Age Matters: How to Tell the Age of Your Commercial Roof


Your commercial roof is one thing in life where age really does matter. The older the roof, the more vulnerable it is to problems such as water leakage, mold, pests, structural damage, etc. Your business relies on your commercial roof not only for shelter from the elements but also for the safety of your employees and products. Therefore, an old roof could pose a direct threat to the wellness and integrity of your business.

Whether you intend to sell the property or want to proactively prepare the budget for future commercial roof repair, knowing your roof’s age can help you make wise decisions with your business’s greater good in mind. Let’s look at a few ways to determine your commercial roof’s age so that you can be a well-informed and well-prepared business owner.

Ask the Current or Previous Building Owner

If you are leasing a commercial space and you suspect your roof is experiencing problems, then you need to notify your landlord as soon as possible. As the one responsible for maintaining the property, the landlord should have records of the roof’s age and any previous construction work.

If you own the commercial property and have no such records, then it is perfectly legal to reach out to the previous building owner and ask them. If they had owned the property for a long enough time, then they probably had the roof replaced at some point and may still have a record of it.

However, there is no guarantee that the previous owner had any such roofing work done, nor that they kept any kind of record of it, nor that they will remember anything accurately. This isn’t the most reliable method of determining your roof’s age, but it could at least give you a ballpark estimate.

Check the Building Permit

If you are unable to find a contact for the previous building owners, or if they couldn’t offer any helpful information, then the next best course of action is to check public records. Although the law may differ from state to state, many U.S. local governments require filing a building permit for major construction like a roof replacement. Your city, town or county records will be one of the most accurate sources on the age of your roof. It will likely list the exact dates of the roofing project, as well as any post-construction roofing inspections and even the name of the contracted roofing company.

Contact the Roofing Company

Most likely, the building permit will provide you with all the information you need. If, for whatever reason, you weren’t able to find it, then you may have better luck tracking down the roofing company that originally constructed your roof. The previous owners may have at least remembered the name of the roofing contractor they hired to replace the roof. The roofing company will have kept a record of the project and will be glad to show you a receipt with a date listed.

Schedule A Roof Inspection

Last but not least, your strongest fallback is to hire a roofing inspector to come out and give you an estimate of your roof’s age. It may not be an exact determination, but it will at least be accurate enough for you to make your major business decisions with confidence. You may also have to fork out a bit of cash to have the inspection done, but it’s a good idea to get regular inspections anyway for preventative maintenance. Roofing inspectors will also note any immediate threats to your roof’s health, outline what needs to be done to fix the issues and provide estimates of repair costs.

If the age of your roof is in question, then at least one of these four methods should produce some answers. It may require some detective work, but it will be worth the effort in the long run. Your roof’s age will be a factor in how much money you deem worthy of spending on simple repairs versus how much you stand to save or lose with a full roof replacement. As a business owner, if your goal is to make smart and informed decisions that put your business’ needs first, then your commercial roof’s longevity is one of your top priorities.


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