, and give my best estimate at age. And I always alert my clients if I think there are less than 5 years left, and/or other important improvements are needed.

    -

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    If the flashings at the plumbing vent pipes are plastic, look for the manufactures date of manufacture. This will usually give you the date the roof was last replaced. Of course if the flashings were replaced due to UV failure, usually 7-8 years after installation, you can still calculate the age of the roof. Another way is to know the age of the home and calculating with the known estimated life span of the roof covering used.

    - - - Updated - - -

    If the flashings at the plumbing vent pipes are plastic, look for the manufactures date of manufacture. This will usually give you the date the roof was last replaced. Of course if the flashings were replaced due to UV failure, usually 7-8 years after installation, you can still calculate the age of the roof. Another way is to know the age of the home and calculating with the known estimated life span of the roof covering used.

    - - - Updated - - -

    If the flashings at the plumbing vent pipes are plastic, look for the manufactures date of manufacture. This will usually give you the date the roof was last replaced. Of course if the flashings were replaced due to UV failure, usually 7-8 years after installation, you can still calculate the age of the roof. Another way is to know the age of the home and calculating with the known estimated life span of the roof covering used.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Here is what is in my report:

    As with all areas of the house, I recommend that you carefully examine the roof immediately prior to closing the deal. Note that walking on a roof voids some manufacturer’s warranties. Adequate attic ventilation, solar / wind exposure, and organic debris all affect the life expectancy of a roof (see GAF | Roofing Shingles & Materials for roof info). Always ask the seller about the age and history of the roof. On any home that is over 3 years old, experts recommend that you obtain a roof certification from an established local roofing company to determine its serviceability and the number of layers on the roof. I certainly recommend this for any roof over 5 years of age.


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    The Log Beach Home Inspector


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Here is what is in my report:

    As with all areas of the house, I recommend that you carefully examine the roof immediately prior to closing the deal. Note that walking on a roof voids some manufacturer’s warranties. Adequate attic ventilation, solar / wind exposure, and organic debris all affect the life expectancy of a roof (see GAF | Roofing Shingles & Materials for roof info). Always ask the seller about the age and history of the roof. On any home that is over 3 years old, experts recommend that you obtain a roof certification from an established local roofing company to determine its serviceability and the number of layers on the roof. I certainly recommend this for any roof over 5 years of age.


    Regards

    Fred Sweezer Sr.
    The Log Beach Home Inspector


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Sweezer Sr View Post
    Note that walking on a roof voids some manufacturer’s warranties.

    Did not know that. What manufacturers have this limit on their warranties?


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  11. #11

    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Good info. Thanks for sharing!

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    Good info. Thanks for sharing!


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    Around here, our UV eats roofs.
    Agreed.. UV can make a huge difference. I have a shop with one side due south, other due north.

    South side was replace around 10 years old.. north side was a hardly showing any wear at that age.

    At around 20 years .. did both sides .. but the north still did not really need it.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Or...you could just contact the AHJ and find out the actual age. Just a thought...

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    Or...you could just contact the AHJ and find out the actual age. Just a thought...
    Only if it was permitted ... and if the AHJ hasn't lost the permits ... and if the AHJ didn't lose the records in a storm ... and if (I've found all those and more).

    So, it is "best" (i.e., "most convenient") to become accustomed what composition shingles look like in your area as they age over time ... and that comes from experience ... which is where the original poster is starting at and asking about.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Only if it was permitted ... and if the AHJ hasn't lost the permits ... and if the AHJ didn't lose the records in a storm ... and if (I've found all those and more).

    So, it is "best" (i.e., "most convenient") to become accustomed what composition shingles look like in your area as they age over time ... and that comes from experience ... which is where the original poster is starting at and asking about.
    If the roofing system wasn't permitted, things get pretty cut and dry.

    I have yet to come across a situation were a permit was "lost" or the "records were lost in a storm", not that it deosn't happen. If there's no trail, how did they know it was lost?

    Digital records will at least show a trail, especially within the current usable life cycle of a roofing system (15-25 years is going back to 1990).

    Estimating age of a roofing system is an inaccurate science without this information, no matter how familiar you are with your climate or zone. I have seen roofing systems that are 5 years old that look like they are 25 years old, and 25 year old roofing systems that look like they are 5 years old.

    With every inspection I actually visit the building department and review all documentation, so that's were I was coming from. It is my opinion, and always will be, performing a home inspection without actually walking into the building department is useless.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Not all jurisdictions require permits for re-shingle. My area does not require a permit.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Not all jurisdictions require permits for re-shingle. My area does not require a permit.
    Besides the fact you are in another conuntry than the OP, there are more ways to verify age that do not include a permit. Such as a receipt from a licensed Contractor, documentation from the manufacturer of the shingles.

    Look at it like this, if you are inspecting the electrical equipment and they are no labels for UL, would you call it out as being non-complaint with the NEC or just estimate the age and move on?

    What if the A/C system was missing the manufacturer labels, would you just estimate the age and move on?

    If the plumbing lines were not marked or labeled, would you just estimate the age and move on?

    Without documentation to confirm compliance, proper installation, compatible materials, or even compliance with minimal standards...how do you know what it is?

    My point is, trying to estimate the age of a roofing system with nothing to reference as far as material type, manufacturer, installation techniques, or compliance with codes is pointless. The inspection report should note all of this...and not just an estimate of age. In most states this is required, and if it can't be confirmed through documentation it should be noted as such as it may not meet even the most minimum of code requirements due to the fact you have nothing to reference.

    Why even put yourself out there in that fashion?

    In your case, as example only, if no permit is required and no documentation can be supplied confirming manufacturer, installation by a qualified contractor, nor mimimum complaince with codes....what is it? Is estimating the age accomplishing anything?


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Receipts are not always available since the home may have been sold several times since shingle installation. Many people do not keep receipts, nor remember quality of shingles as examples. Nor do people keep wrappers.

    As to electrical panel if there are no labels I will estimate the age. Just because labels are missing is not necessarily indicative the panel is not certified or inferior or wrong.

    As to the AC there are many instances where the label has faded or not accessible. So again I estimate age and move on.

    Plumbing lines not marked? I fail to see a reason to document that.

    Are you doing code inspections? I am not and see know need to know plumbing markings unless it Kitec or other known problem concerning a recall.

    Sometimes you have to go with what is present, and guess, and hope one is right. There are times when there is no documented history, receipts, or other and one must use their experience to make the call. I don't plan on doing anything different as per the SOP. And since you are in a licenced state the requirements are apparently different.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Receipts are not always available since the home may have been sold several times since shingle installation. Many people do not keep receipts, nor remember quality of shingles as examples. Nor do people keep wrappers.

    As to electrical panel if there are no labels I will estimate the age. Just because labels are missing is not necessarily indicative the panel is not certified or inferior or wrong.

    As to the AC there are many instances where the label has faded or not accessible. So again I estimate age and move on.

    Plumbing lines not marked? I fail to see a reason to document that.

    Are you doing code inspections? I am not and see know need to know plumbing markings unless it Kitec or other known problem concerning a recall.

    Sometimes you have to go with what is present, and guess, and hope one is right. There are times when there is no documented history, receipts, or other and one must use their experience to make the call. I don't plan on doing anything different as per the SOP. And since you are in a licenced state the requirements are apparently different.

    there's a good chance our standards are evry similar, and i do use and quote code in my reports.

    This is my thought process on estimating age of components: to do so (estimated age)without documentation to verify age sets things up for conclusion based on two uncertainties, age and service life. If you have no inforamtion either way, it can set things up for a decision based upon non-facts and to many variables. The client, or another party, can and most likely will make a determination on the information you give in the report, it should ALL be based off of fact!

    If factual information can not be attained, as you stated, this and the unlimited variables should be stated completely including possible scenarios relating to non-compliance with minimum codes. This is the inforamtion the client should make a decision on, not guessing...

    ...anyway, just becuase I do it that way doesn't require everyone else to....there are 50 ways to skin a cat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Receipts are not always available since the home may have been sold several times since shingle installation. Many people do not keep receipts, nor remember quality of shingles as examples. Nor do people keep wrappers.

    As to electrical panel if there are no labels I will estimate the age. Just because labels are missing is not necessarily indicative the panel is not certified or inferior or wrong.

    As to the AC there are many instances where the label has faded or not accessible. So again I estimate age and move on.

    Plumbing lines not marked? I fail to see a reason to document that.

    Are you doing code inspections? I am not and see know need to know plumbing markings unless it Kitec or other known problem concerning a recall.

    Sometimes you have to go with what is present, and guess, and hope one is right. There are times when there is no documented history, receipts, or other and one must use their experience to make the call. I don't plan on doing anything different as per the SOP. And since you are in a licenced state the requirements are apparently different.

    there's a good chance our standards are evry similar, and i do use and quote code in my reports.

    This is my thought process on estimating age of components: to do so (estimated age)without documentation to verify age sets things up for conclusion based on two uncertainties, age and service life. If you have no inforamtion either way, it can set things up for a decision based upon non-facts and to many variables. The client, or another party, can and most likely will make a determination on the information you give in the report, it should ALL be based off of fact!

    If factual information can not be attained, as you stated, this and the unlimited variables should be stated completely including possible scenarios relating to non-compliance with minimum codes. This is the inforamtion the client should make a decision on, not guessing...

    ...anyway, just becuase I do it that way doesn't require everyone else to....there are 50 ways to skin a cat.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Rob,

    Here are just one example of losing permits:
    - In the early 1990's I was checking on some permits in Wilton Manors and was told that all their per-1988 (I believe it was 1988) permit records were lost when the roof of the building the permits was stored in collapsed during a storm.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rob,

    Here are just one example of losing permits:
    - In the early 1990's I was checking on some permits in Wilton Manors and was told that all their per-1988 (I believe it was 1988) permit records were lost when the roof of the building the permits was stored in collapsed during a storm.
    "I have yet to come across a situation were a permit was "lost" or the "records were lost in a storm", not that it doesn't happen"


    I have dealt with Wilton Manors a few times and I think I remember them saying something different....the story I got was very different from yours. They told me some information (hard copies) didn't get transfered from Fort Lauderdale and I should check there. Went back and forth a few times but got the permit date only.

    Like I said , I'm not doublting you Jerry...just saying I have never been told "lost" or "Storm damage"

    The point I was making, and my only point, is as a professional what purpose does it serve to provide a client information on a structure based on an guess? Even and educated guess? We wouldn't do the same thing with eletrical or plumbing....or HVAC for that matter. If any of these components were not labeled we wouldn't waste or time trying to determine age, we would state they do not meet the minimum requirements for code as they are not adequately labeled and can not be identified/verified.

    But with a roofing system, especially shingles, with no documentation, permit, receipt, manufacturer's specifications, listing of compliance with regional standards and code practices we are going to make the assumption of age so the client can make a financial decision on the investment of 100's of thousands of dollars?

    Strictly considering our state, a roofing system with no permit or documentation, whether lost by the city or replaced without, it should be documented in every home inspectors report that verification of minimal code compliance and manufacturer's specifications can not be verified as specifics of the type/material/applicability to region/fastening/and installation by a qualified contractor are not available to the inspector. Unless documentation can be supplied by the contractor, homeowner, or city...it is unfair to supply your client with a guess as to the age that may be 3-5 years off.

    my 2 cents...


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Rob,

    Here's another example:
    - I went but Miami Beach (years ago) and they had relocated their building department to another building while their old building was undergoing renovations.

    I was researching permits for a particular property and they could only find parts of the incomplete file - I made copies of everything.

    A few years later (after they had moved back into their renovated building) I went back to see if they had found the rest of the file ... not only had they not found the missing information ... *I* had more information than they had - they had lost even more information in the move back to the renovated offices.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rob,

    Here's another example:
    - I went but Miami Beach (years ago) and they had relocated their building department to another building while their old building was undergoing renovations.

    I was researching permits for a particular property and they could only find parts of the incomplete file - I made copies of everything.

    A few years later (after they had moved back into their renovated building) I went back to see if they had found the rest of the file ... not only had they not found the missing information ... *I* had more information than they had - they had lost even more information in the move back to the renovated offices.
    Jerry, I'm starting to get the feeling you think I don't believe you....I do!

    And in your report, did you refernce all of this or just estimate the age and move on?


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Doesn't take long to get a feel for roof life in one's own area.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Doesn't take long to get a feel for roof life in one's own area.

    Tile, if you could see the manufacturer's insignia or recognize a design, would be slightly easier. But, you could still be off 2-4 years on estimating age, 2-4 years is very important if trying to estimate the age of a 10 or 11 year old roofing system.

    that being said.....the OP was referencing shingles...


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    Tile, if you could see the manufacturer's insignia or recognize a design, would be slightly easier. But, you could still be off 2-4 years on estimating age, 2-4 years is very important if trying to estimate the age of a 10 or 11 year old roofing system.

    that being said.....the OP was referencing shingles...
    "But, you could still be off 2-4 years on estimating age, 2-4 years is very important if trying to estimate the age of a 10 or 11 year old roofing system."

    2-4 years is meaningless (of no or very limited consequence) on a 10-11 year old tile roofing system ... especially when "estimating" the age.

    The TILE will last hundreds, if not thousands, or years.

    The tile UNDERLAYMENT is the key to a tile roof system and you can't (shouldn't be able to) see the tile underlayment (which is why it is called "under"layment ).

    The tile underlayment should, in most cases, have a life or 20 years or more, and, *IF*
    properly protected from the elements (as it should be) then possibly even longer for regular organic 90# felt underlayment and especially a 30/90 hot mopped underlayment.

    The main problems with tile roofs is that the roofers do not cover the organic felt as they are supposed to and leave it exposed to sunlight, in which case it's life expectancy is between 2-4 years, possibly as long as 4-6 years, in South Florida. But you don't need to estimate the age of the exposed organic felt underlayment ... if it is organic felt underlayment and it is exposed then: 1) it was done wrong anyway and needs to be removed and replaced; 2) probably already shot and thus need to be removed and replaced; 3) see both 1) and 2).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "But, you could still be off 2-4 years on estimating age, 2-4 years is very important if trying to estimate the age of a 10 or 11 year old roofing system."

    2-4 years is meaningless (of no or very limited consequence) on a 10-11 year old tile roofing system ... especially when "estimating" the age.

    The TILE will last hundreds, if not thousands, or years.

    The tile UNDERLAYMENT is the key to a tile roof system and you can't (shouldn't be able to) see the tile underlayment (which is why it is called "under"layment ).

    The tile underlayment should, in most cases, have a life or 20 years or more, and, *IF*
    properly protected from the elements (as it should be) then possibly even longer for regular organic 90# felt underlayment and especially a 30/90 hot mopped underlayment.

    The main problems with tile roofs is that the roofers do not cover the organic felt as they are supposed to and leave it exposed to sunlight, in which case it's life expectancy is between 2-4 years, possibly as long as 4-6 years, in South Florida. But you don't need to estimate the age of the exposed organic felt underlayment ... if it is organic felt underlayment and it is exposed then: 1) it was done wrong anyway and needs to be removed and replaced; 2) probably already shot and thus need to be removed and replaced; 3) see both 1) and 2).
    I have lived in 4 different countries Jerry, including one that had slate roofing systems over 800 years old. Brazil was the most interesting, strictly board and batten systems with no underlayment....no leaking.

    Shingles.....as requested by the original poster......estimating age can give the buyer a false sense of time in relation to replacement or remaining life. If you estimate the roofing system to be 10 years old, and it turns out to be 14, per your words, they could be replacing that system 4 years earlier than expected. After all.... "2-4 years is meaningless".....unless you're the one paying for it.

    Last edited by Robert Sheppard; 03-08-2015 at 12:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    I have lived in 4 different countries Jerry, including one that had slate roofing systems over 800 years old. Brazil was the most interesting, strictly bord and batten systems with no underlayment....no leaking.

    Shingles.....as requested by the original poster......estimating age can give the buyer a false sense of time in realtion to replacement or remaining life. if you estimate the roofing system to be 10 years old, and it turns out to be 14, per your words, they could be replcing that system 4 years earlier than expected. After all.... "2-4 years is meaningless".....unless you're the one paying for it.
    Rob,

    Apparently living in all those countries hasn't helped your communication skills.

    YOU brought up TILE.

    I referred to TILE.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rob,

    Apparently living in all those countries hasn't helped your communication skills.

    YOU brought up TILE.

    I referred to TILE.

    Never said I wasn't the one who brought it up....but out of respect for the OP, who problably didn't make this thread to hear us squable back and forth, I refocused it back to the original topic.

    As far as my "communication skills"....you may just be right.

    Per your admission, you can be 2-4 years off when guessing the age of a roofing system and "it's meaningless"!

    Are you paying to replace that roofing system? If the owner bought the home thinking they had 5-6 years left to replace it and they find out they have only 1......that's not an issue?

    Stating you can be 2-4 years off just by quessing is a startling admission...then to say it's meaningless?

    I'm not sure about that Jerry, I would be pissed if you inspected my home and estimated the shingle roofing system to be 10-12 years old and I find out it's actually 14-16 years old. Now I'm replacing it 4 years sooner than I budgeted for....based off of YOUR report.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    As far as my "communication skills"....you may just be right.
    I am more right than even I thought ... go back and re-read my post you keep starting to quote and then apparently get side tracked and don't finish the quote.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I am more right than even I thought ... go back and re-read my post you keep starting to quote and then apparently get side tracked and don't finish the quote.
    So you never said "2-4 years is meaningless (of no or very limited consequence) on a 10-11 year old tile roofing system ... especially when "estimating" the age."


    As a buyer, and I have owned a home before, if my home inspector told me a roofing system (tile or shingle) was 10-12 years old and it turned out to be 12-16 causing me to replace it 2-4 years sooner than I budgeted for, I would be pissed!

    As home inspectors, it doesn't matter what we feel is "acceptable", it's up to us to provide the client with clear and ACCURATE details so they can make an educated decision about one of the most important purchases they will ever make. Sometimes, we need to step back from our inspectors cap and take a look at things through the buyers eyes.

    Ask someone not in the business, someone not familiar with our practices or the construction trade. Ask them this:

    "If you paid me to perform a home inspection, and I had to estimate the age of a roofing system and was off by 2-4 years making cause for replacement sooner than you anticipated when purchasing the property, would you not be happy?"

    As inspectors, we need to document what we can verify, and verify what we document. Guessing or estimating is not part of the equation.....ask people not in the business, like most of our clients.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Robert wrote in part:
    Per your admission, you can be 2-4 years off when guessing the age of a roofing system and "it's meaningless"!

    Are you paying to replace that roofing system? If the owner bought the home thinking they had 5-6 years left to replace it and they find out they have only 1......that's not an issue?
    If there is no compelling documents provided by the vendor, or the inspector does not have any information indicating the age of the shingles, or quality of shingle, then the inspector cannot be found at fault for estimating remaining life or estimating age, based solely what is present or not present, and barring any compelling evidence to the contrary. In addition shingles (per your example) with only one year left remaining should be very evident to a skilled and experienced inspector. Perhaps this was a bad example offered, but none the less the fact remains inspectors are at the mercy of what is evident during the course of an visual inspection, and inferences often have to be made that are not always accurate.

    Hence if an inspector conducted his inspection under the above assumptions and under recognized industry standards, and the purchaser subsequently finds that there is actually less life left in the shingles the purchaser would have to prove the inspector was negligent.

    In order to succeed in court the plaintiff must prove 5 points to be successful (quoting Canadian case law here, and US case law may require the same standards)
    These are:

    a) there must be a duty of care based on a "special relationship" between the representor and the representee;

    b) the representation in question must be untrue, inaccurate, or misleading;

    c) the representor must have acted negligently in making said misrepresentation;

    At the very least the inspector should state in the report that the purchaser must make further inquiries of the vendor to ascertain the age of shingles, or repairs, warranties et ceteras as this information is not available to the inspector.

    d) the representee must have relied, in a reasonable manner, on said negligent misrepresentation; and

    e) the reliance must have been detrimental to the representee in the sense that damages resulted.

    Further the inspector up against your scenario would be well advised to state in report for purchaser to further query vendor as to age, quality, warranty if any on the shingles prior to close of title in order to satisfy himself. And any conditions limiting the inspection should be noted in the report.


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Robert wrote in part:

    If there is no compelling documents provided by the vendor, or the inspector does not have any information indicating the age of the shingles, or quality of shingle, then the inspector cannot be found at fault for estimating remaining life or estimating age, based solely what is present or not present, and barring any compelling evidence to the contrary. In addition shingles (per your example) with only one year left remaining should be very evident to a skilled and experienced inspector. Perhaps this was a bad example offered, but none the less the fact remains inspectors are at the mercy of what is evident during the course of an visual inspection, and inferences often have to be made that are not always accurate.

    Hence if an inspector conducted his inspection under the above assumptions and under recognized industry standards, and the purchaser subsequently finds that there is actually less life left in the shingles the purchaser would have to prove the inspector was negligent.

    In order to succeed in court the plaintiff must prove 5 points to be successful (quoting Canadian case law here, and US case law may require the same standards)
    These are:

    a) there must be a duty of care based on a "special relationship" between the representor and the representee;

    b) the representation in question must be untrue, inaccurate, or misleading;

    c) the representor must have acted negligently in making said misrepresentation;

    At the very least the inspector should state in the report that the purchaser must make further inquiries of the vendor to ascertain the age of shingles, or repairs, warranties et ceteras as this information is not available to the inspector.

    d) the representee must have relied, in a reasonable manner, on said negligent misrepresentation; and

    e) the reliance must have been detrimental to the representee in the sense that damages resulted.

    Further the inspector up against your scenario would be well advised to state in report for purchaser to further query vendor as to age, quality, warranty if any on the shingles prior to close of title in order to satisfy himself. And any conditions limiting the inspection should be noted in the report.
    The last paragraph is exactly my point, the "estimating" is what I have a problem with. At the point of no documentation, why even comment on age? You said everything you neded to say in the last paragraph.


  34. #34

    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Robert wrote in part:

    If there is no compelling documents provided by the vendor, or the inspector does not have any information indicating the age of the shingles, or quality of shingle, then the inspector cannot be found at fault for estimating remaining life or estimating age, based solely what is present or not present, and barring any compelling evidence to the contrary. In addition shingles (per your example) with only one year left remaining should be very evident to a skilled and experienced inspector. Perhaps this was a bad example offered, but none the less the fact remains inspectors are at the mercy of what is evident during the course of an visual inspection, and inferences often have to be made that are not always accurate.

    Hence if an inspector conducted his inspection under the above assumptions and under recognized industry standards, and the purchaser subsequently finds that there is actually less life left in the shingles the purchaser would have to prove the inspector was negligent.

    In order to succeed in court the plaintiff must prove 5 points to be successful (quoting Canadian case law here, and US case law may require the same standards)
    These are:

    a) there must be a duty of care based on a "special relationship" between the representor and the representee;

    b) the representation in question must be untrue, inaccurate, or misleading;

    c) the representor must have acted negligently in making said misrepresentation;

    At the very least the inspector should state in the report that the purchaser must make further inquiries of the vendor to ascertain the age of shingles, or repairs, warranties et ceteras as this information is not available to the inspector.

    d) the representee must have relied, in a reasonable manner, on said negligent misrepresentation; and

    e) the reliance must have been detrimental to the representee in the sense that damages resulted.

    Further the inspector up against your scenario would be well advised to state in report for purchaser to further query vendor as to age, quality, warranty if any on the shingles prior to close of title in order to satisfy himself. And any conditions limiting the inspection should be noted in the report.
    Very similar here, just use the words "plaintiff" and "defendant" in place of "representee" and "representor". Otherwise these are exactly what has to happen. In other words, if the plaintiff can prove he relied upon your representations, (your report), and suffered injury by way of monetary loss, you are screwed.

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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    So you never said "[B][I]2-4 years is meaningless (of no or very limited consequence) on a 10-11 year old tile roofing system ... especially when "estimating" the age.[/b [
    Sooo ... you finally got the full quote - good for you ... you are learning ... NOW put the quote back into context.

    In case you need help with the context - read the part of the quote you had been avoiding but finally included in the above.

    Now you can (provided you grasp the above) respond to the above in context with the above.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Nobody respects Jerry's opinion more than myself, he has probably forgotten more than I will ever know. It's common for HI's to disagree, to common if you asked me.


    What concerns me is exactly what Jeff pointed out, not so much being sued but providing information you know not to be accurate and possibly putting the client in a position to make a decision off of what they feel is a certainty when it's just an guess and may be way off base.

    I visit the building department on every inspection, EVERY inspection. If I can not verify, I'm certainly not going to certify or provide information to my paying client unless I know for a fact it's accurate. It does them no good!

    You have one job, to provide your client with information on the condition and deficiencies of the structure being inspected. You are not to overstate or understate any position in relation to the structure....estimating age of a component with nothing to back it up is guessing, not estimating.

    Estimate = an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something:

    If you comment on age with nothing to verify the original install date, that's guessing as you have no idea when it was installed. You make a guess based on possible signs and clues, but it's still a guess.

    If you comment on remaining service life from the documented and verified age of the component, that's estimating...


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Sooo ... you finally got the full quote - good for you ... you are learning ... NOW put the quote back into context.

    In case you need help with the context - read the part of the quote you had been avoiding but finally included in the above.

    Now you can (provided you grasp the above) respond to the above in context with the above.

    Jerry,

    All I'm saying is....why comment on age when you can not verify? And, if you do, do you run the risk of putting the client in a position of making a decision to purchase a property based off of what can only be described as a guess?

    Why even go there?

    Where we live, a pertmit is required....if the permit is lost or damaged, that's what the report should state along with the portions of the report that can not be completed due to missing or damaged permits.

    Teaching or encouraging other inspectors to do this puts them at risk also, teach them the right way. Visit the building department on every inspection, verify through the sources available to you so your client can make a decision based upon facts. And if you can't, document this in your report and note the concerns associated with not being able to document the age of the component. DO NOT put infoprmation in your report you can not verify....lest you find yourself in a position where you are required to do so, like in court, you may find out just how much a guess can cost you.....


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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Title of thread: (bold is mine) "Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Montgomery View Post
    I am a home inspector for about two years now in the Saint Louis area.

    One thing I have had a very difficult time with while trying to constantly become a better inspector is estimating the age of the roof shingles, and it seems to be one of the most common questions I get.

    I can obviously tell when shingles are at or near the end of their useful life and I can also tell when they are less than six months old or so but everywhere in the middle is very hard for me to be sure and I often try to guess if my client really wants to know (while also notifying them that I can in no way be certain) but I don't want to have to guess at all.

    How confident are some of you at estimating the shingle age and how do you do it and how do you express that to your client?
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    What concerns me is exactly what Jeff pointed out, not so much being sued but providing information you know not to be accurate and possibly putting the client in a position to make a decision off of what they feel is a certainty when it's just an guess and may be way off base.
    I believe that is an unreal expectation - the home inspector can be sued for providing ... or not providing ... ANY information - REGARDLESS of any documentation ... or lack thereof ... supporting such information.

    In fact, the likelihood of the home inspector getting sued is likely increased by DOCUMENTING information and then misstating it in their report, even if only misstating by a little amount - if a client is looking to sue a home inspector, then the suit will have a better chance of success if the client can show that the inspector provided DOCUMENTATION and then misstated something in that documentation.

    I visit the building department on every inspection, EVERY inspection. If I can not verify, I'm certainly not going to certify or provide information to my paying client unless I know for a fact it's accurate. It does them no good!
    And the home inspection report IS NOT - and I repeat - IS NOT certifying anything ... that is what engineers do with their signed and sealed engineer's letters.

    You have one job, to provide your client with information on the condition and deficiencies of the structure being inspected. You are not to overstate or understate any position in relation to the structure....estimating age of a component with nothing to back it up is guessing, not estimating.

    Estimate = an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something:
    Keep the above estimating in mind when reading the paragraph which follows it.

    If you comment on age with nothing to verify the original install date, that's guessing as you have no idea when it was installed. You make a guess based on possible signs and clues, but it's still a guess.
    What Rob is stating in the paragraph above IS NOT - and I repeat - IS NOT "estimating" the age of the roof, it is "documenting" the age of the roof ... and home inspections are not intended to serve as documentation for the age of anything and everything.

    A home inspector can, if they so choose (and I did "so choose" to a great extent in my reports) "document" things (in my case with codes), but ... the home inspector is NOT REQUIRED OR EXPECTED to "document" the ages of anything.

    (bold is mine)
    If you comment on remaining service life from the documented and verified age of the component, that's estimating...
    INCORRECT. As Rob stated in the above, that is documenting and verifying, NOT estimating.

    Rob said: (bold and underlining are mine)
    Estimate = an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something:
    That IS NOT visiting the building departments and DOCUMENTING the EXACT age of the item - which is what Rob says he does.

    There is a HUGE difference between DOCUMENTING and ESTIMATING ... HUGE DIFFERENCE.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 03-08-2015 at 06:56 PM. Reason: "mine" should have been "mind", as in "keep the above estimating in mind"
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Rob,

    Words, and their use, are probably just as important, and likely even more important, than the actual information (i.e. relaying "documented" information incorrectly is worse than relaying "estimated" information correctly) in home inspection reports.

    The same holds true on internet forums - words, and their use, need to be correct in order to convey the information one is trying to convey.

    For example: Your use of estimating and then describing it as accurately verifying and documenting the age of a roof.

    You included a definition of estimate, then went on to describe verify and documenting the original install date - that is not "estimating" the age of the roof ... that is "verifying and documenting" the age of the roof.

    We all ... and yes, that includes me ... "mess up" at times and use incorrect words or use words incorrectly, no problem as long as we recognize that and learn from it, trying (and I mean "trying") to be "better" the next time so as not to make the same error again.

    Words are why I am always - okay "always" is incorrect - trying to get people to use "presume" instead of "assume", simply because ass-u-me can be changed around (like that), while "presume" cannot, yet "assume" and "presume" have basically, if not actually, the same definition and uses.

    I am do code inspections and, like home inspectors, makes A LOT of "presumptions", it is the nature of the beast. I inspect very limited portions of the work, and if what is inspected is correct, the rest if presumed to be the same - the inspection passes, but if what is inspected is not correct, the rest is also presumed to be the same - and the work needs to be corrected ... or signed off by an engineer (which is where the "certification" part comes in). The engineer signs and seals it ... and God has spoken (so to speak) ... the engineer is now on the hook for what they have signed and sealed, hook line and sinker - they take it all.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rob,

    Words, and their use, are probably just as important, and likely even more important, than the actual information (i.e. relaying "documented" information incorrectly is worse than relaying "estimated" information correctly) in home inspection reports.

    The same holds true on internet forums - words, and their use, need to be correct in order to convey the information one is trying to convey.

    For example: Your use of estimating and then describing it as accurately verifying and documenting the age of a roof.

    You included a definition of estimate, then went on to describe verify and documenting the original install date - that is not "estimating" the age of the roof ... that is "verifying and documenting" the age of the roof.

    We all ... and yes, that includes me ... "mess up" at times and use incorrect words or use words incorrectly, no problem as long as we recognize that and learn from it, trying (and I mean "trying") to be "better" the next time so as not to make the same error again.

    Words are why I am always - okay "always" is incorrect - trying to get people to use "presume" instead of "assume", simply because ass-u-me can be changed around (like that), while "presume" cannot, yet "assume" and "presume" have basically, if not actually, the same definition and uses.

    I am do code inspections and, like home inspectors, makes A LOT of "presumptions", it is the nature of the beast. I inspect very limited portions of the work, and if what is inspected is correct, the rest if presumed to be the same - the inspection passes, but if what is inspected is not correct, the rest is also presumed to be the same - and the work needs to be corrected ... or signed off by an engineer (which is where the "certification" part comes in). The engineer signs and seals it ... and God has spoken (so to speak) ... the engineer is now on the hook for what they have signed and sealed, hook line and sinker - they take it all.
    We have two different messages Jerry, yours states guessing is ok as long as you are educated enough to be somewhat accurate, which you admit could be 2-4 years off and be acceptable.

    Mine is lets teach inspectors to be thorough and accurate, and if they can't to document that in a way that the CLIENT understands what is happening and the possibilites associated with not being able to verify.

    The report isn't for you Jerry....it's for your client. They use it as a tool to make an eductaed decision on the purchase of an investment, and it needs to be understood by the client to be useful.

    If you guess the age of a roofing system, do you think the client is going to really take the time to say to themselves "Jerry didn't have the information he needed so he gave his best guess"?

    Or, do you think the client is going to say "the report says the roofing system is 10 years old, so I have 10 more years to replace it"?

    Sometimes we need to take off our inspector cap and put on the clients cap....see it from their position to understand what they see in a report.


  41. #41
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    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Sheppard View Post
    We have two different messages Jerry, yours states guessing is ok as long as you are educated enough to be somewhat accurate, which you admit could be 2-4 years off and be acceptable.

    Mine is lets teach inspectors to be thorough and accurate, and if they can't to document that in a way that the CLIENT understands what is happening and the possibilites associated with not being able to verify.
    Actually, Rob, the message is the same, the difference is that I am leaving it up to the home inspector as to what they choose to offer and charge for as different markets support different inspections/reports - whereas you are trying to tell everyone that they should do it your way, and only your way, and that only your way is right.

    Even in the South Florida market where I was (with Jeff and a couple of others and where you are now) support several different inspection/report levels: a) what I refer to "The Drive By"; b) "The Get Out and Talk"; c) then there is "The Typical" inspection and report most do; d) "The Next Level" which some do and raise the bar some; r/s/t) (which skips past e) through q) for lack of market and few attempt to do) where the inspections and reports greatly exceed the SoP (the SoP don't even come into play because the SoP is so far back); x/y/z which pushes the consulting and litigation effort to the edges of always trying to do more than was done the previous time.

    The report isn't for you Jerry....it's for your client. They use it as a tool to make an eductaed decision on the purchase of an investment, and it needs to be understood by the client to be useful.
    No kidding, so ... you were listening some of the time, huh?

    If you guess the age of a roofing system, do you think the client is going to really take the time to say to themselves "Jerry didn't have the information he needed so he gave his best guess"?

    Or, do you think the client is going to say "the report says the roofing system is 10 years old, so I have 10 more years to replace it"?

    Sometimes we need to take off our inspector cap and put on the clients cap....see it from their position to understand what they see in a report.
    And sometimes one must take their head out of their butt and realize that others have "been there, done that" already and also recognize that there are other ways to do things.

    Once one thinks "they know it all" and that their way is the only way ... that person has fallen into the trap of closing their mind to what is being said because it "does not compute" with what they are thinking and "already know" (rather, what they *think* they know) ... but we've had this same discussion before ... and here we are having it yet again ...

    While I really don't like these sayings, they should be considered and remembered for what is actually being put forth:
    - There are known knowns (i.e., things we know we know)
    - There are known unknowns (i.e., things we know we don't know)
    - There are unknown knowns (i.e., things we know but don't yet realize we know them)
    - There are unknown unknowns (i.e., rather obvious, but these are things we don't even know that we don't know)

    The last one is just as important, maybe even more important, than the first three.

    Things we know that we don't know are things we try to learn - but the things we don't know we don't know ... well ... we don't know we don't know them ...

    These unknown unknowns are the things we trip over ... because you don't know they are there.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  42. #42

    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Enough already: The question was estimating the age of asphalt shingles. Estimate (general idea) not a true scientific process to determine the age. If the 25 year laminated shingle is 10 years old, does that mean it has 15 years left? More than likely, NO, all sorts of circumstances come into play during those years, leaving mother nature to determine when the roof system is in need of repair or replacement. Lets just stay with the estimate. Years of experience give some of us an edge in that area, also some classes are offered to determine roof condition, forensics of failure, on and on. Go ahead and give them your best "estimate" then continue to learn.
    Darrell Covington


  43. #43

    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Local knowledge and time spent inspecting is a great indicator. Roofs do not age the same across the nation, or in Canada for that matter.

    What a 15 year old roof looks like is quite different in Nebraska, Washington, Canada, Florida or Arizona.

    A 15 year old roof that is a 25 year roof in Florida for example is shot, gone, and done. The same roof may last 35 years in Nebraska. The roof life from the manufacturer is an average of the nation. Most of their warrantee information states that.

    FYI, here is how you can really tell if you really want to know.

    Cut a small piece off and send it to GAF, CertainTeed, or any other manufacturer. They will look at it and analyze it and tell you not only how old it is, they can tell you by the matt, (either rag or fiberglass), who's shingle it is. Here is a little clue, guess who uses a pink fiberglass matt? Yep, Think Pink.

    So, If I take Robert or Jerry to northern Minnesota my guess they would underestimate the roof age significantly. Likewise, someone from Canada would think a roof was 25 years old in Florida when it was actually only 10. To many factors to consider and local knowledge is key.

    Those of us in Florida are very fortunate that Building Codes for the most part are followed and permits are required. So our view is a little slanted and generally we can find out. As I have built in most areas of the US I know some areas do not require permits, let alone have a building code.

    Last edited by JeffGHooper; 03-09-2015 at 10:46 PM.
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    Cool Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Jeff and Jerry are two of the best in the business, I repsect their opinions tremendously. I also agree this has gone on long enough....in the end you must do what you are comforable with.

    It is and always will be my opinion that you should not put information in a home inspection report you can not substantiate, confirm, or properly explain to the client in full context. If an inspectors feels confident enough, and can not confirm through research, "estimating" the age of a roofing system it should be presented to the client in a fashion so they fully understand the exact methodology and context of the information...that it is essentially a "best guess" and nothing more.

    If there is no documentation to confirm age, you have no idea when, who, how, and at what time the component was installated. You have no idea if the materials being used to estimate the age were even new or just sitting around in storage before install. If the roofing vents/flashing was replaced before or after the install. If the complete system was even replaced (underlayment/base).

    Like I said, in the end we should all do what we are comfortable with. I respect Jerry's position and see his side also, it will be taken into consideration in my reports as I have consulted him many times in the past.

    good day all...

    Last edited by Robert Sheppard; 03-10-2015 at 07:16 AM.

  45. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Estimating The Age Of Asphalt Shingles?

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffGHooper View Post
    So, If I take Robert or Jerry to northern Minnesota my guess they would underestimate the roof age significantly. Likewise, someone from Canada would think a roof was 25 years old in Florida when it was actually only 10. To many factors to consider and local knowledge is key.
    And if that roof is in South Florida, that shingle roof which may look 25 years old to someone from Canada may only be 5-6 years old ... Jeff, Robert, and other inspectors in South Florida can tell you that composition asphalt shingles *do* *not* *last* *very* *long* in the South Florida sun - the UV kills them. With, in this case, "South Florida" meaning Broward County and Miami-Dade County, even going up into southern to mid-Palm Beach County makes a noticeable difference in the life of composition asphalt shingles. Go up into northern Palm Beach County and southern Martin County and there is another noticeable difference.

    Get up to where I am in Florida (Daytona Beach area) and composition shingles have a decent life, and by the time you hit North Florida and South Georgia the effects of the sun's UV is greatly reduced and composition asphalt shingles have a "normal" life expectancy.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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