Life Spans of Commercial Flat Roof Membranes

Life Spans of Commercial Roofs

Flat roofs are common in many businesses and commercial facilities. These types of roofs are cost-effective and often provide significant protection for many years. However, the material used for the roof membrane can have an incredible impact on the expected life of the roofing system. Therefore, the installers at Summit Commercial Roofing want to make sure that you, as a business or commercial property owner, are aware of the types of membranes offered through commercial roofing services.


Thermoplastic Polyolefin is likely the most affordable membrane option, and it is also a green choice, meaning that it is better for the environment than other options. A TPO roof membrane can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years. It is a single ply reflective roofing option, and it is typically adhered or mechanically attached. This membrane can be left exposed throughout its life. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these roofing systems provide resistance to chemical, ultraviolet and ozone exposure.


PVC or vinyl is a frequent commercial roof replacement. It is likely the most expensive roofing option, but it also offers superior energy efficiency ratings. These roofs provide significant UV protection and can last 20 years or more. This type of roof is made up of multiple layers of PVC and polyester, making for a durable and flexible product that is UV stable. PVC roofing membranes are known for the ability to handle various climates and natural conditions, making this type of roofing system ideal for environments with fluctuating temperatures and weather patterns. Also, the material is both fireproof and waterproof.


Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer is a synthetic rubber membrane that has been commonly used for commercial roofing installations because of its affordability, easy installation and life span of 25 to 30 years or more. This type of roofing membrane is incredibly durable and can be adhered, ballasted or mechanically attached. Beyond affordability and ease of installation, EPDM roofs are lightweight and flexible and resistant to leaks and punctures. Also, the clean and smooth surface of this roofing system is aesthetically pleasing.

Other Factors Contributing to Longevity

While each roofing system has its specific pros and cons, there are many factors that contribute to the longevity of your roofing installation. For instance, if you are installing a roof in a colder climate, then the life span of the roof will likely be shortened. Also, storms can cause unforeseen problems, like debris and penetration. Additionally, every roof requires routine maintenance, and if this is avoided, then the roof will likely suffer from premature damage and wear and tear.

Therefore, to get the most out of your roof, you should focus on maintenance. For instance, does your roof have adequate drainage? Do you regularly clear debris and inspect for minor damage to membrane seams? It is vital to examine a commercial roof after every significant storm. Check the flashing, seams and be aware of any penetrations. If you come across any damage, then you can contact a roofing company to come out and fix the issue before it becomes worse.

Most commercial roofing membranes come in three varieties: (1) TPO, (2) PVC and (3) EPDM. All of these membranes offer significant protection and varying life expectancies. If you are in the market for a new commercial roof, then keep in mind that the installation is just as necessary as the expected life span of the membrane. For those interested in the installation of a new flat roof membrane and roofing system, then you can contact the commercial roofing contractors of Summit Commercial Roofing for an estimate. You can call a representative at (734) 228-4396 to discuss the specifics of your decision and choices.

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