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How Fast Does Metal Roofing Rust in Houston?

Apr 01, 2022

When Houston homeowners are deciding on a new roofing material, durability is often one of the most important factors. After all, if your roof will need to be replaced or fixed up within just a few years, the installation process may seem like more trouble than it’s worth.


Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners looking for a durable roofing option – and for good reason. Compared to asphalt shingles and other popular materials, metal holds up far better against the elements and other kinds of damage.

Of course, this also means that you’ll be able to go a long time before requiring a roofing replacement. Although traditional shingles generally need to be replaced after twenty to thirty years, metal roofs can last closer to seventy. In fact, some metal roofing types (such as copper) can go as long as a century before needing to be replaced.

Even so, many Houston Texas homeowners worry about the ease with which metal roofing rusts. It’s an understandable concern. Although it’s a durable material with a long lifespan, many people also see it as one that rusts easily, especially if it comes into contact with moisture. However, is this the case for your average metal roof, or are these roofing systems less prone to rusting than one might expect?

Does All Metal Rust?

Believe it or not, only specific kinds of metal are prone to rusting. More specifically, if the type of metal contains iron, then it’s capable of rusting. One example would be steel before it’s coated in a protective substrate, which is commonly done for steel roofing systems.

Still, metal roofing materials like aluminum and copper don’t contain any iron, which means that they are naturally rust-resistant. Although steel isn’t resistant to rust in its natural state, the material can be galvanized to prevent the roof from breaking down when it’s exposed to the elements.

If you’re in the market for a new metal roof and are considering steel, just make sure that the roofer is using exclusively galvanized or coated steel. Otherwise, rust and oxidation are likely to occur, and your roof will have a shorter lifespan than you’d expected.

On the other hand, because it’s lightweight, durable, and rust-resistant, aluminum is one of the most popular materials used in metal roofing systems. If your roof is made of a material like aluminum, or it has been properly galvanized, you won’t need to worry about it rusting after just a few years.

What Protective Coatings Prevent Metal Roofs from Rusting?

Even if you have a steel roof installed, it’s still possible to protect it from corroding or developing rust. In fact, if you’re going to have a steel roofing system installed, you should never be using metal that hasn’t been coated in a protective substrate.

There are a few options out there when it comes to coating or galvanizing metal roofs. Those possibilities are as follows:

Zinc Coating

When zinc is used to coat and protect a metal roof, the process is referred to as galvanizing. Steel can receive a coating of zinc oxide, which makes the roofing system resistant to rust. There are numerous benefits to using galvanized steel in a modern roofing system – for instance, this material is highly durable and has an impressive lifespan, so you won’t need to replace your roof again just a few years down the line. Due to their strength and durability, galvanized steel roofs also require very little maintenance.

Aluminum Coating

As we mentioned earlier, aluminum is a metal that’s naturally resistant to rust. Even if you decide against an aluminum roofing system, it’s still possible to have your new roof coated with this material. Actually, when steel is coated in aluminum, it’s given a highly effective barrier against corrosion or rust – similar to having an aluminum roof installed.

Silicon, Zinc, and Aluminum Coating

Although it is possible to protect a steel roof using solely aluminum or zinc oxide, it’s also possible to combine these materials and add silicon. This type of coating can provide homeowners with additional benefits that they may not receive if their steel roofing system is coated in just zinc or aluminum.

This kind of coating is known as galvalume, and it has been around since the early 1970s. Due to the enhanced rust protection that galvalume provides, it’s a great option for homeowners residing in coastal areas. Salty air can speed up the corrosion process in metal roofing systems, so it’s a good idea to take added measures to protect your steel roof and prevent it from rusting.

Do I Need to Reapply the Protective Coating on My Metal Roof?

To make sure your Houston metal roof is as protected as possible, it’s in your best interest to have the protective coating reapplied. Over time, the coating that was added during manufacturing can lose some of its protective capabilities. When this happens, your best bet is to have the protective coating re-applied by a roofing professional.

Typically, protective coatings need to be reapplied every five to twelve years, on average. When determining how long you should wait, make sure you’re taking geographic location and the size of your property into account.

For more information on when to re-coat your metal roof, be sure to contact a professional roofer. They will be able to give you a more specific estimate of when to re-coat, as this can vary from property to property. A professional can also come out to inspect your roof in person, allowing them to gauge whether you’re due for a new protective coat.

It’s Simple to Avoid a Rusty Metal Roof

All in all, if you’re worried that metal roofs are prone to rust, know that this is rarely a concern. Several kinds of metal are naturally resistant to rusting or corrosion, and even those that aren’t can be coated in protective materials. If you’re having a steel roofing system installed, just talk to your roofer, and ensure that the material has been galvanized or protectively coated. This means that even though materials like aluminum or copper contain iron, you don’t need to worry about them growing rusty.

A properly protected and installed metal roof can go many years without any signs of rust. This is just another reason that metal is one of the most durable and long-lasting roofing materials currently on the market.

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