How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?

Typical Price Range To Install a new Roof
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Many houses today are protected from the rain and sun by asphalt shingles or wooden roofs, but these are slowly giving way to metal roofs.

Why have they become more popular? And how long does a metal roof last?

It’s worth finding out the answer to these questions and determining if a metal roofing is right for you.

To replace your old roof with a metal one, contact your local metal roofing pros for Free Estimates.

Average Cost Of Metal Roofing

Below, you can find a table listing the average cost of metal roofing.

You can also use our Metal Roof Cost Calculator to estimate the cost of installing a metal roof.

Roofing Material Average Cost per Square Foot Average Cost per 1,000 Square Feet
Corrugated Steel $1.25 $1,250
Aluminum $4.40 $4,400
Galvanized Steel $3.75 $3,750
Tin/Terne $9 $9,000
Zinc $7.25 $7,250
Copper $17.50 $17,500
Standing Seam Panels $9.50 $9,500

We’ll cover different materials, the price per square foot, and how much it costs to cover 1,000 square feet. Bear in mind that the actual costs will vary, as you can see in the section below.

Metal Roof Cost Breakdown

The metal of choice will determine how much you’re paying, as certain metals are more expensive than others when used in this application.

Steel and aluminum are usually cheaper than the most costly roofing metals, which are zinc and copper.

Other materials needed for a metal roof include:

  • Flashings
  • Underlayment
  • Additional accessories
  • Other less common materials

Besides the materials, you must factor in labor costs.

Because metal roofs aren’t a common choice, only qualified and experienced roofers and contractors can install them correctly.

If you hire a shady operator, you might spend even more on repair costs.

The number of hours required to complete a metal roof installation varies wildly between houses and materials used. Therefore, you need to be prepared for these costs.

You’re also paying for the roofer’s equipment, insurance, and other costs that keep their business afloat.

However, most of the money in a roofing project quote will be spent on labor and materials.

Typical Price Range To Install a Metal Roof Average: $9,150 - $14,310
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What Is The Average Life Expectancy Of A Metal Roof?

The average metal roof lasts around 55 years, but the material and its quality determine its true lifespan.

You can expect steel and aluminum to last at least 40 years, but an exceptional example might reach 70 if you perform extra maintenance and live in a relatively safe area.

What’s more, a metal roof requires very little upkeep.

Copper and zinc, the two premium materials, can last for more than a century.

Copper and zinc also benefit from patination, making the panels even more attractive.

You can expect a metal roof to last for decades or more than a century.

The material is the primary factor affecting its service life.

How Long Does An Aluminum Roof Last?

On average, aluminum roofs last for half a century, and you can make them last longer by occasional maintenance.

If you live in areas close to the sea, consider getting an aluminum roof instead of steel, which can rust due to salt.

Aluminum is also energy efficient and keeps the interior cool during the hot summer days.

Due to the element’s light weight, installing an aluminum roof doesn’t take too much time.

However, it’s much less durable than steel, and can’t sustain as much blunt force.

Another downside is that temperature changes can cause warping, which produces unpleasant noises on the roof or even damage.

The appearance doesn’t compete with other metals very well.

Did you know? Aluminum shingles are easy to work with due to the element’s low hardness rating. Therefore, it costs less to install.

Average Roof Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,190 - $5,740 (For a 1600 sq. ft. Roof)
Low End
High End

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How Long Does A Steel Roof Last?

Steel roofs, including galvanized steel and corrugated steel, usually last for 40 years on average.

There are cases of steel roofs that have endured the elements for more than a century. Of course, these roofs are coated to prevent corrosion and rust from wearing them out.

Because steel roofs are painted or coated, they can be designed to resemble traditional shingles.

Making a steel roof pass as slate, clay, or asphalt shingles is possible.

The façade is rather convincing and can fool anyone who isn’t examining the roof up close.

Stainless steel roofs are difficult to find, but they do exist. For example, the Chrysler building enjoys true protection from rusting due to its stainless steel roof.

A steel roof’s coating may have to be refreshed every so often, though it takes years to wear the layers of protection out.

Major repairs are only required if falling trees or other heavy objects severely damage the roof.

How Long Does A Copper Roof Last?

Copper roofs are one of the two materials that can easily last more than 100 years.

Copper roofs that are just installed glow brightly under the sun, but as with all copper objects, they undergo patination. This process might not be pleasant to antique collectors, but it’s a desired trait on roofs.

The patina the copper roofs develop can range from a darker green to a near turquoise shade, and this process only requires time.

The golden glow will slowly be replaced with a beautiful layer that doesn’t need to be maintained. Few people would paint or coat a copper roof.

Patinas are also a layer of protection against the elements and will only keep growing.

It’s known that patination can keep copper objects intact for more than a thousand years, even though roofs might not be that hardy.

Repairing copper roofs isn’t too difficult, as it consists of soldering pieces as replacements. It barely needs maintenance anyway.

Most copper roofs are made of recycled copper, which is great for the environment.

If you’re environmentally conscious, this material and zinc are excellent choices.

However, a copper roof is indeed an expensive upfront product.

It’s a worthy investment, though not everyone can afford one.

Did you know? Copper patinas are a layer of copper oxides, and the reason the Statue of Liberty is green is due to the copper construction.

Typical Price Range To Install a Metal Roof Average: $9,150 - $14,310
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How Long Does A Tin Roof Last?

Tin roofs last for around 50 years, depending on the quality.

Occasionally called terne, tin roofs have been used in the industry for a long time.

Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, has a tin roof, an innovation during that era.

Terne roofs are steel panels coated with a layer of tin, which lets them resist corrosion and remain solid enough to withstand impacts.

Tin develops a gray patina over time, a product of oxidation.

The main drawback of tin roofs is the noise they make when it rains, though some underlayment can somewhat alleviate the issue.

However, hail can dent the roof, making it a suboptimal choice in areas known to see hailstorms.

Nevertheless, tin roofs remain an option for those looking into getting a metal roof.

They last for a long time and can be a way to increase a home’s resale value.

How Long Does A Zinc Roof Last?

Some say zinc roofs can last for centuries, and this isn’t an unfounded claim.

Zinc roofs develop a patina, but their patina is different from copper roofs.

Generally, saying these roofs last for 100 years is a safe bet.

Zinc patinas are layers of hydroxyl carbonate, which is a self-healing material that reforms itself over time.

When a zinc roof gets scratched, the patina will cover the damage as if it never happened.

This phenomenon has led to the option of buying pre-patinated panels, though you can always purchase new zinc.

Some homeowners like to collect rainwater, but other materials can contaminate the fluid, making it unsafe to drink.

Zinc is different, as the water is tested and found free of harmful chemicals from the roof. It’s still necessary to filter and boil the water for safety.

It takes less energy to make zinc roofing than steel or aluminum, as the metal has a lower melting point.

Therefore, zinc has less of an impact on the environment.

How Long Does A Standing Seam Metal Roof Last?

Standing seam metal roofs usually last for around 50 years.

They can be made of various materials, such as steel, zinc, or copper.

These roofs have a ribbed appearance to hide the fasteners from sight.

The cost of a standing seam metal roof depends on your choice of metal and the type of panels.

Standing seam metal roofing is usually a more affordable option that still contain premium materials.

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How Long Does A Screw Down Panel Metal Roof Last?

A screw-down metal panel roof is capable of lasting 30 years or more with proper care.

Because the coating is a lower quality, the lifespan of these roofs is reduced by several decades.

How Long Do Metal Roof Screws Last?

Some metal roofs are attached to the main structure via screws, and these are designed to last about 20 years.

After this time, you’ll need to hire a professional roofer to replace them.

Roof movement due to heat and cold can damage screws, making them last for a shorter period. Therefore, it’s best to check on them at least twice a year.

The earlier you discover any damage, the less you’ll pay for repairs.

Pro Tip: Despite how long metal roofs can last, it’s crucial to check the attic for structural damage elsewhere. The roof isn’t as helpful if the framing is damaged.

How Long Does A Galvanized Metal Roof Last?

A galvanized metal roof can last between 20 and 50 years.

It’s a durable material consisting of steel coated with zinc.

Consider a galvanized metal roof if zinc panels are too expensive for your budget.

While this material has at most half of a zinc roof’s lifespan, the roof is relatively easy to maintain.

Annual inspections are still necessary to detect damage, but actual work isn’t always needed if the roof is in excellent condition.

How Long Does A Metal Shingle Roof Last?

Metal shingles will last at least 40 years or longer.

As with other metal roofs, the material is ultimately the lifespan’s main factor.

In contrast, asphalt might not last half as long.

Typical Price Range To Install a Metal Roof Average: $9,150 - $14,310
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Factors That Affect Metal Roofing’s Lifespan

Several factors determine how long a metal roof can last.

  • Material
  • Environment
  • Installation quality
  • Maintenance frequency

While proper maintenance can extend its service life by several years, you should get a replacement when the recommended lifespan passes.

The environment where your roof will be installed can lengthen or shorten its service life.

A damp location can cause accelerated corrosion, especially if your roof is made of steel.

A poor installation can also reduce the lifespan immensely, and you’ll likely spend more on repairs or replacements. Therefore, it’s crucial to only hire trained professionals.

Yearly maintenance isn’t necessary for a metal roof, but periodic checks are still important for a long roof life.

Detecting structural damage before it’s too late will save you from a hefty repair bill.

Advantages Of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs offer many advantages for the home.

  • Long lifespan
  • Endurance
  • No frequent maintenance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Environmentally friendly materials

Disadvantages of Metal Roofs

Conversely, metal roofs have the following drawbacks.

  • Higher costs
  • More noise during storms or hail
  • Expansion and contraction due to temperature changes
  • Difficulty finding color-matching replacements

Are Metal Roofs Noisy?

Underlayment can reduce some noise, but metal roofs make more sounds during poor weather.

Rain and hail can strike the surface and produce loud bangs.

Are Metal Roofs High Maintenance?

Most metal roofs are considered low-maintenance products.

Periodic inspections and checks are needed, but actual maintenance is infrequent.

Average Roof Costs For:
Most Homeowners Spent Between: Most People Spent: $4,190 - $5,740 (For a 1600 sq. ft. Roof)
Low End
High End

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Do Metal Roofs Leak More Than Shingles?

Yes, but only if the roofer or contractor didn’t install them correctly.

Otherwise, metal roofs are excellent for keeping water out of the house.

Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?

No, there is no evidence that a metal roof will attract lightning strikes more than asphalt shingles.

Moreover, metal roofs will not be set on fire after a hit.

Did you know? Metals are given the highest possible Class-A fire-resistance designations. Therefore, getting a metal roof in lightning-prone locations is a splendid idea.

Are Metal Roofs Worth It?

If you’re willing to pay for a metal roof, you’ll likely increase your home’s resale value and save on roof maintenance costs.

A metal roof is worth the money, though the price can be above many homeowners’ budgets.

Long-Term Solution

Metal roofs are widely accepted as long-term investments that increase a home’s value.

They can last for decades or even longer if you purchase the best materials in the industry and hire trained professionals.

Thus, Metal roofs are increasingly popular today.

Typical Price Range To Install a Metal Roof Average: $9,150 - $14,310
See costs in your area

Author: Leo B
For over 20 years Leo has run a successful roofing business in New England, specializing in metal roofing, as well as cool flat roofing technologies. Having replaced and installed hundreds of roofs in New England, Leo has first hand experience with pretty much every residential roofing material and roofing manufacturer available in the US.
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One comment on “How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?

  1. Metal roofing companies that install many metal roofs each year will usually be able to offer good financing through a bank that knows them and the quality they offer. I think that once a homeowner underrstands the longterm value both in longevity of the product and long term value when the go to sell their home, they will want a metal roof.