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How Long Does a Metal Roof Last?

June 7th, 2023 | 6 min. read

How Long Does a Metal Roof Last?

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Metal roofing has become the new big thing in the residential roofing industry. Some reports even say metal roofing will replace asphalt roofing as the most popular material

But with it becoming popular for residential roofing, homeowners need some big questions answered before jumping into this large investment. One of the biggest questions revolves around the actual return on investment, the lifespan of a metal roof.

So, how long does a metal roof last?

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has taken pride in providing unbiased information, so homeowners have the confidence to make the right decisions. 

This article answers the following questions:

  • How long does a metal roof last?
  • How long does a standing seam metal roof last?
  • How long does a screw down metal roof last?
  • What factors impact how long a metal roof lasts?

How long does a metal roof last?

You can expect a metal roof to last around 30 years. However, this is a very general answer for metal roofing’s lifespan. 

To get a more specific answer, you need to know the lifespans of the two types of metal roofing: standing seam and screw down. Let’s learn the difference between the two metal roof systems and how long they last.

How long does a standing seam metal roof last?

A standing seam metal roof system is a series of panels locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. Because of this, it can expand and contract freely when the metal heats up and cools down.


You should get at least 30 years out of a standing seam metal roof as long as it’s properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated. In ideal conditions, a standing seam metal roof could live for 50 years or more. 

The long lifespan comes from the Kynar 500 painted finish that protects your standing seam metal roof from the elements while keeping the color you choose from fading. This painted finish is applied to the metal panels through a patented process that comes with a 30-year paint warranty. 

The great thing about Kynar 500 is that it doesn’t just disappear after 30 years once the warranty period ends, which is why you’ll see standing seam metal roofs that last 50 years.  

How long does a screw down panel metal roof last?

A screw down panel (also called exposed fastener) metal roof is just what it's called; it's screwed down with the fasteners exposed. The panels are literally screwed down using screws and washers through the face of the metal.


Properly installed with no maintenance, you expect a screw down metal roof to last 20 years. With periodic maintenance, you could possibly stretch it to 30 years.

Unlike a standing seam metal roof, a screw down metal roof can’t naturally expand and contract because it’s screwed down. Because of this, I do not recommend installing this metal roof system over a heated space such as your home or office.

Just know that screw down panels don’t come with the Kynar 500 painted finish. The paint used on the steel or aluminum panels determines the warranty you get on a screw down metal roof system.

3 factors that affect how long a metal roof lasts

Now you know the difference between the metal roof systems and how long each lasts. I already mentioned that each metal roof must be properly installed to reach its potential lifespan. 

However, there are a few other major factors that specifically affect how long a metal roof lasts. 

1. Protecting the painted finish on the metal panels during installation

While installing the metal roof properly is crucial, so is taking all proper precautions to protect the painted finish. Scratching or damaging the finish on the panels will expose the fresh steel to dew or moisture in the air, causing them to rust. 

If this happens, your metal roof system will not reach its full potential. That’s why the roof has to be cleaned off every evening after finishing for the day. 

There can't be any cuts, little triangles, or shavings on the roof because the steel will rust overnight. No matter which metal roof system you have, it’s important that it’s handled carefully during installation.

Because of this, it’s crucial to hire a local roofing contractor with metal roof installation experience.

2. The weather conditions in your area

Your roof goes through wear and tear from the weather throughout its life. However, the amount of extreme weather in your area determines how fast wear and tear affects your metal roof.

In areas that get snow and a lot of hail, the integrity and finish on your metal roof panels weaken quicker. In areas with regularly high temperatures, a screw down metal roof’s lack of expansion capability shortens its lifespan the more it has to expand and contract.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about the weather or climate in your area. That’s why you should ask your roofing contractor how the local weather impacts the lifespan of a metal roof. 

3. How much the metal roof is maintained over the years

Both metal roof systems (and every other type of roof) need maintenance to maximize their lifespans. However, how much and the kind of maintenance needed is different. 

A standing seam metal roof requires virtually no maintenance except around the penetrations, such as vent pipes, gas pipes, etc. Just know that I still recommend getting it checked yearly to clear sitting debris and catch potential issues so your investment is truly protected. 

Unlike a standing seam metal roof, the exposed fasteners on a screw down metal roof mean it needs more maintenance. As time passes, the pressure caused by a lack of expansion and contraction causes the holes in the washers to wallow out.

screws wallowed out on a screw down metal roof(Screws wallowed out)

Not only does it lead to leaks, but your roofing contractor has to come out every 5-10 years or so to replace the screws to a bigger size. Failing to do this leads to expensive problems, and a strong storm could even tear the screw down metal roof off.

Is a metal roof right for you?

Now you know how long a metal roof lasts and the 3 main factors that impact its lifespan. As long as your metal roof is installed and maintained correctly, you should have no problems getting around 30 years out of it.

While knowing the lifespan of a metal roof plays a huge role in the decision-making process, there’s much more to learn about a metal roof to determine if it’s right for you. After all, you need to know both the good and bad to feel confident making the right decision. 

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down the pros and cons of metal roofing so that you can make an educated choice on such a big investment. 

Check out The Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing to truly learn if metal roofing is the right type of roof for you.

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