How Much Longer is My Roof Going to Last?

Like any commercial property owner, you probably have questions about the appropriate maintenance and longevity of your roofing system: What is the projected life cycle of a roof? Are there warning signs when a roof is beginning to fail? At which point does normal wear and tear become irreparable damage? In short, you may ask yourself, just how much longer is my roof going to last?

Of course, a professional roof inspection is always a good idea, but there are certain giveaways to be on the hunt for. Keep in mind that some warning signs may look more obvious, while others can sneak up on you in unexpected ways. For instance, water leaks can first appear as a simple water stain on the ceiling before graduating to cracked or blistering shingles, and eventually, full-blown, widespread damage. Another example of silent warning signs of roof damage includes the growth of mold where the roof and exterior wall meet. If left untreated, this rot will eventually destroy sheathing and framing.

Signs of an Aging Roof

A positive, proactive approach to roof management and a keen eye for detail will serve you well in extending the life of your roof (and deciding when it’s the right time to purchase a new one). Stay in the know with these common telltale signs used by industry experts:

  1. Aging Roof
    Depending on the specific type of roofing system and materials used in construction, your roof could last anywhere from approximately 25 – 50 years. The typical lifespan of most roofs is between 25 – 30 years (when properly installed and maintained). While there are many visible and hidden signs of an aging roof to take stock of, the age of the roof itself is a prime indicator of how much longer it is going to last.
  2. Damaged Shingles
    Any time that patches of roof shingles are cracked, damaged, or buckling, it’s a sign of a problem that needs to be addressed. Other quick reference points to check for possible shingle damage are the gutters or downspouts. The loss of shingle granules is yet another sign of roof decay, and these minerals often fall from the roof to land in the eavestrough.
  3. Broken Flashing System
    A cracked or broken flashing system is never a good sign when it comes to the longevity of your roof. When this sealant begins to fray, there is a very real possibility of future leaks. In order to protect your investment, consider upgrading from flashing made of roof cement or tar to a metal flashing system.
  4. Shady Vegetation
    If unwanted vegetation is throwing shade on the corners of your roof, something is amiss. The growth of moss, mould, and fungi is often the result of trapped moisture. A stiff brush may be used to gently sweep away vegetation, but do be careful not to disturb the underlying cause of damage.
  5. Sagging Roof
    Perhaps one of the biggest telltale signs that your roof is in trouble, a sagging roof implies that material is rotting and must be replaced ASAP. Be sure to check the surface for signs of trapped moisture, rotting boards, or sagging spots. Unfortunately, a sagging roof often indicates that your commercial building needs a new roof, and without delay.

Evaluating and Maintaining Your Roof

When it comes to ensuring the longevity of your commercial property and its roofing system, the best advice is to stay on top of potential damage through regular maintenance and repairs. By
updating materials as needed and keeping track of any noticeable wear and tear, you can get the most out of your roof for as long as possible. With that said, there are common warning signs which indicate the need for some type of intervention. Warning signs include an aging roof, damaged shingles, a cracked or broken flashing system, shady vegetation, and a sagging roof, among others. These tells can help you to answer the question, how much longer is my roof going to last?

A Building Condition Assessment conducted by a qualified professional can help provide you with insights into the condition of your roof so that you can make informed decisions about maintenance and repair. A trained expert will evaluate the building envelope (including the roofing system) as part of the assessment, before compiling a report that clearly lists what needs to be repaired, replaced, or upgraded immediately, the estimated lifespan of the building’s various elements, and a list of recommendations for repair or replacement, with estimated costs.

Uncertain about the state of your roof? Want more roofing information to protect your investment? With over 30 years of experience in the industry, AEL Environment is well-equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct thorough assessments, taking into account factors such as environmental impact, regulatory compliance, site suitability, and any other relevant considerations.

Email Daniel Staring, our Building Coordinator at: and let him know your goals for your commercial property. He would be more than happy to help.

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