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How Much Does a Metal Roof Last?

Jul 28, 2021
Min of reading

Metal roofs are one of the most durable, long-lasting roofing materials available. Metal roofing can come in a wide variety of specific metals, including galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, and perhaps most famously tin.

Metal roofs are one of the most durable, long-lasting roofing materials available. Metal roofing can come in a wide variety of specific metals, including galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, and perhaps most famously tin.

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Metal roofs

Metal roofs are one of the most durable, long-lasting roofing materials available. Metal roofing can come in a wide variety of specific metals, including galvanized steel, aluminum, copper, and perhaps most famously tin. These can all be installed in many different ways, from shingles to solid slabs.

No matter how it is installed or what the specific material, a metal roof is incredibly durable and long-lasting. However, like any roofing option, it cannot last forever. No matter how it is installed or what the specific material, a metal roof is incredibly durable and long-lasting. However, like any roofing option, it cannot last forever. So, when can you expect to need a replacement? Let's take a look.

Lifespan of a Metal Roof

The most common range for a metal roof to last is between 40-75 years. The specific range will depend on the type of metal used. However, regardless of type, this is a very long time compared to the most common roofing material, asphalt shingles, which only have an estimated lifespan of 12-20 years. This is, on average less than half the lifespan of a metal roof.

Beyond lifespan, metal roofs also offer a considerable increase in durability over most roofing material options. Many metal roofs can take impact from wind-driven debris or hail without significant damage or leaks.  This means they do not require as much maintenance as other roofing options, and they are far less likely to need unexpected replacement.

This means a metal roof can potentially save you a lot of time and money over other roofing options. An investment in a metal roof can be an investment in not having to deal with sudden roof replacements or costly maintenance.

Advantages of a Metal Roof

Beyond their long lifespan and durability, there are a few other advantages to metal roofs.

Reduced Energy Bills: Metal roofs reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it like most roofing materials. This can significantly reduce the temperature of your home and, as a result, the cost of cooling your home.

Increased Safety: A metal roof cannot catch on fire, unlike other materials. This can protect your home in case of lightning or wildfires.

Eco-Friendly: Metal roofs are highly recyclable. Depending on the particular material, these use a minimum of 25% to a maximum of 95% recycled material in their construction. Once a metal roof needs replaced, it is completely recyclable.

Disadvantages of a Metal Roof

Metal roofs can last a really long time, but they do have some disadvantages.

Cost: Metal roofs may be worth the cost because of how long they last, but they do cost a lot more than asphalt roofs.

Noise: Noise can be a problem with some metal roofs. Using more insulation can decrease the noise, but this will add to the cost.

Dents: Some metal roofs can be prone to dents, which could mean more frequent repairs.

When Should I Replace My Metal Roof?

Although your metal roof should last a long time, you may eventually have to replace it. So, we will discuss some things you should look for that may mean it's time to replace your metal roof.


One sign you should look out for is leaks. If your metal roof is leaking, you need to have it evaluated by a roofing contractor, even if the leak is small. The leak could be caused by rust, loose panels, or possibly warping. But, whatever the cause, if the leak is allowing water through to the area beneath, water damage will likely occur. Also, in addition to damaging the building materials, it could damage your electrical systems and cause mold growth.

Loose Roof Panels

Loose metal panels can also lead to leaks, which can cause serious damage to your home. The loose panels could also allow small animals to build nests in your roof, leading to damage, health hazards, and pest control costs.


If you have rust on your metal roof, your roof's protective covering is probably degraded, allowing water to contact your roof. If rust starts to form, the metal is corroding. This could lead to leaks, which could damage your home. Unfortunately, many homeowners don't notice the rust until their roof is leaking. In order to prevent the kind of damage that rust can lead to, it's essential to get periodic professional roof inspections. This could help you to find problems before serious damage occurs.

Metal Roofing Types

If you decide to have a metal roof installed, it's a good idea to learn about the different options. There are many kinds of metal roofs, and they work best in different situations. So, we will list some of the different types of metal roofs and their advantages to allow you to determine which one suits your needs.

Copper Roofs

Copper roofs are expensive, but they have some major advantages. A copper roof will not scratch or rust. It also won't peel like some metal roofs. Additionally, copper roofs can last for hundreds of years. Also, should you choose to replace your roof, a copper roof can be recycled.

Copper Roofs

Aluminum Roofing

Unlike copper roofs, aluminum roofs are quite economical. They also don't rust, which helps their longevity. Aluminum roofs are malleable as well, so they work well for oddly shaped roofs. They are also quite durable, but their malleability makes them susceptible to dents. You can expect an aluminum roof to last at least fifty years, and some varieties can last for centuries.

Aluminum Roofing

Steel Roofs

Steel roofs are probably one of the most common kinds of metal roofing. It is economical, sturdy, and will generally last between 50 to 60 years or more. This type of roofing often works great, but not in coastal cities. The salt present in the air in coastal cities can cause steel roofs to corrode. Steel roofs don't work very well on farms with a lot of manure either due to the ammonia, which can damage the coating on steel roofing.

Steel Roofs

Stainless Steel Roofing

Stainless steel roofing is similar to steel roofing, but it won't rust. Also, if it's an alloy, it can be made even stronger. Depending on the kind of steel and the stainless coating, it may last significantly longer than regular steel roofing.

Stainless Steel Roofing

Metal Roof Styles

It's also important to consider the style of roof you want since different styles of metal roofing work better for different types of roofs.

Metal Sheets: The best thing about using metal sheets for your roof is the ease of installation, which requires less time to install, so lower labor costs. Metal sheets also work on oddly shaped roofs and can even cover irregularities in your roof.

Standing-Seam Roofing: This type of roofing has seams that run vertically across the roof, providing support. It works well on a large variety of roofs.

Batten Roofing: Batten roofing is a type of standing-seam roofing. However, in this type of roofing, metal sheets are placed between batten strips, which are then covered with a cap. This type of roofing is good for non-traditional roofs.

Shingles: Metal shingle roofs are made to look like traditional shingle roofs. They take a while to install, but they work well for more elaborately shaped roofs.

How Much Will My Metal Roof Cost?

The cost will vary, but there are some things you can do to try to get an idea of how much it will cost before contacting a roofing contractor. You'll need to consider the thickness of the metal roof you want, the shape of your roof, and the finish you intend to use.

But, just to get an idea of the cost, it will probably cost approximately $13 per square foot. So, for a typical home somewhere around $20,000 to $26,000. However, costs vary considerably, so you'll need to get an estimate from a roofing contractor to get a more reliable idea of the actual cost of a metal roof for your home.

Can I Put a Metal Roof Over My Shingles?

Yes, you can put a metal roof over a shingle roof. In fact, it's generally not necessary to remove your shingle roof first. Having a shingle roof under your metal roof can actually be an advantage.

Metal roof over shingles

Benefits of Putting a Metal Roof Over Shingles

The shingle roof will actually add extra protection and insulation to your roof. It can also decrease any sound that may come from your metal roof. Although today's metal roofs aren't actually very noisy. Another advantage of installing your metal roof over your shingles is the time you'll save, as well as the money because you won't have to pay someone to remove the shingles.

Installing a Metal Roof Over Shingles

If you decide to have a metal roof put over shingles, an underlayment will be placed over the shingles. This will help keep water from leaking onto your current shingles. Although, this may not be a problem anyway if your current roof is in good shape. After the underlayment is installed, your roofing contractor will properly install your metal roof.

When Not to Put Metal Roofing Over Shingles

There are times when you will not want to put metal roofing over shingles. If you have multiple layers of shingles on your roof, it's best to remove them before putting a metal roof on your house. You also will need to consider the type of shingles you have. It's fine to put a metal roof on asphalt shingles but not wooden shingles. If your asphalt shingles are not even, you could also have problems. Your roofing contractor will be able to tell you if a metal roof will work for you.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, metal roofing will last a very long time regardless of your particular material. However, some metal roof choices may last longer than a century. Between their incredible lifetimes and immense durability, it's unsurprising that metal roofing options are growing in popularity.

If you are planning to get a new roof and metal is the option that you choose, you can call us 24/7 at (713) 489 8064 for a FREE roof inspection.

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