When you need a new roof, you want the best of everything. You don’t want to spend a fortune on the project, but you also want something that will last a long time. As you have probably already guessed, cheaper roofing usually doesn’t last as long as pricier options. If you’re trying to get long-term cost benefits without spending way too much money today, you might want to consider a metal roof.
Metal roofing has many benefits, and as long as there is a pitch to the roof or a protective coating, it might prove the best way to go. To really understand this, you can take a look at how long metal roofs last. They’re top tier in that category of roofing materials.
Metal Roofing in General
Metal is strong. We all know that, and it’s why metal roofing is a common choice — especially in commercial applications. But a lot of metals struggle with corrosion, and that’s a major concern when calculating longevity. The truth is that there are a number of different materials available, and they all have different advantages.
We’ll go over the four most common metals in roofing and explain their longevity. But the quick answer is that depending on the material and outdoor conditions, you can typically expect a metal roof to last somewhere in the ballpark of 20 to 70 years.
Steel is the most common roofing metal. It costs less than the other metals, and it still holds up very well. Even among steel roofing, you still have options. Galvanized, Galvalume, and weathering steel are each made differently and have different merits.
Rather than go down the rabbit hole of each type of steel, we can generalize in order to answer the original question. The lowest-quality steel roof is still usually going to last for 20 years if it is built with exposed fasteners. With any amount of maintenance and investment in quality, that number can go up to 30 years, and standing panels and better-designed steel roofing will often last 40 to 50 years.
Regardless of the steel, design, and maintenance, 50 years is typically going to be the upper end of longevity. Steel needs protective layers to prevent rusting, and the protection will eventually fade.
Aluminum costs more than steel, but it also lasts longer. While steel does have the best tensile strength, aluminum is still very strong, and it is much more resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is amazing in this respect because the outer layer of aluminum rapidly oxidizes when exposed to air. That outer layer of oxidation prevents corrosive chemicals from penetrating into the aluminum, so aluminum roofing will resist corrosion for a very long time.
What eventually kills aluminum is extreme weather. After enough decades, a wildly violent storm will occur just about anywhere, and aluminum will ultimately succumb to raw impact.
All of that said, aluminum roofs often last more than 50 years, with an upper bound around 70 years.
With copper, we’re getting into high-end, long-lasting metal roofing. Copper is another metal that is extremely resistant to corrosion, and the reason is similar but not identical to that of aluminum. Copper does oxidize over time, and the oxidation creates a patina on the outer layer of the metal. That patina is usually blue-green in color, and it creates a protective barrier that prevents additional corrosion. For this reason, copper roofing can resist water-driven corrosion pretty much indefinitely.
Where copper outperforms aluminum is in durability. Copper is a softer metal. This means that impacts can dent copper. While that’s bad for aesthetics, soft copper is able to sustain dents without being punctured. This means that even extreme wind has a hard time breaking down copper roofing. With a little care, you can expect a copper roof to last 70 years or more. In fact, there are plenty of copper roofs around the world that are multiple centuries old.
Zinc roofing lasts roughly as long as copper and for the same reasons. In fact, zinc is one of the most common substances used in treating steel to make it water resistant. Zinc roofs regularly last for more than 70 years, just like copper.
While zinc and copper roofs can last for centuries, it’s not entirely reasonable to expect that every roof will perform this long. Regardless, you can get a zinc roof that lasts for an entire lifetime, and that makes it a worthy investment.
If you’re ready to replace your roof with a long-lasting metal version, contact the experts at Bert Roofing. We install metal roofs on commercial and residential buildings throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Get in touch with us today for a custom quote for your roofing project.