If you’re going to be putting a new roof on your home, you’ve got several options. The two obvious main choices are metal roofing vs. asphalt shingles. So which is better?
While there are many different types of both metal roofing and asphalt shingles, I’m going to compare the most commonly used of each. For metal, we’ll compare a “rolled rib” metal roofing, which is long panels of corrugated metal with exposed fasteners. For asphalt shingles, I’ll compare a standard architectural shingle, which are by far the most widely used.
Metal Roofing Vs Asphalt Shingles, Which is Better?
Metal Will Last Longer – One of the most-cited reasons that people want to use metal is that it will last a lifetime. And who wants to ever worry about their roof again? The average shingle roof will last somewhere between 20-30 years (depending on weather exposure), whereas a metal roof will last 40-50 years or ever more (many paint warranties for a metal roof are 40+ years)
The only problem that comes up in this discussion is all the fasteners and flashings used on a metal roof. While the metal itself will last practically forever, the rubber grommets on the fasteners and around pipes will not. These can deteriorate and start to leak as early as 10-15 years from installation (which is why we don’t recommend typical pipe flashings with rubber on them for asphalt shingle roofs either)
The fasteners used in a typical metal roof can start to back out after 10 years or so. This can be caused by the expansion/contraction of the heat & cold that a roof is exposed to, and also by wind vibrating the metal.
Metal Will Shed Snow – We get some pretty good winters up here in Kootenai & Spokane County, so snow can become a problem for residential homes. I’ve seen my fair share of broken trusses and sagging roofs caused by excessive snow load, so getting rid of snow is a necessity if you live in a snow belt. One of the strengths of metal is it’s ability to shed snow so you don’t have to get up there and do it yourself.
While this is a very good thing in some circumstances, it can be a little dangerous if someone were to walk out of a door and get covered in the snow/ice sliding off the roof. One solution is to put snow stops up on the metal roof, but then the snow is stuck up there for good. This is one of the big reasons I highly recommend a metal roof for lake cabins and other structures that won’t be lived in through the winter. In this case the snow will slide off in it’s own timing and you won’t have to worry about liability of anyone getting hurt on your property.
Cost of Metal Roofing Vs Asphalt Shingles – In most applications, installing a metal roof is significantly more expensive than using an architectural shingle for your roof. If you want to avoid the problem with fasteners you can go with a type of metal roofing called “standing seam.” This is a panel that locks together, concealing all the fasteners. This means you won’t have thousands of holes in your metal roof that are sealed just by rubber grommets. This metal, however, is quite pricey, especially when compared to a standard asphalt shingle.
Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingle Roof Warranties
Since a new roof on your home is a very large investment and it protects so much, getting a good warranty will give you peace of mind that if something goes wrong you will be covered. One of the advantages of an asphalt shingle roof is that some of the big manufacturer’s have great credential programs that can offer excellent warranties. Instead of a standard “limited lifetime warranty” that only covers part of the roof and gets pro-rated down quickly, you can get a 100% warranty for up to 50 years. So no matter what happens to your roof you will be covered.
With a metal roof, as mentioned before the metal will last literally forever, but the weak spots can start leaking long before the metal fails. With these types of roofs, you will be 100% dependent on the contractor you pick to install your roof. Unless you can find a metal roofing company to give you a lifetime warranty on your roof you will be out of luck if anything ever happens.
At New Heights Roofing we install mostly asphalt shingles on residential homes. We don’t like asphalt shingles because that’s what we install the most, we install asphalt shingles because we think they perform better for a residential home, both in looks, maintenance, and longevity. We offer a 100% Lifetime Leak-Free Guarantee on our residential shingle roofs because we’re confident they will last, but I would not be comfortable giving the same warranty with a metal roof.