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Metal Roof Vs Asphalt Shingles: Pros and Cons

One of the most common questions we get asked at Dreamworx Roofing is should I install a metal roof or an asphalt roof? Customers will often ask for two quotes on their replacement project so they can weigh the options and make a decision. Making the best choice for your home or business can be complex and there are a few different factors you should look at to ensure you make an informed decision.

Types of Metal Roofing

Before we dive into the pros and cons, we should look at the different types of metal roofing.

Standing Seam Metal Roof

Standing Seam consists of long flat metal panels that fasten together across your roof. The fasteners are hidden underneath and are screwed into the frame of your home. If you are looking for a durable and energy efficient roof, standing seam could be a good option to consider.

Corrugated Metal Roof

Corrugated metal roofs are slightly different since they have exposed fasteners that are visible on the outside. The panels are in a repeating wave pattern and are very strong. In general, the labor cost associated with corrugated metal roofs is less than standing seam.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Now that we know more about the types of metal roofing, we need to dive into the various types of asphalt shingles.

Three-Tab Asphalt Shingles

Three-tab shingles are a standard and uniform type of asphalt shingle. These are one of the most common as they are typically the lowest in cost. Unsurprisingly, these shingles are thinner and offer less protection against hail and strong winds. Typically three-tab shingles have a shorter manufacturers warranty, but for those on a lower budget, they can be a great option.

Asphalt Architectural Shingle Roof

Asphalt shingles are another common roofing material you will find across most residential and commercial roofs. Architectural shingles are sometimes considered a higher-end version of asphalt shingles. Commonly referred to as laminated or dimensional shingles, architectural shingles are made by layering two shingle pieces together to create more depth and variability in the shingle. This increase in layers also offers a bit more durability, life expectancy, and are often warrantied longer by the manufacturer.

None of these are bad options for protecting your home or business but various differences across asphalt shingle roofs and metal roofs mean that some options are more optimal depending on your exact situation.

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing Systems

Metal roofing systems are increasingly becoming popular for residential homes and many businesses prefer them as well.

Pros of Metal Roofing

Longevity: The number one pro of a metal roofing system is lifespan. Metal is obviously a very strong material. Most warranties start at 40 years covering cracks, bubbles, chips, and peel-aways. Many go up to 50 or 60 years and in ideal conditions, they can last even longer than that. For homeowners who plan to make their place a lifetime home, metal roofs can be a better investment because the installation will likely be only a one-and-done thing, whereas an asphalt shingle roof may be a different story.

Environmentally Friendly: Metal roofs are made out of 100% recyclable material. Every panel that is removed from a roof can be repurposed for other means making it a very green option if that is something that is important to you.

Energy Efficiency: Metal roofing panels are solar reflective. This actually pushes the heat away from your roof and makes heating and cooling your home more efficient. Depending on where you live, metal roofing systems can actually qualify for Energy Star Credits and you can get some of these credits on your taxes.

Layover Installation: While we would not personally recommend this (and neither would many manufacturers), corrugated metal roofs can be installed using what is called a layover method. This involves simply installing the new material directly on the old roofing system. This will be slightly cheaper upfront since you don’t have labor costs associated with tear-off and disposal. Many manufacturers recommend avoiding this if possible since there could very well be damaged plywood underneath that needs to be replaced and a layover installation would not alarm you to this fact. However, if you are really on a tight budget and you just want to get the panels up as cheap as possible, the layover method might be the best option and only a metal roofing system allows you to implement this method.

Cons of Metal Roofing

Upfront Cost: One of the main factors homeowners look at when assessing if they want a metal roof is the upfront cost. Metal roofs typically cost much more upfront. While an asphalt shingle roof will typically cost $3-5 per sqft, a metal roofing system will cost roughly double that amount ranging between $5-10 per sqft.

Limited Pool of Qualified Contractors: Finding a contractor with the tools and experience to properly and efficiently install a metal roofing system can be much more difficult than for an asphalt roofing system. Not just any contractor has the expertise and has consistently proven their ability to install metal roofing systems. And even if you find one, there may be a significant waiting period associated with the handful of contractors that homeowners all want working on their roofs.

HOA Restrictions: One issue that doesn’t come up too many times but is still worth mentioning is, if your neighborhood is governed by a Homeowners Association sometimes HOAs will prevent you from installing a metal roof. If a metal roofing system doesn’t match the aesthetic of the neighborhood or you are trying to install a color that isn’t approved they will actually shut down your project. If you are considering a metal roofing system and your home is governed by an HOA it is worth talking to them first.

Aesthetics: While metal roofs have a reputation for their durability and effectiveness, it generally comes at a cost of aesthetics. Now this doesn’t mean there are no good looking metal roofs, but it does mean that if you want an aesthetically pleasing metal roof, you might have to pay a bit more to achieve that. This being said, there are a wide variety of styles, shapes, colors, and metal types for you to pick from.

Damage: Odds are, a metal roof will out perform most other roof types in this price range. But, this does not mean they are invincible. Depending on the type of metal, they can be susceptible to rust, corrosion, or patina. While this is fairly uncommon and is mainly found in old metal roofs, it is something to consider. It should also be noted that in cases of strong hail, metal roofs can dent. While this is uncommon and the roof should be able to withstand most impacts, large hail could leave unappealing dents. The main reason this is problematic is because some insurance policies will not cover a roof replacement if it is still fully functioning. As dents are purely aesthetic, it could lead to some issues in the unlikely case where this were to happen.

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing Systems

Asphalt architectural shingles are the most common roofing system you will find across the US. They are kind of the tried and true method but as with all options, there are good sides and bad sides to it.

Pros of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Low Upfront Cost: Most asphalt shingle roofs run between $3-5 per sqft while a metal roof will often cost twice as much. Obviously, if you are running with a tighter budget a metal roof might not be a realistic option and the protection of your home offered from an asphalt roof is an excellent value.

Big Contractor Pool: One factor that is often overlooked is just how many contractors there are available to homeowners who want a standard asphalt shingle roof installed. Finding a contractor that is reliable, trustworthy, and proven their integrity across your service area is another question but you will definitely find no shortage of contractors that would like to install your asphalt roofing system and this can be helpful if you like to shop around a little before bringing a team on your project.

Warranty: When you are looking for a roofing contractor you should always try to find one that is certified by a manufacturer such as GAF or Owens Corning. Not only do you assure their expertise but this also means your roof will be covered by warranties. These warranties include installation, workmanship, and algae build-up. This really giving you peace of mind that your new roof installation is protected on multiple fronts. Different manufacturers have different warranties (some 10 or 15 years) and a certified roofing contractor would be able to give you all of the details associated with their installation. Some of these warranties are not available for metal roofing systems and this leaves you somewhat at risk.

Cons of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Lifespant: While asphalt shingles are still excellent protection for your home, they are significantly weaker and less durable than metal. Heavy rain, wind, or hail will cause damage to your asphalt shingles over time and they will require maintenance much quicker than a metal panel would. Metal roofs can last nearly a lifetime before they are required to be replaced, whereas asphalt roofs will need several full replacements in that amount of time.

Limited Color Options: While homeowners typically don’t have very specific or unique color preferences for their roof, many businesses like the option to brand their facility with a colored roof. Asphalt shingle roofs are very limited in color options. Metal roofs, on the other hand, can be painted almost any color you choose. This is a great feature for businesses that want their facilities to be visually branded.

Recyclability: While the technology for recycling asphalt shingles is coming around, it is still very difficult to fully recycle an asphalt shingle. Most of the shingles on your roof will eventually end up in a landfill and will take a very long time to break down, whereas metal roofing systems are 100% recyclable. So if being environmentally friendly is important to you, that is definitely something you will want to consider.

Cost Vs Value

The Remodeling Magazine releases a Cost Vs Value Report each year that compiles and averages information from homeowners and contractors across the US.

National Installation Recoup Percentage

What they found is that the 2020 National Average for an asphalt shingle roof replacement is $24,700. They then calculated the average resale value associated with that installation to be worth $16,287. This tells you that you can recoup about 66% of that installation cost.

The average cost of a metal roof installation is $40,318 and the resale value of that installation comes to $24,682 giving you a 62% value recoup rate.

Project Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped
Asphalt Roof Replacement $24,700.00 $16,287.00 66%
Metal Roof Replacement $40,318.00 $24,682.00 61%

Central Pennsylvania Installation Recoup Percentage

Now this percentage changes based on your location.

Harrisburg PA Average:

Asphalt Roof Replacement: 21% Cost Recouped

Metal Roof Replacement: 39% Cost Recouped

So if you are looking at this from an investment standpoint, the type of value you get from the roof could vary depending on your location.

Next Step

When it comes to your home or business finding the right roofing solutions is very important and there is no one size fits all solutions. The good news is, our team at Dreamworx Roofing are experts when it comes to roof installation of any type. If you own a home or business somewhere across central Pennsylvania we would be happy to walk you through your options and find the best solution for your specific situation. Call our number or fill out a form today and we would be happy to find the right solution!

Want to get an instant estimate for how much your roof replacement will cost? Check out our roof replacement cost calculator! Just answer a few questions about your roof and get an instant estimate for how much your replacement will cost.

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