How Often Should You Replace Your Industrial Roof?

Industrial roofing is a critical component of any business’s infrastructure. It protects assets, ensures the safety of workers and operations, and contributes to energy efficiency. However, even the sturdiest roofs have a finite lifespan. Understanding when to replace your industrial roof can save you time, money, and prevent potential disasters.

Typical Lifespan of Industrial Roofs

The lifespan of an industrial roof varies depending on the materials used and the quality of the installation. Generally, industrial roofs can last anywhere from 15 to 40 years.

Built-up Roofing

Built-up roofing (BUR) is a traditional hot-tar-and-gravel roof. It is known for its durability and can last 15 to 30 years with proper maintenance. The multiple layers can withstand a lot of wear and tear, making it a solid choice for many industrial buildings.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a popular choice due to its longevity and durability, often lasting 30 to 45 years. It stands up well to harsh weather conditions and can also be energy efficient, reflecting sunlight and helping to reduce cooling costs.

Membrane Roofing

Membrane roofing, including EPDM, PVC, and TPO, offers a lifespan of 20 to 35 years. These materials are resistant to leaks and are relatively easy to maintain, making them a cost-effective option for large industrial roofs.

Factors That Shorten Lifespan

Several factors can reduce the expected lifespan of your industrial roof. It’s crucial to be aware of these to take preventative measures.

Weather and Environmental Factors

Temperature Extremes

Fluctuations between extreme heat and cold can cause roofing materials to expand and contract, leading to damage over time.


Heavy rain, snow, and ice can lead to water damage, while pooling water can weaken the roof structure.


High winds can lift edges of roofing materials or even cause debris to puncture the roof surface.

Roof Traffic

Frequent foot traffic for maintenance or equipment installation can cause wear and tear on the roof surface.

Poor Maintenance

Neglecting regular inspections and maintenance can lead to minor issues becoming major problems that shorten the roof’s lifespan.

Signs You Need a New Industrial Roof

It’s important to recognize the signs that your industrial roof may need replacing. Regular inspections can help identify these issues early.


Persistent leaks are a clear sign that your roof may need attention. If leaks are widespread, it may be time for a replacement.


Visible cracks or blisters in the roofing material can indicate that the integrity of the roof is compromised.

Ponding Water

Water that remains on the roof surface 48 hours after rain indicates poor drainage and can lead to structural issues.

Exposed Underlayment

If the protective layers of your roof are worn away to reveal the underlayment, this is a sign that the roof’s protective capabilities are failing.

When to Consider Full Replacement

There are certain situations when repairs might not be sufficient, and a full roof replacement is the most cost-effective solution.

At or Near End of Warranty Period

If your roof is approaching or has exceeded its warranty period, it’s wise to consider replacement before major issues arise.

Extensive Patching/Repairs Needed

When a roof requires constant patching or has undergone extensive repairs, it may be more economical in the long run to replace it.

Outdated Materials/Technology

Advancements in roofing materials and technology may mean that replacing an older roof could provide better performance and energy savings.

Working with Industrial Roofing Contractors

Choosing the right contractor is as important as selecting the right roofing materials.

Research and Evaluate Contractors

Look for contractors with experience in industrial roofing and check their references and reviews.

Get Multiple Quotes

Obtaining quotes from several contractors will give you a better idea of the costs involved and the services offered.

Ensure Proper Permits and Licensing

A reputable contractor will handle all necessary permits and will be fully licensed to work in your area.

Cost Considerations of Replacement

The cost of replacing an industrial roof can be significant, but it’s an investment in your business’s future.

Removal of Old Roof

The cost of removing and disposing of the old roofing materials can vary widely.

New Roofing System

The choice of materials and the complexity of the roof design will greatly influence the cost.

Additional Improvements

Consider whether you need better insulation, upgraded drainage, or other improvements as part of the replacement.

Key Takeaways

The decision to replace an industrial roof should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of the roof’s current condition, the potential costs involved, and the long-term benefits of having a new, reliable roofing system. Regular maintenance and timely repairs, such as commercial roof repairs, can extend the life of your roof, but there comes a time when replacement is the most prudent option.

Ready for a Roof Revamp?

At Southport Roofers, we understand the importance of a secure and durable roof for your business. If you’re unsure about the state of your industrial roof, or if you know it’s time for a replacement, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We offer a free quote and will provide you with a detailed assessment and a solution that meets your needs and budget. Contact us today and ensure your business is covered for years to come.