Understanding Roof Lifespan: How Long Do Different Types of Commercial Roofs Last?

When considering commercial roofing, longevity is a critical factor. A roof’s lifespan is determined by various factors, from the roofing materials used to the type of weather conditions it faces. However, predicting an accurate lifespan can be a challenge due to these factors.

This article will explore the lifespan of different types of commercial roofs, their durability, and the steps you can take to maximize the lifespan of your commercial roof.

Understanding Roof Lifespan

Commercial roof lifespan refers to the expected longevity of any roofing material after proper installation. It is the period during which the roof can perform its primary function of providing shelter from weather events without the need for significant repair or replacement. The life expectancy of a roof dramatically varies depending on a multitude of factors, such as the quality of materials used, proper ventilation ensured, regular roof maintenance conducted, and the type of weather the roof is exposed to.

Various Types of Commercial Roofs' Lifespans

Built-up Roofing (BUR) Lifespan

Built-up Roofing (BUR) is a common type of commercial roofing, typically offering a lifespan of 20 – 30 years depending on the number of layers installed. To maintain a BUR's life expectancy, one must ensure occasional patching to care for minor problem areas and retain its reflective surface to reduce sun damage.

Thermoset (EPDM) Roof Membrane Lifespan and Durability

Thermoset membrane roofing, more commonly known as EPDM, offers a roof lifespan of about 15 – 20 years. It's renowned for its durability and versatility. Although EPDM is significantly durable, it's crucial to conduct regular roof maintenance, including monitoring of seams and potential puncture spots, to maximize its lifespan.

Thermoplastic (PVC and TPO) Roof Membrane

Thermoplastic roof membranes like PVC and TPO deliver a lifespan of about 15 – 20 years. These roofs are resistant to UV rays, chemicals, and high winds, extending the lifespan of your roof provided that they are well maintained and inspected regularly, especially at the seams.

Commercial Tile Roofing Lifespan

Commercial tile roofs, made from clay, concrete, or slate, can offer an impressive lifespan of 50 – 100 years. Clay tile roof is especially endurable against weather damages. However, this type of roofing requires regular checks for cracked or broken tiles, as individual tiles can be damaged by winds or hail.

Commercial Roof Coating Systems

Commercial roof coating systems, such as silicone, acrylic, and polyurethane, typically extend the roof lifespan by 10 – 15 years. These coatings offer additional protection against UV damage, leaks, and weathering. A well-applied and maintained roof coating system can significantly enhance a roof's life expectancy.

Metal Roofs Lifespan

Metal roofs, such as the standing seam metal roof, are renowned for their lifespan and durability, often lasting over 50 years. Metal roofs are resistant to extreme weather conditions and fire, making them a good investment for long-term use. Regular maintenance, including checking for signs of corrosion and loose fasteners, is necessary to ensure the projected lifespan.

Along with metal, tile, and EPDM roofing, the type of material you choose to adopt for your commercial building plays a large part in its lifespan. Find out more about commercial roofing services to help you choose the best type of roof for your needs.

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Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles, a popular choice for many homeowners, boast a lifespan of around 20 years for the traditional 3-tab shingles, and up to 30 years for architectural shingles. Consistent heavy sun exposure, inadequate attic ventilation, and weather can affect an asphalt shingle's lifespan. Regular inspection and replacement of damaged shingles will keep the asphalt shingle roof in good shape longer.

Wood Shingles Lifespan

Wood shingles and cedar shake shingles offer a lifespan of around 20 – 40 years, depending on the type of wood and maintenance. Though aesthetically pleasing, roofing materials require frequent maintenance to prevent decay or damage. It's also essential to adopt measures that increase fire resistance, as wood shingles are relatively susceptible to fire.

Slate Roofs Lifespan

Slate roofs not only offer an attractive historical aesthetic but also a long lifespan of 100 years or more if well maintained. Their durability can withstand severe weather conditions, making them an excellent choice for commercial facilities. However, regular checks for cracked or sliding slates are essential to maintain life expectancy.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Commercial Roof

Before you compare quotes for a roof replacement, you might want to consider these measures to extend your existing roof lifespan. This could save you thousands of dollars down the line, considering the fact that quality roofing materials can be expensive.

Quality Installation and Materials

Quality roofing materials and expert installation are paramount for the longevity of your commercial roof. Superior materials can withstand harsh weather and UV rays, while a reliable installation ensures tight sealing to prevent leaks and structural shifting. Together, they provide durability and protection, extending the roof's lifespan, reducing maintenance costs, and safeguarding your business investment.

Proactive Measures

When it comes to dealing with harsh weather conditions, a little bit of precaution can extend your roof's lifespan significantly. If your asphalt shingle or slate tile roof is constantly exposed to extreme weather, without measures like gutter guards or installing solar panels to mitigate sun exposure, it might not reach its expected life span.

Roofing specialists often suggest installing adequate ventilation systems for buildings in areas that experience warmer climates. Adequate ventilation prevents heat and moisture buildup, protecting your roof from warping and other forms of damage. Standing seam metal roofs offer excellent roofing options for areas prone to snowstorms and hailstorms because of their ice-dampening properties.

Routine Inspections and Maintenance

Another crucial aspect of prolonging the roof lifespan is routine inspections and maintenance. This background process is often overlooked but can be the key to avoiding larger, costlier problems in the future. Whether you have a metal roof, a tile roof, or a wood shingle roof, it's essential to conduct routine inspections to detect potential issues before they lead to significant damage. Look out for damaged or displaced shingles, flashings, or other aspects of your roof that could be compromised. Regular maintenance can be as simple as cleaning the gutters and removing debris from the roof. Remember, your roof is only as good as you care for it!

Get the Most Out of Your Roof’s Lifespan With Trinity Construction Services LLC

At Trinity Construction Services, we take pride in providing businesses with superior roofing services, including installation, maintenance, repairs, and more. Our experts can help you get the most out of your commercial roof’s lifespan with proactive maintenance and repairs. Not only that, but we ensure that the roofing system you’ve chosen is appropriate for the region your building is in. Get in touch with one of our professionals today to find the right type of roof for your facility.