When homeowners ask us to compare a metal roof with an asphalt shingle roof they typically want to know the difference in price and that’s understandable. However, a simple cost comparison only tells half the story, to fully understand the difference between a metal roof vs shingles it’s essential to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Related Reading: Rolled Roofing vs Asphalt Shingles
So, in this Renocompare roof comparison guide we will compare cost (both short and long term) but we will also look at the other important factors that will inform your choice, like durability, style options, maintenance, energy efficiency and more.
COST: ASPHALT SHINGLES VS METAL ROOFING
Cost is a major factor in buying decisions, and there are two ways to compare the cost of a metal roof vs shingles.
Metal roofing costs more. This chart shows metal roof vs shingles price for the most popular materials. These are installed cost per “roofing square,” an industry term meaning enough roofing to cover 100 square feet.
|Low Cost||Galvanized steel: $730||3-tab shingles: $265|
|Average Cost||Galvalume steel: $995||Standard dimensional: $315|
|High Cost||Aluminum: $1,125||Premium dimensional: $450|
Zinc ($1,165-$1,750) and copper ($950-$1,500) cost more, but aren’t relevant to most homeowners comparing the cost of metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.
If you plan to move in less than 10 years, asphalt shingles are a cost-effective way to improve your home’s appearance and weather protection.
While metal has a higher initial cost, it offers long-term value since it doesn’t require replacing as often.
If you plan to live in your home for many years, the long-term cost of metal roof vs asphalt shingles might interest you. This chart shows you the expected life of these roofing materials plus a “50-year” cost based on today’s prices.
50 YEAR COST
|Galvanized steel||40-60 years||Possibly 1||
$730 to $1,460
|3-tab Shingles||$950-$1,225||2 to 4||
$530 to $1,160
|Standard dimensional||$1,165-$1,750||2 to 3||
$$630 to $945
|Premium dimensional||$950-$1,500||1 to 2||
If you choose asphalt shingles and sell your home in 10-15 years, potential buyers will understand that the roof will need replacing soon. Or, you might have to put on a new roof to make it attractive to buyers.
If you roof with metal and sell your home in as long as 20 years, homebuyers will understand the roof has plenty of life left.
Zinc and Copper: If you are interested in the best longevity, zinc and copper roofs can be expected to last 75 years. Zinc will be showing wear by then, but copper will have a rich patina finish with classic appeal. There are many copper roofs going strong at more than 100 years.
While cost is important, there are other factors to consider when comparing these roofing materials.
There’s no secret here: Metal roofing durability is far superior to asphalt shingles.
STYLES AND COLORS
Asphalt shingles come in two basic styles. Three-tab shingles are the traditional look. The shingles have a low, flat, profile. Dimensional shingles are manufactured with additional layers of material to raise their profile to better resemble wood shakes and shingles and genuine slate. Some top-of-the-line dimensional shingles are called architectural shingles.
Further Reading: Are architectural shingles worth the extra cost?
Asphalt shingles range the color spectrum from white to black. Blends featuring dark grays, browns, reds and greens are popular.
Metal gives you more style, color and material options. Steel panels are most popular, especially standing seam styles, but additional profiles give you options. Metal shingles, shakes and tiles broaden your choices. Most steel and aluminum roofing is painted, and a spectrum of colors is used. Zinc, copper and weathering steel are left bare.
When all styles and colors are considered, metal gives you more choice. Check homeowner’s association guidelines, if applicable, on roofing types and styles. Some don’t allow metal panel roofing.
Neither roof requires heavy maintenance. Moss and algae are more likely to build up on asphalt and affect its appearance. Algae causes stain streaks. If homes in your area have stained asphalt roofs, consider metal or an asphalt shingle treated for algae resistance. You might still need to power wash the roof every 3-5 years to prevent or get rid of staining.
Metal is a low-maintenance roof. However, the cheapest galvanized steel products might need repainting about the time an asphalt roof would require replacing. Cost to repaint is about the same as the cost to install asphalt shingles.
Metal sheds snow and ice better than asphalt. Ice dams aren’t common on metal. However, if ice does build up on a metal roof, it might require professional removal. Ice sliding off a metal roof can be injurious and damaging to property.
Metal and dimensional asphalt shingles protect homes very well from rain, wind and hail less than 1-inch in diameter. Three-tab shingles are vulnerable to wind. Larger hail and windblown debris can damage both roofing types, and repair/replacement costs are higher for metal.
The fire rating for both materials is good too, though asphalt is combustible at very high temperatures.
Neither roof is vulnerable.
Metal roofs are considered cool roofs, especially when installed with an airgap between the roof deck and metal roof.
Light-colored asphalt shingles repel solar heat, but darker shingles absorb and hold it, producing higher energy costs in warm weather.
Asphalt shingles are made from new materials. They can be recycled, but facilities that take them are few and far between. Most shingles are placed in landfills.
Most metal roofing contains 70% to 95% recycled material. It is recyclable, and most facilities accept it.
Metal is the fastest-growing segment of the roofing market as home and business owners choose it over asphalt shingles. There are several reasons for its growing popularity.
Metal roofing is durable. Its longevity is 40 to 100 years, so it might be the last roof you ever pay for. That durability is attractive to home buyers, since they know that replacing the roof will be years or decades away. When you also consider the very low maintenance requirements for metal, it is clear that the material offers lifetime costs equal to or lower than asphalt, wood shingles and shakes and concrete or clay tiles.
Most metal roofing also meets Cool Roof Rating Council standards and Energy Star criteria for energy efficiency. That means a reduction in energy costs that starts to pay you back immediately for installing in a steel, aluminum or copper roof.
All these metal roof benefits add up to exceptional return on your investment.