Metal Roof vs. Shingle Roof: The Pros and Cons of Each

During construction, owners often think about the interior of a building. How many bedrooms should a new house have? Should it have a large kitchen or a smaller kitchen with an enclosed porch to the side? Should a commercial property have individual offices or more of a bullpen-style, open air concept? How many break rooms should there be? While these are important decisions to make, an often-overlooked area is the roof. (We don’t know why. We love roofs, but we are biased!)

Whether you are in the market to upgrade your current property with a roof replacement or have recently acquired a new property, it’s important to understand your roofing options.

The first impression of a roof is how it looks. Yet, there is much more to consider. Your roof is your building’s first defense system and the type of material used to construct it makes a big difference.

There are various roofing materials that impact the aesthetics, functionality, and longevity of your home or commercial property.

The two most common materials for roofs are metals and shingles. Both styles have their own advantages and disadvantages to consider. So, the question becomes: metal roof vs. shingle roof. Which material best fits your needs?

In this article, we’ll explore some of the pros and cons of metal and shingle roofs so you can better understand your roofing options.

Metal vs. Shingle Roof

The Difference Between Metal Roof vs.  Shingle Roof

The main difference between metal and shingle roofs is simple: they are made from different materials.

A metal roof is a blanket term for a roof composed of various metals.

Metal roofs are available in:

  • Tin
  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Some of the oldest buildings in the world have metal roofs. Though metal roofing did not become popular in America until the mid-19th century, the concept dates back to the earliest days of civilization. In fact, Paul revere was a silversmith and likely a roofer as well!

Here is a more in depth look at the pros and cons of metal roofing:

Pros of Metal Roofing

Low Maintenance

One of the best things about a metal roof is that it’s extremely low maintenance. As long as your roof was installed professionally and correctly, all you need to do is clear debris and clean it in order to maintain a pristine look.

Diverse Aesthetic Options

There are a lot of diverse aesthetic options available, both because there are different metals used and because they can be painted.

Metal roofing allows you to have a more traditional look if you’d like, or to get creative and paint half your roof purple if you really want to!

With this style of roofing, you are really in the driver’s seat for aesthetics because you have such a high degree of control over shape and size.

Boosts Property Value

Metal roofs rarely have to be replaced over the course of a lifetime, so they positively affect your property value. They have longevity, so buyers don’t have to worry about any additional upfront roofing costs. Additionally, some home insurance providers lower premiums for properties with metal roofs.

Environmentally Efficient

Metal roofs are more eco-friendly than their shingle counterpart.

Metal roofs are:

  • 100% recyclable
  • Made using recycled materials
  • Capable of reducing overall energy use

With new energy efficiency options, heat is refracted from your home rather than absorbed. Additionally, solar panels are easier to install on metal roofs.

This can be appealing to a future buyer that cares both about cost and the environment.

Durability

Metal is by far the strongest material you can use to build a roof. It is also the most fire-resistant option on the market. Because of these two great attributes, metal roofs provide a strong barrier against the elements. They are designed to withstand major damage and won’t need replacing or repairing after a heavy storm.

Longer Lifespan

Possibly the greatest pro of a metal roof is that is has a significantly longer lifespan than shingles. It is a lightweight material that does not put extra stress on your home’s foundation, allowing your roof to last 50-100 years.

Cons of Metal Roofing 

While there are many advantages of a metal roof, there are some disadvantages to consider as well.

Limited Trade Professionals

Metal roofing takes a skilled professional to install. It does come at a cost and there are not as many roofers with the experience needed to install as there are for shingle roofers.

Labor Intensive

Since there is a certain level of precision required with installing metal roofs, it is much more labor intensive. It will take more time and need to be done by a professional with metal roofing experience.

Oil Canning

While this is a purely aesthetic problem, it’s still worth mentioning. With metal roofs, you’ll be able to see waviness in an area that should be flat. While there is not much you can do to combat this, the good news is that it will not affect the overall function of your roof.

Homeowners Associations

Before starting any home project, it is important to check and see if you have a Homeowners Association. If you do, you need to check in with them. Homeowners Associations can have strict rules and regulations for their residents.

You do not want to start a project just to learn the materials you selected are not applicable in your neighborhood. Metal is newer to the residential roofing side of the industry, so some municipalities may ban them.

Insurance Problems

Sometimes, metal roofs will give you insurance benefits. Other times, you may face some problems. Since metal roofs are more expensive, insurances could increase premiums in case of replacement.

Here is a more in depth look at the pros and cons of shingle roofing:

Pros of Shingle Roofing

A shingle roof is the more common type of roofing you see in residential areas. It is often seen as the “traditional” type of roof used for most homes. They are constructed using small pieces of asphalt shingles.

Practical

There is a reason why shingle roofs have stuck around for ages: they are practical. If there is a problem, it’s easy to fix. You can walk on a shingled roof, so cleaning and maintaining your roof is easier.

Economical

The main advantage of a shingle roof is the overall short-term costs. The installation is much cheaper than installing a metal roof, due in part to the lower cost of material. When a homeowner or commercial property owner is faced with suddenly needing a roof replacement, it is the more economical option upfront, which can be helpful when needing to make a decision and install a roof quickly.

Easy Install

Shingles are easier to transport than a full metal slab. They also offer an easier, quicker installation process.

More Contractors

Shingle roofing is easier to install than metal roofing. This means that you have more contractor options for your work order. Many contractors have experience with shingles, so you can feel safe in finding a qualified professional quickly.

Higher Warranty Coverage

Because of the popularity of shingles, there are some great warranty coverage on the market. In most cases, both the manufacturer and the contractor will give you warranty options for shingle roofs. In fact, many manufacturers have adopted lifetime warranty coverage policies.

Cons of Shingle Roofing

Shingle roofing is popular for the many reasons listed above, but there are some cons to consider.

Less Longevity than Metal

Shingles have a shorter lifecycle than their metal counterpart. Whereas metal roofing options can last 50-100 years, a shingle roof rarely lasts longer than 25 years. Here are the factors that cause shingle roofs to degrade vs. metal: before they hit 25 years, shingle roofs usually need at least some shingles replaced or repaired before a full-out roof replacement. Why? Because shingles damage easily, succumb to flaking, and are breeding grounds for algae, mold, and mildew.

Aesthetic Limitations

Shingle roofs can look neat and sophisticated, but they do not have the array of aesthetic options that metal roofing offers.

It’s very difficult to dye a shingle or find one that’s light in color. The asphalt limits the opportunity for vivid colors on shingle roofs. If you go the painting route, shingles will fade over time and get darker in the sun.

Heat Retention

Instead of refracting sun rays, shingle roofs absorb them because of the color and chemical makeup of the asphalt. This heat is usually transferred indoors, which can cause a spike in utilities if you’re trying to maintain a cool environment. Additionally, asphalt is combustible, which can be detrimental in the case of house fires.

Non-Eco Friendly

Shingles are actually made from an oil-based product, making them difficult to recycle. While it is possible, most people aren’t aware of how to properly dispose of shingles, so they end up in landfills.

Cost of Metal Roof vs. Shingle Roof

There are many pros and cons to both metal and shingle roofs. For many consumers, however, the final factor to consider is price.

When thinking about the cost of your roof investment, it’s important to think about both short-term and long-term costs.

For instance, while metal roofs are more money upfront, they last longer and are less likely to need repairs over time, so it costs less over time.

Finding a Professional

During your decision-making process, don’t forget to ask a professional. If you have any questions or would like a second opinion on which roof will better fit your home or business, Advocate Construction is here. A professional roofing contractor will be able to help inspect your home and give you a recommendation on what will work best for you. At Advocate Construction, all of our professionals have the experience and dedication you want and need in a roof replacement contractor. All of the jobs are done with high levels of integrity, transparency, and with longevity in mind.

Contact us today by calling 833-409-ROOF (7663).