How Long Should a Commercial Roof Last?

The answer to this question is more complex, as it incorporates various factors, including material choice, environmental conditions, and maintenance. However, regardless of your roof type, good maintenance habits will help you get the most out of whatever kind of commercial roof you have, pitched or flat.

Keep reading to learn the expected lifespans of common types of commercial roofing and how to take care of your facility's roof.

Lifespan Expectations for Commercial Roofing

Commercial roofs are built to last, but the longevity can vary significantly based on materials and construction quality. Your local climate will also play a significant role in the wear and tear your roof experiences.

For example, in Arizona, commercial roofs must deal with high temperatures and intense UV rays throughout the year. And, when it isn't hot, we have our rainy season. This means any commercial roof must be prepared to withstand heat and moisture.

Average lifespans for flat commercial roofing systems:

  • Polyurethane spray foam: This can last over 50 years with proper maintenance. Its ability to offer insulation and protection from the elements makes it a favorite.
  • Elastomeric coatings: Used in roof restoration, this can add 10 to 20 years of life to your existing roof by creating a protective barrier against weather and UV radiation.
  • Aluminum and glass emulsions: Often last around 3 to 7 years and are commonly used for coating over foam roofing systems.
  • Modified bitumen roofing: These have a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years. They are renowned for enduring foot traffic and providing greater elasticity in fluctuating temperatures.

Average lifespans for pitched commercial roofing systems:

  • Asphalt shingles: These typically have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years. They are one of the most common roofing materials due to their cost-effectiveness and ease of installation.
  • Tile roofing: Can last over 50 years with proper care. Tile roofs, made from clay or concrete, are exceptionally resistant to weathering, pests, and rot, making them a popular choice in areas with extreme weather conditions.
  • Slate roofing: Slate roofing systems are known for longevity, often exceeding 100 years. This natural stone roofing offers a distinctive appearance and superb durability, though it comes with a higher upfront cost.

Impacts on Commercial Roof Longevity

Though commercial roofing materials are designed to last for decades, other factors can affect whether you enjoy their entire lifespan. Understanding these factors can help you take better care of your roof.

Factors that can reduce or extend the life of a commercial roof include:

  • Climate: Tucson and Phoenix's harsh sun and heat are known for challenging roofing systems.
  • Installation: A flawless installation by seasoned professionals like Lyons Roofing ensures fewer issues down the road.
  • Building structure: The building's design can affect drainage and the roof's ability to handle standing water.
  • Roof usage: Some roofs experience more foot traffic, which can lead to faster wear and tear.

Maintenance Tips for Commercial Roofs

Maintaining your commercial roof is paramount not just for its longevity but also for ensuring the protection of your property. This includes having your roof professionally inspected at least twice a year to identify any potential issues early on. Additionally, watch for early signs of damage or wear, such as standing water, cracks, or tears, which can quickly escalate if not addressed.

We also encourage commercial property owners or managers to consider roof coatings, especially those designed to have reflective properties to combat the sun and high temperatures. For example, elastomeric and polyurethane coatings serve as an extra shield for your roof, potentially extending its lifespan and saving on energy costs.

Your commercial roof is a critical investment in the overall well-being of your business. Understanding the expected lifespan of your roofing system, factors that affect its longevity, and maintenance best practices will help you make informed decisions for its care.

For more information and personalized roofing solutions, contact the team at Lyons Roofing.