How Long Does A Flat Roof Last?

Are you considering installing a new flat roof? Or are you considering refurbishing your existing one? Wondering how long does a flat roof last?

Either way it’s important to understand how various factors can affect the lifespan of your roof. This article will explore some of the most important factors that need to be considered and tips on how you can make it last longer.

how long does a flat roof last

How durable are flat roofs?

A flat roof is a durable and versatile roofing system that can be adapted to your style. The durability of a flat roof makes it a good option for homeowners who want their homes to last. A flat concrete roof can hold up against heavy winds and is water resistant, so you do not have to worry about water damage.

Flat roofs are popular, especially in urban settings where sprawl equals square footage. This type of roof is durable and requires less maintenance than pitched roofs do.

How many years does a flat roof last?

 Many flat roofs are made from a mixture of mineral felt or asphalt base, with a rubber coating. Unfortunately due to the design and materials used in construction, traditional flat roofs tend to last only around 10-15 years before they need replacing. 

However, since the introduction of plastic and rubber materials, this can be even longer. A well-maintained flat roof can therefore last for 20-30 years plus before it needs replacing, though this will depend on how long you are at a property.

Factors that affect the lifespan of a flat roof

A flat roof can be the ideal solution for a variety of home designs. They are ideal for adding extra living space such as an attic conversion or conservatory because they provide an unobstructed view to the sky and do not disturb the existing structure of your home. 

In fact, if done right, a flat roof can enhance the appearance of your property. However, there are some factors that can determine the lifespan of a flat roof.

Materials used

The materials used to make a flat roof play a large part in determining its lifespan. A multi-layer built-up roof consisting of waterproof material, hot tar and gravel can last for 15 to 20 years.

On the other hand, single-ply roofs are generally considered the least expensive option for a flat roof, but they are durable and easy to maintain. Lightweight single-ply roofing can last for as long or longer than layered roofs (upto 30 years) depending on the properties of the material, the design of the roof and reliance on commercial roof repair.

Additionally, with an EPDM rubber roof, you can expect added value to your home and can last up to 50 years if fitted properly. Rubber roofing is made from the highest quality rubber and it’s extremely durable – even compared to other popular roof types like tiles and shingles. If you’ve installed an EPDM flat roof, you can rest assured that it will last for decades to come.


Depending on the location of your property, the lifespan of a flat roof can differ. Together with the other factors mentioned below, it can contribute to the overall health of the roof. Additionally, humidity and ease of access can also be a contributing factor.

Weather conditions

Sun: Though it’s less of an issue in the UK, if there are prolonged periods of sunshine, it can lead to cracking or even breakages within roofing tiles. 

Wind: If there are strong winds in the area, it can potentially affect the lifespan of a flat roof. Continuous gusts of wind can cause damage to roofing tiles and shingles. This can severely affect the lifespan overtime.

Rain: Depending on how well the roof is built, if it’s not watertight, continuous rainfall can cause rainwater to make its way through the structure of the flat roof. Depending on the severity of the problem, it could cause water damage. If not fixed properly, it could lead to more significant damages thereby shortening the lifespan.


To ensure your roof is protected against any potential damage from trees that overhang your home, check the structure of the tree to ensure that it is sturdy enough to minimise damage to your roof.


Roof ventilation is one of the most important elements for any flat roof. Having a flat roof with the right ventilation and insulation will maintain even temperatures throughout all seasons of the year.

However, if it’s poorly ventilated, it could cause a build-up of heat and moisture which is trapped with nowhere to go. This can in turn affect the roof lifespan.


Every roof has an expected lifespan, which will vary depending on the factors outlined above. If your roof is starting to look a little old and tired, it may be time for an upgrade.

Lack of maintenance

Despite any flat roof being properly installed, if they are not regularly maintained, it can lead to decay and eventually shortening the lifespan of a flat roof. It’s always a good idea to engage with a professional roofer to have your roof repaired and refurbished whenever required to ensure a longer lasting roof.

How often does a flat roof need to be replaced?

On average, flat roofing may need replacing or at least repairing around every 15 – 20 years. 

When your flat roof needs replacing, there are many factors to consider. The materials and budget required can vary massively. 

Different materials will also have different lifespans, which may be more appealing for some, but not as much for others. It’s vital to get this information as it will help you make the best decision for yourself and your home.

There are certain signs that may indicate the need for the flat roof needs replacing.


If you are experiencing flat roofing problems like leaks, holes or obvious damage, then this may be due to your roof system just not working as it should. There are many reasons why water leakages occur in a flat roofing system, but one of the main causes is due to issues with the installation process. Leaks can occur due to incorrect fitting or poor quality materials used during installation.

Punctures, Splitting, Cracking, Blistering & Stretching

 If your flat roof has become susceptible to heavy UV exposure and harsh weathering over a period of time, you may notice that it has begun to split, crack, blister or even stretch without returning to its original shape. This can be a common issue with materials such as EPDM as they reach the end of their lifespan. Damages such as these can compromise the structural integrity of your roof so it may be best to go for a complete replacement.

Flooding, Pooling & Sagging

Flat roof repairs are designed to help a homeowner with minor problems with their roof. If you have been experiencing water pooling or flooding, water-damaged ceiling boards, issues with leaks and rot, bending or buckling of the roof, then you should consider getting your flat roof fixed.

Need Any Help?

If you have any further questions regarding your flat roof and would like to discuss solutions, then please feel more than welcome to contact SPS Roofing Ltd for a free quote and consultation today. Our team are always more than happy to help, or if we can’t, point you in the right direction!

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SPS Roofing Ltd is a highly rated roofing company based in Exeter operating across Devon and South West England including Somerset, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Dorset.