Metal Roofing v. Asphalt Shingles: The Advantages and Disadvantages
When you’re in the market for a new roof, there are many different materials to choose from. However, there are two types that you will probably run into most often during your roofing research: asphalt shingles and metal roofing. While asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material, metal roofing has become an attractive option as architects and homeowners are becoming more aware of its benefits.
Western States Metal Roofing has been manufacturing metal roofing panels for over 20 years. While we only offer metal and not asphalt shingles, we understand that shingles are a popular choice that you might be considering. We want you to be informed about the pros and cons of each to help you make a well informed decision on which type of roofing you should choose.
In this article, we will discuss:
- Metal Roofing Advantages
- Metal Roofing Disadvantages
- Asphalt Shingle Advantages
- Asphalt Shingle Disadvantages
Advantages Of Metal Roofing
- Low Maintenance
- Fire-Resistant and Rot-Resistant
- Long Lifespan
- Savings On Energy Bills
- Large Variety of Design Options
Maintenance on a metal roof is minimal when compared to other types of roofing.
The only necessary upkeep with a metal roof are routine inspections done to check for any problems forming and basic cleaning to keep leaves and other debris from accumulating on the roof.
Learn more about metal roof maintenance by reading: Maintaining Your Metal Roof: 6 Steps You Need To Be Taking
Fire-Resistant and Rot-Resistant
Metal is regarded as one of the most fire-safe roofing materials on the market. It has a Class A fire rating and is non-combustible.
A metal roof is not only resistant to fires, but it’s also resistant to rot, mildew, and insects. Investing in a metal roof ensures you will not have to worry about any termite damage affecting your roof.
One of the biggest perks of a metal roof is how long it can last before it needs to be replaced. On average, a metal roof can last anywhere from 40 to 60 years or longer while an asphalt shingle roof will only last roughly 10-20 years before needing to be replaced.
Metal panels are a lighter material than asphalt shingles. The lighter the material, the less stress that is put on the structure and reduces the chance of damage.
Metal being less heavy also makes transport of the material easier for contractors or homeowners doing their own installations to carry up to the roof during installation.
Metal is a strong material that can sustain wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour, making it an excellent roofing choice in areas with extreme weather conditions.
Metal can also withstand impact from falling objects (hail, debris etc.) without it causing any damage to the roof.
If you are looking to be more environmentally conscious, metal is a perfect choice. Not only are metal roofs made from 100% recyclable material, but they are able to be recycled again at the end of their lifespan.
Metal is considered to be the most energy-efficient roofing materials. Besides what it’s recyclable composition, it also has the ability to reflect solar radiation back into the atmosphere which also helps reduce energy costs.
Savings On Energy Bills
A metal roof can result in homeowners having a general energy savings of 7% up to 15%, with one study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy showing an annual savings of 25% on cooling costs.
Solar panels can all be easily installed on metal roofs for additional energy savings. There are solar attachment solutions available to install the panels without even having to penetrate the roof system.
Large Variety of Design Options
Metal roofing gives you a lot of creative freedom when it comes to design. In fact, there are so many options that making a decision might become overwhelming.
At Western States Metal Roofing, we carry over 100 colors and specialize in custom colors, making your roofing possibilities almost limitless.
Disadvantages of Metal Roofing
- More Expensive
- Harder To Install
- Oil Canning
- Not Allowed By Some HOAs
- Climate Restrictions
If someone was deciding between asphalt shingles or metal for a new roof and ends up going with shingles, there’s a very good chance that price was the deciding factor.
Metal is significantly more expensive than shingles and prices can vary depending on which kind of metal roofing panel you choose.
By comparison, an asphalt shingle roof can cost as little as $1.50 per square foot installed and can range up to $5.50 per square foot.
Harder To Install
Metal roofing is a more difficult and time consuming product to install when compared to asphalt shingles. As a result, it can also be more of a challenge to find a qualified professional to do the installation since it requires a special set of tools and skills.
The labor costs will also be higher on metal because the installation is more time consuming.
Oil canning is a cosmetic deformation in the flat areas of metal roofing panels typically observed as waves or wrinkles. It’s an inherent characteristic of light-gauge, cold-formed metal products with broad, flat areas.
While this issue only affects aesthetics and doesn’t disturb the functionality of a metal roof, it’s presence is an eyesore that’s hard to avoid.
To learn more about oil canning, we suggest reading: What Is Oil Canning? Causes + Solutions For A Common Metal Roof Problem
Not Allowed By Some HOAs
While every homeowners association (HOA) has its own set of rules, it’s not uncommon to hear of an HOA that does not allow metal roofing.
If you are a part of an HOA and are interested in a metal roof, you will have to take a few extra steps to work with the HOA to have your metal roof approved prior to installation.
Wait until you receive approval from the HOA to install a metal roof so that you can avoid potentially having to take off the roof if it isn’t allowed.
Metal, especially Corten, does not react well when exposed to salt spray. The surface will be susceptible to corrosion when in a coastal environment. This makes metal a less than desirable option for waterfront homes.
Advantages of Asphalt Shingles
- Faster Installation/ DIY Friendly
- Easy To Find Qualified Roofing Contractor
- Easier Repairs
- Blends With Most Neighborhoods
Asphalt shingles are the most economical roofing material which is why it dominates the residential roofing market as the most commonly used roofing material.
There is a wide range of quality within the asphalt shingle roof category which affects the price greatly. An asphalt shingle roof can cost as little as $1.50 per square foot installed and can range up to $5.50 per square foot.
Faster Installation/ DIY Friendly
Installing asphalt shingles takes less time, tools, and skill than metal roofing. Since it’s a relatively simple installation that can be completed in 1-2 days, an asphalt shingle roof is a project that is well suited for those that are looking for a do-it-yourself (DIY) installation for a roofing system.
Easy To Find Qualified Roofing Contractor
Any professional roofing contractor will be well-versed in asphalt roof installations as it’s the most common type of residential roofing. If you’re not doing the installation yourself, it will be much easier to find a qualified roofing contractor to install shingles as opposed to a metal installation. The installation of metal requires a different skill set that not every roofing contractor offers.
Blends With Most Neighborhoods
While some HOAs will restrict the use of metal roofing, asphalt shingles are the most popular type of residential roofing and are commonly used in most neighborhoods. You will not have to worry about your house looking out of place with an asphalt shingle roof.
Disadvantages Of Asphalt Shingles
- Short lifespan
- Frequent repairs
- Mildew issues: Gloeocapsa Magma
- Less recyclable
- Less color choices
An asphalt shingle roof will last an average of 10-20 years before needing to be replaced. When compared to a metal roof that is likely to last 40-60 years, asphalt shingles have a considerably short lifespan.
An asphalt shingle is not the most durable material. These roofs can be impacted by different factors including severe weather where high winds can cause shingles to blow away. As your roof ages, it will be more common to replace shingles that are broken, buckled, or are missing.
Common Problems That Will Result In Shingle Repairs/Replacement:
- Granule Loss - Shingles have become worn down usually due to exposure to extreme weather.
- Buckling Shingles- When shingles do not lay flat on the roof and appear to be lifting. This can be caused by movement of the wood deck or wrinkling of roof underlayment.
- Curling Shingles- Shingles that are curling upwards. This can be from poor attic ventilation or improper installation.
Gloeocapsa magma is a term you may not be familiar with but have most likely seen damage that it’s caused. This is a type of bacteria that thrives in hot and humid climates. The bacteria has a green-blue algae looking appearance that can result in unappealing black streaks going down the roof.
Preventing the damage is hard to avoid. The bacteria originates in rivers and ponds and gets onto the roof by birds or the wind.
Unlike metal roofing’s oil canning, gloeocapsa magma causes more issues besides just cosmetic damage. Asphalt shingles contain limestone that the bacteria will eat away at the shingles. This causes them to become weaker overtime. Weak shingles are more likely to break or blow away resulting in an extra expense for repairs or replacement.
While there’s been a greater effort to recycle the shingles to be used in asphalt pavement, asphalt shingles are still an environmental problem as 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste is generated each year in the United States that ends up in landfills.
Less Color Choices
While it’s possible to get asphalt shingles in more colors besides the usual dull dark gray or brown that we are used to seeing, the color selection for asphalt shingles is still very limited.
When compared to the large color availability for metal roofing, you are going to have significantly fewer design options when using asphalt shingles.
What Roof Type Is Right For You? Asphalt Shingles Or Metal.
Asphalt shingles and metal are the two most popular roofing choices but for completely different reasons. Making a decision on the best roofing type for your home depends on what features and benefits you value.
Asphalt shingles are the faster, more affordable solution. However, metal will bring you value in the long term as it lasts two to three times longer than shingles before having to be replaced.
Asphalt Shingles are best to use when:
- You want the cheaper roofing system.
- The roof installation will be done by the homeowner.
- The roof’s lifespan is not a top priority.
- An HOA restricts the use of metal roofing.
Metal is best to use when:
- You want your roof to last longer (40-60 years).
- You are looking to save money on energy bills.
- You want a large amount of color choices for your roof.
- You live in an area with high winds or severe weather.
If you’ve decided that metal may be best for your roof, there are different types of metal roofing to choose from. At Western States Metal Roofing, we manufacture both corrugated and standing seam panels.