How Long Do Commercial Roofs Last?

One of the most prominent questions businesses ask roofers is regarding the lifespan of a new roof on a commercial building. Of course, this is a key consideration for many companies as the cost to replace your roof is a significant investment. However, it’s not always possible to give a definitive answer, as there are many factors in play that can affect its longevity.

For example, it depends on the material, as each has a different lifespan, and there’s also the consideration of maintenance to factor in. If you’re thinking about replacing a commercial roof or are wondering how long your existing installation will last, learn more below…

How long should my commercial roof last?

Most larger commercial properties have a flat roof. This is one of the most common roof types, but some smaller commercial properties have elevated or pitched roofs instead.

The design of flat roofs and the materials used allow them to last many years while still being relatively cost-effective. As an estimate, a flat roof will last around 20-25 years. But it’s possible they can still last longer depending on a range of factors.

The material used is one of the main elements of how long a commercial roof will last.

Types of commercial flat roof

There are a range of common roof types used for commercial buildings, these include:

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM)

This material is one of the most commonly used for flat roofs. It is highly durable and resistant to UV light and water. Plus, its composition does not contaminate rainwater run-off.

EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber, so its lifespan is excellent for commercial buildings. The typical design life of this material is 20 to 30 years, but in some cases it can last 40+ years.

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO)

Another common material used for commercial roofing is TPO. This material has been used within the car industry for many years and has since spread to the construction sector due to its durability and usability.

It’s highly resistant to UV light and chemical exposure and is extremely durable – making it perfect for roofs. While it doesn’t have quite the same lifespan as EPDM, it still lasts an average of 20 years and even more in some circumstances.


Asphalt and its many derivatives have been a popular roofing installation for many years. It is a well-understood system that can last for many years if maintained well. However, unlike TPO and EPDM, it does require additional thermal protection. But the upside is this material may last around 60 years with sufficient care.

Glass-reinforced plastic (GRP)

Also known as fibreglass roofing, this type of roofing material is made of resin with glass or other fibrous strands. It is highly resistant to corrosion and has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. GRP roofs have been reported to last over 50 years and don’t require much maintenance.


Some commercial buildings, such as warehouses and agricultural structures, have a large surface area to cover, and metal sheets can be a great option for this. They are cost-effective and are resistant to temperature changes. They are also versatile and don’t rot like other materials. The downside is they tend to be noisy when the rain hits the surface. However, in larger buildings, this doesn’t affect the usefulness of the material. Overall, this type of roofing could last 50 years or more.

Factors that influence commercial roof longevity

Alongside the materials used for commercial roofing, there are other factors that affect its lifespan. These include:


The installation of your roof is one of the most important factors in how long a commercial roof will last. Professional and experienced roofers will know the best way to install the materials suited to the area. Otherwise, errors at this stage will cause costly issues further down the line.

It’s important to consider the best value option, not the cheapest.


Another crucial area that affects roof longevity is how well the area is maintained. As you’re spending a significant amount of money on a new roof, you’ll want it to last as long as possible. So, as they say, prevention is always the best cure. Annual inspections will ensure any problems are identified quickly and resolved to keep the roof in the best condition possible.


You can’t control the Great British weather, and depending on your commercial building’s location, you may feel the force of some extremes such as wind, rain and snow.

Choosing the best roofing option and material is a great way to prevent weather-related issues. However, this aspect may also affect its longevity in some cases compared to places with milder climates.


The area underneath the roofing material is also an important aspect to consider to improve its lifespan. The space under the roof should have sufficient airflow to avoid moisture build-up. If you have condensation in this cavity, it may form mould and start to rot the materials. So, while you might have the best roof for the property, inadequate ventilation may affect other parts of the building, upping the costs of repair.

Water pooling

While a flat roof is much like it sounds, this roof type does have a slight pitch to avoid water pooling. However, if any low spots start emerging on the material, it could lead to pooling that doesn’t easily drain away. If this happens, it’s more likely to create leak issues and damage to the roof over time. However, with proper maintenance, you can avoid this.

Commercial roofing specialists in Pontefract

Commercial roofing lasts many years, and with professional and experienced installers, you will get a cost-effective service to meet your property needs. At DPR Roofing, our team specialise in commercial roof installation with over 30 years of experience in Pontefract and the surrounding areas. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us on 01977 220 016.