Your roofing system is an asset! So keeping it in good shape is important. But do you know how long your particular type of commercial roof was designed to last? It’s one of the most common questions we get asked at Sentry Roof so here’s a look at four common types of roofing systems and their lifespans.
Typical thermoplastic olefin (TPO) roofs are known to last between 10 and 20 years, although reports of them lasting between 20 and 30 years are not uncommon. TPO is typically used on flat roofs, such as the kind you find on shopping centers, large warehouses and sprawling office buildings. When a TPO roof is regularly maintained and repaired by an experienced TPO roof technician, you can expect this type of commercial roof to last until the upper end of its projected lifespan. And newer, heavier products are also available, boasting 30+ years serviceability.
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofs are commonly reported to have a lifespan of up to 40 years, with a 20- to 30-year lifespan being roughly average. A major reason this type of commercial roof lasts so long can found in the rubber that makes up the roof membrane. Industrial-grade, synthetic rubber is exceptionally slow to show signs of degradation under normal conditions. Like TPO roofs, EPDM roofs are typically flat, commercial roofs that are installed on large buildings.
Unlike the other types of roofs in this list, metal roofs can literally last a lifetime when installed on steep-slope roof structures. With proper regular maintenance to check for signs of wear — and repairing or replacing recalcitrant roof system components — metal roofs win the longevity contest. The actual lifespan is largely determined by the roof slope, type of metal they contain, and the metal’s finish.
Professionally installed low-slope asphalt roofs usually have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years. Steep-sloped shingle asphalt roofs generally last 20 to 40 years. The lifespan of this type of commercial roof is significantly determined by the low-slope roof system, the quality of the shingle and whether the roofing system receives scheduled maintenance.
Extending the Life of Your Commercial Roof
You’ll notice that the lifespan for your type of commercial roof involves a range of several years. In addition to maintaining your roof and performing timely repairs, you can extend your roof’s lifespan so that it reaches the upper end of that range by going with better roofing materials and a better roofing system design. Just as building products aren’t created equal, neither are roofing systems. Some are cheaply designed and last just a few years, while others are exceptionally well-designed and last a lifetime.
As an example of how commercial roofs can be engineered to have different lifespans, see this helpful resource from Firestone that describes the composition of different roofs and places a warranty on the products based partly on their expected lifespan.
Sentry Roof maintains, repairs and installs every type of commercial roof. If you want to know more about the type of commercial roof that’s on your building, give us a call and ask us!