Will Your Metal Roof Need Maintenance And Can It Rust?

Will Your Metal Roof Need Maintenance And Can It Rust?

Poor piggies. The term “piggyback,” as in asking two questions in one sentence such as “Do metal roofs need maintenance and can they rust?” has nothing to do with pigs. It comes to us from the word “pickapack,” as in “worn on the shoulders like a pack.” A piggybacked question — one that smooshes two questions into one sentence — is just as useful as the knapsack you throw over your shoulders. And the answer, like the knapsack, needs a little unpacking. 

Will My Metal Roof Need Maintenance? 

As long as we’re in the questioning mood, let’s turn that thought around and ask, “Can you name something made by humans which needs no maintenance?” Probably not. So, yes, your metal roof will need maintenance. 

If you enlist the help of the same roofer who installed your metal roof, you can get proper metal roof maintenance: 

  • Clear metal roof panels of dirt and debris
  • Remove accumulated organic litter and inorganic debris from valleys
  • Repair minor scratches
  • Repair rust spots
  • Inspect roof penetrations
  • Tighten loose seams
  • Replace missing mechanical fasteners
  • Adjust, repair, or replace flashing as needed
  • Check for metal corrosion (not rust; galvanic corrosion caused by dissimilar metals)

Most metal roofing maintenance can be performed in quick order one time a year. Just like the big folks with commercial metal roofs, your Phoenix metro home can sit protected underneath a low-maintenance, sturdy metal roof. 

You can be confident in your long-lasting metal roof’s ability to withstand winds, resist fire, and keep your house cool even under direct sun. 

You should never walk on a residential roof, so this sort of annual cleaning and check-up should be done by your friendly, nearby roofer. A metal roof is many times slipperier than a shingle roof. 

Professional roofers have fall arrest equipment, take training in safety procedures, and have experience dealing with the slick, highly polished metal surface. You? Please do not tempt fate by trying to perform roof maintenance yourself. 

You may also need a local tree company to trim overhanging branches which can scratch and dent a metal roof. 

(Side note: In a Minnesota winter, you may find your metal roof sheds snow and ice regularly. This doesn’t mean your metal roof is immune to ice dams. Just as with any other type of roof, an important part of maintaining your metal roof is preventing excessive snow and ice buildup.)

Can Your Metal Roof Rust?

Not all metals rust. Some are even designed to rust for a specific look. The biggest reason a metal roof rusts is due to the steps taken to install it. An experienced metal roofer will know tricks of the trade to correctly install a metal roof so it doesn’t rust; these tricks are basic knowledge that an inexperienced person simply would not know. One example is cutting steel panels with a power saw; those panels will rust for sure!

Most roofing panels are made from combinations (alloys) of metals, and almost all are finished with a rust-preventive coating:

  • Zinc — Used in galvanizing steel, zinc protects the metal between 25 and 50 years.
  • Aluminum — Using steel for strength and aluminum as a rust-stopping coating makes a lot of sense. Pure aluminum roofing panels are widely used in the industry, although it is most often seen in coastal areas where salt spray would be a possible concern. 
  • Zinc, aluminum and silicon — These three elemental metals can be mixed with steel to make galvalume, a tough, long-lasting alloy which defies rust.
  • Copper — If you can afford the luxury of a native copper roof, you will never face rust. Instead, you will see the beautiful copper color transform over the years into a greenish-black patina.

Finish First

Most Phoenix homeowners do not realize the metal itself is not the weak link in the armor-like protection a metal roof offers. Long before rust spots start to degrade your metal roof, the paint finish may fade. Fading depends greatly on the type of paint finish.

Most often, the paint is at least two coats of a color and a clear finish coat over the color. The revolution in residential metal roofing came about largely because of the ever-widening array of color choices possible for attractive, long-wearing metal roofs. 

Two colors can look identical on day one but look vastly different in ten years. An SP or SMP finish won’t hold up under the Phoenix sun and UV rays. We use metal with a Kynar® 500 or Hylar® 5000 finish to avoid this. Vertex Metal Roofing is ready to help you, the Phoenix-area homeowner, with all your questions and concerns about metal roofing. Please contact us today to learn how we can install, maintain, and repair metal roofing on your residential home.

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