Are Metal Roofs Truly Better Than Shingles? The Experts Weigh In

January 15, 2021

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Are metal roofs better than shingles? This is a very vital question for homeowners, as metal roofs are often more expensive than virtually any other roofing material choices, including traditional shingles! Whatever your roof material choices, you want to know that you’re making the best investment for your home and not wasting money on roof installation costs, while also considering long-term maintenance, repair, and replacement costs.

The best roofing materials for your house fits your budget and your home’s overall style, providing needed insulation and protection against water leaks and damage. Your home’s roof also needs to withstand local weather conditions while enhancing your home’s curb appeal! To help you make the best choice of roofing materials for your home, check out some vital information about metal roofing and then discuss your options with a roofing contractor as needed.

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Which is Better, a Metal Roof or Shingles?

There is no such thing as a “better” or “best” roofing option for any home, since both metal roofs and asphalt shingles have their own pros and cons. To help you make the right choice for your home, note a few of those pros and cons here, along with a few reasons why metal roofing is becoming such a popular option with homeowners!

Choose asphalt shingle roofing

Asphalt shingles are typically cheaper to install, and most if not all licensed roofers offer asphalt shingle installation and repairs. It’s also somewhat easy for a homeowner to replace a few missing shingles after a storm, and those replacement shingles are also relatively inexpensive.

It’s often recommended that your home blend in with neighborhood houses. If all the homes on your street have asphalt shingle roofs, a metal roof might seem out of place. Metal might also not blend well with Mediterranean style homes or other traditional home styles.

New homebuyers might also be uncomfortable with a metal roof on their house, perhaps being unsure of how to perform repairs or of find a roofing contractor who offers metal roof repairs and replacement. If you’re considering putting your home on the real estate market anytime soon, consider carefully the cost of a metal roof for a home you will be selling eventually, and if it might not put off some potential buyers.

Why choose a metal roof over asphalt shingles

While metal roofs have their drawbacks, there are many reasons why homeowners are choosing metal versus shingles and other roofing materials for their home! Check out some great advantages of metal roofs versus shingles.

  • Most shingle roofs last only 15 to 20 years before needing repairs or replacing. Metal roofing typically lasts 40 to 70 years, if not even longer. In turn, you might invest in two, three, or even four new shingle roofs during the lifespan of just one metal roof!
  • Because metal roofing is so durable, it can often be the last roof a homeowner purchases. Investing in a metal roof now can mean not having to include reroofing costs in your budget for decades, if ever! Choosing a metal roof for aging parents can also mean not having to worry about them having to afford roof repairs or a new roof replacement, or attempting DIY repairs, while they head into retirement.
  • Metal panels are far less likely to blow away in storms and high winds than individual shingles and are more secure against branches scraping against a roof.
  • While today’s asphalt shingles are often available in a wider range of color tones and shades than ever before, note that metal can typically be powder coated just about any color. If you prefer a certain roof color for your home, including a lighter shade to deflect light and keep interior spaces cool and comfortable, metal might offer more options than shingles.
  • Both metal and shingle roofing are recyclable; however, it often requires more energy to break down asphalt shingles for reuse. In turn, metal is typically considered the more eco-friendly choice than asphalt shingles.
  • Metal panels mean fewer gaps on a home’s roof, so that metal roofing provides added insulation for interior spaces. Metal roofing also means less risk of water damage and resultant wood rot and mold growth in the home.
  • Lightweight metal panels can often be installed over an existing roof, if your home is strong enough to support another roofing layer and where local building codes allow second or third roof layers.
  • Long metal panels offer a less cluttered and busy look than individual asphalt shingles.

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Does a Metal Roof Last Longer Than Shingles?

Metal roofing does last longer than even the highest-quality shingles, as said. The best name-brand shingles usually last no more than 30 years whereas even the most basic metal roof will typically last 40 to 50 years.

While that 10-year difference might not seem like an important consideration, note that high-quality shingles and basic metal roofing usually cost about the same. You might then get another 10 or 20 years out of your roofing materials when you invest in metal versus shingles.

You might also consider how long you plan on owning your home; even if you have no immediate plans to sell, will you downsize or relocate after retirement? If you’re a homeowner in your 30s, you might need to replace a new shingle roof once if not twice during the course of home ownership. Investing in a basic metal roof now can mean never having to replace that roof no matter how long you own your home.

Is a Metal Roof More Expensive Than Shingles?

Metal roof installation is typically more expensive than shingles, as said. Metal roofing typically costs between $120 and $500 or more per 100 square feet (one 10-foot by 10-foot square), while shingles often run between $100 to $200 per 100 square feet. While shingles roofs are typically less expensive to install, it’s vital that homeowners consider more than just initial costs when it comes to their roofing choice! Since metal roofs last longer than shingles, you’re likely to spend far less on reroofing over the years, but note some added reasons why metal roofing can be more cost-effective and a better financial investment than shingles:

  • If your home’s roof can support an additional roofing layers and local building codes allow you to install a metal roof over existing shingles, you can then save the cost of a roof tear-off and removal.
  • Adding a new roofing layer over the existing shingles also means not having to recycle or dispose of those shingles. Some recycling centers and landfills charge for accepting materials, so avoiding a tear-off also means avoiding those costs!
  • Since metal roofing provides added insulation for interior spaces, you might spend far less for heating and cooling when you invest in a metal roof.
  • As metal panels are far less likely to blow away in storms and high winds, you’ll likely spend less on roofing repairs over the years when you choose a metal roof.
  • Metal roofs are more fire-resistant than asphalt shingles. If you live in an area prone to lightning storms or other fire risks, a metal roof can help protect your home against fire damage.

Putting Metal Roof Over Shingles

Metal panels can be fitted over shingles, saving the cost and hassle of a tear-off. However, note that local building codes typically limit the number of roof layers allowed on homes. A local roofing contractor will be familiar with building codes and can note if your area allows a new roof to be installed over an existing roof in your case.

Your home’s roofing materials also need to be strong enough to support an added roofing layer. While metal is very lightweight, roof rafters and joists will need to support those panels. In older homes, this can mean too much weight on the roof and the risk of structural damage.

Roof decking and insulation under shingles also need to be in good repair to support metal panels and protect a home from water leaks. If the decking or underlayment need replacing, your roofing contractor will need to remove shingles before installing your metal roof.

Real Talk: Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?

It’s a common misconception that metal roofs attract lightning, but note that lightning is attracted to the highest point in the area and not a particular material. A metal roof is no more likely to suffer a lightning strike than an asphalt shingle or clay tile roof. A homeowner might also note that a lightning strike on an asphalt roof can increase the risk of fire damage, more so than a fire-resistant metal roof! If you’re worried about lightning strikes, investing in a metal roof can mean far less property damage and a safer home overall.

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Do Metal Roofs Leak More Than Shingles?

Metal roof panels will expand and shrink as the weather changes. In some cases, this can allow metal panels to pull away from each other and for their connectors to pull away from roof decking. In turn, gaps and cracks form and these can allow for water leaks inside the home.

However, asphalt shingles can also allow for water leaks as they get blown away in storms and high winds. Algae growing under shingles will also pull them from the roof decking and underlayment, increasing the risk of water leaks. Poor-quality installation also allows shingles to pull away from the home, risking water leaks and other damage.

To reduce the risk of leaks, invest in high-quality materials whether you choose metal or asphalt shingles. You also want to ensure you hire a qualified, dependable roofing contractor who offers a reliable guarantee for their work. Quality materials and installation will mean far less risk of water damage and resultant wood rot and mold growth in the home!

The Best Metal Roof on The Market

Aluminum is an excellent choice for tropical areas, as aluminum resists rust and corrosion naturally. Aluminum is also abundant and easy to recycle, making it a very eco-friendly choice. The metal is naturally lightweight, so it can often be installed over existing roofing materials even on older homes or those with weak roofing materials.

Zinc is another popular metal roofing option, as it also resists corrosion. As a matter of fact, many metal pieces you have around your home, such as screws and switch plates, are often given a zinc plating after production! Zinc is also self-healing, meaning that it will naturally fill in dents and dings over time, making it an excellent choice for homes prone to hailstorms and other damage risks.

Copper roofs are a very desirable option for metal roofing, as copper offers lots of added insulation and a beautiful color and appearance many homeowners love. The one downside to copper is its cost! Copper roofing might be one of the most expensive options for homeowners, although you can typically expect a quality copper roof to last for many decades if not even indefinitely.

Stainless steel roofs might offer the most color choices as it’s somewhat easy to powder coat steel. Steel is also easily recyclable and won’t expand and contract as easily as other materials. The durability of steel also ensures it lasts for decades; some steel roofs are guaranteed for 50 or 60 years, meaning that your home’s roof might easily outlive you!

Why You Shouldn’t Get a Metal Roof: Weighing the Cons!

With all these metal roofing advantages, you might wonder if there’s any reason you shouldn’t get a metal roof! While metal is one of the most durable and attractive residential roofing options, there are some downsides every homeowner should consider when in the market for reroofing. One reason to rethink a metal roof is if you might sell your home sometime soon. Metal roofing’s longevity offsets its higher installation price, so if you know you won’t be in your home for several more years, you won’t necessarily need such a durable roof. A basic asphalt shingle roof is often a better choice for homes you’ll be putting on the market within ten or fifteen years.

That higher installation cost might also be prohibitive if you truly cannot afford it and especially if you’re thinking of putting your reroofing costs on a high-interest credit card. The interest you pay on that loan can quickly eat up any long-term savings you would otherwise enjoy by investing in a metal roof.

The Connecticut Roofers is happy to provide this information to our readers and we hope it answered the question, are metal roof better than shingles. If you’re still curious about your Connecticut roofing options or would like to schedule a no-hassle, no-obligation consultation for needed metal roofing services, give us a call today! We carry a full line of durable yet affordable roof materials and stand behind all our work with a full guarantee you can trust.


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