Life-Cycle Costing

Consumers following the sustainability trend may miss the mark. Even the most energy-efficient roof can prove to be a poor decision if it exhibits decreased longevity or high maintenance costs.  With the current economic state, building owners may only look at the initial up-front costs. Consumers need to look at the actual life-cycle cost of a roofing system prior to making a final decision.

The life-cycle cost is a true component of sustainability. As a guide to defining sustainability, consider this:  A sustainable roof minimizes the impacts of a building on both the occupants and the environment, locally and globally. This impact minimization should begin with design and continue through construction, maintenance, rehabilitation and eventual disposal throughout the lifetime of the product while making efficient use of natural resources.

On a positive note, consumers are beginning to look for roofing that lasts. This is good because many sustainable endeavors only make sense when viewed on a long-term or extended life-cycle basis.  Life-cycle costs differ from installation costs. While an installation cost is an immediate payable invoice, the life-cycle cost considers estimates of future bills, such as maintenance and repair, along with future savings from reduced energy bills. A life-cycle cost analysis will also consider any additional warranty costs and potential disruptions and/or closures due to installation. While the estimates may not be exact,  they provide useful information to guide the decision making process.

Obviously some roofing systems will have a lower product cost and/or a lower installation cost, but often they require an expensive tear-off and disposal of the existing roof and regular maintenance for water-tight integrity.  Other systems may have a higher initial cost but be virtually maintenance free. For example – BUR and EPDM roofs require regular repairs to maintain their waterproof properties. While PVC roofs should be cleaned periodically to maintain reflectivity, these systems only require repair for accidental damage.

What should a consumer include in a life-cycle cost estimate?

  1. The roof product cost
  2. The installation costs (overhead and labor)
  3. The cost for tear-off if needed
  4. The cost for disposal if needed
  5. Any costs for building or daily activity disruptions
  6. Cost for regular maintenance (over 20 years)
  7. Replacement roof costs if the life expectancy is fewer than 20 years
  8. Roof repair costs (over 20 years)
  9. Interior damage repairs (over 20 years)
  10. Estimate energy savings (over 20 years)
  11. Energy rebates and incentives (national and local)
  12. Costs for a 15 year No Dollar Limit warranty


Regardless of the type of roof, all systems require a certain level of attention due to their constant exposure to the elements. Therefore it is important to include estimates for maintenance and repair. Regular preventative maintenance extends the service life of the roofing system.  Keeping that in mind, how much will the useful service life be extended by these efforts? The choice in a roofing system is the determining factor as to what will be spent in maintenance, performance and longevity.  LaFerney Commercial Roofing offers a single-ply PVC system in which some installations are showing more than 30 years of proven service as reported by the manufacturer. Remember: the less a roof costs to maintain and the longer it lasts shows the most desirable life-cycle cost.

To learn more about our single-ply PVC roofing system visit: or call 1-800-633-3119.

3 Responses to “Life-Cycle Costing”
  1. This is a very informative article. Will reshare!

  2. Bo Hamby says:

    Selling value over price. Great blog, better philosophy.

  3. So many factors to consider when discussing sustainability and roofing. How long will the system lasts? How much it costs to maintain? Was the material manufactured locally? Very informative article!

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