Metal Roof vs. Shingles: A Comprehensive Guide

Image Credit: Conde Roofing & Construction

Continuing our exploration of metal roofing this month, the debate persists: the choice between a durable metal roof or traditional asphalt shingles. While many still favor shingles due to their affordability, a deeper look into the long-term and sustainable aspects of metal roofing makes the answer clear. In this edition of #MagnificentMetalMonday, we present a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the decision between metal roofing and shingles. Additionally, don’t miss the opportunity to register for an upcoming METALCONLive! session, when industry expert Todd Miller, President and Chair of the Metal Roofing Alliance, shares invaluable strategies to boost the metal roofing industry’s sales. Stay tuned for insights that will shape your roofing choices.

Metal vs Shingles: Key Differences

What are asphalt shingles?

Affordability is a key advantage of shingles, stemming from their cost-effective manufacturing process. Installation is straightforward, as shingles are commonly affixed to wooden-framed roofing structures using nails. The process involves layering them in a staggered fashion, starting from the lowest point on a sloped roof. Shingles are typically available in sheets, stacks, or rolls, exhibiting a uniform design and composition—featuring a ceramic granular upper surface and a smooth asphalt layer over a fiberglass base. Renowned for their economic appeal, shingles remain the most budget-friendly choice for both initial roof construction and subsequent replacements.

What is metal roofing?

Offered in various materials such as corrugated steel, aluminum, tin, and composite metals, metal roofing comes in expansive flat sheets that are longitudinally folded in distinct patterns. These patterns include corrugated metals and flat-seam metal roofing. Characterized by interlocking seams and secure fasteners, the design ensures the smooth metal surface is firmly attached to the roof frame below. This construction imparts strength and durability to metal roofs, requiring minimal maintenance to uphold their longevity.

Metal vs. Shingles: Cost

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles generally cost between one-third and one-half of what their metal roofing counterparts cost. Typically, a home builder could expect to pay an average of $3.50–$5.50 per square foot, depending on the type, for asphalt shingle roof construction, and generally, shingle costs are not as susceptible to material cost fluctuations as metal options would be. While up front costs are lower, keep in mind an asphalt roof will need to be replaced much sooner than a metal one.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing generally costs a bit more per square foot than asphalt shingle alternatives, sometimes by a magnitude of two or three. Metal roofing typically costs between $4 to $30 per square foot, depending on the type of metal. Material cost fluctuations will have a greater impact on the cost of metal roofing, too. Despite paying more upfront, homes with metal roofs tend to sell for slightly higher values, likely because of the longevity of the material and its popularity in recent years.

Manufacturer: McElroy Metal, Inc.
Location: Louisiana, United States 

Pros and Cons of Metal Roof

Pros

  • Homes with metal roofs tend to sell for slightly higher values, likely because of the longevity of the material and its popularity.
  • Homeowners with metal roofs tend to report fewer issues with accumulated snow and precipitation, as compared to homeowners with shingle roofs.
  • The lifespan of a metal roof can be expected to last closer to 60 years.
  • A metal roof typically requires less maintenance than one with an asphalt shingle depending on the angle or slope of the roof.
  • Metal roofing is said to be cooler in warmer climates since the metal will reflect most of the sunlight and heat that beats down on the top of a structure.

Cons

  • Metal roofing can make homes built in colder climates more expensive to heat.
  • Because of the weight and size of metal roofing panels, installation must be done by an experienced professional which may increase installation costs.
Image Credit: ArchitecturalDigest

Pros and Cons of Shingles

Pros

  • Asphalt-shingled homes tend to be warmer overall, saving homeowners in colder climates on their heating costs.
  • Easier to install; any roofing contractor or builder will know exactly what to do when working with this material.
  • Asphalt shingles are cheap and easy to maintain.

Cons

  • Homes with roofs made of asphalt shingles tend to sell for slightly less than their metal-roofed comparison points, but the age and maintenance quality of a shingle-roofed home will have a greater impact on the home’s resale value than the material choice in most cases.
  • Asphalt-shingled homes tend to be warmer overall, costing their owners more to cool a structure in the summer and in warmer climates.
  • More maintenance is usually required than a metal roof as shingles can slip, disintegrate, and with enough wear from the elements, fall off. 
  • Shingle roofs tend to deteriorate slightly faster than their metal roof counterparts. 

Convert Asphalt Shingle Leads to Metal Sales

While metal’s share of the residential roofing market is growing, asphalt’s share has stayed relatively stable. Join Todd Miller, President of Isaiah Industries and current President & Chair of the Metal Roofing Alliance, on Wednesday, February 7, for his live presentation on how to access the “shingle” side of the roofing market. Converting prospective asphalt shingle buyers into metal sales is critical for the industry’s growth and Todd will provide “ready-to-use” strategies to use when discussing roofing options with home builders and buyers.

REGISTER HERE FOR THIS FREE WEBINAR!

In summary, when choosing between metal and asphalt roofing for your home or business, it is important to consider the pros and cons, cost, climate, energy efficiency, eco-friendliness, and slope, in your decision-making. Whether a metal or asphalt roof is best for your home depends on budget, climate, and style preferences. Regardless of which you choose, using high-quality materials and a reputable roofing contractor can prolong your roof’s life span, as can performing regular maintenance and inspections.

Sources: Metal Roofing Vs. Asphalt Shingles: Major Differences, Pros And Cons, ForbesHome; Metal vs. Asphalt Roof: 2024 Comparison, Architectural Digest

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