Roofing: Asphalt Shingles vs. Metal Panels

Serving Bastrop county and other surrounding areas in TX since 2015 and helping homeowners get closer to the perfect vision for their home.

One of the most common questions among homeowners is “What’s better, shingle or metal roofing?”. The short answer is, they’re both good! But one may fit your specific situation better than the other, so let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two and see if we can identify which one will best fit your needs and wants.

 

Shingles

Asphalt shingles can be significantly cheaper in upfront costs than metal roofing, however, they don’t typically have as long of a lifespan. How long you plan on owning your home is a factor to consider when choosing roofing materials. Shingles have a lifetime expectancy of 30-50 years, the variance depends on the environment that the shingles are subject to, particularly weather extremities. If you are roofing your forever home, plan on replacing the roof at least once. If you’re looking to sell, asphalt may be an attractive option to keep your costs down. Another thing to consider is that asphalt shingles are petroleum-based and their cost may fluctuate with the price of crude oil.

Metal

Considerably more expensive than asphalt depending on the material that you use, modern metal panels come in a variety of thickness, style and material including tin, zinc, aluminum, copper and galvanized steel. The material you choose can affect the durability as well as the lifespan of the metal sheets, for instance, steel is much more durable than copper, but metal roofs are typically rated at 40-70 years.

Cost over Time

Shingle

Though you may not need to replace a shingled roof in the first 30 years, you will more than likely have to make repairs along the way. If you are looking to spend less over the course of your roof’s life span, it’s possible that a metal roof will be less expensive overall, but it really depends on what happens over the next 50 years. It’s not always predictable how your roof will hold up, what kind of weather it will be subjected to and just how many repairs will be needed.

Metal

Metal roofs have a larger one-time cost, but there are some attractive features that might save you money in other areas, such as heating and cooling or home owner’s insurance. Metal roofs reflect UV light from the sun that contribute to roof surface radiant heat, which can reduce the energy required to keep your home cool by about 10-25%. Some insurance companies will give you a discount for your metal roof, because you’re less likely to need repairs, however, if you do need repairs, they will be more costly than asphalt shingle repairs. Other insurance companies might charge you more for insurance due to a metal roofing raising the overall value of your home. Another thing to check before you make your decision is to be aware of any HOA rules that may apply to you. Some Homeowners Associations won’t allow you to use metal roofs or will only allow you to use certain types, because their appearance could differ drastically compared to the other homes in your neighborhood.

Warranty

Shingle

Asphalt shingles have a major advantage over metal roofing in the warranty department. Working with a GAF certified contractor grants you a variety of options and protections of up to 30 years for things such as installation errors, material defects and algae build-up. Be sure to ask your contractor about their specific warranty offered and what it covers.

Metal

Far fewer warranty options come with metal panels. While some companies offer a warranty for their metal roofs, manufacturers rarely do. The lifetime of your metal roof is expected to be long and the metal product itself might come with a guarantee, but the manufacturer isn’t going to guarantee your entire roof like GAF would do for their asphalt shingles.

Durability

Shingle

Architectural shingles have a good wind resistance and hold up well under hail. They are also adaptable to heat and can expand and contract without compromising the structure of the shingle. Asphalt shingles are technically Class A fire-rated, but they are made of a combustible material. They are covered with granules that make them more fire resistant, but if the flame gets past the granules to the petroleum-based asphalt underneath, it will likely go up in flames. Overall they hold up well over most conditions and are a good all around option.

Metal

Metal roofs are much more fire resistant, but contrary to popular belief, they are not hail-proof. Depending on the size of the hail in your area, it can put dents in the metal that can cause problems over time. Falling branches and even walking on the panels can cause dents. They are also not as adaptive to heat variance and under extreme weather conditions, the screws tend to loosen, the seams can buckle and crease which may lead to leaks and a need for panel replacement or repair.

Maintenance

Shingle

Maintaining a shingle roof will likely require repairs and shingle replacements every few years, but the good news is that the shingles are easy to come by, easy to match and they’re not as expensive to repair as metal roofs.

Metal

Metal roofs may not require a whole lot of maintenance over the course of their life, but they should be inspected every so often. If thermal expansion has caused a seam to buckle or a branch fell on your roof during a windstorm, a repair may be in order. The difficulty with metal roofs is that matching a metal panel that is several years old may prove difficult and you may have to settle for a panel that is aesthetically different from the rest.

Energy Efficiency

Shingle

The dark colors of the asphalt attract rays from the sun and absorb the heat which transfers into the home. This might contribute to higher cooling bills in the summer, but could also be a positive if you’re considering solar electric EV panels in the future.

Metal

The more energy efficient of the two, metal panels reflect the rays of the sun rather than absorbing them. This means that less energy is spent when cooling the house and you may see a difference on your energy bill as a result.

Sustainability

Shingle

Traditionally, asphalt shingles are not very eco-friendly and usually end up in a landfill, however, this is not always the case, in fact they can be recycled. There are several different locations across the country that will recycle oil-based shingles including Sustainable Pavement Technologies located in Austin, TX.

Metal

Metal roofs are made up of 25-95% recycled content and are completely recyclable at the end of their life. If it’s very important to you, this may factor into your decision on which roofing material you choose.

Appearance

Shingle

While 3-tab style shingles don’t offer much variety when it comes to looks, architectural style shingles can be manufactured to look like wood shakes or slate roofing tiles and come in a variety of colors. You have many options when considering how you want your roof to look!

Metal

Metal roofing comes in many different styles and looks which includes structural differences like standing seam versus corrugated roofs. They are also stylized to look like slate, wood and even shingles! One thing to be aware of when it comes to metal roofing is what is known as oil-canning. It’s one of the biggest disadvantages of metal roofs, but it doesn’t have an effect on the life or performance of the roof. Oil-canning is a visible wavy pattern that appears on the flat area of the panels and is inherent in light-gauge metal products. 

Conclusion

There are many factors that will cause you to swing one way or the other in the shingle vs metal roofing argument, but there are a few questions you could ask yourself that should help you determine which is right for you.

  • Is it a necessity that I have a low upfront cost?
  • Is energy efficiency a major factor?
  • How will the weather in my area affect my roofing decision?
  • Do I want to pay more upfront and be less likely to need repairs or replacement?
  • How large is the hail where I live?
  • Does my HOA have rules concerning roofing types?