Commercial Roof Durability: How Long Do Materials Last?

If you’re looking to install a new roof on your commercial building or replace the old one, you definitely want to find out how long the roofing material options last. The first thing you should know is that: the durability of a commercial roof begins with your choice of roofing material. However, your material choice is not the only determinant of the durability of your commercial roofing.

In this article, we discuss how long roofing materials are expected to last, and also the other factors that can influence their durability. This information is presented by our expert roofers who complete commercial roofing in Waltham, MA.

The weather conditions

Weather is a huge determinant of the durability of a commercial roof. Harsh weather conditions cause the roofing system to degrade. However, the lifespan of a commercial roof can be extended when well maintained and repairs are done promptly.

For example, a commercial roof can be quickly degraded by the freezing ice of winter. When water freezes on the roof, it puts an extra weight of up to 60 pounds on the roof per cubic foot. And when the water thaws, it seeps into the gaps in the roof and freezes again. This freezing-thawing cycle causes small cracks in the roof, thereby making the roof leak.

When summer comes and the high temperatures, the commercial roof is also affected. The intense heat that accompanies the summer causes harm to the sealant materials of the roof, causing the roofing system to swell and become weakened. This ultimately affects the roof’s durability.

The roof type

This is another major factor that influences the durability of a commercial roof. Making an informed decision on the type of roofing you’re installing is very important. The most common types of roofs that building managers consider include pitched roofs, flat roofs, and low-sloped roofs. Each of these has features that affect how long they last.

For example, the installation of flat roofs is fast and more economical because fewer square feet of roofing material is required. However, the chance of fast roof degradation is higher when proper drainage is not in place. Structural materials can be weakened by stagnant water on the roof, which ultimately causes the roof to leak.

Low-sloped roofs are better at preventing standing water on the roof. Because of this, they do not require as many repairs and frequent replacements as flat roofs. However, slow-sloped roofs gain substantial weight when heavy snow fails to melt quickly.

Although not as common as the other roof types, commercial pitched roofs are the best at water runoffs. Most times, pitched roofs are combined with flat and low-sloped roofs.

Roofing materials

The choice of commercial roofing material is a major factor that influences the durability of a commercial roof. Some of the common roofing materials include the Metal roofing system, TPO roofing system, PVC roofing system, EPDM roofing system, and asphalt roofing system.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) roofing system: This material option is reputed for its energy-efficient and fire-resistant abilities. The PVC membranes are great at self-extinguishing, making them remain strong in the event of fire outbreaks. Because of these properties, PVC roofs don’t require many repairs and are quite durable. You can expect a PVC roof to last for over 20 years.
  • Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO): This is one of the most recent roofing membrane styles for commercial buildings. While it hasn’t been around for long enough to prove its lifespan, its life expectancy is between 22 to 30 years. One good thing about TPO roofs is that it is more cost-effective than PVC roofing materials.
  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM): This roofing option is an extremely durable option, especially due to the rubber membrane from which it is made. EPDM roofs do well under harsh conditions and are not affected by much deterioration. Having been around for over six decades, EPDM roofs have proven to be reliable, with their lifespan between 22 and 35 years.
  • Metal roofs: These have the reputation of being strong, durable, and cost-effective. The lifespan of a commercial metal roof is guaranteed to last from 30 to 45 years. Generally, how long a metal roof will last will depend on the kind of metal used, the slope of the roof, and the metal finish. 
  • Asphalt shingle roofs: These are also known to last long, especially when the roof has a steep slope. However, asphalt roofs require frequent maintenance to have maximum longevity. With this, they can last from 20-40 years.

Final thoughts

The durability of a commercial roof will depend largely on factors such as the material choice, the roof type, weather conditions, and the quality of installation. The lifespan of any roof can further be extended by regular maintenance.

To get a quality roof installation for your commercial building, it is important that you engage the service of a reputable roof installation company. Before you hire any company, ensure that you check out their ratings online, especially on websites like the BBB.