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How long should a commercial flat roof last?

Aug 16

Commercial flat roofers repair will tell you that many factors determine the duration of life your flat roof will enjoy. The Devil is always in the details, and for a commercial roof, it starts with materials. Once you have determined the materials are suitable, the workmanship to install the roof will be paramount to the life of a commercial flat roof. 

Roofing companies will tell you that many factors go into the timeline of a commercial flat roof. Care and regular maintenance will be necessary – if you are on top of the little things, you have nipped big problems in the bud. The type of roof you choose will come with a lifespan, and the cost is relative to the time the roof will last.

Common Factors That Affect the Lifespan of a Roof


  • Metal
  • EPDM – ethylene propylene diene monomer
  • TPO – thermoplastic polyolefin
  • PVC – polyvinyl chloride
  • Asphalt
  • Copper


Commercial roofing maintenance can be conducted in two different ways. First, reactive maintenance is done when problems are identified, and work needs to be done. In general, it involves leaks, missing flashing, or ponding. Secondly, proactive maintenance starts with a plan incorporating regular inspections, roof cleanings, and minor repairs discovered through examinations or cleanings.


Workmanship is a professional stamp on the work you do. It requires superior attention to detail and execution of the task at hand. That creates the best practices in the roofing industry when installing the materials to create longevity. You can have the best roofing system in the world, but if roofing guidelines aren't followed, it is a problem. When poor installation, incorrect installation, or sloppy installation practices have been used, the roof won't be worth a thing.

Roof Type

You need the right roof for your needs. Purchasing a roofing system that isn't compatible with your structure or location can result in excessive repairs and maintenance work. In the commercial roofing sector, three types of roofing systems are used: a flat roof, a low-sloped roof, and a pitched roof. Your roofer will be able to assess your needs and suggest which system is best for you.

Roof Slope

Typically, the flatter the roof, the harder it is to drain water. The water, instead, will flow to the lowest point on the roof and stay there until it dries or begins to seep into your structure. If your roof does not have the correct slope, you will likely experience more pooling and additional water-related damage.

Typical Lifespan of Different Roofing Types

Metal Roofing

When installation guidelines are followed, a metal roofing system will hold a lifespan of 50 years or more. It has long been a staple in roofing, used in ancient castles and other medieval structures. They provide excellent value for a building operator who sees longevity as the key to a solid roofing system.

Modified Bitumen

The modified bitumen roofing system will provide coverage for 10-20 years and is economical for strained maintenance and repair budgets. Due to the nature of this roofing system, it requires little to no maintenance. Modified bitumen is one of the most selected materials for flat or low slope roofing systems. It is also flame retardant, increasing its safety. At its core, a modified bitumen roof is asphalt-based, can be applied cold or hot, and is the modern version of a built-up roofing system.


EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofing has been good for five decades. A membrane system will hold many advantages for a commercial structure that needs a high-quality roofing solution. It is made from an industrial-grade synthetic rubber that provides a roofing system's strength and durability. It will expand and contract when temperatures change and won't put extra stress on the roofing system in various weather conditions.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation will last a lifetime and then some. It is the ultimate answer to any roofing problem. This system is excellent for filling holes, cracks, and crevices while reinforcing your structure. It provides another layer of protection for your roofing system and prevents heat leaks, increasing your energy bill. Foam is a malleable light material during the installation phase for various applications.


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) roofing will last for upwards of 30 years. It is best used for flat or low-sloped roofs and is highly reflective to combat the sun's UV rays. Cool roof pigments, UV stabilizers, and other proprietary materials add to the durability and strength of this roofing system.


Generally, a properly installed and maintained asphalt roofing system will last 30 years. A reputable roofing contractor should be hired to install the roofing system to ensure it has the correct amount of ventilation. It is also essential to consider the direction your asphalt roofing system faces.

Call the Experts for Commercial Flat Roof Repairs or Replacement

A commercial building owner can eliminate their roofing concerns when they bring their questions to us at Integrity Roofers. Our goal is the same as any building owner. Identify problems, and create timely and inexpensive solutions through a proactive approach to roofing maintenance.