Metal Roofs vs Asphalt Shingles: Know The Differences

by | May 27, 2021 | Metal Roofing

If you’re in the market for a new roof, the variety of options available can floor you. Asphalt shingle roofing has been the dominant choice for residential homes for a long time for its reliability, ease of maintenance, and cost-effectiveness, but more recently, metal roofing has gained in popularity thanks to its superior durability, energy efficiency, and an incredible selection of aesthetic options. 

Though both metal and asphalt shingles are great options for roofing, one may be better suited to your needs. So we stacked them up against each other—metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles—comparing their differences to help you make the right decision for your roof.

1. Durability

Perhaps one of the most significant differences between metal roofing and asphalt shingles is the length of its life. Metal roofs tend to be more durable than asphalt shingles, with a lifespan of 50-70 years, while asphalt shingles can only last for 20-25 years. Different metal materials, such as copper and zinc, have even been known to last 100 or more years in some instances.

Constant thermal cycling weathers asphalt shingles, reducing their lifespan. Although shingles return to their regular size when the air temperature moderates, they may shrink more quickly due to perennial expansion and contraction. Asphalt shingles are also susceptible to mold, algae, mildew, hail, and high wind damage, although fiberglass shingles are more durable than organic ones. 

On the other hand, metal roofs are engineered and installed with fastening clips or slotted screw holes that allow for thermal movement of the metal with temperature changes without breaking down over time. They’re superior performers in bad weather and high winds and impervious to molds, mildews, and bugs. 

2. Cost

Asphalt shingles are undeniably more affordable and easy to install, while metal roofs are more expensive and require specialized knowledge to install. The cost per square (100 sq. ft.) for asphalt shingles is around $350-$900, while metal roofs range from $800-$1,200 per square. But keep in mind that metal roofing will last nearly three times longer and requires less repair. So while asphalt shingles are cheaper, you’ll have to replace your roof at some point. Asphalt shingles are a good option for the short term, but if you’re playing the long game, it’s a metal roof all the way.

3. Maintenance

Roof maintenance doesn’t top anyone’s list of fun things to do, yet it must be done to ensure a roof’s longevity. Metal roofs require little maintenance and need to be repaired far less frequently, especially if the roof was correctly installed. Specific metal roof profiles have fewer maintenance requirements; for example, standing seam requires less maintenance than exposed fastener. 

While metal roof color can fade over time, it can also be repainted. However, metal roofing is more complicated to replace than asphalt shingles because all the full-length panels are connected. With asphalt shingles, you must have them recaulked and sealed as the roof ages. However, they’re much easier and cheaper to repair. You can remove each shingle one at a time instead of replacing the whole roofing structure.

4. Aesthetics

Metal roofs can come in virtually any color, from earth tones to bright/vivid blues and greens. You can choose from different metals, textures, and styles. Instead of the standard shingle options, you can also choose tile, panel, ribbed, or shingle metal roofing for your home or commercial property. You can even customize your roof components to imitate the look of asphalt, slate, or wood shingles.

Asphalt shingles maintain a very traditional roofing style pattern and have limited color options. But they can be manufactured to resemble tiles, wood shakes, and even slate-style roofs. 

5. Energy Efficiency

People mistakenly believe that metal roofs are hot, but it’s actually the opposite. Because of their ability to reflect the sun and its heat away from your home, metal roofs can lower the indoor air temperature and reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system in the summer. A metal roof will lower your energy bills by about 40 percent in the summer. These insulative qualities work both ways because they can retain heat, keeping you warm and cozy in the winter. You can also choose from a variety of ENERGY STAR® rated colors and finishes for metal roofs.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles absorb the sun’s heat, making your home’s cooling system work harder. Even so, some asphalt shingle styles are designated as cool roofs and come with an ENERGY STAR® rating. These roofing materials are certified to reflect more of the sun’s energy, lowering your cooling costs by 7% to 15%. 

Need an Expert for Your Roofing Project?

Despite the differences between metal roofs and asphalt shingles, they’re both excellent investments for your property. Whether you’re interested in the energy efficiency of a metal roof or the classic design of a shingle roof, trust AWS Roofing for all your roofing needs, including roof installation, repair, and replacement. We specialize in both metal and asphalt shingle roofs and only use the best products on the market. Contact us today for a free estimate!

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