Which is Better: Metal Roofs or Asphalt Shingles?

RCS Metal vs Asphalt
October 21, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby.  

As the top two most popular residential roof materials, we consider the differences to discover which one is best for your home.  

When you're deciding the material to use for your roof you want to make an informed choice. You might be looking at metal or asphalt shingles and wondering to yourself which one is better, that's the question that we're here to answer today.  

The short answer is that it depends on your priorities, but you came here to discover which one is best, so we look at seven categories where we compare both materials so you can find the best roof depending on what is most important to you. 

Cost 

Without a doubt one of the first things that you will look at when trying to decide between two roof materials is which one is more cost efficient. Undeniably asphalt shingles are easier to install and more affordable. Metal roofs require specialized knowledge to install and tend to be more expensive.  

Familyhandyman reports that the average cost of an asphalt shingle roof is around $7,000 to $10,000 dollars. Forbes reports metal roofing typically costs between $8 and $16 per square foot, according to estimates taken from early spring of 2021 and notes that material cost fluctuations will have a greater impact on the cost.  However, in these calculations what you're not seeing is that metal roofing will last about three times longer and will require less repair 

If you're looking at the short-term, asphalt shingles are the winner, but if you look at the long term, a metal roof might end up costing you less.  

Durability  

Let's face it, nobody wants to constantly replace or fix their roof. Roof repairs are one of the most expensive homeowner expenses, so you definitely want to choose a roof that is going to be durable and long-lasting, especially if you live in a location that experiences extreme weather. 

Thermal cycling weathers your asphalt shingles and will reduce their lifespan. Asphalt is absorptive so water can enter, freeze and dry the shingle causing its structure to breakdown. 

On the other hand, metal roofs aren’t absorptive, they are installed with fastening clips or slotted screw holes that allow for thermal movement without breaking down over time. Plus, metal roofs have a lifespan of up to 70 years according to State Farm, whereas asphalt shingles have 20 to 25 years. 

Angi lists the extremely durable, lightweight and water-resistant aspects of the metal roof as some of its greatest benefits and that these attributes can raise the resale value of your home, giving a roof a high return on investment. 

If you are looking for a durable roof that can stand up to the weather, metal roofs win hands down. 

Maintenance 

Roof maintenance is an important part of ensuring a roof's longevity. With asphalt shingles most maintenance surrounds roof penetrations where adhesives, metal flashing and sealants are used. Those sealants can deteriorate over time and will need to be replaced. 

A properly installed metal roof will have penetrations flashed with matching metal; the water tightness of the roof comes from the flashing design that directs water off the roof. According to Forbes, the care for your metal roof depends on the slope of the roof and whether or not the work is done by a professional roofing contractor. 

Metal roof is once again the winner. Where the maintenance costs for an asphalt shingle roof aren't outrageous a metal roof just requires less. 

Appearance 

Your roof plays a huge role in the overall appearance of your home, which can be very important when it comes to curb appeal. Additionally, you want to make sure you choose a roof that blends in with your neighborhood or adheres to HOA standards. 

Angi notes that while metal roofs provide enough color and style variety to f complement any home and can be disguised to look like any other roofing material, they might look “out of place” in suburban areas. 

Asphalt shingles are most likely to be consistent with other home material types in a neighborhood and offer enough color and texture options to easily find the style that complements your home. 

The winner of this category is subjective! It comes down to what you think looks best on your house and what you like.  

Fire and hailstorm resistance 

Metal roofs offer the best resistance for withstanding fire. Despite the myth that hail can easily dent a metal roof, they are actually more efficient at handling common hail impacts than asphalt shingles 

Eco-friendliness 

Both roof types can be recycled.  However, the process of recycling asphalt shingles is more costly and isn't a common practice; 11 million tons of asphalt shingles hit landfills every year

Metal roofs are often made of some recycled material and have a high scrap value. Because they are more durable and last longer, they don't fill landfills with as much wasted material. 

Energy efficiency 

Another myth about the metal roof is that they get really hot, but it's actually the opposite. Metal is highly reflective so it absorbs less heat and keeps the roof cooler than other roof types which can reduce your cooling costs.  

Conclusion  

Stated earlier, choosing the right material for your roof depends on your priorities and what you're looking for in your roof. If you want a cost-efficient roof that looks good and offers tons of aesthetic options then an asphalt roof is for you. If you are looking for a durable, eco-friendly and easy to maintain roof then a metal roof is definitely the choice! 

Have a question? AskARoofer

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory.  

About Cass  

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop and AskARoofer. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is writing about movies for her master's degree and dancing with her plants.



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