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.

What’s a Metal Roof and What Are Asphalt Shingles? 

It is important to understand the difference between a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

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.

When comparing the material of a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, asphalt shingles do not have many options.

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

When considering the material for a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, this has more options to choose from.

  • 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 cost. 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. 

The initial difference is obvious when comparing the prices of a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Metal Roofing Cost – Unlike asphalt shingles, metal roofs are initially expensive. However, in the long run, your investment will be recouped back. 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 could be $35,516 plus or minus. 

  • Metal Roof Material Cost – The cost given on the table is only an average. The cost of a metal roof is greatly determined by the type of material, its style, size of the roof, and more.
MaterialCost per sq. ft.Cost per Square (100 sq. ft.)Installation cost
Copper$14 - $22 $1,400 - $2,200$23,000 to $48,000
Aluminum$3.25 - $5.75$325 - $575$15,500 to $28,000
Zinc$5.65 - $11 $565 - $1,100$23,000 to $30,000
Steel$3.35 - $4.50$335 - $450$15,000 to $25,000
Stainless Steel$4 -$12$400 - $1,200$4,000 to 11,250
Lead$10+$1,000+$6,500 - $22,500
Tin (Terne)$3.25 - $14.65 $325 - $1,465$9,000 to $45,000
Corrugated Metal Roofs$1.80 - $2.50 $180 - $250 $10,500 to $19,500
Standing Seam Metal Roof $4 - $12$40 - $120$23,000 to $30,000
  • 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 cause 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. 

  • Pros – It’s durable, sustainable, and can last up to 50-100 years depending on which types of material you use. If you use copper and zinc the lifespan can extend up to 100+ years. 
  • Cons – The lifespan is contingent upon how well the installation was done.

When comparing the longevity of a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, there is a clear winner.

Asphalt Shingles – Asphalt shingles don’t even have half a lifespan compared to metal roofing.  In most cases, it could last anywhere from 15-20 with regular repair and maintenance. 

  • Pros – They generally hold up pretty well through the years and come with extensive warranties. 
  • Cons – It is not as durable or long-lasting as metal roofing. 

Appearance Comparison

Metal – 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. 

There are many benefits for each types appearance when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles – Most homes in the US have asphalt shingles roofing systems as it provides a uniform look for neighborhoods and communities. 

  • Pros – There is a wide assortment of colors and styles of shingle and it is the most popular roofing system used today. 
  • Cons – Your home will look similar to surrounding homes because it is so common. Some call asphalt shingle roofs “traditional.” 

Variety Comparison

Metal – When comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles variety, metal roofs come in a wide array of shapes and styles. Be it panels, tiles, or shingles, metal roofing offers it all.

  • Pros – Metal gives you lots of color options to choose from. No matter where you reside or how your climate condition is year-round, there is a metal roof for your needs.  
  • Cons – Depending on your location, the price of each material could be higher. 

There are five main designs for this type of roofing when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles – There are three major styles of asphalt shingles products available today – 3-tab shingles, dimensional shingles, and luxury shingles. It is important to understand the differences between each type of asphalt shingle in order to pick the right product for your home.

  • Pros – Offers a variety of colors, designs, and textures. 
  • Cons – Some locations might not offer all types of design colors and textures. 

There are three types of asphalt shingle designs to consider when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Installation Comparison

Metal – Metal roofing needs lots of expertise and experience to be handled. Not everyone can install one. Another good thing about metal roofing is it can be installed over an existing roof. 

  • Pros – Metals are lightweight and faster to install. 
  • Cons – You will need a metal roof-specific contractor for installation. 

There are multiple different parts of the installation process for a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles – Mostly every roofing contractor can install asphalt shingle roofing. You don’t need to search for a specialized roofer. 

  • Pros – They are easy to install and can be installed by most roofing contractors. 
  • Cons – Asphalt shingles are easy to install but take time to remove the older roof. 

Weight Comparison

Metal – Metal roofing helps to preserve the integrity of a building as it is lightweight and doesn’t add additional weight to the building structure. 

  • Pros:  Depending on the thickness of the material, it could be either lightweight or slightly heavy. 
  • Cons: Thin and lightweight metal roofing can be dented from large hail or thick fallen branches. 

When comparing the weight of a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles, there is a clear difference.

Asphalt Shingles – Compared to metal, shingles are heavier and add more weight and stress to the roofing structure. 

  • Pros – Their weight helps them hold up to weather conditions. 
  • Cons – On the flip side, asphalt shingles can add significant weight to your roof adding stress to the overall structure.

Energy Efficiency Comparison

Metal –  Metals have good reflective properties. It reflects the sun’s UV rays instead of absorbing them, which in turn keeps the inside of your home cool. When the inside of your home is cold, your AC works less, which leads to fewer monthly energy bills.

  • Pros – It can help reduce your energy bills and because all the metals are recyclable, it makes it one of the most eco-friendly roofing materials on earth. 
  • Cons – When not installed correctly, your efficiency will not be as high.

Energy efficiency is an important aspect to consider when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles – Most of the shingles come in dark colors, which lead to more absorption of solar heat. The more your roof absorbs heat, the more your HVAC system has to work. The only way to reduce heat on shingles roofs is to install cool roofing under shingles. 

  • Pros – Work best for winter months as it absorbs heat and keeps the inside warm. 
  • Cons – Not suitable for a hot climate because the heat absorbed by the roof won’t cool down that soon. 

Fire, Water & Hail Resistance Comparison

Metal – Metal roofs can withstand extreme climatic conditions such as hail storms, high winds, and more. As it has also been rated as a Class A fire-rated and non-combustible material, there is less than a 1% chance of catching fire. 

  • Pros – Metal roofs are fire-resistant and durable against wind, rain, snow, hail, ice, and extreme temperatures.
  • Cons – It can dent when the hailstones are bigger and stronger. 

It is important to understand the different storm damage impacts on a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles – Today, most of the asphalt shingles are Class A fire rated. But 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 – 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. 

If you are looking for a specific color roof, there is one obvious choice when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

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 – 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 colors. If the roof doesn’t match their preference, it may deter some potential buyers. 

The ROI of a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles is significantly different.

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

Metal – Among all the roofing systems out there, metal roofs are the only roof 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. 

  • Pros – Unlike shingles, metal doesn’t need major repair and maintenance. 
  • Cons – The installation job should be done well and properly, if not, some damages could end up being more expensive. 

If you are looking for a low maintenance option, there is a clear choice when comparing a metal roof vs. asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles – The nature of individual shingles lends itself to more susceptibility to damage and more future repairs.

  • Pros – Asphalt shingles are easy to repair and maintain. 
  • Cons – Shingles are more susceptible to cracking and breaking than metal roofs.

FAQs About Asphalt Shingles and Metal Roof

Yes, you can install metal on top of shingles as it is lightweight, thin, and pliable. However, it is best to consult with a professional as to your situation. You want to be sure that the roof and shingles are in a suitable condition for the project. Also, check with your local building department or county because they may require that you remove the shingles or have a thorough inspection before installing a new roof.

Replacing shingles with metal roofing is not necessarily difficult, but it will require labor and time. The removal itself could cost anywhere from $3 to $5 per square foot. 

If installed incorrectly, metal roofs have the potential to leak more than shingles. Even though high-quality shingles can keep water out of your home, they’re more likely to lose their integrity since they have a shorter lifespan than metal roofs. As a result, you may end up seeing more moisture damage from asphalt shingles than metal panels.

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 us at Front Runner Roofing today. We will be glad to help you make the best decision for your home.