For someone who’s thinking about getting a metal roof, he may ask, “Do metal roofs last longer?” Like all roofing materials, metal roofs have an average lifespan. But at the same time, there are other things that influence its service life.

Today, let’s take a closer look at metal roofs. We’ll learn their varieties. Next, we’ll do a side by side comparison with other residential roofing materials. The last part will be about the 6 factors that may shorten their lifespan.

Do Metal Roofs Last Longer? Understanding Metal Roofing and Its Types

Metal roofing systems are a popular choice among residential property owners. Whether you’re tackling a home improvement project or building a new home, metal makes a superb choice.

How long do metal roofs last? In general, they can last from 40-100 years (with an average of 50 years). Warranties depend on the manufacturer of choice but usually, they reach 40 years.

What most people don’t know is that there are various types of metal roofs. One metal roofing variety has certain features that make it better than the others.

Copper Metal Roofing

sun shining on copper roofing surface

Copper roofs are considered to be high-end roofing materials. One may choose copper because of its resistance to hail and fire.

Life Expectancy: About 50 years

If someone told you that copper is undeniably the best type of metal roofing, you have to believe it. A copper roof may be expensive. But at the same time, it has a low life-cycle cost. It doesn’t require much maintenance.

A copper roof is resistant to almost anything – fire, hail, pests, and water damage. If you’re the environmentally-conscious type, copper is recyclable.

Zinc Metal Roofing

Life Expectancy: About 80 years 

Would you believe that a self-healing roof exists? Zinc is a powerful roofing material in that it repairs itself after a scratch. If you live in an area surrounded by trees or often receives rain, you’ll be thankful to have a zinc roof.

Steel Metal Roofing

grey steel roof on huge multi-family house

Steel roofs are versatile. You can get a steel roof that looks like shingles or another type of roofing material.

Life Expectancy: About 50 years

As a metal roof, steel roofing lasts long because of its high reflectivity properties. You need a roof that doesn’t absorb sunlight because heat speeds up deterioration.

It’s a light material which means that you don’t need reinforcements. Steel roofing can also be made to look like wood, asphalt shingle, and tile.

Metal Roofs vs Other Roofing Materials

Another way to answer the question, “Do metal roofs last longer?” is to compare the average lifespan of metal and other common roofing materials. Let’s choose 4 competitors: Asphalt shingles, cedar roofing, slate roofing, and solar tiles.

Asphalt Shingles

While metal roofs last an average of 50 years, asphalt shingles have a lifespan of 15-20 years. So do metal roofs last longer than asphalt? Yes, indeed.

Cedar Roofing

close up of cedar roof tiles

Cedar roof is one of the prettiest roofs in the market. But when it comes to the lifespan, metal roofing lasts longer.

The average service life of a wood shake or shingle roof is 40 years. To keep it beautiful and rot-free, it requires careful maintenance. Think about regular roof cleaning. But still, some people choose cedar because of its natural beauty.

Slate Roofing

Roof slate tiles are close competitors because they can reach 100 years – even more. Slate comes from natural stone and this is what makes it durable. Slate tiles resist fires. Though they cost more upfront, they translate into long-term savings.

Solar Tiles

Compared to metal roofs, solar tiles cost more. They say that solar tiles have a degradation rate of 1% each year. We can expect these roofing materials to last up to 25 years. This goes to show that metal roofing is the winner if we consider lifespan.

What Shortens the Lifespan of a Metal Roof?

Now that we’ve explored the strengths and lifespan of metal roofing and did a side by side comparison, we’ll find out some factors that weaken it.

Sun Exposure

Basically, a roof that’s more exposed to the sun wears out faster than a roof that isn’t. The sun brings heat which dries up the roof and weakens its overall structure over time. One of the ways to strengthen metal roofing is to apply roof coatings. We call this process a roof restoration.

Pitch

close up of metal roof showing steep slope

This metal roof has a steep slope. It may come at a higher price but it definitely promotes proper water drainage. Your roof stays dry and lasts longer!

Maybe you’ve heard that a pitched roof will cost you more than a flat roof. While this can turn people off, a higher pitch sheds water more effectively. Also, it’s less likely to harbor leaves and other debris. Healthy, problem-free roofs are those that stay clean all year round.

Ventilation

Whether your roof is made of metal or another material, ventilation is important. Proper ventilation means that moisture is not retained inside the home and that air circulates freely. Poor attic ventilation accelerates roof damage by affecting the insulation and decking.

Maintenance

Even the simplest actions such as noting signs of roof damage matters. It allows you to get maintenance repairs that prevent issues from growing. Sometimes moisture accumulates in the home without your knowledge. Watch out for stained walls and ceilings, and mold growth.

Poor Installation

man working on brown metal roof

Hire a licensed roofing contractor to install your metal roof. Workmanship matters more than you realize.

Using the best roofing material won’t matter if it’s installed poorly. Do metal roofs last longer despite bad workmanship? They don’t. Workmanship has a bearing on the material’s service life. Improper installation techniques void the manufacturer’s warranty. Be sure to hire a trusted contractor that follows proper installation specifications.

Color Choice

Your choice of colors play a role in your energy-efficiency. As a rule, lighter colors are more energy-efficient because they reflect the sun’s rays. On the other hand, darker colors tend to absorb more heat. As we recall, heat is an enemy of the roof.

Final Thoughts

You’ll be amazed at how we need to consider various factors before we can answer, “Do metal roofs last longer?” Figuring out how long a roof lasts depends on the type, weather, characteristics, and installation methods.

Speak with a roofing contractor if you need some recommendation on the best metal roof. But if you already have one, invest in its maintenance. Don’t procrastinate on repairs. Have it checked regularly. Keep the gutters debris-free.

Skyluxe Roofing & Sheet Metal installs and maintains metal roofing systems. We serve property owners in Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville, Toronto, and Vaughan. Take a look at our recent work! Lastly, call us at 647.952.2863.