March 7, 2021
Asphalt Shingles

What’s the Difference? Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

What’s the Difference? Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

Understand the pros and cons of two popular roofing options: metal shingles and asphalt

What’s the Difference? Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

If it’s time to install a new roof, the variety of options available can bring it down. Asphalt shingles have long been known for their reliability, cost effectiveness, and ease of maintenance, making them the most popular roofing material on the market today. But now there are a variety of options that deserve consideration, especially metal, the second most popular roofing material thanks to its durability, longevity and a wide selection of styles.

Although both materials are great options for residential roofing, one can be better suited to your needs. So we stacked them against each other (metal roofs vs asphalt shingles) comparing everything from aesthetics to environmental friendliness to help you make the right choice for your roof.

Both materials have finish options for every housing style.

While tile roofs have a traditional look of their own, today they are manufactured to mimic the look of slate, wood slats, and shingles. You can find them with scalloped edges perfect for Victorian homes or with a terracotta look appropriate for a Mediterranean home. The color palette is wide and there are also a host of different finishes, from slightly worn (to complement older homes) to subtly multi-colored.

Traditionally, metal roofs were made with corrugated tin panels (called raised seam metal) that evoke images of barns or sheds. But metal roofs – in zinc, aluminum, galvanized metals and even copper in addition to tin – have come a long way from the farm. You’ll see metal roofs to suit less rustic and more refined structures, from California contemporaries to East Coast Victorians, in a range of colors and finishes, and in tile, slate and batten styles.

Since you can probably get the look you want with metal or asphalt shingles, don’t let appearance be the deciding factor; instead, choose the material that works best for you.

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What’s the Difference? Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles
Understand the pros and cons of two popular roofing choices—metal and asphalt shingles.
By Katelin Hill and Bob Vila
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Metal Roofs vs Shingles: Which Roofing Is Best for You?
Photo: istockphoto.com

If it’s time to install a new roof, the variety of options available can floor you. Asphalt shingles have long been known for their reliability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of maintenance, making them the most popular roofing material on the market today. But now there’s a variety of options that deserve consideration—especially metal, the second most popular roofing material thanks to its durability, longevity, and a wide selection of styles.

RELATED: 7 Signs You Need a New Roof

Though both materials are great options for residential roofing, one may be better suited to your needs. So we stacked them up against each other—metal roofs vs. shingles in asphalt—comparing everything from aesthetics to eco-friendliness to help you make the right decision for your roof.

Metal Roofs vs Shingles: Which Roofing Is Best for You?
Photo: istockphoto.com

Both materials have finish options for every housing style.
While shingle roofs have a traditional look of their own, nowadays they’re being manufactured to mimic the look of slate, wood shakes, and tile. You can find them with scalloped edges perfect for Victorian homes or with a terra cotta look appropriate for a Mediterranean home. The color palette is wide-ranging and there’s a host of different finishes as well, from slightly weathered (to complement older homes) to subtly multicolored.

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Traditionally, metal roofs were made of corrugated tin panels (called standing-seam metal) that evoke images of barns or sheds. But metal roofing—in zinc, aluminum, galvanized metals and even copper in addition to tin—has come a long way from the farm. You’ll see metal roofing that suits less rustic, more refined structures, from California contemporaries to East Coast Victorians, in a spectrum of colors and finishes, and in shingle, slate, and shake styles.

Because you can likely get the look you want from either metal or asphalt shingle, don’t let appearance be the deciding factor; instead, choose the material that will perform best for you.

Metal Roofs vs Shingles: Which Roofing Is Best for You?
Photo: istockphoto.com

Metal roofs tend to be more durable.

Metal roofs can withstand just about anything Mother Nature throws at them, so you’ll find that they come with 30 to 50 year warranties and often last longer than that with a 40 to 70 year lifespan. However, metal roofs are not without their weaknesses: extreme hail or falling limbs can dent a metal roof, as can walking on it the wrong way. Discuss vulnerability issues with the manufacturer. You will learn, for example, that steel is stronger than copper.

Shingles have a shorter lifespan due to their own unique set of weaknesses. Water build-up and chronic damp conditions can lead to the growth of algae and fungi, ice dams can create cracks, and temperature spikes between day and night can reduce the life of your tile roof. Tile roofs come with warranties of 15 to 30 years, depending largely on the region, the environment, and the climate.

Shingle roofs are cheaper up front.

Although you will get more life from a metal roof, you will pay the price at the time of installation. Metal roofing can generally cost between $ 120 and $ 900 per 100 square feet (a 10 foot by 10 foot area, or a “square” of material), while asphalt shingles will cost between $ 100 and $ 200 per 100 square feet. Your installation will run it more for metal too, as it is a more specialized job.

You can recoup some of the costs of a metal roof in the future, because you will probably never have to replace it. Additionally, insurance companies may offer discounts for homes with metal roofs. You can even qualify for tax credits by installing a metal roof on your main home. Finally, metal roofs are so energy efficient that they can save you money on monthly heating and cooling costs.

Metal roofs are more eco-friendly.

Because they are made largely from recycled material and can be recycled over and over again, metal roofs are considered a more sustainable option than asphalt shingles. Metal roofs are also more energy efficient thanks to their reflective qualities, which can block the transmission of heat inside the house. Specialty paint coatings can further reduce your refrigeration bills. Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, need to be replaced more often than metal roofs; It is estimated that US landfills receive nearly 20 billion pounds of old asphalt shingles annually. Additionally, asphalt shingles are a petroleum-based product, increasing dependence on fossil fuels.

What’s the Difference? Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingle roofs generally are easier to install and repair.

Para los profesionales, el trabajo requiere pocos conocimientos especializados y herramientas básicas. Las tejas se pueden instalar en uno o dos días en algunos casos, a veces sobre la capa existente. La instalación de techos de metal generalmente requiere un comerciante más calificado y especializado. El trabajo es más preciso, con menos margen de error, por lo que no se moverá tan rápido como una instalación de tejas. Sin embargo, es posible que algunos productos de metal livianos se puedan instalar directamente sobre un techo existente en buenas condiciones, lo que simplifica la instalación en general y elimina el costo de desgarrar el techo original.