Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingle Roof: The Complete Guide

Homeowners often struggle about choosing the perfect roofing option for their homes. Two of the most popular options are metal and asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles have been used for more than a hundred years in North America.

Metal has risen to popularity in the last two decades. If you find it difficult to decide between the two options or want to compare them, this complete guide can help you a lot.

Let us dive into the details about what these roofs are. The brief detail is followed by a comparison. 

What Is Metal Roof?

It is a roofing system made up of metal pieces or tiles. It is characterized by its strength, low maintenance needs, and high resistance. Numerous metals or alloys are used to make panels or tiles. The most popular roofing metal is aluminum.

What Is Asphalt Shingle Roof?

Asphalt shingle is a type of roof shingle used in roofing systems. It is characterized by an asphalt-saturated base which is covered with modified asphalt.

The exposed surface of the shingle is impregnated with quartz, slate, schist, vitrified brick or stone. Sand or mica is applied under the base to protect it from sticking to one another.

Metal V/S Asphalt Shingle Roof

Metal and asphalt roofs are compared for the following 11 attributes. A metal roof is taken generally as any roof. Specifications vary according to the metal used in the roofing system. Similarly, the traditional asphalt shingles are discussed in the comparison.

1. Aesthetic Appeal

Metal

Various options are available so you can find a suitable color or style for your residence. You can paint the metal in any color to blend in the environment. Some varieties imitate other roofing materials but it may look out of place in suburban areas.

Asphalt

The visual appeal of asphalt shingles in unmatched. There are various colors and textures available in the market so you can pick one that enhances the curb appeal of your home. An asphalt roof might blend in the neighborhood as it is fairly common.

2. Style Options

Metal

There are multiple options when it comes to style. You can use metal tiles, shingles, panels or ribbed structures. Various metals can be installed to meet architectural needs.

Asphalt

Asphalt shingles are available that look like cider shake and slate but at relatively higher prices. A lot of roofing contractors deal with the widely available and low-cost standard tones.

3. Costs

Metal

On average, the metal roof costs $100-$200 per square. For an average ranch home roof of about 2000 square feet, the costs are about $2000-$4000 excluding the installation costs. Metal roofs are expensive.

Asphalt

Asphalt is a staple when it comes to the roofing material and that is due to its costs. On average asphalt shingle roof costs up to $60-$90 per square. For a similar 2000 square feet ranch roof, the roofing cost is about $1200-$1400 excluding the installation costs.

4. Installation Cost

Metal

The metal roof installation costs are relatively higher than the asphalt shingle roof. Labor costs range between $200-$500 per square. For a 1500 square-foot roof, the labor itself averages to $4500-$7500.

Asphalt

The labor costs are minimal with only $2-$3 per square foot. Long-lasting options can be expensive to buy and install. The average labor cost for such a roof will be $200-$300 per square foot.

5. Ease Of Installation

Metal

Some metal roofing systems are easy to install but a lot of them require professional installers. It can be installed without removing the old roofing. It requires proper underlayment and plywood framing. Only a few professionals are skilled in metal roof installation.

Asphalt

You will easily find a roofing contractor to install an asphalt shingle roof. DIY installation can void the warranties. And it required removing the old roof which is time-consuming.

6. Durability

Metal

Metal is extremely durable and lightweight. The two attributes have made the metal roof a popular choice among homeowners. Others find it susceptible to bending. Dents and noise production are two of the major drawbacks.

Asphalt

Asphalt is less durable than metal. The heavyweight of asphalt has its pros and cons. The weight makes it less prone to uplift and the burden can be dangerous for infrastructure.

7. Energy Efficiency

Metal

Metal roofing systems are extremely energy efficient. They effectively reduce energy consumption in the hot weather. Moreover, the metal is continuously recyclable. If the installation is poor, the efficiency is greatly affected.

Asphalt

The major drawback of the asphalt shingle roof is that it absorbs the summer heat. The HVAC systems have to work harder to keep your home cold during the summers. The products used in the asphalt shingle production usually end up in landfills. Some of the chemicals are toxic to the environment.  

8. Life Expectancy

Metal

If you have the metal roof professionally installed, you can expect it to serve you for the next 40-70 years.

Asphalt

The average life expectancy of an asphalt shingle roof is around 15-20 years. The figures provided here can vary depending on your roof maintenance practices. 

9. Resistance

Metal

Metal roofs do not rot over the years and they are highly resistant to fire and climate conditions. The resistance to weather and impact varies with the metal thickness. The thinner varieties are prone to denting and lifting during extreme weather conditions.

Asphalt

The asphalt roof is prone to rotting and weathering. Many varieties are safe in fires. The impact of resistant varieties is expensive to install. The hail and UV rays can damage the asphalt shingles. Water retention can cause the shingles to curl and break. 

10. ROI Comparisons

Metal

Metal is energy-efficient and long-lasting so it has a greater ROI value. The resale value can be affected if the style and color do not fit the buyer’s preferences.

Asphalt

If you replace the home roof before selling a house, it affects the resale value. The traditional shingles have less ROI than the architectural asphalt shingles.

11. Maintenance

Metal

If you invest your money in a metal roof, you will not have to worry about the maintenance. It is a one-time investment.

Asphalt

The shingles are prone to rotting and the gravel wears off. Thus the maintenance costs for the asphalt roof is higher than the metal roof. Hire the best roofing company to reduce maintenance costs.

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