If you own a home or maintain a commercial building with a flat roof in Utah, you have probably wondered, at some point, how long does a flat roof last? Flat roofs offer a different appearance, performance, and materials than a sloped roof. This article aims to answer your questions and provide information on the types of flat roofs available, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

What Is Metal Roofing?

A metal roof is made of metal materials, like aluminum, copper, tin, or zinc, and functions like any other type of roof to provide protection. You can get a metal roof in several styles, colors, and finishes to create a unique look on your home.

How Long Does a Flat Roof Last?

Many factors contribute to the lifespan of a flat roof. Everything from weather to the materials used to the type of roof installed impacts the lifespan. On average, expect about 20 years of life from a flat roof. Still, extenuating weather circumstances can make the lifespan shorter. The materials used and regular maintenance of a flat roof can increase the lifespan, though no one can precisely predict how long a roof will last.

How Does Utah’s Weather and Climate Impact Flat Roofs?

Utah’s weather and climate impact the lifespan of flat roofs. Snowy winters can leave standing water on roofs if the roof doesn’t drain properly, leading to leaks and water damage inside the building. Bright, sunny, dry days can eventually lead to roof blistering and cracking due to the high amounts of UV radiation Utah receives. A cracked roof can leak when it rains, causing water damage.

Flat Roof vs. Angled Roofs

Flat and angled roofs (pitched or sloped roofs) have distinct characteristics. They are suitable for different architectural styles and climates. Here are some critical differences between flat roofs and angled roofs:

Flat Roofs:

  • Aesthetic appeal: Flat roofs often have a modern and minimalistic aesthetic.
    Use of space: Flat roofs can create additional living space for things like rooftop gardens, solar equipment, or outdoor living space.
  • Cost: Flat roofs are typically more cost-effective compared to angled roofs because they are easier to design and build.
  • Maintenance: Maintenance of flat roofs is generally easier as access is straightforward. However, proper drainage is crucial to avoid ponding water.
  • Weather sensitivity: Flat roofs are more susceptible to water pooling, and proper drainage is essential. They may also face challenges with snow accumulation.

Angled Roofs:

  • Aesthetic variety: Angled roofs offer various design possibilities and are commonly associated with traditional, classic, or regional architectural styles.
  • Water drainage: Angled roofs naturally facilitate water runoff, making them less prone to water-related issues such as ponding or leaks.
  • Snow shedding: In regions with heavy snowfall, angled roofs allow for snow shedding, reducing the risk of excessive snow load on the roof.
  • Weather adaptability: Angled roofs are generally better suited to various weather conditions, including heavy rainfall and snow.

Types of Flat Roofs

There are several types of flat roofs that you may have on your home or want to add to your house.


A BUR (built-up roof) has layers of bitumen and fabrics, which often have several layers. These provide great insulation and protection against weather events. On average, a BUR roof will last approximately 15 years before signs of wear and tear begin to show.


Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is made from rubber membranes, providing optimal insulation and protection. If your area is prone to hailstorms, this is the preferred roofing material to protect your home. The approximate longevity of an EPDM roof is 20 years.


A polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roof is a top consideration when longevity is essential. Compared to other options, a PVC flat roof is extremely water-resistant, meaning it provides excellent protection for your home. This type of flat roof can last around 30 years if it is well-built and maintained correctly.


Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a newer flat roof material. These single-ply roofs have a membrane that uses polymer fillers to increase strength and durability. These are great roofs to protect against UV rays. A typical lifespan of TPO roofs is between 15 and 30 years.

Spray-On Coating

A three-layer sprayed-on polyurethane roof coating can provide excellent protection from wind and damaging UV rays. This option can be substantially more expensive than other roof types. When properly maintained, however, this roof type can last for decades.

Modified Bitumen

These roofs are incredibly durable and low-maintenance. A modified bitumen roof provides adequate protection from the elements and is entirely water resistant. When installed correctly, this roof can last around 20 years.

Flat Roof Advantages

There are several advantages of flat roofs compared to pitched roofs. These advantages include:

  • Affordability: Due to easier flat roof installation, they are more affordable than traditional pitched roofs
  • Easy to clean: Flat roofs are easier to clean and maintain than pitched roofs. They are safer for the person on the roof, too!
  • Versatility: One of the main benefits of a flat roof is that it’s extremely versatile. Grow a garden when you lack yard space, add a fire pit, create a relaxation area, and more.
  • Energy efficiency: Flat roofs are more energy-efficient due to the lack of attic space they create.
  • Equipment availability: A flat roof offers more usable space, making it easier to install HVAC units and solar panels.

What Are the Risks Associated With Flat Roofs?

The risks associated with flat roofs are mostly related to weather. Since the roof is flat instead of sloped, it is easier for water to gather. This standing water can cause puddles if the roof doesn’t drain properly, which can eventually seep into the roof and cause water damage to the property. If you notice any discoloration spots on your ceiling, it could indicate that there is an undetected leak somewhere in your roof.

Warm temperatures can eventually cause flat roofs to crack and blister. When this occurs, it may be time for a roof repair or replacement.

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Flat Roof

Proper cleaning and regular maintenance and inspections will help extend your flat roof’s lifespan.

What Is the Cost of a Flat Roof Installation?

The cost of flat roof installation will vary greatly depending on the material used and the size of the project. A roof assessment will provide more information about the best roof for your needs and the associated costs.

Is a Flat Roof Right for Your Home?

Flat roofs offer many advantages to home and business owners. As long as they are regularly maintained, they can last for many years. We’ve reviewed several types of roofing materials and provided the advantages of each, along with their average life expectancy. It is always best to consult with a roofing company to help determine the best flat roof for your needs and budget.

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Quote your next project today!

When you are ready to discuss your roofing project, M&M Gutters and Exteriors is here to help. Get a quote today to schedule time for our experienced roofing professionals to visit your home and review your project. We will help you decide the best roof for your project and your budget to give you peace of mind that your roof will last for many years.