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If it’s time to replace your flat roof, you’ve probably got a lot of questions about different flat roofing materials. And the biggest one that Florida property owners have is the classic, “How long does a flat roof last?” We’re Classic Roofing and Construction, and we’ve been installing and repairing flat roofs all over the Greater Tampa Bay area for 20 years. So today, we’re putting that experience to work and answering all of your questions about how long a flat roof lasts.
How Long Does a Flat Roof Last? Florida 2023 Edition
Whether it’s a residential or commercial property, your Florida flat roof is going to have a lot of inclement weather to withstand. And some roofing materials do this better than others. For this reason, how long a low-slope roof lasts in Florida will depend on the roofing material.
With that in mind, let’s look at the different types of flat roofing materials and how long each one can last in Florida.
In many ways, modified bitumen is the “classic” flat roofing material. It’s a modern adaptation of a built-up roofing system (BUR), and similarly, it works by creating multiple layers of protection. The idea behind this is that if part of the top layer becomes damaged, then the other layers can protect the roofing system.
In terms of composition, modified bitumen is made of a combination of asphalt and rubberized plastic. This makes it hardy against wind, rain, and even windborne debris like fallen branches. This just leaves the big question: How long does a flat roof last when you choose modified bitumen?
With proper installation, a modified bitumen flat roof will last about 20 years in Florida. Most consumers consider this to be a good deal for two reasons: First, because it has multiple layers of protection, modified bitumen rarely requires a lot of maintenance or repairs. And second, modified bitumen is a very affordable roofing material—it usually costs between $4.50 and $7.50 per square foot. All of these factors combined make it one of the most popular flat roofing options in Florida.
Thermoplastic polyolefin, or TPO, is a great flat roofing material for property owners in Florida. This single-ply roofing membrane system is made of rubber and other synthetic materials, and it’s typically heat-welded to a roof’s underlayment. This creates a water-tight seal, which makes your low-slope roof completely waterproof.
As an added bonus, TPO stands up wonderfully to Florida’s extreme heat and sun. Since it’s a white roofing membrane, it reflects UV rays and heat away from your home. This means that your air conditioning system won’t have to work as hard in the summer, and your monthly energy bill will be lower than with a darker-colored flat roofing option.
In terms of how long a TPO flat roof lasts, you can expect this roofing material to last for anywhere from 20 to 30 years. And at $5.00 to $9.00 per square foot, it comes at a very affordable price point.
If TPO low-slope roofs have any downsides, it’s that their white material can show dirt. This isn’t a problem for most residential roofs, but if you need a commercial flat roof that could be visible from inside your building. In this case, you may need to commit to regular cleanings or choose to use a darker flat roofing material.
Similar to TPO, ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) is a membrane roofing system. This roofing system is also made of rubber that has been derived from oil and natural gas. But while the core composition of these roofing materials is similar, there are a lot of differences between EPDM and TPO.
For one thing, EPDM is much more puncture-resistant than TPO. This means that if a branch or windborne debris lands on your roof, EPDM will be better able to withstand it without breaking. And that’s a big deal, because with a single-ply membrane roof, it’s easy for water to seep into the roof once there’s a hole. This can lead to leaks, sagging roofs, and other serious roofing problems.
When it comes to how long a flat roof lasts, EPDM is the clear winner here as well. A properly-installed EPDM flat roof can last up to 50 years. And since both TPO and EPDM come at similar price points, EPDM definitely has an edge over TPO.
However, since EPDM is usually a black roofing system, it can attract heat and slightly increase your monthly energy bill. But, as mentioned above, there are advantages to dark flat roofing systems, especially for commercial properties.
So, how long does a flat roof last? As you can see, it depends a lot on what’s being installed. But that isn’t the only factor that determines how long your new low-slope roof will last. You also need to consider who’s installing the roof.
How to Make Your Flat Roof Last
If you want your new flat roof to have a long lifespan, then you have to be picky about who you hire to replace your roof. And if you live or work in the Greater Tampa Bay area, then Classic has the perfect crew for the job.
We’ve got a lot of factors that set us apart from the competition. Some of the biggest reasons we’re the best flat roofing company around include:
- Expert Crews: Unlike our competitors, we never use subcontractors. This is because we want all of our crews to be experienced and 100% accountable for the work they do on your roof. That’s why we only use in-house, experienced Classic crews. This way, you can trust that everyone on your roof knows what they’re doing and is doing their best to give you a quality flat roof.
- GAF Master Elite Certification: GAF has been in business since 1886, and they’re now the leading manufacturer of quality shingles in North America. And as a GAF Master Elite-certified roofing company, Classic is in the top two percent of roofers on the continent. This certification allows us to provide new roofing technologies as well as industry-leading warranties.
- Rave Reviews: Every roofing company in Florida will tell you that they’re the best. But if you want the truth, you have to look at the reviews. And Classic has hundreds of five-star reviews for our roof repair and replacement services, so you can trust that we’ll be able to get your flat roof off to a great start to a long life.
If you’re ready to see what Classic can do for you, we make starting the roof replacement process easy. All you have to do is schedule your free, no-obligation roofing estimate, and after your inspection, we’ll put together an estimate that’s tailored to your roof and your chosen flat roofing material. We do the job right the first time so that you don’t have to keep worrying about the lifespan of your flat roof.
How Long Do Flat Roofs Last in Florida? And Other Flat Roof FAQs
1. Q: How long does a flat roof last in Florida?
A: When properly installed, a flat roof can last 20-50 years in Florida. But the specifics will depend on the roofing material used, how well the roof is maintained, and what kind of extreme weather events the roof is exposed to over its lifetime.
2. Q: Do flat roofs last as long as pitched roofs?
A: In general, a flat roof may not last as long as a pitched roof. This is because water can pool on a flat roof, whereas it naturally runs off a sloped roof. But new roofing technologies like TPO reduce water-related issues by creating a water-tight seal around your roof, so low-slope roofs can outlast pitched roofs in some cases.
3. Q: What factors can influence the longevity of a flat roof?
A: Factors such as the quality of materials, proper installation, regular maintenance, local weather conditions, and exposure to UV radiation can all impact the lifespan of a flat roof.
4. Q: Are there different types of flat roofs, and do they have different lifespans?
A: Yes, there are various types of flat roofing materials, including modified bitumen, TPO, and EPDM. These materials each have different lifespans, but single-ply roofing membranes generally offer more durability.
5. Q: Does regular maintenance make a flat roof last longer?
A: Taking care of your low-slope roof absolutely makes it last longer. Regular inspections and timely repairs can keep your flat roof performing at its best for decades.
6. Q: How often does a flat roof need to be inspected?
A: Different experts have different opinions, but you should get your flat roof inspected somewhere between twice a year and once every two years. And experts agree that you should also conduct a flat roof inspection after a major weather event like a hurricane or tornado.
7. Q: How can I tell when it’s time to replace a flat roof?
A: If you’re not sure whether or not it’s time to replace your low-slope roof, there are some signs you can look for. These include things like persistent leaks, cracks in your roofing material, and blistering.
8. Q: Can anyone install a flat roof?
A: In theory, any professional roofer can install a low-slope roof. But you need someone with experience to make sure they’re installing it correctly. This is especially true for newer roofing materials like TPO that haven’t been on the market for very long.
9. Q: Can foot traffic affect the lifespan of a flat roof?
A: Yes, heavy foot traffic can wear down your flat roof. But proper maintenance and repairs can mitigate a lot of this wear and tear.
10. Q: Does the sun affect how long a flat roof lasts?
A: Yes, the sun can wear down and lead to cracking in flat roof materials. And Florida sees more sunny days than almost anywhere else in the country. But investing in a rubberized roof can help your roof withstand the sun’s heat, since it can expand and contract as the temperature rises and falls.