Metal Roofing vs. Shingle Roofing: Pros, Cons, And Cost

In this article you will learn the difference between metal and shingle roofs. We cover everything from cost, color options, material options, maintenance, durability and more. 

If you’re deciding between purchasing a shingle roof or a metal roof, then you’re in the right place.

There is a lot of information online about metal roofs and shingle roofs. But there are so many ways to compare these two roofing types that finding good information from trusted sources would require hours of research. And even then, are you able to find information that compares every aspect of these two options to actually feel comfortable in making a purchase? 

We’ve taken the time to compile it all together and break down everything you need to know  about each roofing type to help make your decision easier.

We’re going to discuss…

  • What are shingles and metal panels made of?
  • When is it best to use shingles?
  • When is it best to use metal?
  • What are the different types of shingle roofs?
  • What are the different types of metal roofs?
  • What are the pros and cons of a metal roof?
  • What are the pros and cons of a shingle roof?
  • What is the cost of a shingle roof?
  • What is the cost of a metal roof?
  • Which roof has a higher return on investment (ROI)?
  • Which roof is best for me?

At Western States Metal Roofing we get asked all about metal roofing. We’re a family-owned and operated metal roofing manufacturer and seller for over 25 years. What don’t we sell? Shingle roofing. 

However, we realize that some customers that come to us are still early in the decision process and are also considering other types of roofing besides metal.  Even though we don’t manufacture shingle roofing, we recognize how popular it is in the industry. In fact, there are times where choosing a shingle roof would be better for you, and we understand that. 

Purchasing a roof is a major investment. We want you to be thoroughly informed about your choices so you can be confident and excited with the roof you choose.

This guide will answer all of the questions that you have about shingle roofing and metal roofing, and even some that you would have never thought of.

It’s our goal to have all of your questions answered by the end of this guide so you’ll be better prepared to choose your new roof.

Don't have time to read now? Click the banner below to download a free copy of this guide.

Metal vs. Shingle Guide Download


Corrugated Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Homeowners Guide

You have lots of questions about corrugated metal roofing. Instead of going through several different articles, we’ve created a comprehensive guide with all the answers in one spot.

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Chapter 1

What Exactly Are Shingle And Metal Roofs?

What Is Asphalt Shingle Roofing? 

An asphalt shingle roof consists of flat or curved shingles made of asphalt that interlock or overlap to cover and protect your home from the elements. The low upfront cost combined with ease of installation makes asphalt shingles the most popular type of roofing in North America today.

Asphalt shingles made their debut in the United States in the early 1900s. The growth of the petroleum industry in the late 1800s created an abundant source of asphalt that ultimately made shingles become the most used roofing material today.

common residential roofing material (1)

Shingle Are The Most Common Residential Roofing Material

Drive through almost any neighborhood in the United States and it should not take you long to find a shingle roof. In fact, they are the most commonly used residential roof with approximately 7 out of 10 homes having a shingle roof. 

The biggest reasons for its popularity are because of the affordability and easy installation. We discuss more benefits of shingle roofing in Chapter 5.

What Are Asphalt Shingles Made Of?

It seems obvious that an asphalt shingle is made of asphalt. While that is the main ingredient, they also consist of other materials that serve a purpose in the performance of the shingles. Other than asphalt, shingle contain:

  • Mineral Powder- this is mixed in with the asphalt to give the asphalt more weather and fire resistance.

mineral powder roof


  • Granules- Hard rock that is crushed and adhered to the surface of the shingles. Helps protect the roof from excessive sun exposure and also adds increased fire resistance.


  • Fiberglass (if applicable)- Gives the roof more durability and a higher fire rating. Fiberglass is only in fiberglass shingles which we will discuss when going over the types of shingles in Chapter 3. 


  • Paper (if applicable)- If fiberglass is not used, then paper will be used for the foundation in what is known as an organic shingle.

What Is Metal Roofing?

Metal roofing is a system of metal panels and metal flashings that work together to create a weather-tight roofing solution. It acts as a shell that protects the roofing underlayment and the substrate beneath it from UV rays and the weather. Metal roofing is long lasting, lightweight, impact resistant, fire resistant, energy efficient, and low maintenance. 

There are 4 types of metal roofing materials:

  • Aluminum 
  • Copper 
  • Steel
  • Zinc

Metal panels can be painted (steel or aluminum) or left natural (copper or zinc). The panels come in a variety of profiles (designs), paint finishes, and gauges (thickness) that affect the roof’s durability.

Learn more about types of metal roofing materials by reading:

5 Types Of Metal Roofing Materials: Pros, Cons & Cost

Learn more about metal roofing paint finishes by reading:

Best Paint For My Metal Roof Panels: SMP Paint v PVDF

metal roof on home

The History Of Metal Roofing

The use of metal roofing in The United States dates back to the 18th century. While only copper and lead were used for roofing at first, sheet iron started being manufactured during the Revolutionary War, and corrugation was introduced after being patented in the mid 19th century. Shortly after, sheets of metal replaced copper and lead and began to be installed as roofing for its increased durability and faster installation time.

Today, the vast majority of metal roofing panels are made from steel. The second most popular metal roofing material is aluminum and that's used primarily in coastal areas. 

Metal has become increasingly popular over time for residential roofing and commercial properties due to its strength and longevity.


How Is Metal Roofing Made?

The process starts with a large round coil of metal. The coil is put on a machine that will roll-form the material. 

The metal starts as a flat piece of steel and then it passes through a series of rolling dies. The rollers bend the steel to form it into the desired panel profile shape. 

We assume if you’re reading this, then you are deciding between a shingle roof and a metal roof for your home. Both roofing types have their pros and cons.

In the next chapter, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages for a metal roof.

Chapter 2

Pros And Cons Of Metal Roofing

Over these next two chapters, we’re going to dive deep and help you understand the pros and cons of metal roofs and asphalt shingle roofs. As you learn about each of these options, think about what you’re really looking for in your roof. 

Are any of the disadvantages total deal breakers? Or does one advantage fit exactly what you’re looking for? Thinking about these next two chapters should lead you to understanding which option is right for you.

Metal is a material that brings a lot of benefits, but is certainly not the right roof for everyone. 

While all metal roofs share certain benefits, some have restrictions on where they should be used to avoid being damaged. When we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of a metal roof, you have to factor in the type of metal panel in question. 

As we touched on earlier, the term “metal roof” covers a wide range of products. We make note of the differences in metal when appropriate below.

Let’s discuss the main pros and cons of metal roofing.

What Are Advantages Of A Metal Roof?

  • Low Maintenance
  • Durability
  • Longevity 
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Aesthetics

metal roof close up

Metal Roofing Maintenance

Metal roofing maintenance is minimal when compared to other types of roofing. You don’t need to do the same upkeep, such as replacing or repairing shingles, that you would on an asphalt shingle roof. 

Metal roofs perform best when routine inspections are done to check for any problems forming such as leaks. This keeps them functioning properly and preventing all minor issues from developing into larger problems. 

Metal roofs should be washed occasionally and kept free of debris.

Learn more about metal roof maintenance by reading: Maintaining Your Metal Roof: 6 Steps You Need To Be Taking

Metal Roofing Durability

Metal is a very strong material. It can withstand impact from falling objects (hail, debris etc.) without any damage to the roof. Because of this, it’s a great option for homeowners living in climates with high winds as a metal roof can withstand winds up to 140 mph.

Metal roofs have a Class A fire rating when installed correctly and are non-combustible. Besides being one of the most fire-safe roofing materials on the market, metal is also resistant to rot, mildew, insects, and rodents.

Durability depends on the thickness of metal, also referred to as gauge. The durability of metal increases as the gauge number of the metal decreases. For example, a 24 gauge metal roof is thicker and more durable than a 26 gauge metal roof.

How Long Does A Metal Roof Last? 

A metal roof is known as a lifetime roof which means that when installed correctly it should be the last roof that you will need to purchase. Metal roofs can lasts an average of 40 to 60 plus years with proper upkeep. That is an average of 2-3 times longer than an asphalt shingle roof. 

Are Metal Roofs Energy Efficient?

A metal roof reflects heat up away from the building, making it one of  the most energy efficient roofing materials. In fact, homeowners have a general energy savings of 7% to 15% with a "cool" metal roof system. One study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy actually showed an annual savings of 25% on cooling costs.

The amount of energy efficiency varies depending on what type of metal is used. For example, an aluminum or steel roofing panel with a “cool” paint system will reflect the heat of the sun. This makes it more energy efficient as less energy will be used to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.  

Metal Roofing Colors And Styles

Metal roofing gives you a huge variety of colors and styles to choose from. There are different panel profiles and hundreds of colors. Metal can match almost any design style you are looking to achieve.

There are also different types of metal roofing materials to choose from like copper or zinc. These materials are the most expensive type of metal panels.

What if you want the look of copper or zinc, but without the price tag? There are less expensive painted steel panels that mimic the look of copper and zinc, but at a fraction of the price.

Download Your How To Choose A Metal Roofing Color Guide

What Are The Disadvantages Of A Metal Roof

  • Higher Initial Cost
  • Harder To Install
  • Oil Canning
  • Not Allowed By Some HOAs
  • Climate Restrictions

Metal Roofing Has Higher Upfront Costs

Metal is going to cost you more than shingles upfront. The materials and installation are also both more expensive for metal compared to shingles. The price of metal roofing varies significantly depending on which type of metal panel you choose.

Metal Roofing Cost

Including installation costs, corrugated metal roofing panels can range from $5.00 to $8.00 per square foot. Standing seam metal roofing, which is the best metal roofing system, can range from $8.00 to $14.00 per square foot installed.

Learn more about the cost of corrugated metal roofing: How Much Does Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost? Includes Pricing & Factors.


metal panel installation

Metal Roofing Installation Is More Difficult

Metal roofing panels have a more complex installation process than shingles. Again, this also depends on which type of metal panel you are considering. 

Some metal roofing panels are more DIY friendly, such as corrugated or R Panel. Standing seam normally requires a professional installer, additional trim and flashings, and accessories. This adds extra time and money to the installation.

Oil Canning

If you’re considering a standing seam metal roof, there is always a potential threat of oil canning. Oil canning is a cosmetic deformation in the flat areas of metal roofing panels typically observed as waves or wrinkles. The issue is merely aesthetic and does not disturb the functionality of the roof. 

oil canning

Oil canning an inherent characteristic of light-gauge, cold-formed metal products with broad, flat areas. Having oil canning present doesn’t mean the panel is no longer usable, however it is an unwanted characteristic of metal that is 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

If your home is in a community that is governed by a homeowners association (HOA), they may have guidelines regarding the type of roof you put on your home. There are HOAs that do not allow metal roofing.

To avoid any future hassles, please be sure that metal roofs are approved in your community prior to installation.

Metal Roofing In Coastal Areas

If your home is near the coast, you have to consider the effect that salt spray from the water has on certain materials. Most metals are not compatible in coastal regions as they become susceptible to rusting. The corrosion from the salt air will destroy your roof and will require a roof replacement. 

roofs near the oceans

Any roofing made from steel will rust near the ocean. You should not use steel within approximately 1 mile from any salt air. However, aluminum is resistant to corrosion which makes it a great metal roofing choice if you live near the ocean. Copper or zinc roofing is also an excellent choice, but will cost considerably more than aluminum.

For more information on using metal near the coast, we recommend reading: 

Metal Roofing In Coastal Areas: Best Materials To Use Near The Ocean

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Metal Roofing

Metal is a great roofing material if you are interested in long term value. While the upfront cost of metal is higher than shingles, a metal roof lasts much longer and will pay for itself overtime.

Just like metal has its benefits and disadvantages, so do shingles. We go over the pros and cons of shingle roofing in the next chapter.

Chapter 3

Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Shingle Roof

Just like with any other type of roof, a shingle roof comes with specific benefits and drawbacks

The biggest benefit is its affordability. Beyond being the most economical roofing material available, it’s also a roofing type that is easy to install and repair. 

On the other hand, the life expectancy of shingles is considerably shorter than metal and other alternatives. A shingle roof is also prone to several different cosmetic and functionality issues.

Let’s discuss the biggest advantages and disadvantages of shingle roofing.

Advantages Of A Shingle Roof

  • Affordability
  • Lightweight
  • Simple Installation
  • Easier Repairs

How Much Does Shingle Roofing Cost?

Asphalt shingles are the most economical roofing material on the market. The affordability of shingles is a large part of why it dominates the residential roofing market as the most commonly used roofing material. The price of shingle roofing depends on the type of shingle you choose. Asphalt shingle roofs can range anywhere from $3 per square foot to $7 per square foot including materials and installation.


Asphalt shingles are a lightweight material, weighing anywhere from 50-80 pounds per 100 square feet. 

A material that is on the lighter side brings several benefits:

  • Easier to carry and work with if you choose to do the installation yourself.
  • You can install shingles over existing shingles without causing damage from extra weight.
  • Your home will not need additional structural support, which costs extra money and time. Clay tiles, for example, is a very heavy roofing material which requires most homes to be structurally engineered to support the extra weight.

Shingle Roofing Installation Is Simple

Installing a shingle roof is a relatively easy process that takes less time, tools, and skill than installing a metal roof. It is the most DIY friendly type of roofing material if you are looking for sweat equity while saving money on the labor costs associated with a professional installation.

Most shingle roofs installations can be completed in 1-3 days. The timing depends on factors such as the size of your roof and if you are tearing off the old roof first or installing a new roof over existing shingles.

Shingle Roof Repairs Are Easier

A shingle roof is the easiest type of roofing to repair. 

The three most common shingle roofing repairs are:

  • Replacing a missing or damaged shingle
  • Fixing a curling shingle
  • Repairing a cracked shingle

These repairs all require few tools and can easily be done in less than a day.

For a comparison of repairs, look at the ease of fixing a leaky shingle roof versus the complexity of replacing a leaking panel on a metal roof.

Disadvantages Of A Shingle Roof

  • Short lifespan
  • Functional life vs. aesthetic life
  • Frequent repairs: granule loss, buckling, curling, missing
  • Mildew issues: gloeocapsa magma
  • Not eco-friendly

How Long Does A Shingle Roof Last?

A shingle roof not only has a shorter lifespan compared to metal, but only has the shortest life expectancy of any kind of roofing material. 

On average, a shingle roof will last 10-20 years before needing to be fully replaced. Your life expectancy will vary as harsher climates have a shorter 

Functional Life vs. Aesthetic Life

There is a difference between the functional life and aesthetic life of an asphalt shingle roof.

Asphalt shingles are a temporary or disposable roof and they have two different life cycles. National studies define the functional life of most roofs at about 17 years. This is quite a bit different than the aesthetic life, which is closer to 5 to 7 years.

The aesthetic life is when the shingles are streaked and stained. The climate has weathered the roof where the shingles look like an old roof. Once they get to that point, even though the roof may continue to protect and perform against the weather, the roof looks like it’s on its last leg. The roof begins to detract from the home’s overall appearance, curb appeal, and property value.

Shingle Roof Repairs Are More Frequent

A shingle roof is prone to needing repairs, especially as it ages. The lightweight nature of the shingles, which is a benefit in a lot of ways, often causes them to blow off the roof during a high wind storm. This results in replacement shingles having to be installed. 

Other Common Issues That Result In Shingle Repairs/Replacement: 

  • Granule Loss - The granulated surface of shingles becomes loosened and falls off due to exposure to extreme weather or age. This makes the shingles less resistant to the elements.
  • Buckling Shingles- This is 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

Have you ever seen black streaks on a shingle roof? If so, then you have seen gloeocapsa magma, a type of bacteria that originates in water and is transported to roofs by either birds or wind. 

Gloeocapsa magma damages more than just a roof’s curb appeal. In addition to the unappealing streaking it causes, the bacteria will also eat away at the limestone inside the shingles, causing them to become weaker overtime. This ultimately causes an extra expense because your shingles have to be replaced prematurely.

Not Eco-friendly

It’s estimated that 7 out of 10 homes use asphalt shingles for roofing. However, those roofs ultimately end up as a big environmental problem. 

The roofing material has to be disposed of when the roofs are no longer useful. Unfortunately, asphalt shingles cannot be recycled due to the toxic chemicals that they consist of including: asbestos, lead, cadmium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

This results in 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste being generated each year in the United States that ends up in landfills.

The Pros And Cons Of Shingles

No roofing material is perfect and a shingle roof is no exception. 

While it is an affordable and easy to install roofing option, it also has shorter longevity and has to be tended to more frequently than other roofing types. 

As with any major purchase you make, consider what are the most important factors you want in a roof and if the roofing material you choose properly addresses those factors.

While both roofing types are popular in today’s market, there are situations and circumstances when one type of roof is a better fit to use than the other. We go over when it’s best to use each roof in the next chapter.

The Ultimate Guide


We give you our expert opinion about the factors you should consider before making your final decision on a color for your metal roofing project. Learn about the following factors:

  • Geographical Location
  • Neighborhood Trends
  • Architectural Style
  • Surrounding Features
  • Darker vs. Light Colors
  • Energy Savings
  • Natural Lighting
  • plus more...

Download now

Chapter 4

When Should I Use Shingle Roofing Or Metal Roofing?

Shingles and metal are currently two of the most popular roofing choices in The United States, but not for the same reasons. Each roof type brings its own benefits that are more important to some homeowners than others. Making a decision on the best roofing type for your home depends on what you value most.

We just discussed the specific advantages and disadvantages of each roofing type in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. Now, let’s go over when it’s best to use each roofing type. We will start with when you should use shingle roofing, then follow up with when you should use metal roofing.

When Should I Use Shingle Roofing?

  • You want the cheaper roofing system.
  • You want to install the roof yourself
  • The roof’s lifespan is not a top priority.
  • The roof is not a focal point of the house and the aesthetic isn’t important.
  • Your HOA restricts the use of metal roofing.

You Want The Cheaper Roofing System

Budget plays a big factor in almost every purchase we make, and a large purchase like a roof should be no different. 

Shingle roofing is the most affordable type of roofing option on the market. By comparison, a metal roof can be 2-3 times as much as shingle roof replacement cost. 

You Want To Install The Roof Yourself

If you love watching HGTV and want to get in on the fun of home improvement projects yourself, shingles are the best roofing option for you. Shingle roof installation is a DIY (do it yourself) friendly project. You need less accessories, tools, and knowledge to install a shingle roof when compared to a metal roof.

The Roof’s Lifespan Is Not A Top Priority

An asphalt shingle roof is not a long lasting roofing material. It can last half as long or less than a metal roof. 

However, if you don’t plan on being in your home long term and are just looking for a quick roofing solution in the meantime, then shingles are a great route to go.

colorful homes

Is Your Roof Highly Visible?

What’s the point of spending a lot of money on a metal roof that nobody will see? If your home has a flat roof or a low slope roof that’s barely noticeable, then a standing seam roof is likely a bad solution. It’s one of those home improvement projects like replacing your electrical panel that provides functionality, but you don’t see it.

Your HOA Restricts The Use Of Metal Roofing

Is your home in a community that has a Homeowners Association? There are certain HOAs that don’t allow metal roofing. This is mainly meant to keep all the roofs in the community looking uniform. 

You should never have a problem with a HOA allowing a shingle roof given that it's the most common type of roofing. No matter what type of roof you decide on, it's best to run the decision by your HOA just to make sure you won’t have any problems in the future.

When Should I Use Metal Roofing?

  • You want your roof to last longer (40-60 years).
  • You plan on living in your house for more than 15 years.
  • You are looking to save money on energy bills.
  • You are looking to save money on your homeowners insurance.
  • You want a large amount of color choices for your roof.
  • You live in an area with high winds or severe weather.

You Want Your Roof To Last Longer (40-60 years)

A metal roof has increased longevity compared to a shingle roof. It can last an average of 40-60 years or longer in many cases.

Metal roofing will cost you more, but it also lasts longer. This means you get more value in the long term. Metal is a preferable roofing solution when you plan on living in your home for many years.

You Plan On Living In Your House For At Least 15 Years

An asphalt shingle roof typically will last 10 to 20 years. If the average lifespan of the asphalt shingle roof is 15 years, that’s the point at which you will have put two roofs on your house. The initial roof and in 10-20 years a replacement roof. One metal roof is cheaper than two asphalt shingle roofs. 

Check out Chapter 6 as we really dig into this topic and for an even more in depth article check out:

Shingles Vs Metal Roof Cost: Which Offers A Better ROI?

You Are Looking To Save Money On Energy Bills

There is a common misconception that metal roofing will make your home hotter. Not only is this myth untrue, but metal actually keeps your home cooler while saving you money. 

A metal roof reflects sunlight off your roof and results in homeowners having a general energy savings of 7% up to 15%. One study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy actually showed an annual savings of 25% on cooling costs.

Lower Home Insurance Costs

Hail damage on a shingle roof is a regular occurrence in certain climates. It’s one of the leading causes of home insurance claims. In these states there can be insurance policy discounts of up to 30%. Each region and insurance company is different. 

We suggest you call your insurance company and ask them if they offer a discount for a metal roof. Get an insurance quote with an asphalt shingle roof and a quote for a metal roof. You can then determine if there is a savings and whether it’s enough to justify the higher cost of a metal roof.

If you would like a deeper dive into metal roofing insurance discounts check out:

Metal Roof Insurance Discounts: How Much Will I Save?

Lots Of Metal Roofing Colors To Choose From

There are far more design options for metal panels than shingles. Metal comes in every standard color you could want plus specialty colors that mimic other materials. For example, there are metal panels that are made to look like zinc and copper which are much less than buying panels in those materials.

The choices for the aesthetic of your roof are greater with metal.

Download Your How To Choose A Metal Roofing Color Guide

You Live In An Area With High Winds Or Severe Weather

Metal is a durable material that can handle the beating a roof can get from heavy rain, sow, gale force winds, hail, and other severe weather. Shingles will blow off during high winds and can’t handle the weight from heavy snow. Metal roofs don’t have these same concerns. 

Consider the location of your home when choosing your roof. If the weather in your  area is anything other than mild, then your climate needs to play a factor in the roof you choose. Deal with a leak or having to repair your roof after every big storm will quickly be tiresome.

Factors To Consider When Deciding On A Roof

The above are general guidelines for when it's best to use each type of roof. But we know that every situation is different. So we want to give you some basic questions to consider that should help tailor your decision more to your specific circumstances.

Consider the following questions when deciding on a new roof:

  • What is the budget for my roof?

Shingle roofing has a lower upfront cost than metal. There are options with metal that can make the roof more affordable. We discuss the cost of both roofing materials in detail in Chapter 6.

  • How long am I going to live in my home?

If you plan on being in your home for less than 15 years, it will be more difficult to get the full value of a metal roof. 

  • Do I want to install the roof myself?

Shingles are better suited for self installation. While some metal roofs, such as corrugated, are DIY friendly, a shingle roof is the easier and faster material to work with.

  • Does my home have any HOA restrictions on roofing types?

If your home does have an HOA, pay attention to what their guidelines are regarding roofing to make sure your new roof is in compliance.

Whether you’re leaning towards metal or shingles, there are still more options in each category to decide on. In the next chapter, we go over the different types of shingle and metal roofing.

Chapter 5

What Are The Different Types Of Shingle Roofs And Metal Roofs?

Whether you decide to use either shingles or metal for your roof, you’re going to have to also decide on the specific type of shingle or metal roofing panel that will be used.  

Both shingle and metal roofing come in different forms that vary in price and quality. When deciding on what to use for your roof, factors such as desired aesthetic, climate, and budget can help narrow down your choice for the right roofing option.

Let’s first discuss the different options you have for shingle roofs, then look at your options for metal roofs.

Types Of Shingle Roofing

There are two main types of asphalt shingles for roofing: 3-tab shingles and architectural shingles. Each roof type can be made in two ways: with fiberglass or with organic material. We will first discuss the two types of shingle roofs, then talk about the two different compositions.

  • 3-Tab Shingles
  • Architectural Shingles
  • Composition Material: Fiberglass v. Organic

Asphalt Shingles For Roofs

If you're driving through your neighborhood and looking at the different types of asphalt shingles, then you've probably seen both 3 tab shingles and architectural shingles. 3 tab shingles aren't used that much anymore and are typically installed on older homes as the original roof system.  Nowadays, architectural shingles or dimensional shingles account for 3/4 of all asphalt shingle roof sales.

3 Tab Shingles

3-tab shingles, also called strip shingles, are the entry-level type of asphalt shingles for roofs. They are the most economical shingle and the ideal roofing choice when working with a limited budget.

The shingles are lightweight and made of asphalt and fiberglass. They get their name because they consist of 3 tabs that are identical in size. 

Cost Of 3 Tab Asphalt Shingles

3- tab shingles are the most economical roofing choice available to homeowners.

3-tab asphalt shingles cost an average of $0.75 – $1.00 per square foot for material. 

Installation cost varies but on average will be $3.00-$4.00 per square foot.

3 Tab Asphalt Shingles Colors And Appearance

The appearance of a 3-tab shingle roof is very flat. A 3-tab shingle consists of tabs that are the same size and shape that doesn’t give your roof any dimension. 

3 tab asphalt shingles colors are limited, most often they're only available in neutral colors such as grays, browns, or black. 

3-Tab Shingles Life Expectancy

3-tab shingles are the weakest shingle available. This is in large part because of how thin they are. A 3-tab shingle is half as thick as an architectural shingle. This makes them less resistant to harsh weather and more prone to being blown off in a storm. They’re also more likely to have other problems associated with shingles such as buckling and curling.

On average, you can expect 3 tab shingles life expectancy to be 10-20 years. However, frequent exposure to high winds and stormy weather can reduce its lifespan

Architectural Shingles 

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, consist of multiple material layers that are not identical in size. They are a thicker and more durable shingle than 3-Tab shingles. 

Architectural Shingles Cost 

The average price range of architectural shingles is $1.20 – 1.80 per square foot. 

Installation can vary but on average will be $3.00-$4.00 per square foot.

You may also find that installation costs for an architectural shingle roof is slightly more than 3-tab. Even though the installation process is the same for both shingles, some installers charge more for an architectural shingle roof just because it is a higher quality material that is thicker.

Architectural Shingles Colors And Appearance

Architectural shingles are also called dimensional shingles because of their appearance. Unlike the flatness of 3-tab, architectural shingles have a more textured look because the tabs are made in slightly different shapes and sizes.

Architectural roof shingles colors are offered in a wider variety of and styles compared to 3-tab shingles. You have more design options including: gray, brown, black, green, and red.

How Long Do Architectural Shingles Last?

Architectural shingles are 50% thicker than 3-tab shingles. This makes them better suited to withstand harsh weather conditions. As an example, a warranty for architectural shingles will cover them for winds up to 110 mph. 3-tab shingles are generally covered under warranty for winds up to 60 mph.

The added thickness also makes architectural shingles heavier. The added weight decreases the chances of shingles blowing off, curling, or buckling over time.

On average, you can expect architectural shingles life expectancy to be 15-25 years. However, the harsher the weather, such as the extreme heat of Arizona, the lesser the lifespan of the roof.

Architectural Shingles Vs 3 Tab - Which Is Right For Me?

Deciding between the two types of shingles comes down to a choice of price versus performance. While 3 tab shingles are more affordable, architectural shingles bring more value as they are the more durable, longer-lasting shingle.

3-tab shingles are best for: 

  • Budget-conscious buyers

Architectural shingles are best for: 

  • Increased durability
  • Lasting longer before needing a new roof
  • More color choices

Now that you have a good understanding of the types of shingle roofs, it’s important two understand your two material options. We will look at the pros and cons of fiberglass and organic shingles next.

Fiberglass Shingles V. Organic Shingles

Both 3-tab and architectural shingles are made with one of two different material compositions, fiberglass shingles or organic shingles. 

Visually, the material composition doesn’t affect the appearance of the shingle. For example, a 3-tab fiberglass shingle will look identical to a 3-tab organic shingle. The difference is solely in how they are made and perform.

A fiberglass shingle is made from a fiberglass mat while an organic shingle has a foundation from a wood product, usually paper. 

While most shingles you find on the market today are fiberglass shingles, you may still come across organic shingles.

Fiberglass Shingle Pros


Fiberglass shingles are thinner and lighter than organic shingles. This makes them easier to transport and also easier to install. 

Better Fire Resistance 

The fire rating of fiberglass is higher than organic shingles. This makes them the more fire resistant shingle and the better choice if you live in an area that is prone to wildfires.

More Eco-friendly 

Asphalt is not a recyclable material. Since fiberglass shingles contain less asphalt, they have a lower environmental impact than organic shingles.

Fiberglass Shingle Cons

Less Durable

Fiberglass shingles are lighter and less rugged because they contain less asphalt. The longevity of fiberglass shingles is less than organic and will have to be replaced sooner. 

Not Well Suited For Cool Climates

Fiberglass shingles are better in mild climates and don’t perform as well as organic shingles when in cold temperatures and harsh winters. By not being as heavy as asphalt, they aren’t as well equipped to handle the elements.

Organic Shingle Pros


Organic shingles contain more asphalt than fiberglass. This makes them better equipped to handle severe storms. 

Cold Climate Compatible

Organic shingles perform much better in cold temperatures than fiberglass. The best climate for organic shingles is a cold, dry environment. Organic shingles don’t do well with water, as we will explain below.

Organic Shingle Cons

Less Water Resistant

Organic-mat shingles absorb more water and are more prone to warping. Warped shingles cannot correctly protect a roof and will have to be replaced.

Less Fire Resistant
  • Since organic shingles are made from paper, they aren’t as highly rated for fire protection as fiberglass.

organic shingles

Types of Metal Roofing Panels

  • Corrugated Metal Roofing
  • Standing Seam

If you decide to purchase a metal roof, then the first step is deciding between a concealed fastener (standing seam) or an exposed fastener panel (⅞” Corrugated or PBR Panel). Metal is a durable roofing material with an average lifespan of 40-60 years. The appearance, cost, and method of installation depend on which panel you choose.


Corrugated Metal Roofing

Corrugated metal roofing typically refers to round and wavy sheet metal. However, it can also be used as a catch-all term for any type of exposed fastener panel. An exposed fastener panel is when the screws that hold a panel in place are not concealed and can be visibly seen on the surface of the panel.


How Much Does Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost?

The price of a corrugated panel depends on the gauge, finish, and what type of panel you choose. Generally they range between $1 and $2 per square foot for materials. 

Installation of corrugated metal roofing is $3 to $6 per square foot.


This means that your total cost for a corrugated metal roof is between $4 to $8 per square foot. Asphalt shingle roofs and corrugated metal roofs will be about the same price. Standing seam metal roofing will cost about twice as much as asphalt shingles.

corrugated metal roofing

Types Of Corrugated Metal Roofing Panels

Corrugated metal roofing sheets are designed to have grooves and ridges that have an industrial look to them. Below are the most common types of corrugated metal roofing panels on the market.

  • ⅞” Corrugated: A wavy panel that is wider and has deeper corrugations than ½” corrugated. The waviness is more profound with ⅞” corrugations and each panel is normally 39” or 37” wide.

corrugated panel

  • R-Panel: Consists of squared ribs that are 1.25” in height. R-Panel is the corrugated panel with the closest resemblance to standing seam.


  • 7.2” Panel: Ribbed panel with a boxy appearance. These panels feature symmetrical ribs that are spaced 7.2” on center, with each rib measuring 1.5” high.

7.2 panel

Durability Of Corrugated Metal Roofing

Metal roofing materials are durable and can handle high wind gusts. They’re designed to not crack, chip, or warp. Metal roofs are  also resistant to fires, mold, mildew, and termite damage.

The level of durability depends on the gauge, or thickness, of your roof. A thicker roof is a stronger material. As the gauge number gets lower, the thickness increases. Oil canning is inherent in all metal roofs, it is more noticeable on a standing seam roof because of the flat surfaces. The ridges and grooves of corrugated panels help better disguise the waviness of oil canning.

How Long Will A Standing Seam Metal Roof Last?

Standing seam roofs are considered "Lifetime Roofs", meaning they are designed to last 40 to 60 plus years when installed correctly.

Being made from metal, a standing seam roof is resistant to fires, mold, mildew, and termites.  

Standing seam panels usually come in thicker gauges such as 22 or 24-gauge. The added thickness makes the panels more durable and long lasting.

The panels use a concealed fastener system which increases the weathertightness and longevity of the roof. A concealed fastener system is when the screws that are used to secure the panels in place are not exposed. 

By having the fasteners hidden or using clips that don’t require penetrating holes into your roof, standing seam panels are more resistant to leaks. These panels are also designed to allow for movement due to expansion and contraction. You don’t have to worry about screws loosening, breaking, or screw washers wearing out.

Standing Seam Vs Corrugated Metal Roof - Which Is Right For Me?

Standing Seam panels are best for those who:

  • Want the best and most long-lasting metal roof system
  • Want a modern design.
  • Have a flexible budget.
  • Hiring a roofing contractor to install the panels.


Corrugated metal panels usually come in a 24 or 26 gauge, but can be custom ordered in other gauge sizes to meet your needs.

As we mentioned earlier, corrugated panels are exposed fastener panels and will require  thousands of fasteners to keep the roof in place. This can affect the durability because all of the penetrations in the roof leave a chance for moisture to get in. If the fasteners are not properly installed or become loose, your roof can be vulnerable to leaks. A high quality synthetic roofing underlayment should be used as it offers an added layer of protection

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

How Much Does Standing Seam Metal Roofing Cost?

According to the Metal Roofing Alliance, standing seam metal roofing will cost $8 to $12 per square foot including materials and installation. Standing seam metal roofing will vary in price from one roof to the next. It depends upon how difficult the roof is to install. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a difficult metal roofing installation to cost $13 to $18 per square foot.

When you’re getting bids for your metal roof, we suggest that you should understand if your roof is considered a difficult installation. Check out this article for an in depth explanation.

What Factors Affect The Cost Of New & Replacement Roofs?

Appearance Of Standing Seam Metal Roofs

While visual appeal is subjective, the look of a standing seam metal roof stands out for clean lines and sleek, modern appearance.

standing seam roof

Unfortunately, there is also a downside to the aesthetics of standing seam roofs. While the cosmetic issue of oil canning.

Corrugated panels are best for those who:

  • Want to spend less money.
  • Are doing the installation themselves.
  • Want more of an industrial look.

For many, a major factor they consider when making a large purchase is cost. In the next chapter, we go over the breakdown of the long term and short term cost for shingles and metal.

Chapter 6

Shingles Vs Metal Roofing Cost

We touched on cost in the advantages section so by now you know that an asphalt shingle roof is more affordable than a metal roof. If upfront price was the only factor to consider regarding cost, this would be a really short chapter. However, as a buyer, you need to know the long term pricing factors that you should take into consideration.

If you’re leaning towards shingles, you may be wondering if the reduced life span is worth the paying less upfront? If you’re leaning towards metal, you may be wondering if the investment is worth it? 

Maybe you’re thinking “Is my roof going to somehow cost me more money down the line?” or “ Am I going to be able to recoup any of the money I paid for my roof if I sell my house?” 

We’re going to cover all of that in this chapter.

after metal roof

What Are The Upfront Costs Of A New Roof?

A standing seam metal roof will cost around 2-3 times as much as a shingle roof installed. Here’s what a typical 2,000 square foot roof should cost:

  • Purchasing a new standing seam metal roof will cost you $16,000 to 28,000. 
  • Purchasing a corrugated metal roof will cost you $8,000 to 16,000. 
  • Purchasing a new shingle roof will cost you $6,000 to $14,000.

How Long Does Shingle Roofing Last?

The lifespan of any roof affects its value. In simple terms, the longer the roof lasts, the more value you get out of it. 

The average lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is 10 to 20 years. However, it can be shorter depending on the climate and pitch of the roof.

Asphalt begins to deteriorate as soon as you expose it to normal weather. While the roof may function for 10-20 years, it usually begins to look weathered and old after 5-7 years.

How Long Does A Metal Roof Last?

A metal roof will last 2-3 times longer than a shingle roof. A metal roof can last 40 to 60 or more years. Metal roofing is commonly referred to as a “lifetime roof”. You install it once and you don’t need to worry about replacing it. It’s a long term solution and a long term investment.

Comparing Value Of Each Roofing System Over Time

Metal roofs and shingle roofs have drastically different price tags and life spans. These are the two biggest factors that contribute to their overall value.

The example below walks us through installing a shingle roof and a standing seam metal roof to help us determine each roof’s value when comparing their cost and lifespan differences.

Standing Seam Roof

  • Cost: $8 to $14 per square foot
  • Lifespan: 40-60 years or more

Quality Asphalt Shingles

  • Cost: $5 to $7 per square foot
  • Lifespan: 10-20 years

For the example below, we’re going to compare the cost over time for a 2,500 square foot roof. The example will be based on the current averages for cost and lifespan of each roof type. 

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

Quality Asphalt Shingles

  • 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

Cost After 50 Years = $60,000

While we can’t predict the future and tell you exactly what a new roof is going to cost years from now, we can look at data to make an educated prediction. There is good evidence to suggest that the cost of a new roof seems to double about every 15 years. The example above only takes into account the current cost of replacing a new roof. If we were to double the cost every 15 years, the total cost would look quite different.

With keeping that in mind, let’s look at the numbers based upon this happening and an escalated replacement cost for a shingle 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 Roof Replacements)= $15,000 + $30,000 + $60,000 = $105,000
  • Cost After 45 Years (Three Roof Replacements)= $15,000 + $30,000 + $60,000 + $120,000 = $225,000

Cost Of An Asphalt Shingle Roof After 50 Years = $225,000

Cost Of A Metal Roof After 50 Years = $27,500

Now I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way that a shingle roof will cost me $225,000 over the next 50 years. But we can all agree that based on historical inflation and data that suggests increasing prices of a roof, that a new shingle roof in 45 years will not cost $15,000. So it’s safe to say that a shingle roof after 50 years will cost you between $60,000 and $225,000.

When you take all of the above into consideration, paying a one time price of $27,500 for a standing seam roof ends up being much less than the price of 2-4 asphalt roofs that will increase in cost each time they are replaced.

Standing seam metal roofing costs about twice as much initially, but after about 15 years metal roofing is actually 50% cheaper. 

Cost Benefits Of Shingles Over Metal Roofing

Smaller Upfront Cost

As we’ve already discussed, a shingle roof is more cost efficient than a standing seam metal roof. Both the installation and the materials are less for a shingle roof. 

If budget is your primary concern, but you still want a metal roof, then consider a corrugated roof as it fits in the middle of these two options. Corrugated metal roofing will cost about half of the price of a standing seam and is only slightly more expensive than an asphalt shingle roof.

Affordable Repairs 

Whether it's replacing shingles that are missing, curling or buckling, at some point repairs on a shingle roof are going to have to be made. The good news is that repairing a shingle roof is less expensive than repairing a metal roof. 

This goes back to the initial affordability of a shingle roof. The material is less expensive than if you had to buy new metal panels and pay for them to be replaced.

Cost Benefits Of Metal Over Shingle Roofing

Value Over Time

While the upfront cost of metal roofing is more expensive than shingles, metal actually brings more value over time. 

As mentioned in the example above, a metal roof lasts longer than shingles. While you pay one large cost up front with metal, you’ll pay for multiple shingle roofs in the same amount of time that will end up costing more in the long term.

Resale Value

If you do decide to put your home on the market, will your roof make a difference in the listing price? 

A study that was done by Remodeling magazine and published by Angie’s List that shows a metal roof has a higher resale value. 

The study concluded metal roofs renovated with standing seam metal roofing recoup 85% to 95% of the costs. These gains in resale value amount to 1% to 6%, respectively, over homes roofed with asphalt shingles.

Energy Efficient

A metal roof is more energy efficient than a shingle roof. This means that it reflects heat off the roof to help keep your home cooler. This will decrease your heating and cooling cost.

Installing Metal Roofing Over Shingles

Since metal is such a lightweight material, a metal roof can sometimes be put over a shingle roof without having to remove the old roof first. This saves time and money during the installation.

To learn more about re-roofing with metal, we recommend reading:

Should I Install A Metal Roof Over Asphalt Shingles?

Insurance Costs Decrease

Metal roofs can cost less to insure than shingle roofs. The Metal Roofing Alliance says a metal roof can lower your homeowner’s insurance by up to 35%

This may not be the case for every insurance company or policy. It’s recommended to call your insurance provider to inquire if you qualify for a policy discount.

For A Deeper Dive Into Metal Roofing Insurance Savings Check Out:

Metal Roof Insurance Discounts: How Much Will I Save?

Deciding On A Roof Based On Cost

If you’re not sure which roof to choose based on cost, the answer to one simple question can be the deciding factor.

How Long Will You Live In Your Home?

Let’s say you plan on moving at some point. This interrupts the long term value you’ll get out of your roof.

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

Deciding On A Corrugated Metal Roof

We’ve discussed and compared each aspect of shingle roofing and metal roofing throughout this guide. Perhaps the choice is clear to you at this point on which roof type is for you.

If it’s not, we recommend going back over the advantages and disadvantages of each roofing system and comparing that with your biggest concerns and expectations for your new roof.

Some additional questions to ask yourself during the decision-making process: 

  1. What is my budget for my new roof?
  2. How long do I plan on living in my house?
  3. Does my Homeowners Association (if applicable) allow this type of roof?
  4. Am I installing the roofing myself or hiring a contractor?
  5. What’s the pitch of my roof?
  6. What roof will look best on my home? 

If you decide that a metal roof is the best fit for you, our team is happy to help guide you through the process of choosing the perfect roof.

To move forward on purchasing a metal roof, the first step is to request a quote. Click on the button below to get started.

You can also download our free Shingle v. Metal Roofing Guide to access all of the information we’ve talked about anytime!

Metal vs. Shingle Guide Download

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