Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingles: Comparing the Pros and Cons

Asphalt Shingle Roof on a House

As metal roofs have gained more popularity in recent years, homeowners are finding it difficult to decide on a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles. Are you also finding it difficult to decide which is better when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles? If yes, we can help you out.

Please understand that one isn’t better than the other. It all boils down to your needs and your budget. We compared the two different types to help you make the best decision for you.

The Difference Between Metal & Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Metal roofing is a roofing system that is generally made of metal panels and metal flashing. Whereas asphalt shingles are a traditional type of roof in which asphalt shingles are used as the outer cover of the roof. Both roofing types have their advantages and disadvantages.

Materials Comparison

Asphalt Shingles

Unlike metal roofing which can come in several materials, they come in one material – asphalt.

The shingle consists of a base mat made of cellulose fibers or glass fibers which is then coated with asphalt and mineral granules.

Metal Roofing

When comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, a metal roof has more options when it comes to choosing a roofing material.

Copper Roofing

Copper is the oldest roofing metal that has been used for centuries around the world. It’s extremely long-lasting, very soft with a low melting temperature, 100% recyclable, and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum is another popular metal used for metal roofing. It comes with lots of beautiful styles to choose from that can match different architecture styles. Aluminum is resistant to wind and fire, energy-efficient, lightweight, and lasts for over 50 years with little maintenance.

Zinc Roofing

Zinc is another amazing metal roofing material similar to copper. The best part about zinc is that it can heal itself using patina and stay strong for over 100 years. Zinc is also 100% recyclable and available in most local markets, making it an extremely green material, even compared to copper or steel.

Steel Roofing

Steel is an alloy made from iron and other elements and is used as a popular roofing material.

Steel metal roofing material comes in 3 different types:

  • Galvanized Steel
  • Galvalume Steel
  • Weathering Steel

Steel is known for its flexibility and is a green solution as it is both easily accessible and highly recyclable.

Cost Comparison

Asphalt Shingles Cost

There is a huge difference in terms of cost for a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles. They are nearly half the cost of a metal roof. Initially, you could save a lot by choosing asphalt shingles, but in the long run, you might need to burn some cash on repair and maintenance.

Installation of asphalt shingles could cost about $8,314 for an average-sized roof, including labor costs. However, if you’re replacing your existing roof, you might need to pay more, as you need to remove the existing materials.

  • Cost of One Square – Generally one square of asphalt shingles covers 100 square feet and the price could be anywhere from $80 to $550 per square.
  • Cost Per Square Foot – Depending on the type of material you used, the price could be between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot.
  • Cost to Remove Asphalt Shingles – Depending on how damaged your roof is, how many layers are there on the roof, and the types of material you use, the cost will differ. Generally, it will cost $3 and $5 per square foot to remove asphalt shingles.
  • Cost of a New Asphalt Shingle Roof – The cost has a lot to do with the material you use, such as organic asphalt or fiberglass asphalt. When talking about the installation cost of a new asphalt shingle roof, it could cost $2,000 to $10,000.

Asphalt shingles don’t have half a lifespan compared to metal roofing. In most cases, it could last anywhere from 15-20 years with regular repair and maintenance. They generally hold up pretty well through the years and come with extensive warranties. However, this type of roof is not as durable or long-lasting as metal roofing.

Metal Roofing Cost

Unlike asphalt shingles, metal roofs are initially expensive. However, in the long run, your investment will be recouped. As you will have little to no repair and maintenance compared to asphalt shingles. They can outlast three times more than shingles. The average lifespan of a metal roof is 50 years while asphalt shingles only have up to 30 years.

So, when compared between the two, asphalt shingles might need to be replaced 2 or even 3 times before metal roofing. If you’re looking to install a metal roof, expect the price to range from $5 to $14 per square foot depending on the type of metal roofing installed. $850 – $1,600 per square in roofing terms. So, on average, the total cost for metal roofing could be around $35,516.

  • Metal Roof Material Cost – The cost given is only an average. The cost of a metal roof is greatly determined by the type of material, its style, the size of the roof, and more.
  • New Installation Cost vs. Replacement Cost – The cost of metal roofing also depends on the type of roof installation. If you’re installing it on a new house, it can cost an average of $5,000 to $25,000. However, if you’re replacing the already existing roof with a metal roof, it will cost you $6,000 to $27,000. The added cost is the cost to remove and dispose of the existing roof.
  • Installation by Pitch – The pitch or in simple words, the slope of the roof also plays a major role in determining the cost of a metal roof. Depending on the pitches of your roof you might either need more or fewer materials, safety equipment, and labor rates.
  • Metal – Longevity is one factor that differentiates a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles. A roof made of metal can last 100+ years depending on the type of material used.

Metal roofing is durable, sustainable, and can last up to 50-100 years depending on which type of material you use. If you use copper and zinc the lifespan can extend up to 100+ years. However, keep in mind that the lifespan is contingent upon how well the installation was done.

Appearance Comparison


Years ago, metal roofs were only used for warehouses and farms, which led to them being overlooked in residential homes. Today, with the use of modern technology, they come in a variety of designs and styles to complement your home’s style and appearance.

  • Pros – They offer a wide variety of colors and styles. Also, due to the material, it has a “bold and striking” appearance.
  • Cons – Copper and Zinc metal roofing tend to change color by themselves as they age.

Asphalt Shingles

Today, most of the asphalt shingles are Class A fire-rated. However, they still are not fire-resistant because they are combustible from the inside as they still contain asphalt.

  • Pros – They are Class A fire-rated and many are impact-resistant.
  • Cons – Can be damaged by high winds, hailstorms, and broken branches. It can also attract moss or algae in humid climates.

Painting and Sealing Comparison


Metal can be painted with any color. The paint helps to seal the roof from rust and corrosion. The only problem is the paint tends to fade after some years.

  • Pros – Painting and sealing is a simple process that protects the roofs and doesn’t cost much.
  • Cons – The metal roofs need to be repainted and sealed every few years.

Asphalt Shingles

You can’t paint asphalt shingles as they can’t hold the colors. But in terms of sealing, it should be sealed upon installation to prevent leaks and to protect the shingles from wear and tear.

  • Pros – With the help of sealing, asphalt shingles can protect themselves from leaks and sun damage.
  • Cons – Sealing needs to be replaced every few years.

ROI & Resale Value Comparison


Metal roofing uses premium materials that are durable, sustainable, and long-lasting. This can contribute significantly to resale value and return on investment.

  • Pros – Homeowners who invest in metal roofing can get an average ROI of 85.9%.
  • Cons – Some buyers look for a specific style, design, and color. If the roof doesn’t match their preference, it may deter some potential buyers.

Asphalt Shingles

As asphalt is the most used residential roofing material in the market, most buyers look for a home that has asphalt shingles. Having a shingle roof will also provide a positive return on investment as long as you keep it in good condition.

  • Pros – As it’s one of the most popular roofing systems, you get a solid ROI so long as it’s maintained properly and in good condition.
  • Cons – Buyers looking for unique design and style might not want to buy your home.

Maintenance and Durability Comparison


Among all the roofing systems out there, metal roofs are the only roofs that can go years without repair and maintenance. Though it won’t need inspections as much as other roofs, still you need to undergo periodic inspections and clean at least once a year. Unlike shingles, metal doesn’t need major repair and maintenance. However, if the installation is not done well and properly, some damages could end up being more expensive.

Asphalt Shingles

The nature of individual shingles lends itself to more susceptibility to damage and more future repairs. Asphalt shingles are easy to repair and maintain. The downside is that asphalt shingles can be more susceptible to cracking and breaking than metal roofs.

Struggling to Decide Between Asphalt Shingles and Metal Roofing?

Now that you understand the difference between metal roofs and asphalt shingles, we hope you are better prepared to make a decision. It all comes down to your individual needs.

If you have the money to invest, metal roofs are worth the money. Asphalt shingles on the other hand are more common and finding roofing contractors prepared to immediately fix the roof is fairly straightforward. In summary, both metal roofing and asphalt shingles are popular and have their advantages.

If you’re still having trouble deciding between a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, contact our team at Front Runner Roofing today. Let our professionals help you make the best decision for your home!

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