Metal Roof vs. Shingles

Metal Roof vs. Shingles

Your house needs a roof. That’s the obvious part. What is less obvious is which roofing material you should choose. Shingles are common, but are they always the best? When you compare shingle roofs to metal roofs, you might be surprised by what you learn.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that there are many different kinds of shingles (including a metal version). In this post, we’ll be focusing on the most common type of shingles — asphalt shingles — and how they compare to metal roofing in general. Keep reading for an in-depth comparison of metal roofing vs asphalt shingles and the pros and cons of each.

Metal Roofs

Traditionally, metal was always used on low-pitched roofs. Metal is obviously much stronger than shingles, and that made it a favorite for commercial buildings that are too large for a steep-pitched roof. Modern metal roofs are much more aesthetic than what has commonly been used in these commercial applications, and metal roofing is great for traditional home roofs. For that reason, they are much more popular in residential applications than they used to be.

Pros of Metal Roofing

  • Strength: Metal is very strong, and it can stand up to weather very well.
  • Longevity: Metal roofs can easily last twice as long as shingle roofs, and that is reflected in the warranties. On average, metal roofs are warrantied between 30 and 50 years, compared to the 15 to 30 years that is normal for asphalt shingle roofs.
  • Less Maintenance: Metal roofs also need far less maintenance than shingle roofs.
  • Better Insurance Rates: The need for less maintenance combined with the longevity of metal roofing can often lead to lower home insurance rates.
  • Lowered Energy Bills: Compared to asphalt shingles, metal roofs reflect much more sunlight and lower cooling costs in the summer.
  • Eco-Friendliness: Most of the material in a metal roof can be recycled, preventing it from ending up in landfills. And because metal lasts so long, the overall amount of waste that goes into constructing and maintaining the metal is lower — leading to a decrease in overall environmental impact.
  • Aesthetics: Metal roofs come in a wide range of aesthetics. The metal sheets have many designs that change the physical look of the roof, and metal materials can hold a ton of different colors. You get countless options when you choose metal.

Cons of Metal Roofing

  • Initial Cost: Metal roofing costs a lot more than asphalt. At the very low end, a metal roof will be about 50% more expensive than an asphalt roof for the same home. If you look into more expensive metal options, the roof can be 10 times costlier. While you do get some of this money back over time (since metal needs less maintenance and will last longer), it’s not always enough to fully compensate for the higher initial cost.
  • Noise (Sometimes): Another drawback to metal is that it can be noisy if it has not been installed properly. You need a roofer with a lot of experience working with metal roofing to install your roof to prevent a cacophony during rainstorms.

Shingle Roofs

Shingles have been the standard for residential housing for many decades. They are a great low-cost way to protect the roof of your house. Shingles are quite weatherproof, but they have a glaring weakness, which is why traditional applications between metal and shingles exist. Shingles cannot handle ponding. That is when water pools in a low spot on the roof. Ponded water can lead to microbial growth that quickly wears down the shingles. For that reason, they have always been avoided for flat roofs. Meanwhile, they excel on pitched roofs.

Pros of Shingles

  • Cost: If you aren’t made of money, a shingle roof is just plain more affordable.
  • Maintenance Costs: Shingle maintenance is also cheaper. It may come up more frequently than metal maintenance, but many shingle repair jobs are simpler than metal roofing repair jobs.
  • Warranty Coverage: Shingle warranties typically cover a wider range of services. Shingles are more popular, and that leads to competitive warranties.
  • Walkability: Asphalt shingles are better for foot traffic. Metal roofing materials are often as thin as possible to lower weight and save costs, but that means that walking on the wrong part of the roof can dent the metal. Shingles don’t have this problem, and they are an obvious choice for any roof that will have people on it on a regular basis.

Cons of Shingles

  • Aesthetics: Asphalt shingles tend to have fewer aesthetic options than metal. Shingles pretty much always look like shingles, and they come in a small range of colors.
  • Weight: Surprisingly, asphalt shingle roofing is heavier than metal roofing. Shingles require more layers to function, and that makes the roof weigh more, which puts more stress on the housing structure.
  • Ecological Impact: Asphalt shingles are a petroleum product. That means they are made from oil, and they don’t recycle well. Even worse, they decompose very slowly in landfills.

The Bottom Line

When choosing between shingles and metal, you’ll be weighing a few things. Cost comes to mind, as do functionality and appearance. You’ll also need to be sure you have access to roofers who can work with metal.

For that last part, the solution is simple. Contact Paradigm Roofing for roofing work throughout Dallas/Fort Worth. We work with both of these types of roofing, so if you want options, we’re your resource.