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Will Metal Roofing Rust? (And Which Types & Climates)

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 26, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington


If you are a building owner thinking about replacing your roof, you might be wondering if a metal roof is right for you. A roof replacement is a significant investment in time and money, and a metal roof can last for decades if properly installed and maintained. While it can cost a bit more upfront, you might find that a metal roof allows you to operate your building without disruption from the elements. However, it’s important to know what to expect from one before you make a decision.

The Advantages to Metal Roofing

  • Low maintenance: Metal roofs generally require maintenance except occasional debris removal and are resistant to damage.
  • Lightweight: Depending on what roofing material you choose, a metal roof can be much lighter than a typical asphalt or tile roof.
  • Long lifespan: A metal roof can last anywhere from 50 years to well over a century, depending on the material and if it’s properly maintained.
  • Protection against elements: It’s unlikely that heavy rain, hail, snow or winds will be able to breach your roof and cause leaks.

What Are the Disadvantages of Metal Roofs?

  • More expensive: Home Advisor writes that metal roofs can cost anywhere from $120 per square for a corrugated steel roof to $900 per square for a copper roof, compared to $90 for a square of 3-tab asphalt shingles.
  • Complicated installation: A metal roof installation requires much more specialized knowledge than a typical asphalt or vinyl roof, which can be costly. It must be fitted exactly to your building's measurements, which can take time.
  • Hard to access: White asphalt roofs can provide easy grip, a metal roof offer very little friction and can be difficult to navigate without proper training and safety gear.

Will Metal Roofing Rust?

One common question that people have about metal roofs is whether they can rust and what can be done to mitigate that risk. Most metal roofs are made of either steel or aluminum, but steel roofs are coated with a zinc-based alloy to make them corrosion-resistant. While the iron in a steel roof can oxidize over time, for much of your roof’s lifespan, the outer coating will bear the brunt of oxidative damage. However, the lifespan if your roof could decrease if its outer coating is damaged, which is why regular inspection is important.

Rust or corrosion are common concerns in environments close to large bodies of salt water such as a lake or an ocean. However, Las Vegas has one of the driest climates in the United States, averaging just 4.17 inches of precipitation per year. Much of this falls in a handful of major downpours while the average humidity is at or close to 0% for the majority of the year. Long-term water exposure simply isn’t a major concern for most homeowners in the Valley, which can give individuals here much more flexibility when choosing a metal roof for their home or commercial property.

Related: Metal Roofing Systems: Everything You Need to Know

What Is the Best Type of Metal Roof to Prevent Roofing Issues?


Steel roofs are the least expensive and most common type of metal roofing, with a square selling for anywhere from $120 to $425 per square of stone-coated steel. However, they have limited due to their weight and have the shortest lifespan due to their susceptibility to corrosion.


Roofs made with aluminum are lightweight and highly resistant to corrosion, making them ideal for rougher climates or for building owners who want a decorative roof. A square of aluminum roofing typically sells for around $265 to $375.


Zinc roofs are more expensive than both aluminum and steel roofs, as a square can sell for anywhere between $400 to $600. However, it forms a patina of zinc carbonate once it initially reacts with oxygen, which is highly resistant to corrosion.


Copper is highly resistant to corrosion, can be formed into a wide variety of shapes, and can persist for centuries. However, it is one of the most expensive roofing materials, with a square of copper for roofing selling for anywhere from $700 to $1,400.

Thanks to the favorable climate of the Las Vegas valley, metal roofs can provide long-lasting protection from the elements for your investment. Given the wide array of options, you have the luxury of buying a less-expensive roof or selecting one for its dramatic style and attractive aesthetics. With the right knowledge and an experienced professional to guide you, you can select the one that can enhance the value of your building while protecting it for years to come.

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Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington