How To Tell Age: What Your Commercial Roof Is Telling You

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How To Tell Age: What Your Commercial Roof Is Telling You

How To Tell Age: What Your Commercial Roof Is Telling You

With professional installation, the right materials, and proper care, a commercial roof should last your business for quite some time. A key question, however, is how do you know when it’s time to replace the roof on your business? Or, what’s the average life expectancy for the various types of commercial roofs? 

Let’s take a look at those questions, and a few more, to help you decide when it might be time to replace your commercial roof. Or, in some cases, when routine maintenance is enough.

Typical commercial roof life expectancy

The most common types of commercial roofs are:

  • Standing seam metal 
  • Flat r-panel metal 
  • EPDM rubber 
  • TPO single-ply 
  • Modified bitumen 
  • Built-up roofs

Let’s break down the life expectancy for the roof types listed above:

Standing seam metal roofs

Standing seam metal roofs feature angled roof panels in which the seam sits between the metal panels at the highest point of the roof. One of the pluses of the elevated seam is that it’s less likely to leak. The fasteners are at a rust risk, however, while the flashings are somewhat susceptible to damage.

Expected lifespan: 20 to 30 years

Flat r-panel metal roofs

The flat r-panel style features interconnected metal panels. The seams between the metal panels represent a weak point and, when compromised, may lead to mold, water damage and other issues.

Expected lifespan: 15 to 20 years

EPDM rubber roofs

This is among the most common commercial roofing types and consist of highly-durable roofing materials. The rubber membrane should last around 20 years, but the seams between the rolls represent a weak point and may shorten the roof’s lifespan.

Expected lifespan: 12 to 15 years (for the seams)

TPO single-ply roofs

The seams on TPO single-ply roofs last longer than those on EPDM roofs. But the single surface membrane of a TPO roof breaks down over time because of exposure to the elements.

Expected lifespan: 15 years

Modified bitumen roofs

Modified bitumen roofs refer to a class of commercial roofs that can have a widely-varied lifespan. This type of roof is expensive and challenging to tear off and often makes roof restoration, rather than replacement, a better option.

Expected lifespan: 12 to 30 years

Built-up roofs 

Also known as BUR, built-up roofs feature alternating layers of bitumen and reinforced fabrics. The surface of BUR roofs may feature gravel, glass-fiber or mineral-surfaced cap sheets, hot asphalt, aluminum coatings, and more.

Expected lifespan: 15 to 25 years

Other factors which affect the lifespan of commercial roofs

Several factors, besides those mentioned with the various types of roofs above, can affect the lifespan of a commercial roof, including:

  • Weather extremes such as high wind, hail, snow, heavy rain, and tornadoes.
  • Excessive heat or cold. 
  • The quality of the roof’s installation
  • The consistency of maintenance
  • Roof penetration caused by equipment such as HVAC systems

Signs of commercial roof deterioration

It’s helpful to know which signs suggest your commercial roof needs restoration or maintenance. Those include:

  • Missing shingles or tiles
  • Worn coatings and membranes
  • Loose or missing flashing
  • Mold growth
  • Punctures or tears 
  • Stains on exterior walls and the underside of the roof decking.

Ways to extend a commercial roof’s life expectancy

While all roofs have a limited lifespan, there are many things you can do get the most from them before it’s time for a replacement.

  1. Annual maintenance and roof inspections will catch minor roof problems before they become major ones. Many roofing warranties become void if damage occurs on a roof that hasn’t been maintained and inspected regularly. 
  2. Restorative roof coatings can help extend the life of your roof and help keep it in optimal condition. Roof restorations also give your professional contractor the chance to identify and repair any existing weaknesses.
  3. Proper ventilation and insulation create a proper airflow while reducing moisture. They also help to regular your HVAC system while helping it to operate at its highest efficiency. Reduced airflow can lead to standing water, mold, and rot.
  4. Never underestimate the importance of professional installation. Even the best roofing materials won’t prevent damage and early wear if the roof is installed poorly. A knowledgable roofing professional knows how to choose the right roof depending on your building’s location, construction, and use. 

Leave the installation and maintenance of your Miami-area commercial roof up to the professionals at A-1 Property Services. They have the expertise and experience – as well as offer the most competitive warranties – to provide you with the peace of mind of knowing the job is done right.

By | 2019-09-16T12:05:55+00:00 October 7th, 2019|