How long does a flat roof last?

January 18, 2023

As a general guide, a flat commercial roof can last anywhere between 10 and 35 years.

This huge time difference may lead you to think that asking, “How long does a flat roof last?” is a bit like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” However, that’s not quite the case.

Whether your flat roof lasts just 10 years, or over 45 years (as has been reported in some cases) depends on the quality of the materials and installation, but also upon how well you maintain it.

Which types of flat roof last the longest?

Metal flat roofs typically last in excess of 30 years when installed by skilled industrial roofing contractors. When used in combination with liquid applied roofing systems, they can last even longer than this.

In contrast, single-ply membrane roofing solutions usually last around 15 years under the same environmental conditions.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, whatever flat roof system your premises currently has, regular commercial roof maintenance and inspections are key to ensuring that it lasts as long as possible.

Signs of damage to flat commercial roof

Whilst flat commercial roofs offer several benefits over their sloped counterparts, they can be susceptible to problems that other roofing systems do not experience, such as ponding water. Read on to discover some of the main signs of damage to look out for on flat commercial roofs.

Ponding water on flat roof - One of the biggest issues that flat roofs can experience is ponding water. All flat commercial roofs should slope at least slightly to avoid this problem. If left for any length of time, ponding water can cause damage to your roof, allowing water to penetrate your building.

Damaged flashing - Most flat roofs have metal flashing along their perimeter. The purpose of this is to seal joints and prevent leaks. If your flashing is damaged, water may seep into your flat roof, compromising its structural integrity.

Cracking or blistering – Extreme temperatures can cause your flat roof to expand and contract over time, allowing moisture to enter your roof. When this moisture is heated by the sun, it can lead to cracks, blisters, and bubbles appearing. These areas of damage allow further water ingress, and so the vicious circle continues. This is why any cracks or blisters to your flat roof should be repaired immediately by experienced industrial roofing contractors.

Mould and mildew on your flat roof – Moisture is the primary cause of stains, discoloured areas, and black spots on flat commercial roofs. In addition to making your building appear unsightly to visitors, it can cause significant damage to your roof. Worryingly, mould on your flat roof can also compromise the quality of the air inside your premises, potentially leading to respiratory issues for your employees.

If you notice any mould or mildew either on the walls or ceilings of your premises, or on the flat roof itself, this should be addressed by expert industrial roofing contractors as soon as possible.

Get in touch with experienced industrial roofing contractors

If you have noticed any problems with your flat roof, it’s vital that you choose reputable and accredited industrial roofing contractors to investigate the issue.

Roofing Consultants Group have over 100 years of experience in repairing, replacing, and maintaining flat commercial roofs. They are therefore ideally placed to answer any questions you may have on the subject.

Get in touch with their knowledgeable team today by calling 0800 046 1500. Alternatively, send them a message using the contact form on their website for a swift response.


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