How Long Does a Metal Roof Last?

In short, generations. Long lifespans are only one of the benefits of a metal roof. A metal roof is a low maintenance, durable, and aesthetically pleasing.

If you’re considering a redo for your roof, you need to know what makes a metal roof last. Keep reading to learn about metal roof types and what influences their longevity.


How Long Does a Metal Roof Last?

While the metal roof lifespan is between 40 and 70 years, this range varies among different metals. Understanding which metal roof types last will help you make the best decision for your home.

Steel

Steel roofing is the most popular metal roofing option. Its average lifespan is 40 years, but well-maintained steel roofs can last for 75 years or longer.

Steel roofing is a great choice for areas affected by extreme weather. It holds up better against tornados because of its wind resistance. It also isn’t flammable, so it does well in states with annual forest fires.

Tin

Tin roofing first gained popularity in the late 19th century, and you’ll often see it on older homes. Tin roofs last for about 50 years, so if you don’t mind the sound of rain on your roof, it’s a durable roofing option.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a great option for coastal homes. Its water resistance protects it from saltwater and air corrosion more than steel. It is also energy efficient and helps keep costs down during the summer months. Aluminum roofs have an average life span of 50 years.

Copper

Copper roofing is especially resistant to dents and scratches. It is another lightweight metal that puts less stress on the structure of your home. Your copper roof will last anywhere from 50 to 100 years. It is one of the more expensive metals, but its beauty and longevity are worth the investment.

Zinc

Zinc roofs have the longest lifespan, ranging between 60 and 100 years. Zinc requires little upkeep because of its self-healing abilities. With proper installation, zinc roofing will resist corrosion into the next century.


Climate and Weather Events

One of the most significant factors of roof longevity is climate and weather events. Climate is the weather patterns that occur over decades in a certain location. Keep in mind what weather conditions are common for your area when choosing your metal roof.

If your home doesn’t have ample shade, sun exposure can harm your metal roof.  UV radiation damages the protective coating of your roof and makes it brittle. Over time, the coating will break off and leave your roof exposed with no protection. This can result in ruptures and leaks.

Extreme variations in temperature can damage your roof through thermal shock. Metal roofs contract and expand when temperatures jump throughout the day. Repeated thermal shock causes your metal panes to shift and expose the seams. If left untreated, your roof may leak and rot, forcing you to pay for a replacement.

Another downside of sun exposure is that it can bleach your metal roof. Metal is more prone to bleaching, but a protective coat can help it withstand heat.

Homes in colder climates are also vulnerable to roof damage. Occasional snow buildup isn’t harmful to your metal roof, but decades of snow and hail can cause deterioration. Thankfully, you’re less likely to see this with metal roofs than with asphalt shingles.

Metal roofs last for decades, but prepare yourself for potential weather damages. As with any policy, check your metal roof’s warranty to see what damage it covers.

Trees and Plants

Trees provide needed shade for your home, but they can also decrease your roof’s longevity. Strong winds that uproot trees can lead to dents or complete metal roof failure if the tree is large enough.

Even in good weather, tree limbs and leaves can accumulate on your metal roof. This accumulation can dam the path of water and create puddles on your roof. Water can seep into your attic and ceiling and cause nasty wood rot.

Trees are not the only plant that can damage your roof. Humid climates can prompt the buildup of moss and ivy, although this is less likely on metal roofs. These plants do not cause damage on their own but prevent water runoff like dead leaves do.

If you notice moss, ivy, or other plant growth on your roof, clear them away as soon as you can. They may add a certain beauty to your home, but they are not worth the potential water damage.

Saltwater

Proximity to saltwater puts coastal homes at risk for roof damage. When saltwater evaporates into the air, it can prematurely erode your metal roof. Homes within 3,000 feet of the sea are most likely to see roof deterioration.

Aluminum and copper roofs are both good options for your coastal roofing needs. Keep in mind that salt is extremely corrosive, and you will likely see some damage on any type of roof you buy.

Roof Color

Your roof’s color also influences its lifespan. Lighter roof colors reflect heat and keep your interior cool. Dark roof colors do the opposite. Experts recommend lighter pigments for warmer climates. Lighter colors keep your home comfortable and prevent roof damage.

Dark metal’s heat absorption results in early deterioration of your roof. Darker metal roofs are also more vulnerable to fading and can look rundown over time. Color alone does not determine your roof’s longevity. Research a roof’s pigment concentration and type of finish before you buy.

Roof Pitch

The slope of your roof, or roof pitch, can also influence your metal roof’s longevity. High-pitched roofs tend to last longer because water does not pool on them. Roofs with lower or flat pitches allow water to sit on the roof and are not suited for areas with heavy rainfall.

If you live in a dry or desert climate, roof pitch will not impact your roof’s lifespan. Yet, a low-pitched roof could grow mold and cause leaks if you have consistent rainfall.

Ventilation and Roof Underlays

Proper ventilation is essential to preserving a metal roof’s lifespan. Poor ventilation generates moisture underneath the roof and rots the wood. It also impacts your roof underlayment.

A metal roof underlayment provides an added barrier between the elements and your home. The underlay is at risk when condensation and moisture collect from poor ventilation. Synthetic underlayment can fight direct exposure for 3 to 6 months but felt underlayment can disintegrate within a week.

Maintenance

Improper roof maintenance often proceeds to roof failure. You should have your roof assessed by a professional at least twice a year if you live in a mild climate. Have an inspector examine your roof a few times per year if you face extreme weather conditions.

Always call an inspector after your roof receives storm damage. You should also take steps to maintain your roof on your own. Invest in a rainwater drainage system to prevent water accumulation. A gutter system allows water and debris to collect from the roof and travel to the ground.

Gutter systems can sometimes clog, so be sure to clear debris from your metal roof, gutters, and drains. Another routine maintenance task is to trim back tree limbs. This prevents debris buildup or roof cave-ins if your home faces inclement weather.

Installation

Errors in metal roof installation are a huge reason why roofs need repairs too soon. Some signs that indicate shoddy roof installation are leaks in a new roof and a lack of uniformity. This includes sagging roof lines or changes in color or material.

To ensure your installation is up to par, hire a professional to complete the job. Research your contractor before you have them work on your roof. Read their client reviews and ask about previous projects to get a sense of their success rate.

Your contractor should also have a license or certificate. You want to be sure that they’ve received training before you invest in their services.

You can also determine your contractor’s merit by researching what suppliers they use. The quality of materials affects your metal roof’s longevity. Learn about your contractor’s suppliers to ensure that you’re receiving not only the best service but also the best supplies.


Buy Your Metal Roof Today

How long does a metal roof last? It can last well past 50 years. It will last longer if you invest in quality materials and professional installation.

For Pennsylvania and New York residents, the wait for metal roofing is over. Garvin Metal Roofs provides high-quality roofing and installation services at competitive prices. An affordable, long-lasting roof is just around the corner. Schedule your metal roof installation with Garvin Metal Roofs Today.