If you’re in the market for a roof replacement, or buying a new home, it’s important to know your roofing options. There are a lot of different materials used to construct a building and those materials have an impact on the aesthetics, functionality, and longevity of your home. While many people focus on the interior and specific details of the exterior, an often-overlooked area is the roof. Roofing material doesn’t usually cause much speculation other than, does it look nice or not. However, your roof is your home’s first defense system and the type of material used to construct it makes a big difference. In this article, we’ll explore some of the pros and cons of a metal roof vs. shingle roof so you can better understand your roofing options.
Before we dive right into metal vs. shingle roof pros and cons, it’s important to have a strong grasp on the underlying differences between a metal roof and a shingle roof.
A metal roof is a blanket term for a roof that’s constructed from a variety of different metals. Metal roofs are available in tin, steel, aluminum, and even copper and zinc. Needless to say, metal roofs are a bit more complex than shingle roofs. While metal has traditionally been used for commercial or industrial buildings, it’s recently made its way into residential buildings.
A shingle roof is the more common type of roofing you see in residential areas. They’re constructed using small pieces of asphalt shingles and is seen as the “traditional” type of roof used for most homes.
So what are the pros and cons of each?
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 if you want to maintain a pristine look.
Due to the variety of metal used for roofs, and its ability to be painted, there are a lot of diverse aesthetic options available. You can opt for a traditional look or even have your roof painted purple if that’s really what you want. You also have a high degree of control over the shape and size of your metal roof.
For longevity reasons, having a metal roof will boost your property value. Since metal roofs rarely have to be replaced over the course of a lifetime, buyers won’t have to worry about any additional upfront costs that are generated from the roof. Plus, depending on your home insurance provider, having a metal roof may lower premiums.
As the more eco-friendly option of the two, metal roofs are 100% recyclable, made using recycled materials, and reduce 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.
Metal roofs provide a strong barrier against the elements. They’re designed to withstand major damage and won’t need replacing or repairing after a heavy storm. Metal is by far the strongest material you can use to build a roof and is the most fire resistant option on the market.
Overall, metal is a lightweight material, especially when compared to shingles. This means it won’t put extra stress on your home’s foundation. This, along with many of the above reasons, makes for a roof that can last 50-100 years.
While there are a lot of pros to metal roofs, there aren’t nearly as many professionals who have the experience needed for installation. Since metal roofs need proper installation to avoid problems, finding a trade professional with experience shouldn’t be overlooked.
While this is a purely aesthetic problem, it’s still worth mentioning. A lot of times, on metal roofs, you’ll be able to see waviness in an area that is supposed to be flat. There’s not much you can do to combat this, but it won’t affect the overall function of your roof.
As most people know, Home Owners Associations can have strict rules and regulations for their residents. Since metal is still being introduced as a residential roofing material, some municipalities may ban them.
Since there’s a certain level of precision required with installing metal roofs, it is much more labor intensive. It needs to be installed 100% correctly to avoid problems, so it will take more time and need to be done by a professional with experience.
Sometimes, metal roofs will give you insurance benefits. Other times, you may face some problems. Since metal roofs are more expensive, which we’ll cover later, insurances could increase premiums in case of replacement.
Shingle roofs have been around for ages and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. This is primarily because they’re practical. If there’s a problem, it’s easy to replace single shingles rather than the entire roof and since you can actually walk on a shingled roof, maintenance and cleaning is easier.
The main advantage of a shingle roof is the overall short-term costs. The installation is much cheaper than installing a metal roof and if you’re a homeowner, this is a more economical option upfront.
Shingles are easier to transport than a full metal slab and are packaged so that they’re immediately ready for installation. This means no measuring, cutting, or awkward attachments.
Not surprisingly, since shingle roofs are easier to install, there are more contractors available to do the work. They have a simple application process and due to the popularity of shingles, contractors have a lot of experience with them.
Again, since shingles have been one of the most common roofing materials for years, there is great warranty coverage. In most cases, both the manufacturer and the contractor will give you warranty options for single roofs.
Simply put, shingles have a shorter lifecycle. They rarely, if ever, last longer than 25 years and usually need to be replaced or repaired before then. Shingles damage easily, succumbs to flaking, and are breeding grounds for algae, mold, and mildew.
Since thousands of individual asphalt shingles need to be attached to a roof to complete it, the weight increases substantially. Even with measures to reduce weight, they’re still heavy. Overtime, this could affect your home’s structural integrity so it’s important to get regular inspections.
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. Even when painted, over time the shingles will fade and get darker in the sun.
Instead of refracting sunrays, shingle roofs absorb them. This is due to the color and chemical makeup of the asphalt in comparison to metal. 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.
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.
The final comparison of metal vs. shingle roofs has to do with both short-term and long-term cost. Metal roofs have a much higher upfront cost. On average, you can expect to pay about $16,000 for a metal roof on a mid-size home. Since prices vary by square foot and material, you’ll want to do more thorough research before committing. For shingle roofs, the average price is about $7,000. That’s a pretty substantial short-term difference. However, it’s also important to look at things from a long-term perspective.
Since metal roofs don’t need to be replaced, and last roughly 50-60 years, it’ll be about $16,000 over your lifetime.
Single roofs have to be replaced every 15-20 years depending on the maintenance and weathering. If you replace your shingle roof three times to get the same lifespan as a metal roof, it’ll end up being $21,000.
At the end of the day, the decision is up to you and your preferences. It’s important to weigh all of the pros and cons alongside initial costs and long-term costs to find something that’s best for you.
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 there. 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.