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How Long Does a Flat Roof Last?

Jun 25, 2021

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Home » Blog » How Long Does a Flat Roof Last?

Learn more about the lifespan of your flat roof—and how to make it last longer!

When it comes to efficiency and practicality, flat roofs are king. Due to their extremely low pitch, they can cover a roof using less material while leaving more interior space and allowing for easy installation of roof equipment, such as HVAC units. But while they’re built to be durable, how long does a flat roof actually last?

Here at Dolan Roofing, we’ve installed, repaired, and—especially important—maintained numerous flat roofs for business owners and property managers throughout the area. Thanks to this experience, we have a strong understanding of what you can expect from this type of roof. So today, we’re answering the question of how long you can expect a flat roof to last—and how to get the most out of a flat roof.

Who uses a flat roof?

Typically, flat roofing applications are seen in commercial settings. Businesses tend to favor them as a flat roof can cover a large building much more easily. Just imagine the cost of covering a big box store with a pitched asphalt shingle roof—not to mention how ridiculous that would look!

Still, while flat roofs are more common for commercial buildings, there are instances where some or all of a residential roof is flat. This is more common for multi-unit residential buildings, but even single-family homes will sometimes make use of a flat roof—such as for a porch, awning, or addition to the home.

How long does a flat roof last?

The lifespan of a flat roof varies, but most flat roofs are expected to last for about 10-25 years. How long a specific flat roof lasts will depend on the materials used in its construction, how well the roof was built, and other factors such as ongoing maintenance and care. Let’s take a look at a couple of the most common types of flat roofs and their expected lifespan

EPDM roofs

Single-ply membranes are probably the most common materials used in flat roofing applications these days. EPDM rubber roofing is one such material that is highly favorable for flat roofs. Generally, you can expect an EPDM roof to last for around 12-15 years, and potentially longer with good maintenance and prompt repairs. 

TPO roofs

The other most common single-ply membrane is TPO, which stands for thermoplastic olefin. Developed as a way to make up for EPDM’s primary weakness (namely, weakened seams which are vulnerable to water intrusion), TPO features heat-welded seams that resist water. The lifespan of a TPO roof is a bit more variable, typically around 10-15 years or longer. 

Commercial roof maintenance: The key to a long-lasting flat roof

While the expected lifespan of a flat roof generally falls within the range of 10-25 years, where it falls in that range often comes down to proper maintenance and care. Flat roofs are built to last, of course, but that doesn’t mean they should be left alone until it’s time to replace them. In fact, that’s a surefire way to make a flat roof’s expiration date come much sooner.

Instead, getting the most out of a flat roof all comes down to proper maintenance. Scheduling regular commercial roof inspections is an excellent first step, as this ensures that you catch any issues early on, before they compound and become worse. If any damage is found during an inspection, it’s important to repair it right away. And finally, performing regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning and clearing out drainage systems will make sure your roof is at its best.

Make Your Roof Last Longer with Dolan’s Commercial Roof Maintenance Program!

At Dolan Roofing & Construction, one thing we’ve learned over the years is just how critical effective maintenance is when it comes to making a flat roof last longer. Because of that, we offer a complete commercial roof maintenance program to help keep your flat roof healthy! Our program includes annual inspections from our commercial roofing experts. Enrolling in our program also grants access to priority repairs and inspections!

If you’re looking to get the most out of your flat roof, Dolan Roofing is here to help! Contact us today to learn more about our commercial roof maintenance packages.