Differences in grading signal hyperintensities on magnetic resonance imaging may explain earlier reported conflicting results in studies of normal aging and dementia. We designed a new rating scale in which periventricular and white matter signal hyperintensities as well as basal ganglia and infratentorial signal hyperintensities are rated separately in a semiquantative way. In this study we compared the inter- and intra-observer agreements of this scale to the widely used rating scale of Fazekas. We confirmed the poor to reasonable intra- and inter-observer agreements of the Fazekas scale. The new scale, although more elaborate, provided good agreements with respect to the white matter, basal ganglia and infratentorial signal hyperintensities. In rating periventricular hyperintensities this scale yielded no advantage. It is concluded that this scale may be of use in studies especially focussing on deep white matter pathology on MRI, because it provides more detailed information, with good intra- and inter-observer reliability.