What is a better new roof solution – a metal roof or a shingle roof?
From time to time, homeowners will face that pivotal roofing fork in the road: Do they go with a metal roof or shingles?
Settling the metal roof vs. shingle roof debate isn’t an easy one but today, we hope we can help you figure out the best solution!
Metal Roof or Shingle Roof – Which is Better?
When it comes to replacing your roof and installing a new one, homeowners have several roofing materials that they can choose from. From asphalt and cedar shake shingles to standing seam metal, there is no shortage of selections for adding some roof curb appeal.
With any home improvement project, it is essential to remember that preference matters, but so do all the other factors that go into selecting the suitable materials for your project. Factors such as:
- Curb Appeal
- Energy Efficiency
They all matter. So as we review the pros and cons of metal roofing and shingles, keep in mind these factors, in addition to your preference, will ultimately determine YOUR choice.
What is a metal roof?
While there are few varieties of metal roofs;
- Standing seam metal roof
- Corrugated Metal panels
- Metal shingles
When most homeowners refer to a metal roof, they refer to a standing seam metal roof. Metal shingles are rarely used, and corrugated metal panels are for barns and sheds. Standing seam metal roofs are large flat sheets with a fold that runs longitudinally. This fold (pictured below) is essential for locking in each piece of metal paneling. Most metal roofs are made up of recycled materials.
What is a shingle roof?
Shingles are strips of granular asphalt compacted with a fiberglass base that is nailed to your roof’s deck surface. Shingle roofs are overlapped when installed using an interlocking pattern to create a roof system.
Most homeowners currently have asphalt shingles, often in either “Three Tab” or “Archtietcutal” styles. Wood shakes are another shingle material that is very rarely utilized these days.
Metal or Shingle Roof – the Quick Highlights:
Below are just a few quick highlights that can guide you in determining if metal roofing or a shingle roof is better for you:
- How long will you live at your house? The average metal roof lasts up to 60 years, but the average homeowner lives at one home for 6-10 years. Shingle roofs are a better option if you don’t plan on staying super long.
- What is your budget? Upfront costs for a metal roof will be more than asphalt shingles. You can expect metal roofing prices to cost double compared to asphalt shingles.
- Life expectancy. Metal roofs tend to last longer and will not need to be replaced, whereas shingle roofs last, on average, 15-20 years.
- What does your HOA have to say? Some homeowners associations will not allow metal roofs, so ensure you read up on your homeowner’s terms!
- Installation process. The installation process is easier for shingle roofs than for metal roofing panels. Both take expertise for installation, but metal roofing requires more craftsmanship, and contractors can be hard to find.
- Color Selection. Many metal roofing installers will claim that asphalt shingles are dark and dull. However, that is not true. The either roofing material will give you plenty of color selections to choose from.
Now that you know a little bit about metal roofs and shingle roofs, let’s look at the pros and cons of each below!
Pros and Cons of Metal Roofs
Like anything in life, metal roofs have an extensive list of pros and cons when you’re choosing which to go with. For some, curb appeal means more than price. Below you will find the pros and cons of metal roofing!
- Curb Appeal. Metal roofs look better in terms of grabbing the eye of passersby.
- Lightweight material makes metal roofs easier to maneuver and install.
- Longevity. Metal roofs have an average lifespan of 45-60 years, making them a cheaper solution over the lifespan of your roof.
- Color Options. Metal roofs offer more color options and brighter colors.
- The resale value is higher with a metal roof. Metal roofing systems are a marketable item if you go to sell your home.
- Weather Performance. While both asphalt shingles and metal roofs get the nod for weather performance, metal roofs are known to be slightly more durable.
- Fire Resistance
- Less maintenance (shingles don’t fly off)
- Energy efficient. Metal roofs tend to be cooler in hotter climates because of their ability to reflect away sunlight. This also helps with snow accumulation in the winter months in northern climates. This can help with heating costs in the winter.
Cons of Metal Roofs:
- More expensive to install compared to most other roof options.
- Repairs and maintenance costs are high.
- Waves or “Oil Canning” is common. This is when the metal appears to have waves.
- Most contractors are not typically as qualified to install (hard to find installers)
- Some insurance companies make it more challenging to replace/deal with metal roofs.
- Higher cost comparison
Pros and Cons of Shingle Roofs
Shingles made from asphalt have come a long way over the last 20 years. They are known to last longer, they are beginning to provide better energy standards, and their durability is impressive, considering the price point.
Asphalt shingles are still the top roofing material and cover over 75% of residential roofs in the united states. Just like metal roofing, asphalt shingles have pros and cons that we outline below:
- Asphalt shingles are simple and easy to install
- The cost per square for asphalt shingles is significantly cheaper
- Can get on your roof
- Readily available contractors
- Easy to deal with when it comes to insurance
- More ideal for coastal regions where shingles may blow off. Standing seam metal that blows off is costly to repair since it is installed in sections.
- More warranty coverage available – repairs, wind, algae,
- Color selection has increased, but some color options are less readily available than metal roofing materials.
- Long-term durability is not as long as metal roofing (15 years vs. 30 years). That said, most manufacturers offer 50-year warranties for asphalt shingles.
- Shingles are known to be heavier, pose some fire concerns, and can crumble (granular) over time.
- Compared to metal roofing, shingles do not last long (20 years vs 45 years)
Pricing: Metal Roofs vs. Shingle Roofs
A shingle asphalt roof is less expensive upfront than a metal roof.
On average, standing seam metal roofs can cost anywhere from $8-$20 per square foot, whereas architectural asphalt shingles cost $3-$5 per square foot. No matter what roofing material you choose, the prices will vary depending on the material.
Metal roofs require specialized knowledge to install and because of this, they are less frequently used in a roof replacement. Most roofing contractors do not have the expertise to install metal roofs (Legacy Roofing is a roofing contractor that has experience installing both)!
The average metal roof price is somewhere in the neighborhood of $18,000, and the average price of a new asphalt shingle roof is approximately $8,500. So if you’re on a budget, in most cases, people will choose an asphalt shingle roof.
Additionally, in addition to price, factors such as warranties and repairs also matter. Some studies show that over 60 years, the prices even out over time. That said, the average person does not live in the same house for 5-10 years. So if you plan on staying long, a metal roof might be worth considering. However, if you are in a starter home or plan on moving soon, asphalt shingles are typically your best bet.
Note: We have put together this complete roofing shingle pricing guide so you can compare pricing for different types of shingles!
The Final Word on Metal Roofs or Shingles:
When it comes to residential roofing, most homeowners have asphalt shingle roofs and will typically upgrade their three-tab shingle roofs to architectural shingles.
Metal roofing offers longevity and style, whereas shingle roofing offers affordability and peace of mind. All this to say,
- Pricing is important.
- Quality is important.
- Looks are important.
But ultimately, your decision goes down to what you want and what you’re willing to pay for!