If you own or manage a commercial property, you may need a new roof one day or another. Most commercial buildings have flat roofs that do not last as long as residential roofs. That’s because business activities lead to faster wear and tear. So, when people look for a new flat roof, the first question they ask is, how long does a flat roof last?
While the average lifespan of flat roofs ranges from 15 to 30 years, this wide range may only be valid for some properties. Also, there’s no such thing as the best flat roof material. The performance and durability of your roof vary according to your business activities and location.
To help you understand how long your flat roof will last, we are here with a detailed article. At All Around Roofing, Siding & Gutters, we are dedicated to helping our community learn more about the roofing industry. Proper knowledge enables you to make informed decisions that always prove to be beneficial for a business.
By the end of this article, you will have the answers to the following questions:
- How long does a flat roof last?
- Repair vs. Replacement: What do you need?
- How to extend the lifespan of your flat roof
How Long Do Flat Roofs Last?
There are lots of flat roofing materials available on the market. Each one of them reacts differently to the environment and has a different lifespan. Here are some general guidelines that can help you determine how long your chosen roof will last for:
- The quality of the flat roofing materials
- The installation method and quality
- Your local weather conditions over the years
Heavy roofing materials are not suitable for commercial roofs since they can damage the property and workers if a storm hits the area and the roof breaks down. So, the most common flat roofs are covered with flexible, single-ply roofing membranes made of rubber, plastic, and bitumen. These materials are thin, safe, waterproof, and resistant to fire.
If you think your roof needs a replacement or repair, it is essential to learn the details of these materials along with their average lifespan.
How Long Do Rubber Roofs Last?
Rubber roofs are one of the longest lasting flat roof materials. That’s one reason why they’re so popular in the commercial roofing industry and are found on numerous buildings. EPDM is a type of rubber roof that has been used for a long time, and most structures are using it to date.
EPDM Roof Life Expectancy
An EPDM roof can last up to 30 years if properly maintained. EPDM is an elastomeric material that has been used in the roofing industry since the 1960s. It is highly flexible and durable, with excellent resistance to heat, cold, fire, and hail impacts. It also has good adhesive properties, which make it ideal for bonding to other materials.
The natural color of EPDM is black, but it can be dyed if required. There are many benefits associated with roof colors. For example, light colors like white provide energy efficiency for buildings in warm climates, which will help convert flat roofs into “cool roofs”, which come with tax benefits in some states such as Georgia and Florida. At the same time, dark colors absorb heat, which makes it the best color option for colder states like Minnesota and Wisconsin.
TPO Roof Life Expectancy
TPO, or thermoplastic Polyolefin, is a rubber + plastic roof. It was introduced just a decade ago but is growing popular due to its benefits. TPO roofs have a 20 to 30-year lifespan. This flat roofing membrane is naturally white and reflects heat from the sun’s rays, thus lowering your overall cooling costs throughout the year. Its high tensile strength also makes it flexible enough to tolerate snow and ice loads without cracking or tearing apart during extreme weather conditions.
TPO roofs are appropriate for areas where there are chemicals present in large quantities on a daily basis, such as manufacturing units where there may be volatile organic compounds at work all day long! TPO roofing membrane can resist oils, chemicals, and fumes from a factory which would normally damage other types of roofing materials.
How Long Do PVC Roofs Last?
PVC is the also among the most common flat roofing materials used today in flat roofing. It can last up to 30 years and comes with more benefits than other types of materials. PVC repels insects, UV rays, and chemicals better than EPDM and TPO. This makes it highly resistant to corrosion from salt and chemicals that are often used for snow removal on flat roofs. Thin membranes may crack under snow loads, but thicker ones, like PVC, can withstand winter better.
PVC also resists extreme heat without melting or softening. This means you won’t have to worry about your roof being damaged by fire, as PVC resists the spreading of flames. Another reason why many people choose PVC as their preferred choice of roofing material is that it requires less maintenance.
Bitumen Roof Life Expectancy
Bitumen is also known as asphalt. A bitumen roof is manufactured using natural oil and comes in a variety of colors. Bitumen can last from 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance. The color of the bitumen will fade over time, but this does not affect its lifespan or performance. This type of roofing material is highly resistant to heat, UV rays, and snow loads which makes it an ideal choice for colder climates where snowfall frequently occurs during winter months.
Built-Up Roof Life Expectancy
Built-up roofs are designed to also last between 20 and 30 years with proper upkeep. The layers in the built-up roof include tar, gravel, and bitumen. The tar provides water resistance, while the gravel aids in weight distribution. Bitumen is a thick black substance that acts as an adhesive for all layers of the roof. Built-up roofs are highly resistant to fire, heat, cold, hail, and other natural elements, but less resistant to water damage than other membranes.
Repair Vs. Replacement: What Do You Need?
Flat roofs are more susceptible to the effects of the weather and withering. They’re not designed to withstand heavy loads and weather events like storms, snow, and hail. This means they require regular maintenance and repairs if you live in hail or storm-prone states such as Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Ohio.
- If you’ve noticed that your flat roof shows signs of wear and tear, repairing is your best bet.
- Repairing a flat roof is the most cost-effective solution for keeping your roof in good condition. Make sure you get your roof repaired on time.
- As long as you keep up with regular maintenance, there’s no reason why a repaired flat roof can’t last for decades!
However, there are times when it is better to replace the damaged parts. Repairs don’t work when your roof has served its purpose, and the parts are no longer functioning. While repairs surely look feasible at first glance, this may not be cost-effective in some situations.
- If your roof was installed more than 20 years ago or has undergone several repairs, it is better to replace the damaged parts.
- Don’t wait till the rest of the roofing layers are damaged. Moisture, cracks, pests, and other problems can easily spread from one part of your roof to the other.
- If the repair or replacement is delayed, you will end up spending a lot more to replace multiple roof components or the entire roof during an emergency.
We understand that no property owner or business manager wants to face situations that are detrimental to the employees and business. So here are some tips from the experts on how you can extend the lifespan of your new or current flat roof.
How To Extend The Lifespan Of A Flat Roof
A flat roof’s lifespan primarily depends on your business activities and local weather conditions. Unfortunately, these factors are not under your control, so the next most crucial factor includes how well you maintain your roof.
- Get your roof inspected every six months. Flat or commercial roof inspectionspecialists help you fix any damage before it affects the rest of your roof.
- Flat roofs are susceptible to ponded water, and debris accumulation, so it is essential to keep them clean. Take advantage of commercial roof maintenance tips and packages include regular roof inspection and cleaning.
- You must also use quality materials for roof cleaning and repair to avoid chemical damage and frequent repairs.
You should avoid regular foot traffic on your flat roof, as walking may cause the membrane to weaken over time. The wrong clothes, footwear, and tools can cause tiny cuts and cracks in these materials that may go unnoticed by building workers and managers.
If you live in Ohio, or the city of Dayton, we can help you get the most durable roof and maintain it properly for many years to come.
Do You Need Reliable & Expert Flat Roofing Services?
We hope this article has answered your question, how long does a flat roof last, along with other important factors. At All Around Roofing, Siding & Gutters, we have been repairing and replacing flat roofs for more than 10 years. We are proud of our talented, experienced, and honest team that works hard to offer 100% customer satisfaction. We can help you find the best material for flat roof replacement because we work with the industry’s leading manufacturers.
If you need commercial roofing services like flat roof replacement in Dayton, Springfield, or any other area within greater Dayton, call us at (937)-902-2839. We will be happy to offer you a free consultation and estimate. All Around Roofing, Siding & Gutters is known for its trustworthy, reasonable, and punctual work, and we look forward to helping you!