Roof Coverings

Which of These Roof Coverings Has the Longest Life Expectancy?

Home Improvement

When you are in the market for a new roof, one of the most important factors to consider is the life expectancy of the roofing material. Different materials have different lifespans, and it is important to choose one that will last as long as possible. Especially in the commercial world, the last thing you need is another expense not long after investing in an upgrade. Consequently, you’ll see a list of materials and their life expectancy here today.


Short for ethylene propylene diene monomer, EPDM roofing is a popular commercial roofing system. It is made from synthetic rubber, and it is known for its flexibility, durability, and resistance to extreme temperatures and UV rays. EPDM roofs can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years.


Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is another synthetic roofing material. It shares many of the same properties as EPDM, including flexibility, durability, and the ability to thrive in extreme temperatures. However, PVC roofs also have a high resistance to chemicals and fire. With proper commercial roof maintenance, building owners can expect their PVC roofs to last between 20 and 40 years.


This time, the acronym stands for “thermoplastic polyolefin.” TPO is a single-ply roofing system that has only been around since the 1980s. Yet, it has quickly become one of the most popular commercial roofing materials on the market. TPO roofs are heat-welded, which creates a seamless and watertight roofing system. TPO roofs are also highly reflective, which helps to keep buildings cooler in the summer months.

In terms of lifespan, TPO roofs can last up to 30 years. This being said, it is important to note that TPO roofs require more maintenance than some of the other materials. In the past, you may have seen that TPO only lasts up to 20 years, but recent advancements in the manufacturing process have increased its lifespan.

Tar and Gravel

Next, tar and gravel roofs are made up of multiple layers of gravel, tar, and asphalt. This roofing system is very durable and can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance. Tar and gravel roofs are also very fire resistant and can reflect heat away from the building, which helps to keep it cooler in the warmer months.

Mod Bit

Rather than an acronym, mod bit is short for modified bitumen. This type of roofing is similar to tar and gravel, but it uses a fiberglass or polyester mat instead of gravel. Among other things, this makes the roofing more flexible and less likely to crack in colder weather. Mod bit roofs can last up to 20 years.


The last material we want to cover is BUR, or built-up roofing. Generally, this includes bitumen material (tar or asphalt) and multiple layers of fabric reinforcement. This makes for a very tough roof that can last 30 years or more with proper maintenance.

So, what’s the best roofing material? The answer is that it depends on your needs. While some people prioritize lifespan alone, others want a material that will last without lots of maintenance. Either way, you can use the information on this page, as well as speak to a commercial roofer, to make an informed decision.

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