Understanding the Lifespan of Commercial Roofing Materials

July 28, 2023 5:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Understanding the Lifespan of Commercial Roofing Materials

When it comes to commercial buildings, the roof is one of the most critical components. It protects the structure from the elements and ensures the safety and comfort of its occupants. Understanding the lifespan of commercial roofing materials is essential for proper maintenance and planning. In this article, we will explore the different types of commercial roofing materials and their expected lifespans.

1. Single-Ply Membrane Roofing:

Single-ply membrane roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings due to its durability and ease of installation. These roofs are typically made of materials such as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), TPO (thermoplastic olefin), or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The lifespan of single-ply membrane roofing can vary depending on factors such as maintenance, climate, and installation quality. On average, these roofs can last between 20 to 30 years.

2. Built-Up Roofing (BUR):

Built-Up Roofing (BUR) systems have been used in commercial buildings for many years and are known for their reliability and longevity. BUR roofs consist of multiple layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics, such as fiberglass or polyester. These layers are then topped with a protective granular surface. When properly maintained, BUR roofs can last around 25 to 30 years or longer.

3. Modified Bitumen Roofing:

Modified bitumen roofing is a popular choice for low-slope or flat commercial roofs. It consists of reinforcing materials, such as fiberglass or polyester, that are coated with bitumen. This type of roofing is known for its durability and resistance to UV rays, punctures, and extreme weather conditions. With proper maintenance, modified bitumen roofs can last between 20 to 25 years.

4. Metal Roofing:

Metal roofing has gained popularity in commercial buildings due to its longevity and energy efficiency. Metal roofs are available in various materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper. They offer excellent durability, fire resistance, and low maintenance requirements. Depending on the material used, metal roofs can last between 40 to 70 years or even longer with proper care.

5. Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roofing:

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing is a unique and highly effective option for commercial buildings. SPF roofs are created by spraying a mixture of polyurethane foam and elastomeric coating onto the existing roof surface. This creates a seamless, durable, and energy-efficient roofing system. With proper maintenance and periodic re-coating, SPF roofs can last up to 50 years.

6. Asphalt Shingles:

Although more commonly used in residential buildings, asphalt shingles can also be found on some commercial roofs. Asphalt shingles are made of fiberglass or organic materials, typically coated with asphalt and mineral granules. While they are less common in commercial applications, asphalt shingle roofs typically have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

7. Green Roofs:

Green roofs, also known as vegetative roofs, are becoming increasingly popular in commercial buildings due to their aesthetic appeal and environmental benefits. These roofs consist of layers of vegetation planted on a waterproofing membrane. The lifespan of green roofs can vary depending on factors such as maintenance, drainage, and plant selection. With proper care, green roofs can last between 30 to 50 years or longer.


Understanding the lifespan of commercial roofing materials is crucial for making informed decisions regarding repairs, replacements, and maintenance. Each roofing material has its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and expected lifespan. It’s important to consider factors such as climate, installation quality, maintenance, and the specific needs of your commercial building when choosing a roofing system. Regular inspection and maintenance can also help prolong the lifespan of your commercial roof, ensuring its functionality and protecting your investment for years to come.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

Since 1987, R & H Roofing has remained one of the most trusted names in the roofing industry. We specialize in commercial and industrial roofing and offer a wide variety of roofing systems including EPDM systems, TPO Systems, Metal Roofing Systems, BUR Tar & Gravel Systems, Asphalt Shingles, and PVC Systems. We also work with some of the leading manufacturers including Firestone, Carlisle, Duro-last, and Garland. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

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