How to Decide Between a Metal or Asphalt Roof

Are you thinking of getting a new roof on your home? Are you building a new home? Is the decision to use asphalt or metal roofing a difficult one to make? Many decisions need to be made in either case so let’s discuss the difference between the two to help make the choice easier.

A couple of basic differences are a metal roofing system is more expensive but requires less maintenance and lasts longer. An asphalt roof is less costly but provides you with a shorter lifespan, but less maintenance. Here are additional advantages and disadvantages of both types of roofing.

Metal Roofing

A newly installed roof can save money on your homeowner’s insurance premiums. Research has proven that homes with metal roofs suffer minor damage from storms and fires, which means the insurance companies tend to look favorably upon them.

Metal roofing is durable, energy-efficient, and light. There is a wide range of different types of metal roofing to choose from, making it easy to find a color and style that complements any home. If you prefer a non-metal look, there are products available that resemble other non-metal materials. A re- roofing services contractor in your area can help you choose the best material for your particular situation.

Moderate pricing, most recyclable and sustainable, non-corrosive, and contracts and expands easily

Very costly, recyclable, and natural material, it can be soldered, up to 100 years life expectancy

Seam Standing Metal
Has a “ribbed” appearance, withstands contraction and expansion, made from zinc, copper, steel, or aluminum

Expensive, very durable, withstands contraction and expansion, many finish options

Tin Roof
Cost-effective, easy to shape, pliable, not a common roofing material, often used to describe aluminum or steel roofing

Very costly, recyclable, and natural material, soft, making it vulnerable to hail and impact, easy to shape, pliable, up to 100 years life expectancy

In addition to the types of metal, there are also various colors and formats, such as ribbed, panel, tile, and shingle. Some of the products also resemble asphalt and wood.

The cost of installation is more expensive than an asphalt roof. For an average rambler or ranch-style home of 2,000 square feet, the price is $2,000 to $4,000 prior to installation, averaging $100 to $200 per 100 square feet of roof. Therefore, metal roofs can average $4,500 to $11,500 depending on the materials and includes installation. If you decide to have a metal roof installed, contact a residential roofer for options and pricing.

Many of the metals used are lightweight and easy to work with, and can be installed over the old roofing material. While metal roofing is very energy efficient, the efficiency will not be as high if installed incorrectly. Metal roofing is especially effective in reducing energy consumption during the hot summer months.

It is not recommended that a homeowner attempt to install a metal roof themselves. You should contact a local contractor, as roofing is dangerous work that requires specific skills, safety equipment, and tools.

For those interested in conservation, metal roofing is eco-friendly and continuously recyclable, and usually made from recycled materials. Metal roofing is incredibly durable, water-resistant, and lightweight, which are some of the significant benefits of metal roofing.

The durability of metal roofing and its resistance to harsh weather conditions contributes to its long life. Metal roofing seals out moisture, preventing water damage, and can be protected against rust with a coating. It is also fire resistant and does not rot.

If metal roofing is uncoated or unpainted, it is vulnerable to corrosion and rust. Painting and coating are easy processes that protect the roof from the elements and help to keep it in good condition. The professional coating of a metal roof is relatively cost-effective, with pricing from $1 to $2 per square foot.

Not only is metal roofing energy-efficient, long-lasting, and weather-resistant, it can also raise the resale value of the property and offers a high return on investment (ROI).

As beautiful and functional as metal roofing is, there are some disadvantages as well.

Metal roofing can look out of place in some suburban areas because it appears agricultural. Although there are many unique style options, they will come at a higher price point.

Metal re-roofing is not suggested for the DIYer. It often calls for underlayment and plywood framing, requires specific skills as some types are much heavier to work with, and can cut the skin if improperly handled or without the use of gloves.

During hail storms, metal roofing is prone to dents, especially if it is a thinner variety of metal. Fallen branches can also cause damage to metal roofing.

While applying a coating or painting is recommended for a metal roof, you will need to make this investment every few years, adding to the overall cost of the investment over time. A repainting or complete paint job is a major endeavor and costs between $1,000 and $4,000 depending on the location and coating used.

While the return on investment and resale value are typically high with new roof installations, if the color and style of a metal roof do not fit a potential buyer’s taste or fit the aesthetic of the area, it may not be as high. Your roofing company can suggest the best metal roofing for your home based on your taste, budget, and style of your home.

Replacing your current asphalt shingles with metal roofing is not necessarily tricky, but requires time and labor. The removal of old shingles can cost between $3 to $5 per square foot. But you do have the option of leaving the shingles in place and installing the metal roof over them, provided the roof is in good shape.

Asphalt Shingles

Homeowners more commonly use asphalt shingles than metal roofing. They are constructed of fiberglass or felt paper base covered by a layer of asphalt for waterproofing, and then ceramic granules are placed over the top.

Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles have been the most popular choice since their invention in the 1980s. They come in architectural style or 3-tabbed shingles.

Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are currently the most popular choice and have been since their invention in the 1980s.

There are three categories of asphalt roofing shingle products – strip shingles or three-tabbed shingles, dimensional shingles, and luxury shingles. You need to understand the differences between each type to pick the right product for your home.

Strip Shingles

The three-tabbed shingles or strip shingles have the appearance of three separate pieces combined into one strip. They are made from a layer of asphalt and have a flat appearance resembling slate. Because they have a single layer, they typically weigh and cost less than other asphalt shingle types. Prior to designer shingles coming on the market in the 80s, strip shingles were the preferred roofing shingle on the market. Strip shingles today are used most often used by home builders that manufacture less expensive housing or by homeowners who are replacing roof shingles on homes that already have strip shingles.

Dimensional Or Architectural Shingles
Also known as laminate shingles, dimensional or architectural shingles are the most prevalent asphalt shingles used today. This type of shingle has extra asphalt layers, making them look bulkier, and can be found in a variety of styles and colors.

This type of shingle is manufactured with two or more layers of asphalt, fused for a thicker and richer multi-dimensional appearance. Some are designed to replicate natural slate roofing and wood shake aesthetics. Dimensional shingles are generally heavier than strip shingles and have better warranty protection.

Luxury Shingles
Luxury shingles are the best laminated shingles available today. They offer a different appearance and function, which outclasses dimensional shingles. In addition to being a shingle ‘heavyweight’ offering premium protection against weathering, luxury shingles are beautiful to look at, offering the highest quality, coloration, and dimension. These products provide the most realistic representation of the quarried slate roofing and old-world wood shake roof.

Asphalt shingles have many benefits that can make them a preferred choice to metal roofing.

One of the biggest reasons homeowners choose shingle roofing over metal is the affordable price. Not only are asphalt shingles less costly per square foot, but the cost of installation is less expensive and faster. An average cost for materials is $.80 to $1.20 per square foot, with the entire job averaging $5,300 to $10,000.

Another plus of asphalt shingles over metal roofing is the lower repair costs. In many cases, you can remove a damaged shingle piece one at a time without removing any undamaged surrounding parts, meaning the roofing service can work faster because they have less to do.

When considering a professional roofer to install a new roof, choosing asphalt shingles over metal roofing provides the advantage of having more companies to choose from, resulting in savings for the homeowner. Because there are fewer options for roofing companies who install metal roofs, it isn’t easy to get your new roof installed quickly.

Insurance pricing will also be better for asphalt shingles over metal roofing. Homes built along coastal areas will have restrictions on the roofing types their homeowner’s insurance will cover. There are specific limits on metal roofing within a specific distance from the coastline, but all insurance companies cover asphalt shingle roofing regardless of location.

Shingle roofing comes with another benefit. They have more warranties both from the manufacturer and the contractor. Coverage should be provided for manufacturer defects, errors, algae growth, wind resistance limits, and contractor error.

As with metal roofing, asphalt shingles also come with some disadvantages. These drawbacks are sometimes the reason a homeowner will choose metal roofing over asphalt shingles.

The most significant disadvantage is their lifespan. Most shingles have a maximum of 25 years of life. The material, whether fiberglass or asphalt, design of either architectural or 3-tab and the type of coating will affect the life of your roof. Regardless, a metal roof will last longer.

Asphalt shingles are less expensive to purchase and install compared to metal roofing. But they do have higher maintenance and upkeep costs. And because of a shorter lifespan, there is a replacement expense. Basically, you would have to install a shingle roof three times in the same timeframe as one metal roof. If you pay $9,000 per asphalt shingle installation, that would come to $27,000 for three installations.

Asphalt shingles attach to decking using nails, which makes tiny holes. Usually, a penetrating installation like this won’t cause any damage, unless done incorrectly, as it will cause the structure to become compromised.

Unfortunately, asphalt shingles have limited color choices. You cannot find bright or light-colored shingles as with metal roofing. There are only dark, dull colors that do not lighten. These are essential for UV protection and fire resistance.

Also, asphalt shingles are much heavier than metal panels. One square of asphalt shingles, 100 square feet, can weigh from 150 to 400 pounds. Too much weight will compromise the structural integrity of the home. When re-roofing with asphalt shingles, the new layer goes over the old layer, creating more weight.

Then the next time your roof needs to be redone, both layers will need to be removed prior to installing the new roof. Removing the old shingles is an extra expense not included in the cost of a new roof installation.

Most asphalt shingles have a Class A fire rating, but asphalt is semi-solid petroleum that makes it combustible. So to improve the fire resistance, a layer of granules is added by the manufacturer. This coating makes the shingles resistant to fire on the surface, but it will engulf the roof if the flame comes in contact with the asphalt beneath.

Asphalt shingles do not hold up as well under intense weather conditions. Three-tabbed shingles have a greater chance of getting damaged during heavy winds, snow, or hail. If they are not installed properly, they could tear, curl, or rip off, making them less durable than metal roofing.

Because of the materials and dark colors of asphalt shingles, they absorb more heat than metal. When the roof heats up, it turns into solar heat, filtering down into the home below.

The result is your cooling system works harder and longer to combat the heat, also resulting in higher electric bills. With exposure to frequent high temperatures for extended periods, asphalt shingles are more likely to be damaged.

Another major problem with asphalt shingle roofing is the forming of a slimy coating over the surface caused by mold, mildew, or algae. These contaminants grow when excess moisture does not get dry from the sun.

There are both advantages and disadvantages of these types of roofing – metal or asphalt – and depending on your budget, taste, and how long you plan on owning the home, the above factors will help you decide which roof is best for you.

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