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How Long Do Metal Roofs Last? A Guide to Metal Roof Lifespans

Are you considering a metal roof for your home or business but wondering "how long do metal roofs last?" You're in the right place! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the lifespan of different metal roof materials, debunk common myths, and provide you with the best practices for maintaining your metal roof to ensure maximum durability. Let's dive in!

Short Summary

  • Metal roofing is becoming increasingly popular due to its durability, energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements.

  • The lifespan of metal roofs can range from 30, 75 years depending on the type of material used and quality of installation.

  • Regular inspections, cleaning services, debris removal and prompt repairs are essential for ensuring optimal longevity in metal roofing materials.

Metal roofing on a house

The Rise of Metal Roofing

Over the years, metal roofing has gained popularity due to its many benefits. Homeowners and businesses alike are drawn to metal roofs because of their durability, environmentally friendly nature, and low maintenance requirements. With metal roofing materials outlasting other roofing options such as asphalt shingles, it's no wonder many people are making the switch to metal roof systems.

But what makes metal roofs so exceptional? Let's explore their advantages and compare them to traditional asphalt roofs and shingles.

An image showing a metal roof with a lifespan of how long do metal roofs last years, highlighting the durability and longevity of metal roofing.

Advantages of Metal Roofs

One of the main reasons homeowners choose metal roofing is its longevity. A properly installed metal roof can last up to 2-4 times longer than traditional asphalt shingles, withstanding the test of time without requiring major repairs. Steel roofing, for example, is known for its durability and strength.

Additionally, selecting a reliable roofing brand guarantees that your metal roofing system will be of superior quality and have an even longer lifespan. Furthermore, metal roofs are energy efficient and require minimal upkeep, making them an attractive choice for homeowners seeking a long-lasting and cost-effective roofing solution.

Comparing Metal to Asphalt Shingles

When comparing metal roofing to asphalt shingles, there's a clear difference in lifespan and performance. Metal roofs are more resilient and enduring, with the ability to last up to 2-4 times longer than shingles. They also perform better in extreme weather conditions, providing superior protection for your home or business.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles are more cost-effective and easier to install but have a shorter lifespan. Ultimately, the choice between metal roofing and asphalt shingles depends on your priorities, budget, and long-term goals for your property.

Metal materials on a house

Lifespan Estimates for Different Metal Roof Types

Now that we've established the general durability of metal roofs, let's delve deeper into the different types of metal roofing materials and their respective lifespans. The most common metal roof materials include steel, aluminum, copper, zinc, and even tin roofs.

Various factors can affect the longevity of metal roofs, such as the quality of roofing materials, wind resistance, and protective finishes on the metal roof panels. In this section, we'll examine the average lifespan estimates for steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc materials, and how external factors like weather conditions and installation quality can impact their durability.

Steel Roofing

Steel roofing is a popular choice for homeowners and businesses due to its durability and affordable price. On average, steel roofs have a lifespan of 40 years. When it comes to steel roofing, there are two main types: standing seam metal roofs and screw-down panel metal roofs.

A standing seam metal roof consists of metal roofing panels connected by an underlying standing seam with vertical, trapezoidal legs that hide the seam beneath. These standing seam roofs can last between 50 and 75 years under the right conditions, although they can last for at least 30 years.

In contrast, a screw-down panel metal roof is secured with screws and washers that are inserted through the face of the metal. With proper installation and regular maintenance, these roofs can last up to 30 years, but without maintenance, their lifespan may be reduced to 20 years.

Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum roofing is another popular option for those seeking a lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant roofing material. With a typical lifespan of 50-60 years, aluminum roofing offers a long life-lasting solution for residential and commercial buildings.

To ensure waterproofing, elastomeric coatings are recommended for aluminum roofing. Overall, aluminum roofing provides a low-maintenance and long-lasting alternative to traditional materials.

Copper and Zinc Roofing

Copper and zinc roofing materials are renowned for their durability and longevity, often employed in residential and commercial buildings due to their minimal maintenance requirements and impressive lifespans. Copper roofing, for example, can last between 50-100 years depending on the quality of the material and the climate in which it is installed.

One of the key features of copper roofing is the patina that forms on the surface, acting as a protective layer that enhances its waterproofing capabilities. Zinc roofing, on the other hand, boasts a self-healing capacity, meaning that any scratches or damages to the zinc roof itself will naturally restore over time.

Both copper and zinc materials offer long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing alternatives to traditional roofing options.

Metal roofing on a house with a worker inspecting it

Factors Affecting Metal Roof Longevity

It's clear that metal roofs have impressive lifespans, but what about other factors that can influence their longevity? The quality of installation, climatic and weather conditions, and regular maintenance and upkeep all play significant roles in determining the average lifespan of a metal roof.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into each of these factors and provide practical tips for maximizing the lifespan of your metal roof.

Quality of Installation

Proper installation is crucial to ensuring a standing seam metal roof reaches its full life expectancy. Hiring an experienced roofing contractor with expertise in standing seam metal roofs is essential. The contractor should have a thorough understanding of the installation process and the specific requirements for your chosen metal roofing material.

A properly installed metal roof will not only last longer, but also perform better in extreme weather conditions and require less maintenance over time.

Climate and Weather Exposure

Climate and weather exposure play a significant role in determining the lifespan of a metal roof. Poor attic ventilation can place extra strain on metal materials, leading to expansion and contraction beyond the norm, formation of ice dams, and exposure to moisture. Prolonged sun exposure and UV radiation can also reduce the longevity of a metal roof.

However, metal roofs are resilient in all climates and can withstand harsh weather conditions, such as hail, strong and high winds,, and water damage. Proper maintenance and care can help ensure your metal roof remains in excellent condition, regardless of the climate.

Regular Maintenance and Care

Regular maintenance is essential for metal roofs to achieve their maximum lifespan. Annual inspections can help identify potential issues and ensure prompt repairs or replacements when necessary. Cleaning gutters and drains, removing debris and leaves from the roof, and avoiding walking on the roof are all important steps in maintaining a metal roof's integrity.

By taking the time to care for your metal roof, you can enjoy its many benefits for decades to come.

Metal roofing materials on a house

Cost Considerations for Metal Roofs

While metal roofing offers numerous advantages, it's important to consider the costs associated with this roofing option. Metal roofing costs can range from $5 to $17 per square foot for labor and materials, or between $7500 to $40000 on average, depending on the type of metal used and the size of the roof.

In this section, we will analyze the costs associated with metal roofing, including materials, labor, and removal fees, to help you make an informed decision about whether metal roofing is the right choice for your project.

Material Costs

The cost of metal materials can vary significantly depending on the type of metal used. Corrugated steel panel roofs, for example, are the most economical metal roof cost option, averaging between $3.50 and $6.50 per square foot.

Alternative metal roofing materials, such as aluminum, copper, or zinc, can range from $4.50 to $17 per square foot. While metal materials may be more expensive upfront than traditional asphalt shingles, their long lifespans and low maintenance requirements often make them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Labor and Installation Fees

In addition to material costs, labor and installation fees should also be considered when determining the overall cost of a metal roof replacement alone. The average labor costs for metal roofing are approximately $350-$400 per 100 square feet, while seam roof labor costs are approximately $500 per 100 square feet.

The cost of installation can range from $8,190 to $21,552, depending on the size of the roof and the type of metal utilized. It's important to factor in these costs when deciding whether a metal roof is the right choice for your project.

Removal and Disposal Fees

When replacing an existing roof with a metal roof, you'll also need to consider the costs of removing and disposing of the old materials. These fees can vary depending on the size of the new roof itself, the type of materials used, and local regulations.

To reduce removal and disposal fees, homeowners can investigate local contractors who offer discounts or incentives for recycling materials, discounts for bulk orders, or free disposal services. It's important to account for these additional fees when calculating the total cost of a metal roofing project.

Metal roofing on a house with a lightning strike

Debunking Metal Roof Myths

Despite their many advantages, metal roofs are often subject to misconceptions and myths. Some common myths include the belief that metal roofs are noisy, too costly, and more susceptible to lightning strikes.

In this section, we will address these myths and provide accurate information to help you make an informed decision about metal roofing for your home or business.

Metal roofing on a house with sun exposure

Lightning and Metal Roofs

One common myth is that metal roofs attract lightning more than other roofing materials. In reality, metal roofs are not more susceptible to lightning strikes than any other roofing material. In fact, a metal roof can even help protect your building in the event of a lightning strike by effectively dissipating the lightning energy away from the building and toward the ground or another nearby conductor.

Installing lightning protection systems on metal roofs can provide additional peace of mind and protection against lightning strikes.

Rust Resistance

Another common misconception is that metal roofs are prone to rust. While it's true that some metal materials, particularly steel roofs, can be more susceptible to rust, modern metal roofing materials are designed to be corrosion-resistant and can remain in good condition for many years with appropriate upkeep.

Implementing aluminum or applying protective coatings are effective ways to deter rust and maintain the durability of your metal roof.

Metal roofing on a house with a worker inspecting it

Metal Roof Color and Durability

The color of a metal roof can have a significant impact on its durability and overall performance. In this section, we will explore the relationship between metal roof color and its durability, including factors such as heat absorption and fading.

Light vs. Dark Colors

When it comes to metal roof colors, darker shades tend to absorb more sunlight and heat up faster, which can lead to a faster breakdown of the paint. Conversely, lighter colors such as tan, grey, or white are more resistant to fading and can help reflect sunlight, keeping your home cooler during hot summer months.

It's important to consider the color of your metal roof and its potential impact on durability when selecting a roofing material for your project.

Protective Coatings

Protective coatings play a crucial role in maintaining a metal roof's color and durability. These coatings shield the various metal panels from external factors, including UV rays, moisture, and foot traffic, while also preserving the roof's color and enhancing its durability.

Silicone-based coatings and polyurethane coatings are the two most common varieties of protective coatings for metal roofs. While silicone-based coatings offer excellent moisture and UV protection, joint movement capabilities, and elasticity, polyurethane coatings are a good choice for impact resistance and foot traffic.

Regular inspections, cleaning, and reapplication of protective coatings can help ensure your metal roof remains in excellent condition for years to come.

Best Practices for Metal Roof Maintenance

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring your metal roof lasts as long as possible. In this section, we will provide practical tips and recommendations for maintaining a metal roof to ensure it reaches its maximum lifespan.

Regular inspections are essential for metal roofs. Inspections should be done at least twice a year, or more often if the metal roof systems is exposed to extreme weather conditions. During the summer during the summer.

Annual Inspections

Regular inspections are crucial for maintaining the integrity of your metal roof. It is recommended to have your steel roof being inspected at least annually by a qualified roofing contractor.

These inspections will help identify any potential issues, such as leaks, corrosion, or damage, and ensure prompt repairs or replacements when necessary.

Cleaning and Debris Removal

Keeping your metal and roofing systems clean and free of debris is another important aspect of maintenance. Regularly cleaning gutters and drains, removing leaves and debris from the roof surface, and avoiding walking on the roof can all help maintain the integrity of your metal roofing system materials.

For stubborn areas, a gentle detergent solution or a diluted bleach solution for mildew can be used to clean the metal surface.

Addressing Minor Issues

Addressing minor issues with your metal roof before they become major problems is essential for maintaining its longevity. Common minor issues with metal panels can include oil canning, leaking, scuffing and scratching, corrosion, and surface rust, among others.

Prompt action to repair or address these issues, such as applying waterproof roof caulk or a new paint job, can help prevent further moisture damage, and ensure your metal roof remains in good condition for years to come.


In conclusion, metal roofing offers a durable, long-lasting, and eco-friendly alternative to traditional materials. The lifespans of metal roofs can vary depending on factors such as material type, installation quality, and regular maintenance. By understanding the differences between various types of metal roofs and materials, debunking common myths, and following best practices for maintenance, you can ensure your metal roof provides the utmost protection and longevity. With the right care and attention, a metal roof can be a wise investment that will stand the test of time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should a metal roof be replaced?

On average, metal roofing systems will last between 40 and 70 years, depending on the material and quality of installation. Proper maintenance can help extend the life of your metal roof system and ensure that it lasts as long as possible.

Do metal roofs make a house warmer?

Do metal roofs make a house warmer? Metal roofs do not make a house warmer than other roofing materials. Instead, they are highly reflective and can help to keep a home cool in summer and warm in winter due to their low thermal mass.

Additionally, these roofs can be painted in light colors, which increases their reflective properties even further.

What color metal roof lasts longest?

Copper roofing is known for its long lifespan and its extremely long lasting durability, making it an excellent choice if you're looking for a metal roof color that will last the longest. With proper maintenance, a copper roof can last up to 100 years or even longer in some cases.

It's no wonder why so many homeowners choose copper roofing for their home!

Is it OK to install a metal roof over shingles?

In most cases, it is OK to install a metal roof over shingles. Metal roofing is lightweight and easy to install, making it an ideal choice for re-roofing projects.

Before installing, however, you should check with your local building department to make sure you're meeting any local regulations for re-roofing.

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