How Long Does a Metal Roof Last? Different Ways to Tell

Many times, homeowners interested in getting a metal roof, ask us, “How long does a metal roof last?” We tell them that it depends on the type of metal roof they like. We see why you’re reading this blog post: You’re asking the same question.

In this post, you will learn 5 types of metal roofing materials and the average lifespan of each. Once you know the lifespan for each material, you can choose one that meets your budget, design preferences, and resists the weather in your location.

How Long Does a Metal Roof Last? Let’s Explore 5 Different Metal Roofing Materials...

  • Steel Roofing
  • Copper Roofing
  • Aluminum Roofing
  • Tin Roofing
  • Zinc Roofing

1. Steel Roofing (Lifespan: Average of 40 years)

steel roofs in different colors and profiles
Steel roofing systems are versatile. If you like a steel roof that looks like slate, shingle, or clay, you can always find one.

Did you know that some steel roofs installed in the 1900s haven’t been replaced yet? That is how durable steel roofs are. In fact, if we compare steel roofing to asphalt shingles, steel roofs can go longer without ever needing major repairs. As you can see, they’re a smart long-term investment.

To protect seal roofing against rust, manufacturers coat them. Some homeowners assume that metal roofing presents challenges in terms of design. The great news is that there are tons of metal roofing options that imitate other types of roofs. For example, slate, shingle, or clay.

2. Copper Roofing (Lifespan: 50-100 years)

old and dirty copper roof with patina
This is a copper roof that dates back to the 18th century. This greenish color is called patina - a protective layer that develops as copper roof ages.

A lot of people consider a copper roof as simply the best roofing system. It’s the best in both appearance and durability. You don’t have to rely on paint finishes to ensure that copper avoids rot. And because it’s lightweight, people can use it even for smaller homes.

How long does a metal roof last if it’s made of copper? One should expect it to last for at least 50 years. 100 years the most. Over time, copper roofing develops a patina which indicates corrosion. But this blue-green layer is actually protective in a way that it waterproofs your roof further.

3. Aluminum Roofing (Lifespan: Average of 50 years)

Aluminum is known to be the most lightweight metal roofing. If you live in a coastal area, aluminum makes a better choice than steel. Aluminum resists corrosion while steel is more prone to it. To waterproof aluminum roofing, you need to apply elastomeric coatings.

Another benefit of this metal roof is that it’s energy-efficient. It is designed to lower your electricity bills and keep your home cool during warmer months. The aluminum metal roof reflects light and heat from the sun. Installing an aluminum roof shouldn’t take a lot of time because of its weight.

4. Tin Roofing (Lifespan: Average of 50 years)

This may be the first time you’ve heard about a tin roofing system. It’s not a very common material in the industry. Before people considered aluminum as the standard for metal roofing, tin was around.

If you are concerned about the noise when it rains on your tin roof, you can make it quieter by adding roof underlayment materials.

5. Zinc Roofing (Lifespan: 60-100 years)

plain tin roof on log cabin
You won't find a lot of tin roofs these days. They used to be around before aluminum became the standard.

As you can see, copper isn’t the most long-lasting roof material after all. A zinc roof has about the same lifespan. But to ensure a long life, your environment needs to be clean. A zinc roof is corrosion-resistant. Contractors may also install zinc roofing on top of an existing roof.

Being a sustainable product, a zinc roof (architectural grade) is 90-95% recyclable. But the most amazing part about a zinc roof is that it heals itself. If it sustains scratches, you don’t need to worry about leaks or calling in a roofing contractor.

What Are the Factors That Affect Metal Roofing Lifespan

In the previous section, we already answered the question, “How long does a metal roof last?” While putting the different metal roof materials in mind, remember that other factors may shorten its service life.

Whether your metal roof serves you longer or not depends on its average lifespan and some circumstances that come into play. Let’s find out what they are:

1. Roof Color

You might be surprised to know that roofing colors affect how long it will last. A darker roof tends to absorb more heat. A lighter colored roof reflects heat, thus decreasing indoor temperatures. To keep a dark metal roof cooler, consider acrylic elastomeric roof coatings.

2. Sun Exposure

If you ask how long does a metal roof last, you should consider nature. Nature is a huge factor that shortens roofing service life. UV radiation degrades the roof material over time. It is the specific area of the roof that’s most exposed to the sun which deteriorates faster.

3. Roof Pitch

Pitch refers to the steepness of a roofing system. It affects the lifespan of a roof in that a steep slope drains water easily while a low slope drains water slower. Ponding water speeds up wear and tear because it soaks up and weakens the roof material.

4. Growing Moss

patch of moss on old metal roof
Moss speeds up roof deterioration. Though not common on metal roofs, organic matter on your roofing surface promotes moss growth.

Moss thrives in shady roof areas such as the northern part of the roof. If your roof is surrounded by trees, it is also prone to moss growth. While metal roofs are not very susceptible to moss, the fact that it harbors biological debris increases its susceptibility.

5. Installation

No matter how durable your metal roof is, it won’t last if it was poorly installed. Your roofing contractor must install the roof according to the manufacturer’s specifications. They should be a certified installer. Also, make sure that your contractor is licensed and provides labor and material warranties.

6. Maintenance

All roofing systems need care. Metal roofs put busy homeowners at an advantage because they’re low maintenance. But just because they’re low maintenance, doesn’t mean you don’t have to inspect it. Regular inspections by a licensed roofer ensure that it receives early repairs before problems get bigger.

We Are Here for Your Metal Roofing Needs

If you need a Denver CO roofing contractor with decades of experience in metal roofing installations, repair, and replacement, look no further than Roper Roofing.

At Roper Roofing, we specialize in metal roofing services. We perform complete installations, tear-offs and replacements, and inspections. We have never failed to satisfy our clients with topnotch work. Call us today at 720-307-7174.

© All Rights Reserved 2023 Roper Roofing, 795 McIntyre St. Suite 303 - Golden, CO 80401 Privacy Policy Disclaimer