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5 Signs You Need a Metal Roof Replacement

December 27th, 2023 | 6 min. read

5 Signs You Need a Metal Roof Replacement

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Replacing your metal roof at the right time saves you from constantly paying for repairs. However, homeowners keep paying for temporary fixes because they don’t know it’s time for a roof replacement. 

The truth is, your metal roof actually tells you it’s time to replace it. You just need to know how to identify these signs.

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has given homeowners the power to determine what their roof needs before even calling a roofer. That’s why I want to help you determine if it’s time for a metal roof replacement. 

This article covers the following:

  • Quick overview of the two types of metal roof systems
  • The 5 signs you need a metal roof replacement

What are the two types of metal roof systems?

Before we get to the signs that you need a metal roof replacement, you need to understand the difference between the two metal roof systems. This is mainly because each metal roof has certain signs to look for.

standing seam metal roof

A standing seam metal roof is a series of panels locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. This allows the panels to expand and contract freely when the metal heats up.

screw down metal roof

A screw down panel (exposed fastener) metal roof is fastened down using screws and washers screwed through the face of the metal. This method of screwing the metal down doesn’t allow the metal to expand and contract naturally, which makes it prone to leaks. 

Due to a screw down metal roof’s lack of expansion capabilities, I do not recommend installing it over any heated living or workspace. 

5 signs you need a metal roof replacement

Now, let’s get to the signs that you need a metal roof replacement. As I said, some of the signs are specific to a certain metal roof. 

Below are the 5 signs that it’s time for a metal roof replacement. 

1. The Kynar 500 painted finish has reached the 30-year mark (standing seam only)

All of the major steel panel manufacturers use a patented process to apply a painted finish called Kynar 500 to standing seam metal panels. This painted finish protects your metal panels from the elements and keeps the color from fading. 

After installation, a standing seam metal roof comes with a 30-year paint warranty on the Kynar 500 finish. You don’t need to replace your metal roof right when it reaches the 30-year mark because the paint doesn’t disappear overnight. 

But once the warranty expires, you should start budgeting to replace your standing seam metal roof.  

2. The painted finish is fading (both)

While standing seam metal roofs come with Kynar 500, screw down metal panels come with whatever painted finish the manufacturer applies to metal panels. For both metal roof systems, the paint will gradually fade from wear and tear. 

green screw down metal roof with color fading

But once you see rusting or the color extremely fades on the metal panels, it’s time to consider a metal roof replacement. This is simply because the protective paint has reached the end of its effectiveness. 

And with it no longer being effective, it’s just a matter of time before rusting creates holes that let water into your home. 

3. Something damaged the painted finish (both)

By now, you know how important the painted finish is to your metal roof system. The first two signs have to do with the paint reaching the end of its effectiveness. 

However, a metal roof’s lifespan will be shortened if anything damages, dents, or scratches the painted finish. This usually happens from things physically falling on the roof. 

However, it could also be from other tradesmen walking on your roof, painters spilling paint, or using chemicals to clean the paint off the panels. No matter what, your metal roof will need replacing sooner rather than later if the painted finish gets damaged. 

4. Storm damage to the metal panels (both)

While damaging the painted finish leads to a replacement, so does damage that compromises the integrity of your actual metal. This is usually caused by acts of God, such as strong storms, hail, and wind.

A tree limb (or even a full tree) falling on your metal roof can cause serious damage to the metal panels. And if these limbs cause large dents and scratch the panels, you should have your metal roof replaced before a costly leak shows up. 

Luckily, this kind of storm damage is covered by homeowners insurance. With the right policy, you could even get your entire metal roof replacement covered. 

5. The fasteners are starting to wallow out (screw down only)

Remember, a screw down metal roof is fastened to the decking through the face of the metal. Due to its lack of expansion capabilities, the fasteners get wallowed out until they’re too big for the screws that hold the metal panels down.

screws wallowed out of a screw down metal roof

Throughout its life, you’ll need to change out screws with a bigger size to avoid leaks. While leaks are bad enough, failing to replace the screws also makes the metal roof susceptible to wind getting underneath the panels and lifting them. 

If you wait too long to deal with your wallowed-out fasteners, you’ll need a metal roof replacement sooner rather than later. Once one panel needs replacing, you should go ahead and replace the entire metal roof.

How much does a metal roof replacement cost?

Now, you know the 5 signs that you need a metal roof replacement. No matter which type of metal roof you have, you need to start preparing once you identify one or more of the signs above. 

Unfortunately, it’s hard to prepare when you don’t know how much you’ll have to spend on a new metal roof. Even worse, it’s hard to find accurate cost numbers because roofers are scared of causing sticker shock. 

That’s why you’ll find pricing for the metal roof panels only instead of a full roof replacement cost. Well, I believe in being upfront and transparent with homeowners. 

That’s why I wrote another article breaking down how much a full metal roof replacement costs, including labor and materials. 

Check out this article on How Much a Metal Roof Costs to help you find your budgeting number for your metal roof replacement. 

roof cost calculator


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