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  • Adriana Ferreira

Comparing Metal Roofs vs. Shingles: Pros & Cons in 2023

When choosing the right roofing material for your home, the options can be overwhelming. Metal roofs and asphalt shingles are two popular choices, each with advantages and disadvantages. We will compare these roofing materials, discussing cost, durability, weather resistance, aesthetics, and environmental impact. By the end of this post, you'll have a better understanding of which option is best suited to your unique needs and preferences.


House with slate and metal roof installation done by A&M Roofing
New Copper Roof over Front Porch and DaVinci Slate European Color on Main Structure

Metal Roofs: Advantages and Disadvantages


Metal roofs have gained popularity among homeowners seeking a durable and eco-friendly option for their homes. They are made from metals such as steel, aluminum, tin, and copper, requiring experienced roofing contractors for proper installation. Metal roofing offers several advantages, including extended longevity, minimal upkeep, and environmental friendliness. However, they tend to have some drawbacks, such as a higher initial investment, potential denting, and limited contractor availability.


Metal roofs can be cooler in warm climates because they reflect sunlight and heat, reducing energy costs. On the other hand, in colder climates, installing a metal roof may increase heating costs. In terms of durability, metal roofing boasts high wind and impact resistance and is not prone to cracking or chipping.


However, some potential buyers may not prefer the aesthetic of a metal roof, which could result in a lower level of interest in the property.


Pros of Metal Roofs


Metal roofs are known for their many benefits, including a long lifespan of 50 years or more, low maintenance requirements, and environmental friendliness. Metal roofing is made of 100% recyclable materials, and their solar reflective properties can increase your home's energy efficiency, potentially qualifying for Energy Star Credits.


They are also fire-resistant, with Class A fire ratings and non-combustible materials. Moreover, metal roofing does not shed granules, resulting in fewer gutter clogs and less need for cleaning services in the long run.


Cons of Metal Roofs


Despite their numerous advantages, metal roofs do have some drawbacks. Firstly, they have a higher initial cost compared to asphalt shingle roofs. Secondly, they can be susceptible to denting from hail, falling branches, or improper walking on the roof.


Lastly, installing metal roofs requires specialized skills and may not be widely available in all locations. It is essential to weigh these factors against the benefits when considering a metal roof for your home.


Asphalt Shingle Roofs: Benefits and Drawbacks


Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in the United States, known for their affordability and ease of installation. These asphalt roof shingles are composed of overlapping flat or curved rectangular roofing tiles or shingles made from a fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and topped with ceramic granules. When it comes to upgrading an existing roof, asphalt shingle roofs are a popular choice due to their cost-effectiveness and durability.


While asphalt shingles have many benefits, such as a lower initial cost and a wide array of styles and colors, they also have drawbacks, including a shorter lifespan, susceptibility to weather damage, and a less eco-friendly nature than other roofing options. That said, an asphalt shingle roof can still be an excellent choice for homeowners who prioritize affordability and aesthetic appeal.


Pros of Shingle Roofs


Asphalt shingles offer several advantages, making them a popular choice for homeowners. Their lower initial cost compared to metal roofs, simplified installation process, and wide range of styles and colors make asphalt roofs an attractive option.


Asphalt shingle roofs can be a great source of energy efficiency. They can reflect sunlight and help reduce cooling costs during the summer months.


Cons of Shingle Roofs


Despite their benefits, asphalt shingle roofs do come with some disadvantages. Their shorter lifespan of 20-50 years means more frequent roof replacements, and they are more susceptible to weather damage, such as from high winds or hail.


Furthermore, asphalt shingles are not as eco-friendly as metal roofs, as they are petroleum-based and difficult to recycle, often ending up in landfills.


Cost Analysis: Metal Roof vs. Shingle Roof


When comparing the costs of metal and shingle roofing, it is important to consider the upfront expenses and the long-term value. While metal roofs have a higher initial cost, they can provide long-term savings due to their durability and energy efficiency.


On the other hand, shingle roofs have a lower upfront cost but may require more frequent replacement, which can add up over time. Ultimately, the choice between metal and shingle roofing will depend on your budget, needs, and priorities.


Upfront Cost Comparison


The initial costs of metal and shingle roofing materials and installation can vary significantly. Metal roofs are generally more expensive than asphalt shingle roofs, with metal roofing costing up to $30 per square foot compared to the $3-5 per square foot range for asphalt shingles. For example, the cost disparity between metal and shingle roofs for a 1,600-square-foot home can be upwards of $16,500 for a metal roof compared to around $10,000 for a shingle roof.


However, these upfront costs should be weighed against the potential long-term savings and benefits of each roofing option.


Long-Term Value and Savings


In terms of long-term value and savings, metal roofs have some advantages over shingle roofs. Their high energy efficiency can result in lower monthly heating and cooling costs. Additionally, the durability of metal roofs may lead to recouping some of the costs down the road, as they likely will not need to be replaced as frequently as shingle roofs.


It is also worth noting that installing a metal roof may decrease homeowner's insurance premiums, further contributing to the long-term savings of choosing a metal roof.


Weather Resistance and Durability


Weather resistance and durability are important factors to consider when choosing a roofing material. This section will compare how metal and shingle roofs perform against extreme weather conditions and their overall durability.


Both roofing materials have their strengths and weaknesses, but ultimately, the choice will depend on your specific needs and the climate in your region.


Metal Roof Performance


Metal roofs have demonstrated an ability to resist high winds, hail, and other weather-related challenges. They are typically Class A fire-rated and non-combustible, providing the highest level of fire resistance.


However, metal roofs can be susceptible to denting from hail, falling tree limbs, or other debris. Despite their potential vulnerability to denting, metal roofs remain a strong choice for homeowners seeking a durable, weather-resistant roofing option.


Shingle Roof Performance


Asphalt shingle roofs demonstrate resilience in the face of weather conditions and potential damage. However, they do not provide as much protection against wind uplift as other materials, such as metal roofs.


While shingle roofs may not be as durable as metal roofs, they offer adequate protection for most homeowners, especially in areas with less severe weather events.


Aesthetic Considerations


Your roof's visual appeal is another important factor to consider when choosing between metal and shingle roofing. Both options offer a variety of design choices, allowing you to select a style that complements your home's architectural style and color scheme.


Metal Roof Styles and Colors


Metal roofing offers a diverse range of styles, colors, and metal roofing panels, making it easy to find a design that suits your home. Styles include standing seam, slate, shake, Victorian shingle, diamond shingle, and tile. Metal roofs can be painted in virtually any color you prefer, from subtle gray, brown, and black hues to vibrant shades of blue, copper, and gold. With various metal roofing systems available, you can choose the perfect one for your needs.


The versatility in design options and finishes makes metal roofing an attractive choice for those seeking a unique and customizable roofing solution.


Shingle Roof Styles and Colors


Asphalt shingle roofs also provide a wide range of styles and colors. They are available in three main types: three-tab shingles, dimensional shingles (also called architectural shingles), and luxury shingles. These options offer varying levels of texture, thickness, and color, allowing you to achieve the desired look for your home.


From classic black, gray, and brown shades to more vibrant hues such as red, green, and blue, there is a shingle color to suit every taste and style.


Environmental Impact


When selecting a roofing material, it is essential to consider the environmental impact of your choice. This includes factors such as recyclability, energy efficiency, and the use of sustainable materials.

Let's compare the eco-friendliness of metal and shingle roofs, to help you make a decision that aligns with your values and commitment to environmental sustainability.


Metal Roofs and Sustainability


Metal roofing is considered a more eco-friendly option than asphalt shingles due to its high level of recycled material composition and recyclability. Also, their solar reflective properties make them more energy efficient, reducing heat transmission to the home's interior.


While the production of metal roofing involves energy-intensive processes such as mining, smelting, and transportation, the fact that metal roofs are composed of at least 25% recycled material and are completely recyclable makes them a more sustainable option.


Shingle Roofs and Environmental Concerns


Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, are not as eco-friendly as metal roofs. They are petroleum-based and difficult to recycle, often ending up in landfills.


Although they are made from natural materials, such as asphalt, which can be recycled, their overall environmental impact is more significant than that of metal roofs. Homeowners who prioritize sustainability and eco-friendliness may lean towards metal roofing as a more environmentally responsible choice.


Installation, Repair, and Maintenance


The ease of installation, repair, and maintenance of your roofing material is another vital factor to consider when making your choice. While some roofing options may be easier to install and maintain, others may require specialized skills and equipment.


Metal Roof Considerations


Metal roof installation and repair requires specialized skills, equipment, and specific maintenance needs. Incorrect installation can lead to leaks or poor performance, so it is recommended to consult a professional roofing contractor in Northern Virginia for a job like this.


While metal roofs are generally low maintenance, it is important to know the specialized requirements for their installation, repair, and upkeep. Regular inspections and maintenance should be done to ensure the roof is in good condition and functioning properly. This includes checking for signs of wear and tear and any potential damage.


Shingle Roof Considerations


Shingle roofs, on the other hand, are relatively simple to install and repair and require minimal maintenance. Most roofing contractors and builders should be familiar with the procedures for working with asphalt shingles, making them a more accessible option for many homeowners.

However, proper installation is still crucial to ensure longevity and performance.


Final Thoughts


Both metal and asphalt shingle roofs offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Metal roofs provide durability, energy efficiency, and sustainability, while shingle roofs offer affordability, ease of installation, and a wide array of styles and colors. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your individual needs, budget, and priorities.


By considering cost, durability, aesthetics, environmental impact, and installation requirements, you can make an informed decision that best suits your home and lifestyle. At A&M Roofing, we are proud to be certified and accredited by the nation's leading manufacturers. Our team of skilled professionals is available to discuss any additional questions you may have and the details of your project.


Contact us today to learn more about our services and request a free estimate!


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the disadvantages of a metal roof?


Metal roofs are a viable option, but they have drawbacks, including a high initial cost, complex installation, and the possibility of excessive noise during rain or hail.


However, metal roofs have many advantages, such as durability, energy efficiency, and fire resistance. They can also last up to 50 years with proper maintenance, making them a great long-term investment.


Is it better to have a metal roof or shingles?


Overall, metal roofing is a better choice than shingles due to its superior durability, longevity, energy efficiency, and return on investment.


Its initial cost is slightly higher than asphalt shingles, but metal roofing offers far more value in the long run.


Does a metal roof devalue a house?


Overall, metal roofing can be an excellent way to increase the value of a home. While they may not add as much as laminate shingles, metal roofs offer superior durability and energy efficiency that is sure to appeal to prospective buyers.


As such, it is unlikely that installing a metal roof will devalue a house.


What factors should I consider when choosing between metal and shingle roofing?


When choosing between metal and shingle roofing, you should take into account the cost, the longevity of each material, how it looks, its environmental impact, and the difficulty of installation.

It's important to weigh all these factors carefully when making a decision.


Are metal roofs more energy-efficient than shingle roofs?


Generally, metal roofs are known to be more energy efficient than shingle roofs due to their greater solar reflective properties. As a result, metal roofs can reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions over the roof's lifespan.

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