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Shingles Vs Metal Roof Cost: Is Metal Roofing Cheaper Than Shingles?
Paul Rubio

By: Paul Rubio on June 17th, 2020

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Shingles Vs Metal Roof Cost: Is Metal Roofing Cheaper Than Shingles?

Metal | Roofing | Homeowner Education | roof

Whether you're building or remodeling your dream home or you have an old roof that needs to be replaced, it's time to decide on what type of roofing system to install. It will be the focal point of your house and you really need something that will make your roof "pop". Metal roofing looks modern and stylish and has hundreds of color options. It looked like a great option until you realized it cost about twice as much as an asphalt roof. You're probably wondering, is the price of a metal roof worth it?

On the other hand, asphalt shingles will save you quite a bit of money, but they look like asphalt shingles. Nowadays, they are available in different colors, but they just don't make a statement like metal does. They cost half as much, but don't last as long as metal panels. Are you wondering, is the upfront savings worth the reduced lifespan of the roof?

Purchasing a new metal roof will cost you $15,000 to 40,000. Going back to the question posed before: is metal roofing worth it? It turns out this question was a little harder to answer than I anticipated. If I turned to the trusty internet the answer is a clear "yes".

As manufacturers of metal panels at Western States Metal Roofing, we get asked about the cost of metal roofing and whether it's worth it. Previously, it was a difficult question to answer because you need real numbers to do so. This article will lay out the data that's online and organize it in a way that you can make the decision for yourself. Prior to reading this article, ask yourself these questions:

  • How long do I plan on living at my house?
  • What's my budget?
  • Do I care more about initial savings or long term savings?
  • Do I value the look of metal enough to justify the initial savings of asphalt shingles

By the end of the article you should have a good understanding of which product, shingles or metal, is a better fit for your house. We even made you a video in case you prefer to watch.

What's My Return On Investment For A Metal Roof?

A metal roof is often referred to as a "Lifetime Roof", meaning you should only need to purchase one in your life for your house. It's a long-term investment. The upfront cost of a metal roof will be more than a quality asphalt roof. However, the overall costs over the lifetime of the roof will be less with a metal roof.

When you look at the ROI for a metal roof, you have to look at least 15 years in the future. If you don't plan on living in your house for 15 years, then asphalt shingles will have a better ROI. You will not live there long enough to recoup the higher initial costs. An asphalt shingle roof has a better ROI until you have to replace the first shingle roof with a second roof. When you hit that point in time a metal roof would have been a much better investment.

If you do expect to live in your home for 15 years or longer than a metal roof will have a better long term ROI. You are buying a product that's more energy efficient, has lower insurance premiums, and requires less maintenance. You have to factor in the longevity of a metal roof versus an asphalt shingle roof.

In this article we will answer these questions with real numbers.

  • What's the cost of one metal roof and do I have additional monthly savings?
  • How much is the cost of two asphalt shingle roofs?
  • What has a better ROI, one metal roof or two asphalt shingle roofs?

Here are some statistics from the Metal Roofing Alliance that detail what a new metal roof will cost and how long it will last.


Metal Vs Shingles Cost

  • Metal roofing, specifically a steel roof, will cost 2 to 3 times more than an asphalt shingle roof


Does A Metal Roof Last Longer Than Shingles?

  • Metal roofing will last 2 to 3 times more than asphalt shingle roof
  • The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is 10 to 20 years. However, it can be shorter depending on the climate and pitch of the roof. In addition, asphalt is made of oil impregnated paper or fiberglass. The asphalt begins to deteriorate as soon as you expose it to normal weather.
  • A metal roof, however, will never decompose. A metal roof will last 40 to 60+ years. You install it once and you don't need to worry about replacing it. Metal roofing will not grow mold or algae and it does not look old and weathered in 5 to 10 years. It's a long term solution and a long term investment.


Shingles Vs. Metal: Cost and How Long Will My Roof Last?

Asphalt roofing is the most common type of roofing. With that in mind, we thought it would be helpful to you if we looked at the cost and lifespan of shingled roofing and standing seam metal roofing. Here is a real-world cost comparison.

  • Standing Seam Roof
    • Cost: $8 to $14 per square foot
    • Lifespan: 40-60 years or more
  • Asphalt Shingles
    • Cost: $5 to $7 per square foot
    • Lifespan: 10-20 years


Asphalt Shingles Vs. Metal Roof Cost: Real Life Example

For our example below, we will compare the cost you'll pay over time if you have a 2,500 square foot roof. These numbers are based on averages for the cost and lifespan of each option. Because you'll have to replace shingle roofing every 15 years or so, you'll see the cost of a new roof at 15-year increments below.


How Much Does A New Metal Roof Cost For A 2,500 Square Foot House?

  • Standing Seam Metal Roof Cost = 2,500 Sq. FT. @ $11/Sq. Ft. = $27,500
  • Lifespan 50 years = $550/Year
  • Cost After 50 Years = $ 27,500

Metal vs. Shingle Guide Download


Asphalt Shingles - How Much Does A New Roof Cost For A 2,500 Square Foot House?

  • Quality Asphalt Shingle, such as an architectural shingle, Cost = 2,500 Sq. FT. @ $6/Sq. Ft. = $15,000
  • Lifespan 15 years = $1,000/Year
  • Cost Before 15 Years = $15,000
  • Cost After 15 Years (One Roof Replacement) = $15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000
  • Cost After 30 Years (Two Roof Replacements) = $15,000 + $15,000 + $15,000 = $45,000
  • Cost After 45 Years (Three Roof Replacements) = $15,000 + $15,000 + $15,000 + 15,000 = $60,000


Is Metal Roofing Cheaper Than Shingles? Factoring In Replacement Cost And Inflation.

One thing that we don't know for sure is: what will a new roof cost in the future? The cost of a new roof seems to double about every 15 years. Let's look at these numbers based upon this happening and an escalated replacement cost of the existing roof..

  • Cost Before 15 Years = $15,000
  • Cost After 15 Years (One Roof Replacement) = $15,000 + $30,000 = $45,000
  • Cost After 30 Years (Two Replacements)= $15,000 + $30,000 + $60,000 = $105,000
  • Cost After 45 Years (Three Replacements)= $15,000 + $30,000 + $60,000 + $120,000 = $225,000

Now, can I tell you for certain a new roof will double in cost every 15 years? I can't guarantee it, but it's likely based on past data.

The example above is intended to provide a realistic example of a likely replacement cost scenario. What you can be certain of is a significant increase of greater than 50% every 15 years.

Either way, today's price of $27,500 is much cheaper than the price of 2-4 asphalt roofs that will increase in cost each time they are replaced.

When you look at the numbers above, there are two paths that you can take to see an ROI for your new roof.

  1. If you plan on living in your house for more than 15 years, a metal roof will be a less expensive long term investment.
  2. If you're not planning on living in your house for 15 years or more, asphalt shingles will probably be your best bet.


What Are Some Additional Ways To Save Money On The Price Of A Metal Roof?

When you purchase a metal roof there are other factors to consider besides the upfront cost and the lifetime cost of your roof. Metal roofs save you money on your energy bill, insurance cost, and will have less overall maintenance.


Is Metal Roofing More Energy Efficient?

I am an expert in metal roofing. I am not an expert on energy costs. So my research is based solely on what I could find online. Most of the numbers that are thrown around are 25% to 40% savings.

The only real study I found from the Green Building Alliance and it shows that energy savings will range from 7%-15% of total cooling costs.

Since 15% is on the low side of every other piece of information I found online we can use that as an example. If your electricity bill is $175 per month it would be a savings of $26.25/month. This equates to savings of:

  • $315 per Yearly
  • $4,725 over 15 Years
  • $9,450 over 30 Years

When you look at the savings over 15-30 years it adds up quickly. In addition, today's energy cost is a fraction of what energy might cost in 15-30 years.

For more information about energy efficient metal roofs, we recommend reading: 

Cool Metal Roofing: How Energy Efficient Roofs Bring Cost Savings


Does A Metal Roof Lower Your Insurance?

This is another tricky one as the Metal Roofing Alliance says a metal roof can lower your homeowner's insurance by up to 35%. I'm not saying this isn't possible, but keep in mind that this is a statement by a metal roofing trade group. After thoroughly researching this subject, several articles that claimed metal roofing lowers your insurance policy. However, I could not find a study that proved it.

A discount is quite possible and makes sense. During my research it appeared that the greatest opportunities receive a metal roof insurance discount was in regions that experience a lot of hail. Hail storms account for a significant amount the of insurance claims on a shingle roof.

For more information about metal roof insurance discounts, we recommend reading: 

Metal Roof Insurance Discounts: How Much Will I Save?


What Are Impact Resistant Roofs?

Impact resistant roofs are designed to withstand windstorms and hail. They are referred to as hail resistant roofs and will require less repairs and will last longer. A metal roof is a class 4 hail resistant roof. This means that the roof was tested by Underwriters Laboratories and has a UL 2218 impact rating.

For more information about impact resistant roofing, we recommend reading: 

Can Hail Damage A Metal Roof? A Guide To Impact Resistant Roofing


Is There A Metal Roof Insurance Discount?

If you live in a region that has frequent hail storms such as Texas then you're more likely to receive an insurance discount when compared to someone that lives in California. However, it's dependent upon the insurance company. Let's call this a "maybe" and call your insurance company to see if you qualify for a policy discount.


Do Metal Roofs Require Less Maintenance?

With a metal roof in a PVDF paint finish, you have a limited 30-year paint warranty. You will get a much longer aesthetic life of the panel compared to an asphalt shingle roof.

This is also another area where it seems clear that a metal roof costs less to maintain, but finding reliable supporting evidence is difficult.

As a metal roofing manufacturer if you ask me how you should maintain metal roofing panels, I will tell you to have a roofing service look at your roof every year to avoid long term problems. This is CYA (Cover Your A..) legal talk.

The reality is that very few people do regular maintenance. Keep your roof free of debris and don't have dis-similar metals come into contact with the roof and you will be fine. This is especially true with standing seam metal roofing. If it's installed properly, there is not a lot that can go wrong. Regular maintenance is designed to catch a minor problem early so that it does not become a major problem later.

If you have an exposed fastener panel, then you need to keep an eye on the screws to verify they were installed correctly, they have not backed out due to expansion and contraction, and that the washers have not worn out. If your budget permits, we recommend a standing seam panel so that you avoid all of these problems.

If you would like to learn more about metal roofing maintenance, read:

Metal Roof Maintenance: 6 Tips To Care For Your Roof


How Do I Choose The Right Roof For Me?

When determining which roofing option to choose, the single biggest factor if you are a homeowner is the amount of time that you plan to live in the house. If you are planning on living in your house for longer than 15 years, a metal roof will have a positive return on investment. That is the average amount of time it takes before you would need to replace the first asphalt shingle roof with a second roof.

If you plan on moving before 15 years, an asphalt shingle roof will have a better ROI. From a pure financial analysis asphalt shingles are much cheaper for your first roof, but will cost much more when that roof needs to be replaced.

Keep Learning About Metal Roofing

Purchasing a metal roof is a big investment and it requires a lot of research. There are so many things that you need to know. You will need to learn about choosing the correct metal roofing panel, picking the perfect color, gauge, choosing a roofing contractor that specializes in metal roof installation, and on and on. Don't be discouraged as we have an informative and easy to navigate learning center that has all of the answers. We have both articles and videos that are available at our Metal Roofing Learning Center or our YouTube channel.

In order to make your journey easier we recommend that you read or watch:

Metal Roofing v. Asphalt Shingles: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Metal Roofing Learning Cener


Click here to watch metal roofing videos on our YouTube channel!

About Paul Rubio

Paul Rubio is the Vice President and one of the owners of Western States Metal Roofing. He has been in the metal roofing industry for 25 years. WSMR is a manufacturer of metal roofing, wall panels, and metal siding. We have colors and finishes that nobody else has with nearly 100 different colors in stock. Our selection of color options and finishes is likely the largest in the industry.