How Long Does a Commercial Roof Last?

How Long Does a Commercial Roof Last?

The durability of roofs is one of the most important factors to consider when designing or having a commercial roof installed. Depending on the type of building and where it is located, you may want to opt for a specific roof type. Generally, once installed, your building should stay fully covered for at least 10 years, but the most durable roofs can last up to 45 years.

What Affects the Durability of a Commercial Roof?

The three main factors that can affect the longevity of your roof are:


In general, harsh climates do not bode well for many roof types. While there are several preventive measures that you can take, most commercial roof types wear down quicker in areas with rough weather, such as in places with heavy snow. If you have a building in a place with long winters, you should anticipate your roof taking on a lot of extra weight from the ice. Once the ice melts, the water could also drip into the gaps and freeze up again. Over time, this will lead to small cracks opening up and causing leaks, which is bad for business.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the heat can also cause damage to your roof as the high temperatures can cause the roof to swell and weaken over time. If you want to increase the lifespan of your roof, you may also want to keep it clear from autumn leaves as they may block gutters or trigger the growth of mold and fungi.

Roof Type:

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Naturally, the type of roof you install will have an impact on its longevity. In general, there are three main roof types:

  1. Flat Roof :

While this roof is quicker to install, drainage is a noted issue and will eventually lead to degradation. This can especially be noted in areas of heavy rain. In such cases, the water will remain standing on the roof as there is no natural form of drainage. Over time, this water will weaken the structural materials which have been used to keep the roof in place and will lead to annoying leaks inside your building.

  1. Low-Sloped Roofs :

The low-sloped structure tends to fix the issue of standing water on flat roofs as its curve produces a natural surface runoff. This means that this roof type does not require much repair or maintenance over time, increasing its durability. However, installing a low-sloped roof in an area with a high amount of snowfall may be disadvantageous as the snow will add a substantial amount of weight to the roof, reducing its lifespan in the process.

  1. Pitched Roof :

The pitched roof is more uncommon than the previous roof types, but it can still be found in some commercial buildings. Its steep slope heavily promotes runoff for water, so the additional weight on the roof will be extremely little compared to the other roof types. However, as no roof can last forever, you would have to eventually offer maintenance to your pitched roof, but this can be a tedious process as the slope makes it difficult for workers to repair.

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Roof Materials:

Certain roof materials naturally have better durability than others. If you want to increase the lifespan of your roof, then you would have to combine the roof type with the material that would work best in your area:

  1. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):

Although this material has a much higher cost than other roof types, it is remarkably energy-efficient, and most PVC roofs will possess fire-retardant properties. This means that if there is ever a fire in your building, the PVC should extinguish itself. Generally, this roofing material should require less maintenance and will last for at least 20 years.

  1. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) :

Roofs created with EPDM generally have a rubber membrane that aids in increasing their lifespan. This roof type is usually preferred in areas with harsher weather conditions as they hardly face any degradation over time. Generally, EPDM roofs should last at least 22 years but with proper care and maintenance, you could use them for 35 years.

  1. Metal Roofs :

This is one of the most popular roofing types and has a strong reputation for its durability and cost-effectiveness. The strength of this material will change depending on the type of roof, the slope, and the type of metal used for the finish. However, they can last for last long as 45 years. The main advantage of metal roofs is that an additional roofing layer can be retrofitted over a previous one. If you do this, you can expect the lifespan of your roof to increase by up to 20 years.

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Works Cited

Armstrong, & Luke. (2019, December 30). How Long Do Commercial Roofs Last? | Commercial Roof Lifespan . Retrieved from RestorationMaster:


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