FS Roof System Blog

How long should my flat roof last?

One big concern for many home and building owners is their roof life expectancy. This is a perfectly normal and valid concern- after all if you are investing a lot of money into a roof, you want it to last. It’s important for you to know that all of the following lifespans are given assuming they have been properly maintained for the entirety of the roof’s life. 

Proper maintenance here means you have a maintenance plan in place that includes regular inspections after extreme storms and scheduled maintenance twice a year in spring and fall. Regular flat roof maintenance will help avoid: 

  • Splitting and cracks 
  • Water pooling 
  • Blistering 
  • Leaks 
  • Clogged drains 

Maintenance will deal with all of these problems that, if left untreated, would cut your flat roofs lifespan down dramatically.

EPDM (Ethlyene Propylene Diene Monomer) 

  • The rubber single-ply EPDM has been around for a long time. It has a life expectancy of 10-30 years, sometimes more, depending on application. 


  • The Thermoplastic Polyolefin is stronger than EPDM but its lifespan is around the same, 10-30 years. 

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) 

  • Though it costs the most out of the flat roof materials covered thus far, PVC has a lifespan of well over 10-30 years if properly maintained. 

Modified Bitumen 

  • This roofing system is based off the old tar and asphalt roof, in a rolled rod membrane form. The life expectancy of this product can range anywhere from 10-30 years. 

Tar & Gravel (also known as B.U.R built up roof) 

  • These roofs are typically made up of layers of tar and felt, and though it’s an old system, tar and gravel roofs have been known to last up to 40 years 

Factors that affect roof life expectancy: 

Like we mentioned earlier having a maintenance plan is a big factor that influences how long your roof will last. However, no matter how good you are of maintaining your roof there are exterior factors beyond your control that may hinder the ability for your roof to live its life to its fullest, so to speak. 

To begin with the climate you live in will make a difference in how long your roof lasts. This may be obvious to you, but the difference can be so staggering it is still worth noting. The harsher the climate the shorter your roof will last. In this case maintaining it goes a long way to combat the effects of the harsher climate. 

Another thing that makes a major difference in your flat roofs lifespan is the way it’s installed. A poorly installed flat roof, no matter the material, will not last long. In this area, it’s crucially important to hire a flat roofing construction company that has more than enough expertise and experience. Just play it safe, even if it costs more upfront, in the long run you will save time, hassle and money. 

With the right combination of quality installation and continuing care, a flat roof can last for many years beyond its life expectancy.