Metal vs Shingle Roofing: How To Make The Right Choice

Roofing is arguably the most important part of any house. Aside from protecting the contents of the home, the roof, being extremely visible, defines the beauty of your home. No matter how good the walls, doors, and windows are, if your roof is poor, people will think of your house as ugly.

When it comes to choosing a roof, the choices often end up between metal and shingle roofing, two of the most common roofing materials. But, which is better? Which should you pick when building a new house or just considering some old roof replacement.

To make an informed decision, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Here’s a simple breakdown of metal vs shingle roofing to help you make an informed decision.

roofing contractor

Metal Roofs

Today’s metal roofs are not only stylish but also extremely durable and energy efficient. Common metals used are; aluminum, steel, copper, zinc, and titanium.

Pros

  • Longevity: On average, metal roofs last 70 years, but there are cases of copper and zinc roofs in Europe that have been around for more than 100 years!
  • Long warranties: As a show of confidence in the material, most manufacturers are offering long warranties on their metal roofs. 35 to 50-year warranties aren’t uncommon.
  • Lightweight: Metal is also very light compared to other roofing materials including asphalt. Although weights vary based on type, most metal roofs are 50% lighter than asphalt shingles.
  • Environmentally friendly: Metal roofs reflect more than 60% of solar heat, keeping your home cooler in the summer. Plus, most metal roofs are made from recycled metals.

Cons

  • High initial investment: Costing between $6 and $14 per square foot, metal roofs are rather expensive. And, installation isn’t any cheaper. By the time you’re done, you’ll have spent thousands of dollars.
  • Difficult to install/repair: Installation is usually a labor-intensive project that can take more than a month to complete. Repair is just as labor intensive and both jobs can only be done by professionals.

Damaged Roof Shingles

Shingle Roofs

Shingles come in two main varieties; traditional organic asphalt and the newer fiberglass shingles. Traditional organic shingles feature a heavy felt under the asphalt while fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass core covered with an asphalt layer.

Pros

  • Lower starting costs: Among the biggest advantages of shingles is the lower initial cost. Priced at between $3 and $4 per square foot, shingles easily fit into most homeowners’ budgets.
  • Easy to work with: Shingles are also very easy to install and repair. In fact, you can strip out the old roof and install a new one on the same day – even on your own.
  • A wider range of styles: Aside from the basic three-tab shingles, there are endless shingle styles out there; from thicker high-end laminates to wood and slate-mimicking options.
  • Longevity: Finally, high-end shingles can last up to 50 years and often come with warranties lasting at least 25 years.

Cons

  • Shingles are heavy: Most shingles weigh as much as 240 pounds per 100 square feet. Unless you have a very strong foundation, this can affect the life of the home in general.
  • Longevity concerns: If the attic space is not properly ventilated, your shingle roof could be destroyed in a matter of years. Additionally, shingle roofs age pretty fast under extreme weather such as severe winds, hail, ice, or rain.

roofing installation

Ultimately, the decision is yours…

If you’re looking for a 100-year roof and have the budget to boot, then metal roofs make the most sense. However, if you live in a place with good weather and are mostly interested in class and style, then shingles would be a good pick. It really depends on your unique situation and requirements.  Before you settle, it’s always advised to talk to a local professional too. This will also help you to make a more informed decision.