metal roof
metal roof

When to Consider Metal Roof Replacement: Signs and Steps for Homeowners

Metal roofing is renowned for its durability, longevity, and aesthetic appeal. While they can last significantly longer than traditional asphalt shingle roofs, even the sturdiest metal roofs eventually need replacement.

As a homeowner, it’s essential to be aware of the signs that indicate your metal roof may be nearing the end of its useful life. By recognizing these signs early, you can plan for a replacement before significant damage occurs to your home’s structure or interior.

About Metal Roofs

Although they have traditionally been used primarily on commercial buildings in the US, metal roofs have in recent years become a popular choice among homeowners for a number of reasons:

  • Metal roofs are highly resistant to extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain, hail, high winds, and even fire.
  • While asphalt shingle roofs typically last 20-30 years, metal roof lifespan can easily be 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
  • Metal roofs reflect sunlight rather than absorb it, potentially reducing cooling costs in warmer months.
  • Most metal roofs are made from a high percentage of recycled materials and are fully recyclable at the end of their lifespan.
  • Metal roofs come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and materials to suit any home’s aesthetic.
  • Compared to other roofing materials, metal roofs require minimal upkeep to maintain their performance and appearance.
Low angle view of metal roof

There are several types of metal roofs available, each offering unique benefits and characteristics:

  • Standing Seam Metal Roofs
    These feature raised seams that interlock, providing excellent weather resistance and an attractive, modern look. They’re known for their durability and are common in both residential and commercial applications.
  • Metal Shingle Roofs
    These mimic the appearance of traditional roofing materials like shingles, slate, or tile but offer the added benefits of metal roofing. They are available in various designs and colors, providing aesthetic flexibility.
  • Corrugated Metal Roofs
    Recognizable by their wavy, ribbed pattern, these roofs are cost-effective and easy to install. They are commonly used in agricultural and industrial buildings but are also gaining popularity in residential settings.
  • Metal Tile Roofs
    Designed to replicate the look of classic clay or concrete tiles, these provide the longevity and lightweight advantages of metal while offering an elegant aesthetic.
  • Copper Roofs
    Known for their distinct appearance and ability to develop a patina over time, copper roofs are highly durable and resistant to corrosion. They are among the most expensive metal roofing options but offer unparalleled longevity and visual appeal.

Each type of metal roof has its own set of advantages, making it important to choose the one that best fits your needs and your home’s architectural style.

When to Replace a Metal Roof

Construction worker on a roof, using a hammer to install metal roof

Despite their durability, metal roofs aren’t indestructible. Here are key indicators and signs to replace a metal roof.

Age of the Roof

While metal roofs can last 50 years or more, if your roof is approaching or has exceeded this age, it’s wise to have it professionally inspected. Even if it appears to be in good condition, underlying issues may not be visible to the untrained eye.

Visible Rust or Corrosion

Rust is a clear sign that your metal roof’s protective coating has worn away. Small rust spots can often be treated, but widespread corrosion usually indicates that replacement is necessary.

Loose or Missing Panels

High winds or improper installation can cause metal panels to come loose or detach entirely. While individual panels can sometimes be replaced, multiple loose or missing panels often signal a larger problem.

Leaks or Water Damage

If you notice water stains on your ceilings or walls, it’s a clear sign that your roof’s waterproof barrier has been compromised. Leaks can lead to serious structural damage if left unaddressed, so it’s important to have the issue addressed as soon as possible.

Dents or Physical Damage

While metal roofs are resistant to impact, severe weather events like hailstorms can cause denting. Minor dents are often cosmetic, but significant or widespread damage can compromise the roof’s integrity.

Fading or Discoloration

Fading is natural over time due to sun exposure. While primarily an aesthetic issue, severe fading could indicate that the roof’s protective coating has worn thin, so it’s worth having it assessed by a professional roofing service.

Increased Energy Bills

If you notice a sudden spike in your cooling costs during summer months, it could indicate that your metal roof is no longer effectively reflecting sunlight.

Sagging Roof Deck

A sagging roof deck is a serious issue that requires immediate attention. It often indicates structural problems or water damage to the underlying support system.

Persistent Problems

Sometimes, issues arise not from age or wear, but from improper initial installation. If you’ve experienced persistent problems with your metal roof, it may be worth having a professional assess the installation quality.

Metal Roof Replacement Process

Metal Roof Replacement Process

If you’ve determined that your metal roof needs replacement, here’s what you can expect from the process:

  1. A roofing contractor will conduct an inspection to thoroughly assess your roof’s condition and provide a detailed report and estimate.
  2. Based on your budget, preferences, and home’s architecture, you’ll choose the type of metal roofing material and style.
  3. In most cases, the existing roof will need to be completely removed. This allows for inspection and repair of the underlying structure if necessary.
  4. Any damaged or rotted sections of the roof deck will be replaced to ensure a solid foundation for the new roof.
  5. A high-quality, waterproof underlayment is installed to provide an additional barrier against moisture.
  6. The new metal panels or shingles are carefully installed according to manufacturer specifications.
  7. Proper flashing is installed around chimneys, vents, and other roof penetrations to prevent leaks.
  8. A thorough inspection is conducted to ensure proper installation and identify any potential issues.

Extending the Life of Your Metal Roof – Proper Care and Maintenance

While metal roofs are known for their longevity, proper maintenance can significantly extend their lifespan. Understanding these maintenance tips is equally as important as the metal roof replacement tips above.

  • Have your roof professionally inspected at least once a year, and after any major storm events.
  • Remove debris like leaves and branches regularly to prevent moisture accumulation and potential damage.
  • Ensure your gutters are clean and properly functioning to prevent water backup onto the roof.
  • Don’t wait to repair small problems like loose fasteners or minor leaks. Addressing these issues early can prevent more significant damage.
  • Keep trees trimmed away from your roof to prevent damage from falling limbs and reduce debris accumulation.
  • Inspect for any scratches in the roof’s surface coating and touch up as necessary to prevent rust.
  • Ensure your attic is properly ventilated to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to underside corrosion of the metal panels.
  • Every few years, have your metal roof professionally cleaned to remove stubborn dirt and potential corrosive substances.
  • Consider having your metal roof recoated every 10-15 years to refresh its protective layer and enhance its reflective properties.
  • If your metal roof is painted, be prepared to repaint every 10-15 years to maintain its protective qualities and appearance.

Metal roofs can be a great investment, adding value to your home, enhancing its aesthetics, and offering decades of service. However, knowing when to replace a metal roof is critical in ensuring that it continues to protect your home effectively.

Your Lakeland Roofers

Not sure when to get a new metal roof – or already sure that it’s time for metal roof replacement? Stronghold Roofing is here to help! Our Lakeland roofers have the knowledge and experience to help you assess the condition of your current roof and make decisions about a new one that meets your budget and aesthetic needs.

From roof replacement to maintenance and repairs, Stronghold is the choice for roofing services. Reach out today and ask about a free roof estimate!

FAQ’s – Metal Roof Replacement

How long will a metal roof last before needing to be replaced?

Metal roofing is long-lasting and durable.  With proper care and maintenance, a metal roof can last anywhere from 40-70 years. However, factors like severe weather events or incorrect installation can impact its lifespan.

Can I install a new metal roof over my old one?

While some roofing materials allow for layering over existing materials, metal roofing typically requires a complete removal of the old roof before installation. This allows for inspection and repair of the underlying structure and ensures proper installation.

Are there any specific maintenance requirements for metal roofs?

Regular inspections, debris removal, and addressing small issues promptly are key to maintaining a metal roof’s longevity. In addition, ensuring proper ventilation in your attic can help prevent moisture buildup and corrosion on the underside of the metal panels.

Can I walk on my metal roof?

You can walk on a metal roof if necessary, but it should be done with caution. Metal roofs can become slippery when wet or dirty, so it’s essential to wear appropriate footwear and take necessary safety precautions. 

Do metal roofs make noise during rainstorms?

With proper insulation and installation, metal roofs do not make any more noise during a rainstorm than other roofing materials.

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