Metal Roof vs Shingle Roof

lucas roofing house new roof

In the market for a new roof? Two types you will undoubtedly consider are metal and asphalt. Both options are relatively long lasting, the differences between them are in their unique characteristics and looks.

Metal Roofs

These roofs are a benefit in hot climates. Considering that they effectively reflect sunlight, a metal roof can save you on your cooling bill during hot summer months. Additionally, metal enjoys the benefit of being resistant to fire coming from outside the home, but have the drawback of also impeding a  fire from within the home and making it difficult for firefighters to reach the source of the fire.

If you’re in a hurry, metal roofs can also be quickly installed relative to other roof types, (since they are about half the weight of an asphalt roof). A metal roof will likely last the age of your home.

Keep in mind that metal roofs are quite loud in the rain. Depending on who you ask, this may be a downside or an upside.

Metal roofs come in steel, copper, and alloy (hybrid) forms. Copper can add to the price of your roof, but over time it can develop a potentially desirable patina.

You can expect a metal roof to run you anywhere from $7 to $12.00 / sq ft. At the low end of the spectrum ($7-$10 / sq foot)  are standing seam roofs while at the high end of the spectrum ($9-$12) are standing shingle roofs. In addition to their aesthetic differences, a shingle roof is more able to mask the impact of hail denting which metal is prone to in comparison to a standing seam roof.

Asphalt Roofs

shingle sampleAsphalt roofs represent by far the largest portion of market share. Asphalt is more capable of standing up to denting than metal, but is known for potentially not being resistant to high winds. Consisting of a fiberglass matt coated in asphalt, this roof type enjoys its dominant position due to price and versatility.

Asphalt roofs lifespans, while lengthy (20+ years, and can even be insured for longer) come up short in comparison to their metal counterparts.

With prices clocking in between $3 – $6 / sq ft, asphalt is certainly the budget option between the asphalt and metal roofing.  Don’t be fooled and fall prey to pricing psychology; the lower price is not necessarily a reflection on the quality of an asphalt roof. Rather, technology which constitutes the necessary materials for asphalt roofs may simply be advanced enough to benefit from economies of scale in comparison to metal roofs.

On the side of versatility, shingles come in variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The dominant types of asphalt shingle are three tab and dimensional. Three tab is flat (think flat like paper) whereas dimensional shingles have raises and divots which create interesting shading patterns during the day. While metal roofs must be painted (and paint often chips!) asphalt shingles are instead purchased in a variety of colors.

Asphalt shingles have the advantage of being more easily repaired in comparison to metal. You can replace individual shingles where you cannot do so with sheet metal.