What is The Lifespan of a Commercial Roof? (Updated for 2022)

Commercial Aluminum Roof

Key Takeaway

The lifespan of a commercial roof is between 10 and 40 years, with factors like climate and installation quality impacting its longevity.

The roof is one of the most overlooked yet essential portions of the building that you run your business out of. When it is working as it should, it is out of sight, out of mind. But when there are issues, you can’t help but notice it and nothing else.

Knowing how long you can expect your commercial roof to last can help you prepare for repairs or a replacement instead of having it sprung on you at a moment’s notice. Roofing replacement or repair can cost quite a bit of money and is something that can be catastrophic without properly saving and planning.

How Long Should My Commercial Roof Last?

This obviously cannot be answered as several factors can play into the life of a commercial roof. It depends on when the roof was installed, how it has been maintained, what materials were used, the weather in your location, and other factors.

Generally speaking, however, a commercial roof can be expected to last anywhere from 10 to 40 years. Here are some of the materials that are typically used in the construction of a commercial roof.

How Roofing Materials Impact Longevity

While this isn’t the end-all, be-all list of materials used, these are the most common commercial roofing materials that are used and their expected lifespan:

  • Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. This is known as EPDM and can have a lifespan in the range of 22 to 35 years.
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin. This is known as TPO, with a general life expectancy of 22 to 30 years.
  • Metal roofs have a general life span of 30 to 45 years.
  • Polyvinyl chloride. This is known as PVC and carries a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.
  • Asphalt roofs have a life expectancy of 20 to 40 years.

The materials are just one aspect, though. Other factors play heavily into the life expectancy of a commercial roof.

Other Factors That Influence Commercial Roof Lifespan

When installing a commercial roof, these are just a few of the factors worth considering, as they can each play a large factor in the life of that roof. Again, these are based on expected life spans and are by no means a science. You could have all of these factors, and your roof could be fine for 40 years.

Slope

When you have a flat roof, it is far more likely that water will pool on the surface; this is just gravity at work (or not at work, in this case). When the water doesn’t flow down the roof and onto the ground, it will find its lowest point and stay there until it evaporates.

Low spots are often where the damage starts, and leaking is often the first sign of damage.

Installation

The installation process is perhaps the most important step. This is because any flaws that occur during the installation process can ultimately shorten the life span of any roof. It is essential that when you need a new roof installed that you choose a contractor that is reputable, well-qualified, and experienced.

Don’t automatically look for the cheapest option; it can be worth it to shell out a few more bucks to ensure that you get the necessary work done.

Ventilation

The attic space that lies just underneath the roof itself needs proper ventilation. This ventilation is key because it helps prevent moisture and heat build-up. This is especially important during the summer months when the hotter temperatures in the attic space and up on the roof will essentially bake the roofing materials.

That built-up moisture can ultimately lead to mold and rot, which can cause a whole other list of problems for your building.

Maintenance

Though it may seem like a huge hassle, routine maintenance and inspections on your roof can prevent those small problems from becoming far larger. It can be easy to neglect your roof, especially when there are issues.

It is imperative that you do not, under any circumstances, ignore those problems. They can lead to huge issues that can make your commercial building unsafe to be inside.

Weather & Climate

This is one of those factors that you kind of can’t help. Depending on the area that you live in, your building might be susceptible to higher winds, hail, heavy rains, or heavy snow. This kind of exposure to the elements can wear on a roof over a long period of time and really cut down on the expected life of a commercial roof.

Final Thoughts on Commercial Roof Longevity

When there are issues regarding the condition of your commercial roof, it is important to have a dependable roofer available. When there are issues with the roof, it can lead to huge problems and structural damage to the rest of your building. This is why it is important that you never, ever ignore problems that might be occurring with your roof.

The life of your commercial roof depends on all of the factors outlined above, each one having its own individual impact when it comes to the life of your commercial roof. Even though you can’t help things like weather and time, preventative measures can be taken to ensure that your commercial roof enjoys a long-lasting life. You can even take preventative measures yourself by simply checking your roof every once in a while to see if there are any leaks or damaged areas that might need attention.

The roof can feel like a hassle, especially when you know that there may be something wrong, but make sure that you take those steps to inspect the overall health of your roof. It is something you will be thankful that you did over time when you extend the lifespan of a commercial roof and hit those huge milestones instead of having to be replaced entirely.