Corten steel is a hot commodity in the roofing industry. It features an industrial-looking finish that will last for decades. This material brings plenty of texture and interest to a roof. Unfortunately, Corten roofing cannot adapt to certain types of climates. Like any other building material, this steel has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things you need to know about Corten roofing.
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What is Corten Roofing, and What Does Corten Stand For?
Corten steel is also called weathering steel. This unique finish has a distinct appearance and features a naturally oxidizing coating. While many consider this material to be low-maintenance, it only reaches that stage after a protective layer has formed. Getting that point of protection is not easy for many building owners. For the natural oxidation processes to occur, Corten roofing requires a specific type of environment to develop a patina.
At first, the Corten steel will have a rustic appearance, with the patina process stabilizing after 2 to 3 years. However, some climates might prevent the rust layer from forming or becoming stable. This type of roofing needs to be installed in the right environment.
Related: How Long Does a Roof Last?
How Long Does Corten Steel Take to Rust, and How Long Does it Last?
Corten steel is considered a corrosion-resistant product, but it is not rust-proof. Developing that patina depends on certain environmental factors and the local climate. In most cases, the Corten roofing begins to rust within six months of exposure to the elements. This type of steel needs a dry and wet weather cycle to oxidize. Once the protective rust has developed, the Corten roof exhibits corrosion resistance. Once that happens, the steel lasts anywhere from a couple of decades to over a century.
Is Corten Roofing Expensive?
Many factors can affect the final cost of a Corten roofing installation. The size of the job, location, trim, accessories, and size of the panels can all affect the price. If you want an estimated cost for a Corten roofing project, make sure to reach out to a roofing contractor in Denver, CO. These prices have varying price points, but they typically run about $1 to $4 per square foot.
Can Corten Roofing Get Wet?
No matter what type of material is placed on the roof, it will get wet from the rain or snow. After the Corten roof has been installed, it will be exposed to the weather elements. Within a few months, this material develops a rustic texture and finish. Since Corten contains manganese, nickel, chromium, and copper, the corrosive effects of fog, ice, rain, and snow will be visible on the roof’s surface. You will notice a coating of dark brown oxidation is present on the metal. As those corrosive resistance properties are inhibited deeper into the metal, it negates the need for rust-prevention maintenance. In harsh climates, Corten roofing is a very desirable product, lasting longer than other types of materials.
What Climates and Weather Conditions Should Corten Be Used in?
A Corten roof needs to be placed in an alternating dry and wet weather cycle for the patina to develop. During these rotating cycles, the first layer of the Corten becomes thicker. At the same time, the underlying solid steel becomes thinner as it adapts to the drying and wet phases. After a few years, the rust layers will stabilize, resulting in a maintenance-free material with a gorgeous appearance. Climates with set dry and wet weather periods are the best to develop a patina. If Corten steel is used in the wrong environment, it will not stabilize, leading to the material becoming punctured. As a result, the Corten steel must be replaced.
What Climates and Weather Conditions Should Corten Not Be Used in
Some climates are not recommended for Corten roofs. In some cases, these environments will damage the material. Denver, CO, is one of those ideal locations for Corten steel. This region has distinctive seasons that can help the patina’s development. Here are some of the climates where Corten should not be installed.
Very humid climates with heavy rainfall are not ideal for Corten roofs. These tropical environments inhibit the development of the patina. The rust will not reach its stable point with consistent moisture. After the Corten steel gets wet, it needs a period to dry out. Without that stage, the protective oxides do not crystalize. Along with that, those tropical areas will cause the Corten to corrode.
Corten steel does not perform well near places by the ocean due to the salt particles in the air. As the salt spray is deposited on the Corten, it will prevent the inner protective layer of oxidation from forming. In addition to that, the rust will not stabilize but instead corrode on the roof. Corrosion will create holes in the material. Any property near the waterfront should not use Corten as a roofing material.
The Bottom Line: Should You Use Corten Roofing For Your Home?
When placed in a suitable climate, Corten steel develops a gorgeous patina finish and has a high level of resistance to corrosion. Corten roofs can only be used in an environment with distinctive wet and dry seasons. Coastal and tropical locations are not ideal for this material. While these roofing materials can be expensive, they last for many decades. If you want to have a stunning finish and texture to your roof, then it may be time to choose Corten for your roof in Denver, CO.
Are you interested in using Corten steel for your next roofing installation? At Advanced Consulting, we can provide a few options to help you choose the ideal material for your roof!