How Do You Know If A Metal Roof Needs Replacement?

Most people are familiar with the key signs that a shingle roof needs to be replaced. The shingles may fall off, start peeling or lifting, or leak when it rains. Metal roofs, by comparison, are longer-lived and more durable. However, they still have limited lifespans and will eventually need to be replaced. Does your metal roof need replacement? Here are some key signs that it does.


Most metal roofs these days are made from galvanized steel. Galvanization is a process by which steel is coated in a zinc-based compound. This zinc-based layer will not rust, and so it protects the rest of the roofing from water damage. Eventually, however, the zinc wears away and water starts coming into contact with the steel itself. It might take a few years, after this, for rust to appear. But when rust does appear, you know that holes and leaks are not far behind. Rust is therefore an indication that a metal roof should be replaced soon.

Separating Panels

Metal roofs are usually made from multiple, large panels. These panels are connected with standing seams, which helps ensure you do not get leaks at the seams. Over time, however, the standing seams can develop water damage and start rusting. They may then start to separate. If you look across the roof, you may see some areas where one panel seems to be sitting higher than or slightly offset from the other panels. These separations are hard to fix without replacing entire panels and are usually an indicator that you need a roof replacement soon.


Now and then, go up into your attic. Take a look around, and see if you see any evidence of leaks. A leak does not always look like a puddle of water. The following are other indications that your metal roof is leaking:

  • Moldy or discolored insulation
  • Insulation that looks compacted or compressed
  • A musty odor throughout the space
  • Mold or rot on the rafters

While roofers can sometimes repair a leaky shingle roof, a leaky metal roof often needs to be replaced, particularly if it is older. You may also need to have the insulation replaced when you get a new metal roof.

If you notice any of the signs above, contact a roofing contractor who works on metal roofs. They can take a closer look and let you know how soon your roof is due for a replacement.