Life Expectancy of a Commercial Roof


A properly installed commercial roof can last anywhere between 10 and 40 years. Life expectancy depends on several factors such as quality of installation, environmental exposure, and materials chosen. The roofing material you use is the most important factor for determining the life expectancy of your commercial roof.

Life Expectancy of a Commercial Roof

Roofing Materials

Here is a list of common commercial roofing materials and their expected life span:

  • TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin can last between 22 and 30 years. These roofs are highly energy-efficient, and they have high resistance to damage including fire, chemicals, punctures, and winds. These roofs are popular because of their low price with the combination of high durability.
  • EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, can last between 22 and 35 years. This is also known in the industry as the rubber roof. While EPDM has shorter durability than other materials, the benefit of this material is that it is quite affordable and it absorbs heat quite easily which can increase utilities on the building.
  • PVC, or polyvinyl chloride can last 20 to 30 years. The PVC style is potentially the most popular flat roof material as these roofs are quite strong and durable but can also be quite expensive due to its longevity and strength.
  • METAL roofing can last between 30 and 45 years and some can last as long as 60 years. Metal is also very expensive to buy and install.
  • MODIFIED BITUMEN can last between 10 and 20 years. This is a multi-ply roofing material that can be hard to install but offers the building many benefits from its multiple layer structure.
  • BUILD UP ROOFING can last between 15 and 20 years. The built-up roof includes piles of alternating layers of bitumen (which is either coal, tar, asphalt, or some sort of sealant) with the other layers being made of gravel or other similar materials. They can hold a lot of weight and allow for heavier traffic on
  • SILICON can last up to 20 years and is also known as a spray-on roof. The roof is built by converting silicon to a spray and then literally spraying it on. A large advantage of this type of material is that it makes a seamless roof, but unfortunately, converting silicon to a spray is not a cheap endeavor which makes this material very expensive.
  • SOLAR ROOFING will last close to 25 years. As a newer design for commercial buildings, there just isn’t enough information to tell yet if they will last longer than this. These roofs are a great way to conserve energy and have the potential to increase your roof’s lifetime.

Factors That Affect the Commercial Roofing

Outside of the materials you use, these factors can shorten or prolong a commercial roof’s lifespan.

  • Installation: Any flaws in the installation process can shorten the life of any roof. Any time that you need to have a new roof installed or repair work is done, choose an experienced, well-qualified roofer to do the job.
  • Slope: The flatter the roof is, the more likely water is going to pool on its surface. When water doesn’t flow off the roof, it will find the lowest point and stay there until it evaporates. Low spots are often where leaking starts and damage starts to happen and these are collon on commercial roofing systems.
  • Ventilation: Roofs need adequate ventilation of the attic space below. Ventilation helps prevent the build-up of heat and moisture. Summer temperatures will heat up the attic and the surface of the roof. Additionally, built-up moisture can lead to rot and mold.
  • Maintenance: Routine inspections and maintenance prevent small problems from becoming major ones. It’s easy to neglect a roof when it doesn’t have any problems and that neglect can end up causing expensive and dangerous issues in the future.
  • Weather: Harsh weather can cause direct damage to roofing material, especially high winds, heavy rail, and hail. In general, everyday exposure to the elements does a lot of damage as well.

Final thoughts

Commercial roofs can last for decades with proper installation and proper maintenance. As a commercial building owner, you need to schedule regular inspections and maintenance to ensure your roofing lasts as long as possible. Roof replacement is expensive, but with the right care, you can get a longer life expectancy. Reach out to us today for all your commercial roofing needs. We provide quality work to all of our commercial projects.


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