What is the Useful Life of a Commercial Roof?

April 27, 2023

Commercial roofs are a significant investment for any building owner. Building owners and property managers rely on roofers to provide accurate information about the roof’s expected lifespan. Understanding the useful life of a commercial roof is essential to maximizing its longevity and protecting your investment. Commercial roofs must withstand a range of environmental factors, from intense sunlight to heavy rain and snow. Knowing when a roof will need replacement is crucial so you can plan for it and protect the building from water damage and other potential hazards.

The useful life of a commercial roof refers to the length of time it is expected to remain functional and provide adequate protection for the building it covers. The following factors affect the lifespan of a commercial roof:

Weather & Climate

Weather is one of the factors we cannot control. For instance, if you live in an area with strong winds, hail, heavy rains, or snow, your building might be more likely to get damaged by these weather conditions. Over time, the accumulated damage can weaken the roof, leading to leaks, cracks, and other structural problems. This can cause your roof to wear out faster than expected and shorten its lifespan. Building owners should take into account their local climate when choosing the right commercial roofing material and maintenance schedule. This will ensure their roof lasts as long as possible.


The installation process is perhaps the most critical step. It’s because anything that goes wrong during the installation process can ultimately shorten a roof’s lifespan. Therefore, choosing a reputable, qualified, and experienced roofer is essential when installing a new roof. Choose a professional roofer, even if they are a bit costly, instead of the cheapest option. Spending a little more can ensure that you get what you need.

Roofing Material Quality

The material quality used in a commercial roof is crucial in determining its lifespan. A high-quality roofing material designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, like heavy rains, strong winds, or snow, is more likely to last longer than a cheaper, lower-quality material. The durability of the roofing material is also important in ensuring the roof’s longevity. High-quality roofing materials, such as metal or high-grade asphalt, can last up to several decades without needing major repairs or replacement. However, low-quality roofing materials, such as shingles made from inferior materials, may show signs of wear and tear much sooner and require costly repairs or replacements.

The Design of the Roof

The design of a commercial roof can have a significant impact on its lifespan. The slope or pitch of the roof impacts how water drains off the surface. A well-designed roof should allow water to drain quickly and efficiently, reducing the likelihood of water pooling on the roof and causing damage over time. Similarly, the type of roofing system used can also affect the roof’s lifespan. For example, flat roofs are more susceptible to water damage than sloped roofs, so they may require additional waterproofing measures to prevent leaks.

Expected Lifespan of Different Roofing Materials

  • EPDM (rubber) roofing – 20 to 30 years
  • Modified bitumen roofing – 20 to 30 years
  • Built-up roofing (BUR) – 15 to 30 years
  • Thermoplastic roofing (PVC or TPO) – 20 to 30 years
  • Metal roofing – 30 to 50 years or more, depending on the type of metal and how it’s maintained
  • Spray foam roofing – 20 to 30 years, depending on installation and maintenance

Building owners need to understand the expected useful life of their commercial roofs so they can budget for repairs or replacements accordingly. Furthermore, regular maintenance and inspections can help extend a commercial roof’s life.

Contact Torham Exterior Solution Inc.

Looking to protect your commercial property with a long-lasting roofing solution? Torham Exterior Solution Inc. offers dependable roofing solutions to clients in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team of expert commercial roofing professionals. Read our informative blog post, “How is a Commercial Roof Constructed?” to understand more about commercial roofs.