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How Long Does A Roof Last On A Commercial Building?

Lifespan of commercial roofs can vary depending on the type of roofing material and the installation process. Before you buy a new roof, it’s vital that you thoroughly research the materials and the installation process to ensure that it will last for a long time. Although different roofing materials have their projected lifespan, weather conditions can affect their longevity. For instance, hail, wind, snow, and rain can cause your roof to deteriorate. 

The lifespan of a commercial roof also depends on its maintenance. Having a professional contractor regularly maintain and repair your roof can help extend its life. In addition, choosing the appropriate materials can help prolong its lifespan. Although a commercial roof can last up to 25 years with the proper materials and installation, its longevity depends on regular maintenance and the weather. 

Factors Affecting the Longevity of a Roof on Commercial Buildings

Type Of Roof 

Another factor that can affect the longevity of a commercial roof is its type. Building managers can select from flat, pitched, or low-sloped roof types. These all have their pros and cons. Although flat roofs are more practical and quicker to install than other types, inadequate drainage can lead to rapid roof degradation. It can weaken the structural integrity of the building and cause leaks. 

Unlike flat roofs, low-sloped roofs are designed to encourage water runoff. They can prevent water damage and require fewer repairs. However, when heavy snowfalls prevent the snow from melting rapidly, the weight of the roof on low-sloped structures can increase. 

Besides pitched roofs getting used for commercial purposes, they can still get utilized alongside flat and low-sloped roofs. Due to their steep slope, maintenance, repairs, or replacement can be very costly and challenging. 

Roofing Material 

The type of materials used to construct a commercial roof also affects its lifespan. Some commonly used materials include asphalt, TPO, PVC, metal, and EPDM. TPO and metal roofs have a life expectancy of about 22 to 30 years, while PVC can last up to 20 years. On the other hand, asphalt can last up to 40 years. 

Although PVC has a high upfront cost, its fire-resistant properties make it an ideal choice for commercial roofing. In the event of a fire, the membrane of PVC can self-extinguish, which helps to extend the roof’s life. Another type of commercial roofing membrane is the thermoplastic polyolefin, which has yet to be proven to last as long as PVC. TPO roofs are more cost-effective than PVC ones. 

A rubber membrane is a component of commercial roofing that increases its lifespan. Highly durable, the ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roof can endure harsh environmental conditions. After 60 years, this type of roof has proven to be reliable. One of the most common types of commercial roofing is metal roofs, which are generally more cost-effective and can last long. A metal roof can get retrofitted over an existing structure to increase its lifespan by about 20 years. 

Most asphalt shingle roofs have long lifespans, mainly for steep-sloped applications. In addition to the type of shingles used, other factors, such as the frequency of maintenance, can also affect the longevity of this type of roof. Choosing the right type of roof material can also extend its lifespan. Fire-resistant PVC is ideal when wildfires are rampant. A metal retrofit can help increase the life of an already damaged roof. TPO roofs are ideal for areas with high heat exposure. 


The weather conditions that affect a commercial roof can eventually wear down its components and deteriorate its structural integrity. However, preventive maintenance and repairs from a skilled roofer can help extend its lifespan. 

During winter, ice buildup on the roof can quickly wear down a commercial building. The freezing water can add up to 60 pounds to the roof’s weight in just a couple of cubic feet. As the water thaws, it expands the existing gaps and causes small cracks. 

For improving the durability of your roof, we recommend adding waterproof coating for extra protection against rain, ice, and wind.

The summer heat can also affect a commercial roof. High temperatures and humidity can cause the sealant materials in the roof to get damaged. It can then lead to a weakening and swelling of the system. The autumn season also brings about the development of fungi and mold on a commercial roof. Falling tree leaves can block the gutters and cause leaks. In addition, they can puncture the roof’s shingles.


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