Home and Garden

Metal Roof vs Shingles: Which One Is Better For You?

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A home without a roof is like a story without a cover. Among the various roofing options, metal and shingle roofs, particularly those made of asphalt, are highly favoured by homeowners. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that can influence your choice when considering a new roof.

This detailed comparison of metal roofs versus shingles examines key factors such as cost, appearance, installation complexity, durability, and eco-friendliness. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped to select the best option based on your specific requirements and budget.

Related article:

What are the differences between metal roofs and shingles?

Metal roofs and shingle roofs are two popular options for residential roofing, each with its own set of characteristics and benefits.

  1. Materials:
    • Metal roofs are typically made from steel, aluminium, copper, or zinc. These materials offer durability and longevity.
    • Shingle roofs are usually made from asphalt, wood, slate, or composite materials. Asphalt shingles are the most common and affordable option.
  2. Durability:
    • Metal roofs are highly durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions such as strong winds, hail, and heavy snow. They have a longer lifespan compared to shingle roofs, often lasting 50 years or more.
    • Shingle roofs are also durable but may require more frequent maintenance and repair, especially in areas prone to high winds or extreme weather.
  3. Installation:
    • Metal roofs are typically more complex to install and may require professional installation. They come in large panels or shingles and need to be properly secured to the roof structure.
    • Shingle roofs are easier and quicker to install, making them a more cost-effective option for many homeowners. They come in individual overlapping pieces that are nailed to the roof deck.
  4. Aesthetics:
    • Metal roofs offer a modern and sleek appearance and come in a variety of colours and styles to complement different architectural designs.
    • Shingle roofs provide a more traditional look and are available in a wide range of colours, textures, and styles, including architectural and three-tab shingles.
  5. Cost:
    • Metal roofs generally have a higher upfront cost than shingle roofs due to the materials and installation expenses. However, they often provide long-term savings through energy efficiency and reduced maintenance.
    • Shingle roofs are more budget-friendly upfront but may incur higher maintenance costs over time, including repairs and replacement.
  6. Energy Efficiency:
    • Metal roofs are reflective and can help reduce cooling costs by reflecting solar heat away from the building. They also often contain recycled materials, making them environmentally friendly.
    • Shingle roofs provide some insulation but may not offer the same level of energy efficiency as metal roofs.

Ultimately, the choice between a metal roof and a shingle roof depends on factors such as budget, aesthetic preferences, climate, and long-term maintenance considerations.

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The cost of a metal roof vs. shingle

Comparing metal roofs to shingles, the most obvious difference is cost. However, there are several other factors to consider that might make metal roofs a worthwhile investment. Let’s break it down:

Costs: The price difference between metal roofs and shingles depends on the materials chosen. Asphalt shingles are the most affordable but are also the least durable. Metal roofs offer options like steel, tin, aluminium, zinc, and copper, with copper and zinc being more expensive.


  • Average: $13,200
  • Lowest: $8,500
  • Highest: $68,000


  • Average: $8,500
  • Lowest: $5,500
  • Highest: $12,000

Repairs and Maintenance: Asphalt shingle roofs are easier and cheaper to repair but require more frequent maintenance. Metal roofs tend to remain undisturbed for years, enduring storms and wear-and-tear.

Longevity: Metal roofs have a significantly longer lifespan than shingle roofs, ranging from 40 to over 100 years. Asphalt shingle roofs typically last between 15 to 30 years, while wood and clay tile shingles may reach up to 50 years with high maintenance.

Efficiency: Metal roofs can potentially lower energy costs by better-retaining heat in the winter, with estimates suggesting up to 40% savings. An energy audit can provide insights into the potential efficiency gains with a metal roof.

Aesthetics: Both metal and shingle roofs offer a variety of styles and colours, catering to individual preferences and matching the home’s aesthetics.

Resale Value: Metal roofs generally have a higher resale value compared to asphalt shingles, which is essential to consider for homeowners planning to sell their homes within the next few years.

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Shingles vs. metal roof cost factors

Shingles vs. Metal Roof Cost Factors

When comparing metal roofing to shingles, various factors can influence the costs involved:

Material: Regardless of whether you opt for a shingle or metal roof, the material you choose plays a significant role in cost. Here’s a breakdown of material costs:

Material Type Cost per Square Lifespan (Years)
Steel Metal $300 – $1,500 40 – 70
Stainless steel Metal $600 – $1,600 40 – 70
Tin Metal $1,000 – $2,100 40 – 70
Aluminum Metal $800 – $1,600 50 – 80
Copper Metal $1,800 – $3,800 100+
Zinc Metal $1,400 – $2,300 100+
Asphalt Shingle $90 15 – 30
Composite Shingle $400 40 – 50
Wood Shingle $350 – $500 30 – 50
Clay Shingle $300 – $1,000 50 – 100

Roof Size: The size of your roof directly impacts material requirements and consequently, costs. Larger roofs demand more materials and labour, increasing overall expenses.

Shape, Slope, and Accessibility: Complex roof shapes, steep slopes, and difficult accessibility can elevate costs for both metal and shingle roofs. Metal roofs, in particular, may incur higher expenses due to unique cuts required for installation.

Location: Your geographical location significantly influences costs. High-cost living areas, such as coastal or urban regions, generally entail higher expenses. Conversely, remote locations may incur elevated labour costs due to limited roofing services.

Professional Installation Costs: Regardless of material choice, roofing replacement entails substantial investment. Labour and material costs contribute to the overall expenditure.

Material Costs: Shingle prices range from $1 to $10 per square foot, with asphalt shingles being the most economical and clay shingles the priciest. Metal roof materials vary widely in cost, from $1 to $25 per square foot, with steel being the most affordable and copper the most expensive.

Labour Costs: Shingle roof installation typically incurs lower labour costs compared to metal roofs due to ease of installation. Labour typically constitutes around 60% of total shingle roof expenses. Metal roof installation labour charges range from $2 to $14 per square foot.

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Shingles vs. metal roofs: making the right choice

When deciding between metal roofs and asphalt shingles, appearances aren’t the only thing setting them apart. Let’s delve into the factors to consider for your roof replacement needs, budget, and location:

Cost and Resale Value: Comparing upfront expenses, maintenance, and repair costs, metal roofing generally comes with a higher price tag than shingles. Installing metal roofs can range from $45 to $55 per square meter, while asphalt shingles typically cost $35 to $80 per square meter. However, metal roofs are more durable and boast a higher resale value.

Recommendation: While metal roofing may be costlier initially, its longevity and increased resale value could make it a more economical choice in the long run.

Appearance: In terms of aesthetics, shingle roofs often win with their ability to add dimension and texture to a home. They come in various colour palettes, enhancing curb appeal effortlessly. Although metal roofs were once considered too industrial, modern designs, like standing-seam metal, offer cleaner aesthetics with improved visual appeal.

Installation Complexity: Metal roofing installation tends to be more complex and time-consuming compared to shingles, often requiring specialized contractors due to the multitude of components involved. Shingle roofs, on the other hand, are lightweight and easier to install, requiring fewer tools and steps.

Durability and Maintenance: Metal roofs typically outlast asphalt shingle roofs, lasting between 40 and 70 years with minimal maintenance. They withstand severe weather conditions, are fire-resistant, and require less upkeep compared to shingles, which are prone to disintegration and damage over time.

Eco-friendliness: While both shingle and metal roofs can be eco-friendly, metal roofing edges out with its recyclability and energy efficiency. Metal roofs are 100% recyclable and reflect heat, reducing energy costs by up to 40%. This makes them an ideal choice for warm climates and environmentally-conscious homeowners.

In summary, while shingles may offer simplicity and initial cost advantages, metal roofing’s durability, longevity, and eco-friendliness make it a compelling choice for many homeowners, especially those looking for a long-term investment in their property.

Albert Roberts

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