A typical commercial flat roof membrane should last on an average of 15-25 years before needing to be replaced. It could be as early as 10 years or last as long as 50 years. In my honest opinion it depends on 1 main factor………..MAINTENANCE. Making sure your flat roof is well maintained is a crucial part of its life span. What I mean by maintenance is having a honest and reliable roofer inspect and maintain your roof once or twice a year. During the maintenance inspections we’re checking to make sure drains are clear of trash and debris, the condition of the seams and curbs of the membrane are sealed, and overall functionality of the roof is working to the best of its ability. A commercial flat roof is built and engineered to shed water and to protect the assets of the building.
In 2012 the Air National Guard performed a case study on reactive maintenance vs proactive maintenance. Reactive maintenance is repairing a roof that has already been compromised. Proactive maintenance approach is regularly inspecting your roof and taking care of problems before that become a major threat. During the case study they found out that the average life span of a reactive maintenance approach on a commercial roof lasted only 13 years. A commercial roof that has a proactive maintenance approach lasted an average of 21 years. The average cost of a new commercial roof is more than $42,500 (10,000 square foot average). Would you want to spend 42 thousand dollars every 13 years or 21 years?
There are other factors involved on how long your commercial roof will last. For instance, which type of roof system is currently installed. There 5 common commercial roof systems we see in our region; Built-Up Roof (BUR), Modular Bitumen, EPDM, TPO and PVC. The most common roof membrane we see and install is a TPO membrane. It’s also important to make sure everything is installed correctly on the roof system. We see roof systems that are rushed and not installed or repaired correctly. Sometimes a poor repair can add up to more damage to the area.
Weather and geographical location is also a factor in commercial roof longevity. Being in Kansas, I consider us to be in extreme conditions. We can go from hot to cold, rain to snow very quickly. So, our buildings and roofs must react to those conditions to function properly.
In Conclusion, commercial flat roof longevity all depends on the type of system you currently have and if the roof is being maintained properly. We believe that a well maintained and regularly inspected commercial roof can last well beyond its warranty length. At Rhoden Roofing, we have a preventative commercial roof maintenance program called RoofCare. It’s designed to inform a building owner or a facility manager the current condition of the roof. We can design a maintenance program specifically for the customer to get the maximum life out of their current roof system.