Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles: Roofing Services 101

September 17, 2021

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If your structure needs a new roof, you might consider metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles and which is the right choice for your property. A roofing contractor is your best source of information about various roof materials, but noting some added information about metal and asphalt shingles can also help you make the right decision!

Metal roofs are durable and less likely to blow away in a storm and offer better fire protection. However, metal is more expensive than asphalt shingles, and not all roofing contractors are skilled in installing and repairing metal roofs.

Every property owner should choose a roofing material that works well with your structure’s décor and which provides the durability you need at a price you can afford. To help you make the right decision for your home or commercial structure, check out some added details about metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles, including some pros and cons of both.

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

Warwick roofing repair contractors

Consider a bit more detail about metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles and then discuss this information with a roofing contractor near you as needed:

  • Metal roofing is far more durable than asphalt shingles, as it won’t wear away or become brittle and crack over the years. A metal roof will typically last at least 50 to 60 years or longer, while even the most durable asphalt shingles might last less than 30 years.
  • Metal can be powder coated, a process similar to painting, so you can find more color options with a metal roof than what’s available in asphalt shingles.
  • Asphalt shingles are made with a petroleum base, so they’re not very fire resistant! Metal roofing typically won’t allow a fire to spread and might suffer far less damage if struck by lightning.
  • Long metal panels are typically bolted to a roof’s decking, so you’re usually less likely to lose metal panels in high winds and strong storms.
  • Metal also doesn’t feed mold, mildew, moss, or algae, for a cleaner roof year-round.
  • The slick surface of metal encourages snow and ice runoff, so your structure is at less risk of roof damage due to heavy layers of snow and ice.
  • The lighter weight of metal roofing allows you to install them over shingles, where allowed by local building codes, without having to brace or strengthen the roof framing.
  • When it comes to cost, asphalt shingles are typically far less costly than metal.
  • Homeowners can often replace a few missing shingles on their own, while typically only a roofing contractor can repair a metal roof.
  • While metal roofing includes underlayment that offers insulation against outside noise, metal can be noisier than shingle roofs.
  • Metal roofing is typically covered in specialty coatings to help prevent rust, but they can still suffer corrosion and especially in areas with heavy rains, high humidity levels, and airborne saltwater.

Check out some additional questions about metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles, so you can then choose the right material for your structure.

What Is the Most Durable Type of Roof?

  • Metal is typically considered more durable than asphalt shingles as metal won’t become brittle and then crack and fall away from the roof.
  • Asphalt shingle granules can also get stripped or scraped away by tree branches, storm debris, power washing, and other residues.
  • Since metal roofing is also more fire-resistant and doesn’t feed mold and other biological materials, it can withstand inclement weather more easily than asphalt shingles.

How Many Years Does an Asphalt Roof Last?

Most asphalt roofs are guaranteed for 20, 25, or 30 years. However, your asphalt roof might need repair or replacement far sooner than expected, even with a guarantee in place.

installing an asphalt roof

High winds and heavy rain, hot sunlight, and branches brushing on shingles can cause them to crack and fall away from the roof. Wind, hail, tree branches, pressure washing, and storm debris can also scrape away shingle granules, thinning them out and risking premature damage and early replacement.

The Cost Difference Between Metal Roofing and Asphalt Shingles

Take into consideration the cost of different roofing materials. One downside to metal roofs is that they are often more expensive than asphalt shingles, as said. Metal roofing usually runs between $190 and $900 per 100 square feet (for roof installations, 100 square feet equals one 10-foot by 10-foot “square” of roof facing). Asphalt shingles typically average between $100 and $200 per 100 square feet.

While asphalt shingles are typically cheaper to install, remember that metal roofing lasts far longer, usually twice as long as shingles. In turn, you might need to pay for two or even three new asphalt shingle roofs before you would need to invest in your second new metal roof. For many homeowners, a metal roof might even be the last roof they ever need to purchase for their home!

Does a Metal Roof Lower Your Insurance?

Only your insurance provider can tell you if you’re eligible for any discounts or credits for getting a metal roof. However, some insurance providers might provide discounts if your home is at high risk for lightning strikes, fires, hailstorms, and other events that would cause more damage to asphalt shingles.

Along with lower insurance, a metal roof can potentially increase property values! Most prospective homebuyers know that a metal roof lasts for decades, so they know that buying a home with a metal roof can mean avoiding repair and replacement costs for years.

Metal Roofing Over Shingles

Another great advantage of metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles is that metal is lightweight and typically installed in long panels, making it easier to put a metal roof over existing shingles. This process means not facing the time, expense, and mess of a full-scale tear-off!

contractor working on metal roofing in Warwick

However, don’t assume that a roofing contractor can always install metal panels over existing shingles. Local building codes typically dictate how many roofing layers are allowed on a residential or commercial structure, no matter the new roof material.

Note, too, that metal panels need a solid foundation or base for proper attachment. Buckled or curled shingles, large patches of missing shingles or “bald spots,” algae growth, and other such damage can mean a poor foundation for metal panels and the need for their removal before metal roofing installation.

Also, it’s vital that your contractor fix roof leaks, holes, and other damage before new roof installation. While metal roofs are strong and durable, they cannot fully block moisture and humidity which can then make their way through those cracks and leaks, risking interior water damage and mold.

Metal Roof or Shingles

Only you can determine if you should get a metal roof or shingles for your home, based on your budget, long-term needs, home style, and other such factors. For added help in making your decision, check out a few more factors you’ll want to consider when deciding between metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles:

  • How long are you planning on staying in your home? If you think you might live in the house for decades, investing in a metal roof now can mean never having to pay for another new roof installation for the lifetime of homeownership.
  • On the other hand, if you might sell your home within the next 10 years or so, investing in a cheaper asphalt roof can save money now without detracting from your home’s salability down the road.
  • While both metal and asphalt shingles are recyclable, it’s typically easier to reuse metal panels or use reclaimed metal for new metal roofing, making metal a more eco-friendly choice.
  • Standard asphalt shingles might look a bit dull or industrial, or out of place on some properties. For example, if your home’s exterior is painted robin’s egg blue or fire engine red, dark shingles might clash. Metal roofs are typically available in far more colors than shingles, so you can coordinate the roof to your structure’s exterior more easily.
  • As metal is more fire-resistant, consider the risk of fire damage to your home including lightning strikes, brush fires, fires starting in surrounding woodlands, and the like. A metal roof can reduce damage to your home in these cases.

A local roofing contractor can also offer suggestions for the best roofing choice when it comes to your home or commercial structure. He or she might note local weather conditions, your home’s overall condition, and other factors that can help you decide the right roofing material for your property.

Do Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?

Lightning is typically attracted to the highest point in an area and not a particular material! Neither asphalt shingles or metal roofing is more likely to attract lightning.

metal roofing attracts light

If your home stands out from others in the neighborhood or doesn’t have much cover from nearby trees, it might attract lightning no matter the roofing material. Note, too, that metal might be less likely to combust from a lightning strike than asphalt shingles.

Do Metal Roofs Interfere With Wi-Fi or Cell Phone Signals?

Metal roofs are typically not thick enough to block Wi-Fi or cell phone signals. If a homeowner experiences service interruption after a metal roof installation, the problem is probably more likely the provider or cell phone tower rather than the metal roof. Signal boosters can help alleviate the issue and ensure you receive strong signals for both your internet and cell phone services.

The Best Roof for a House

Metal roofing is typically considered more durable than asphalt shingles but the material is also more expensive and requires a specialty contractor for installation. You might also compare these materials to other common roofing choices and options, which can help you decide the best roof for a house:

  • Slate roofing offers a stunning appearance, and heavy slate tiles are not likely to blow away in a storm or high winds. Slate roofing also lasts for 50 or 60 years if not even longer. However, slate is often one of the most expensive roofing options available and the heavy material might require bracing or other strengthening of the roof before installation.
  • Clay tiles also offer a classic look and are very durable and water-resistant. Clay also resists mold and algae, which is why it’s often used in tropical areas. Clay can also last 50 years or more, but the material is one of the more expensive options for a home’s roof.
  • Fiber cement is lightweight and fire-resistant. Cement can also be shaped and formed to resemble many other materials but for less cost than stone, clay, and metal.

Affording Roof Repairs or Installation

Your mortgage lender might offer low-interest home improvement loans that can make needed roof repairs or installation more affordable. These can also cost less in the long run than if you put those repairs or a roof installation on a high-interest credit card!

Some roofing contractors also work with lenders who specialize in low-cost loans for repairs and installation. Their lending requirements might also be more lenient than other lenders, but note that you might need to use your home or other property as collateral to secure that loan.

roofing contractor repairing roof

A roof repair company might also be able to spread out your needed repairs or installation over a few years. For instance, they might reroof one-quarter of your home’s roof this year, another quarter next year, and so on. This allows you to pay for those repairs or reroofing over those four years rather than facing them all at once.

Buying a Home Needing Roof Repairs

Whether you should buy a home needing any type of repairs depends on many factors, and your real estate agent or property appraiser can help you decide. Consider the cost of needed repairs including secondary damage such as interior water damage and mold. If the home’s purchase price is low enough so that you can afford those fixes, and if the property offers all the other features you need, it might be a worthwhile purchase.

The Warwick Roofers is happy to bring this information about metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles to our readers and hope you found it helpful! For expert reroofing on your property, call our Warwick roof repair contractors today. We ensure high-quality fixes and new roof installation at affordable prices. For your FREE price quote and consultation, call today!

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