How Long Does a Commercial Roof Last?

How Long Does a Commercial Roof Last?

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When the time comes to consider a replacement your commercial roof, different roofing materials offer varying lifespans. Quality installation along with regular maintenance schedules can extend your roof’s life. In this article we discuss the options of roofing products, how they are used and what you can expect in terms of their lifespan.

Commercial roof lifespan can vary from 10 to 40 years based on the following system types, installation and maintenance:

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) : 22- 35 years
Metal System : 30-45 years
TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) : 22-30 years
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): 20-30 years
Asphalt System : 20-40 years

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)

EPDM is an extremely durable synthetic rubber as a membrane to cover low sloping roofs and has been one of the most frequently used materials on the market over the past 50 years. Architects and engineers see EPDM as a high-performance roofing system for its flexibility and strength. Other benefits of an EPDM roofing system is its energy efficiency offered in white or black which is designed to reflect or retain heat. EPDM can resistance to thermal shock and hail damage and can accommodate structural movement without damage to the membrane. An EPDM membrane can last up to 30 years or longer with the proper maintenance and the material is fully recyclable when it does come time to replace.


One of the oldest commercial roofing material, a metal roofing system is also one of the longer lasting with an average age of 30-45 years. Metal roofing systems use corrugated galvanized steel, although aluminum and tin can also be used. Metal tends to be more adaptable to steeper sloped roofs and comes in a variety of weights and finishes that also have an impact on the overall life of the roof.

TPO (Thermoplastic Oflefin)

TPO membranes composed of a blend of polypropylene and ethylene proplylene rubber. They come in white, gray and tan colors. White tends to be the most popular for being highly reflective. Its UV-resistance ability cuts more than 85 percent of the suns damaging rays in-turn reducing cooling costs in air-conditioned facilities. TPO is commonly used for flat commercial roof replacement such as shopping malls, office complexes and big box stores. It comes in a variety of thickness ranging from 45 mil to 80+ mil which can fit within a wide variety of budgets. On average TPO roofs come with up to a 20 years warranty and with the appropriate maintenance, it is not uncommon for a TPO roofing system to last as long as 30 years.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

PVC is known as being the original heat-welded single-ply roofing system. Although incompatible with asphalt, PVC systems are durable, flexible and are known to resist rooftop chemicals, oils and industrial byproducts. They also have a fire resistant property. A PVC roofing system has an average lifespan of 20-30 years with proper installation and maintenance.


One of the main determining factors in the lifespan of an asphalt roof is roof slope. A low-slope asphalt roof will typically last 15 to 20 years when installed correctly by experienced roofing professionals. Steeper slope asphalt roofs can last as long as 40 years. Other factors to consider when installing an asphalt roof system is the quality of shingle and a consistent maintenance schedule to identify and repair any potential issues.

Do you need some help deciding on the best commercial roof for your business? 

WNC Roofing understands all the variables you should consider when it comes to making a financial commitment to your roof’s repair, maintenance and replacement. Our team of commercial roofing experts will provide you with the best options to your unique situation.

With more than a decade working in the commercial and industrial roofing industry, we have supported the needs of many local businesses throughout Asheville, NC, Greenville, SC and the Upstate and WNC regions. If you’re considering a change or have some current repair needs, let our service team provide you with the advice you need to make the most cost effective decision in the long run.

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