Lifespans of Commercial Flat Roof Membranes

Life Spans of Commercial Roofs

Flat roofs are standard 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. 

In this article, we’ll highlight the average lifespan of some of the most popular flat roofing materials: TPO, PVC, and EPDM.


Worker welding white TPO roofing membrane

Average Lifespan: 15 to 20 Years

Thermoplastic Polyolefin is likely the most affordable membrane option, and it is also a green choice, meaning it is better for the environment than other options.

It is a single-ply reflective roofing material, 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 good resistance to chemical, ultraviolet, and ozone exposure.


Average Lifespan: 20+ Years

new pvc roof being installed

PVC or vinyl is frequently used in flat roofing systems. It is likely the most expensive roofing option, but offers superior energy efficiency ratings.

This type of roof comprises multiple layers of PVC and polyester, making for a durable and flexible UV-stable product.

PVC roofing membranes are known for their ability to handle various climates and natural conditions, making this type of roofing system ideal for environments with fluctuating temperatures and weather patterns. And, the material is fireproof and waterproof.


EPDM Roof Systems

Average Lifespan: 25 to 30 Years

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer is a synthetic rubber membrane commonly used for commercial roofing installations because of its affordability, easy installation, and longevity.

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, flexible, and resistant to leaks and punctures. 

Other Factors Contributing to Longevity

While each roofing system has its specific pros and cons, many factors contribute to the longevity of your roofing installation, including environment/climate and maintenance.


If you are installing a roof in a colder climate, then the lifespan of the roof will likely be shortened. Additionally, if you live in an area prone to inclement weather, including torrential rain, heavy winds, hail, and severe thunderstorms, you are more likely to experience damage to your roof.


Every roof requires routine maintenance. If this isn’t done, the roof will likely suffer from premature damage and wear and tear.

So, to get the most out of your roof, you should focus on these maintenance tasks:

  • Ensuring your roof has adequate drainage.
  • Regularly clearing debris off of your roof.
  • Routinely inspecting for minor damage to membrane seams.
  • Examining roof after a significant storm.

If you come across any damage, you can contact a roofing company to come out and fix the issue before it worsens. Please read our Do’s and Don’ts of Self-Inspections blog post to learn how to stay safe during self-inspections.

Install a New Roof Today

Remember that proper installation is the first step to ensuring a longer roofing lifespan. If you are in the market for a new commercial roof, work with a professional like Summit Commercial Roofing. We specialize in replacing and installing EPDM, PVC, and metal commercial roofing systems and have been helping business owners in Michigan for  over 50 years. Contact us today to get started with an estimate!


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Contact Summit Commercial Roofing Today

Summit Commercial Roofing is proud to be an industry leader in commercial flat roofing replacement, repairs, maintenance and installations. Courtesy, integrity, and transparency are a big part of everything that we do. Are you ready to see why we’re one of the best commercial roofing companies in Southeast Michigan? Call (734) 564-0371 or fill out our online form today to request a quote on our commercial roofing services.

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