Tips & Advice
How long does a commercial roof usually last?
Below are average life spans for common types of commercial roofing. Keep in mind that maintenance practices and weather conditions can work to shorten or extend it.
- Metal roof: Typically lasts 30 to 45 years
- Spray-foam roof: This is a relatively new roofing system, but it shows signs of having great longevity and can can last more than 50 years
- Concrete roof: Extremely resilient and can last 35 to 50 years
- Built-up roof: Also referred to as a tar-and-gravel roof, and it has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years
- Asphalt shingle roof: Can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years
- Modified bitumen roof: Typically last 12 to 20 years
- Rubber roof: Also known as EPDM roofing, it can last 22-35 years
How often should a commercial roof be inspected?
Experts advise that a commercial roof should be inspected twice a year. It's best to have the first inspection take place in the spring, to make sure the roof is prepared to handle hot summer weather. Ideally, the second inspection should take place in the fall, to ensure that the roof is in good shape to deal with colder winter temperatures.
In between the two major inspections, it's a good idea to visually inspect the roof on your own from time to time throughout the year. If there's been a major storm, check the roof for signs of damage.
Can a new roof be put on top of an old one?
In certain situations, it's possible to put a new roof on an old one, and, in some cases, it can simplify the process. For example, with a shingled roof, installation over an existing roof might be easier than tearing off the old roof, since you can use the old shingles as a map for laying down the new ones.
Tearing off an old roof costs money, so you may be able to incur financial savings by skipping this step and installing a new roof over the old one. However, it is important to determine if the building can handle the weight of two layers (or more) of roofing. Local building codes also need to be considered, since some communities prohibit residents from installing new roofs over old ones.
Do commercial roofing companies offer warranties?
Yes, commercial roofing companies do offer the following types of warranties:
- No-dollar limit (NDL): This provides protection against manufacturing defects and premature deterioration. In some cases, it also includes a workmanship warranty that protects against installation defects. There is no dollar limit on coverages, but you are usually required to pay a fee.
- Labor-only: This is a workmanship warranty that covers just the labor costs and does not cover the cost of materials.
- Material-only:This covers the cost of materials required, but does not cover the cost of the labor.
- Pro-rated: These warranties provide coverage that diminishes with time. For example, it cover 100 percent of your costs for the first five years, diminishing to 60 percent in the years that follow.
Do leaking roofs need to be replaced?
Leaking roofs don't always need to be replaced; there are times when repair might be a better way to go than replacement. One factor to consider is the age of the roof. If it is still relatively new, or even if it's in the middle of its lifecycle, repair might make more sense.
Replacement is usually the best path to take with older roofs. For example, a roof with asphalt shingles can have a lifespan of up to 30 years.
Another area to look at is the size that needs repairing. If the leak is being caused by damage to a small area of the roof, replacement may a good bet. However, if the leak is affecting 30 percent or more of the roof, it is time to replace.