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Aphalt Shingle Roofs vs. Metal Roofs: The Ultimate Guide

May 29, 2020

side by side photo of metal roofing and asphalt roof.

If your roofing needs to be replaced, there are a number of options available to you. The aesthetic appearance of your roof is one thing, and the performance of your roof is another major factor. Of course, the cost of a new roof is significant, and there is a large range of pricing depending on the type of roofing you choose.


There are two major categories of roofing available, each with several options of its own. The major choice many people come down to is deciding between a metal roof and an asphalt shingle roof. Both are popular, and each has its own set of pros and cons. This breakdown will help you decide between a shingle roof vs metal roof.

Types of Metal Roofing

The term metal roofing describes a fairly wide variety of options. The primary difference is the type of metal used. These vary in terms of durability, appearance, and cost. Here are some variations of metal roofing that you will find.

Steel Roofing

  • More expensive than a lot of other options
  • Tends to be more durable and can withstand expanding and contracting with changes in weather
  • Available in various style options

Aluminum Roofing

  • Moderately priced
  • Expands and contracts well with outside conditions
  • A sustainable choice given its relative ease of recycling

Copper Roofing

  • An expensive option with rising material prices
  • Recyclable
  • Strong and long-lasting

Corrugated Metal

  • More affordable than many other metal roofs
  • Not as durable, with a shorter lifespan

Metal Slate Roofing

  • Moderately priced
  • Durable and reliable
  • More complex to install than some other types of metal roofing

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

  • Moderately priced
  • Stands up well to harsh weather conditions
  • Middle range of durability and lifespan

Zinc Metal Roofing

  • More expensive than other types of metal roofing
  • Can be soft and relatively vulnerable to harsh conditions
  • Long lifespan

Tin Roofing

  • Not very common
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Often used as a generic term for aluminum roofing

Types of Asphalt Shingles

It might come as a surprise, but variety among asphalt shingles doesn’t just have to do with their color and appearance. There are also different types of asphalt shingles. Differences among asphalt shingles impact the durability and cost of the shingles.

close up of asphalt roof shingle.

Three-Tab Asphalt Shingles

  • Most cost-effective option
  • Very common

Dimensional (or Architectural) Asphalt Shingles

  • Moderately priced
  • Longer lasting than three-tab shingles
  • More style options than three-tab shingles

Luxury Asphalt Shingles

  • More expensive than the other types of shingles
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • A wide range of style options
  • Can add value to property

Pros and Cons of Metal vs. Shingle Roofing

What if you’re not to the point of choosing between different specific types of asphalt or metal roofs yet? First you need to decide whether you’re even going to choose asphalt or metal. These tables help you compare the pros and cons of each.

Pros of Metal Roofing

  • Long-lasting with durable materials
  • Aesthetically pleasing with many design options
  • Available in a wide range of metal types for several pricing ranges
  • Energy-efficient
  • Many are made from recyclable materials

Pros of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

  • Affordable
  • Available in a wide variety of designs and colors
  • Energy-efficient
  • Can stand up well to impact from hail and debris, especially when new
  • Ease of installation
  • Quietly absorb the sound of rain and hail

Cons of Metal Roofing

  • More expensive
  • Can be vulnerable to impact from hail and debris
  • Can be noisy under rain and hail
  • Can look out of place in suburban settings

Cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

  • Many builders use similar styles and colors for less unique look
  • Common dark shades absorb heat
  • DIY installation could void manufacturer warranties

Appearance of Shingle Roofs vs. Metal Roofs

A shingle roof vs. a metal roof offers different advantages in terms of appearance. Here is a quick breakdown.

Metal Roofing

As mentioned above, metal roofing can look a bit rural and out of place in suburban settings. This can be seen as both an advantage and a disadvantage depending on your preferences. One issue regarding the appearance of metal roofing is that prices tend to go up significantly to access more stylish and versatile materials.

Asphalt Roofing

The appearance of asphalt roofing is very familiar to people in suburban environments. That can also be good and bad. An asphalt roof will blend in and not call attention to itself as much as other materials, but that can be viewed as bland to some seeking to stand out. Asphalt roofing does come in a variety of colors and styles. Like metal roofing, the more expensive options offer more design choices, though at a lower price tag than their metal counterparts.

full asphalt roof with vents

Variety of Shingle Roofs vs. Metal Roofs

Metal Roofing

With more types of materials to choose from than asphalt roofing, metal roofing offers a lot of variety. From steel and slate to aluminum and corrugated metal, the different materials are conducive to variety.

Asphalt Roofing

While asphalt roofing tends to come in just three categories, there is a lot of variety available in each of these categories, especially dimensional and luxury shingles. The cost of upgrading to these types of shingles is still less than the price range of metal roofing.

Cost Comparison

Metal Roofing

In addition to more expensive materials, you have to account for installation when considering metal roof vs. asphalt shingle cost. Installing metal roofing tends to require specialized personnel and equipment, which raises the price tag overall. 

For an average ranch home roof of 2,000 square feet, a metal roof can cost $10,000-$18,000 including installation.

Asphalt Roofing

Installation costs for asphalt roofing range from less than most types of metal roofing to next to nothing for those who choose to install it themselves. Asphalt roofing is easier to install, so labor costs can be eliminated altogether by those seeking to do it themselves.

For a 2,000 square foot roof, an asphalt roof can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 before installation.

There are a number of factors that will affect the overall cost of a metal roof vs. shingle. This includes:

  • Long-term vs. Short-term Cost: Typically, metal roofs are slightly more expensive to install, while asphalt shingles have a lower one-time cost. However, metal roofs cost significantly less to maintain. This is primarily because metal roofs can last up to 60 years while most asphalt roofs have a lifespan of just 15-20 years. It’s also important to note that most asphalt roofs cost less to repair. Finding a qualified technician to make repairs to a metal roof can be more difficult and more expensive.
  • Labor: Labor costs for asphalt roofs tend to be cheaper, usually around $2-$3 per square foot. Metal roofs, on the other hand, can be more expensive depending on the material and your location. You can expect to pay between $4 and $12 per square foot for labor costs. 
  • Price of Materials: The materials used to install either a metal or asphalt roof will also affect the overall cost, such as the type of metal used. Metals like stainless tin, copper, or zinc usually cost more, while steel, aluminum, and corrugated metal are more affordable. You’ll also have to pay for materials like ridge caps, screws, and flashing with a metal roof. With asphalt roofs, you’ll have to cover the cost of ridge caps, underlayment, and drip edges.

Another factor that may influence the cost of installation is if any repairs need to be made prior to installation. For example, if you decide to go with an asphalt roof, you’ll have to pay to remove and dispose of old shingles before new ones can be installed. On the other hand, metal roofs can be installed on top of asphalt shingles, which can help reduce costs.
These are just some of the factors that affect the cost of metal roofs vs. shingles. We recommend contacting local contractors to get a better idea of what installation, labor, and materials will cost in your area.

Cost of Repair and Maintenance

Metal Roofing

As with installation, the cost of repair tends to be higher for metal roofing. However, the durability of the materials also means fewer repairs or replacements.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt roofing is usually less expensive to repair. Individual shingles or areas of shingles may need attention, but with smaller parts and less expensive materials, minor repairs typically cost less.

Cost of Replacement

Metal Roofing

As with the initial cost, replacing a metal roof is relatively expensive vs. asphalt roofing. The materials cost more, as does the labor. That said, metal roofs typically last a long time.

  • Metals roofs on average cost $10,000 to $18,000 including installation and materials.
  • Labor for installation averages $300 to $500 per square and $4,500-$7,500 for a 1,500 square foot roof.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt roofing generally costs less than metal roofing. Even factoring in the longer lifespan of metal roofing, the cost of asphalt can be much lower.

  • Asphalt shingle roofing typically costs $5,000 to $10,000 for installation and materials.
  • Higher-quality options tend to range between $11,000 and $15,000.
  • Labor costs around $2-$3 per square foot, $200-$300 per square and $3,000-$4,500 for a 1,500 square foot roof.

Installation

As mentioned above, the cost of installation for metal roofing is higher due to the relatively technical nature of the installation. 

In terms of how long it takes, both metal roofing and asphalt shingles typically take around 2-3 days to install, depending on the size of the house and the complexity of the roof design. Both roof types will involve taking off and disposing of old materials, bringing new roofing materials to the site and installing them.

The key difference when it comes to installation is the complexity of the work. Asphalt roofing can be installed by professionals, and it can be done by the property owner. It is less technical than installing metal roofing, which requires more expertise and typically more personnel, accounting for the higher cost of installation.

Longevity

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing lasts a long time. Weaker materials like aluminum and corrugated metal tend to have shorter lifespans, from 15-30 years. Meanwhile, steel and copper, though much more expensive, can last up to 100 years.

Top of home with metal style roofing.

Asphalt Roofing

Depending on the location and climate, asphalt roofing typically lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 years. Dimensional and luxury shingles last longer than three-tab shingles. Additionally, there are ways to rejuvenate the ability of asphalt shingles to stand up to the elements and add up to 15 years of life to them.

Asphalt shingles properly laid out on roof.
dark new roof shingle background and texture. asphalt tiles of house roof.

Durability and Weight

Metal Roofing

The durability of metal roofing varies depending on the material. Softer metals can be susceptible to damage from debris, while harder materials like steel are much more durable.

That durability comes without much increase in weight. Metal roofing does not tend to weigh more than other types of roofing.

Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt roofing is surprisingly durable. While the occasional shingle can come loose in strong winds, asphalt roofing tends to hold up well. The shingles can dry out over time, but there are ways to rejuvenate asphalt shingles to last longer.

Asphalt shingles are relatively light and suitable for most roofs. The lighter weight of the materials makes them versatile and appropriate for a wide range of structures.

Fire, Water, Weather, Hail and Mold Resistance

Metal Roofing

  • Resistant to fire and water
  • Weather-resistant
  • Hail-resistant but lighter or softer materials can occasionally suffer damage
  • Mold-resistant

Asphalt Roofing

  • Can be fire-resistant when fresh
  • Resistant to most weather
  • Impact-resistant from hail
  • Can suffer UV and wind damage
  • Can be susceptible to mold

Painting and Sealing

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing can be painted or sealed, which can add to its visual appeal and longevity. Different materials require specific products, so the recommended type of seal or paint needs to be used.

Asphalt Roofing

Seals can be applied to asphalt roofing, and the right product can add years to asphalt shingles. Certain types of paint can be used, but the right product and primer must be applied.

Retail Value and Return on Investment

The return on investment for a new roof can be high. The longer the expected life of the roof and its visual appeal, the higher the ROI and resale value will be. Metal roofing made of materials like steel and copper tends to have the highest resale value.

Architectural and luxury asphalt roofs add the highest resale value for asphalt roofing. If the shingles have been sealed or treated with a product that prolongs roof life, the resale value will likely increase that much more.

FAQs

Does a metal roof last longer than shingles?

Yes, a metal roof tends to last about 2-3 times longer than an asphalt roof.

How much more does a metal roof cost than an asphalt roof?

Depending on the material, a metal roof can cost 2-3 times more than an asphalt roof.

What type of roofing is environmentally responsible?

Metal roofing is made of natural materials that last a long time, over 30 years. That makes them very environmentally responsible.

Asphalt roofing can be made more sustainable by treating them with natural products that extend their lifespan. They can also be made of recycled materials.

How can I tell if my roof needs to be replaced?

You can inspect your roof up-close or with binoculars. Look for inconsistencies in color, parts of the roof pulling away from the rest, or other signs of wear and tear.

Extend the Lifespan of Your Roof Today

Looking to extend the life of your asphalt shingles? Roof Maxx’s roof rejuvenating technology can extend the lifespan of your roof up to 15 years or more. When you combine the more affordable asphalt shingle roof with the life-giving power of Roof Maxx, you can get longevity at a discount. 

Our affordable roof restoration treatment costs a fraction of roof replacement and keeps your shingles out of landfills. Contact us today to learn more about what Roof Maxx can do for your asphalt roof.

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