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Metal roofs vs shingles side by side.

Choosing the right roofing material is pivotal for homeowners, not just for the aesthetic appeal of their home, but also for its long-term sustainability and efficiency.

Metal roofs and shingles represent two of the most popular materials on the market, each with distinct advantages.

Metal roofing is lauded for its longevity and durability, capable of withstanding severe weather conditions without compromising on style. An asphalt shingle roof is revered for its classic look and affordability, making it a go-to choice for many homeowners.

Metal Roof vs Shingle Roof Costs

Choosing between metal and shingles often boils down to cost considerations. While metal roofs typically come with a higher price tag, they can offer significant long-term value due to their durability and low maintenance needs. On the flip side, shingle roofs are generally more budget-friendly upfront but might incur higher maintenance and replacement costs over time.

Initial Installation Cost

Let’s explore the initial costs of new roof installation for both metal and shingle roofs:

Metal Roof Cost

A roofer installing metal roof.

Metal is arguably the most popular roofing material, which might require a higher initial investment due to the premium quality materials involved and the specialized metal roof installation process.

The cost of metal roof installation materials can vary depending on factors such as the type of metal (e.g., steel, aluminum, copper), the roof’s size and complexity, and additional features like coatings or insulation.

However, despite the higher upfront cost per square foot, metal roofing often provides excellent value over its long lifespan, as it requires minimal maintenance and offers superior durability.

Shingle Roof Cost

Shingles, including both fiberglass shingles and asphalt shingles, are generally more affordable to install compared to metal roofs. The cost for shingle roof installation is relatively lower per square foot and is typically quicker and less labor-intensive than metal roofing.

Additionally, the availability of a wide range of shingle options such as asphalt shingles and fiberglass shingles allows homeowners to find a suitable style and color that fits their budget and aesthetic preferences.

1. Fiberglass Shingle Roof Cost

Fiberglass shingles are priced slightly higher than traditional asphalt shingles due to their enhanced durability and performance. However, they still remain a cost-effective choice for homeowners seeking a durable and long-lasting roofing solution.

2. Asphalt Shingle Roof Cost

Asphalt shingles are the most budget-friendly option among roofing materials. They are widely available and easy to install, making them an attractive choice for homeowners on a tight budget. Despite their lower cost, asphalt shingles can still provide reliable protection and aesthetic appeal for many years.

On-going Roof Maintenance Costs

A roofer maintaining a shingle roof

Metal Roofs

Metal roofing typically requires minimal ongoing roof maintenance, which can help reduce long-term costs. While periodic inspections are recommended to identify any potential issues, such as loose fasteners or damaged panels, metal roofs are generally resilient to common roofing problems like leaks or rot.

Additionally, the durable nature of metal roofing materials means they are less susceptible to damage from environmental factors, reducing the need for frequent repairs or replacements.

Shingle Roofs

Shingle roofs may incur higher ongoing maintenance costs compared to metal roofs due to their lower durability and susceptibility to damage. Regular maintenance tasks for shingle roofing systems include inspecting for cracked or missing shingles, repairing damaged areas, and cleaning debris from the roof surface and gutters.

Additionally, shingles may require periodic treatments, such as resealing or reapplying protective coatings, to extend their lifespan and maintain their appearance.

Let’s look at the maintenance costs for these types of shingle roofing including asphalt roofing and fiberglass shingle roofing:

1. Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass shingles generally have lower maintenance requirements compared to traditional asphalt shingles. The fiberglass reinforcement provides added strength and durability, reducing the likelihood of damage from weather or other external factors. However, homeowners should still schedule regular inspections and maintenance to ensure the roof remains in optimal condition.

2. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofs may require more frequent maintenance compared to fiberglass shingles due to their organic composition and susceptibility to weathering. Over time, asphalt roofs may become brittle or lose their protective granules, leading to potential leaks or deterioration. Regular maintenance, including inspections, repairs, and occasional replacements, can help prolong the lifespan of asphalt shingle roofs and prevent costly damage.

Durability

A roofer replacing old shingles

We also need to look at how long the roofs will last before you need a roof replacement.

Metal Roof

Metal roofs are known for their exceptional durability and longevity. With proper installation and maintenance, a metal roof can last 50 years or more, outperforming many other roofing materials. The durable nature of metal roofing materials, such as steel, aluminum, or copper, allows them to withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, hail, and high winds, without deteriorating or sustaining significant damage.

Additionally, metal roofs are resistant to fire, mildew, and pests, further enhancing their longevity. Their robust construction and protective coatings help maintain structural integrity over time, ensuring reliable performance and minimal maintenance requirements throughout their lifespan.

Shingle Roof

Shingle roofs have a shorter lifespan compared to metal roofs but still offer respectable durability when properly maintained.

1. Fiberglass Shingles

Fiberglass shingles are known for their enhanced durability and longevity compared to traditional organic asphalt shingle roofing. With proper installation and maintenance, fiberglass shingles can last 25 to 30 years or more, depending on environmental factors and upkeep. The fiberglass reinforcement provides added strength and resilience, reducing the risk of cracking, splitting, or warping over time. Fiberglass shingles also offer better resistance to moisture, UV exposure, and thermal expansion, contributing to their extended lifespan.

2. Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt roofs, while more affordable, have a relatively shorter lifespan compared to fiberglass shingles. Typically, organic asphalt shingles last around 15 to 20 years.

However, factors such as climate, exposure to sunlight, and maintenance practices can affect the longevity of an asphalt roof. Over time, asphalt shingles may degrade due to UV exposure, thermal cycling, and moisture absorption, leading to curling, cracking, or loss of granules.

Regular inspections and timely repairs are essential to prolonging the lifespan of asphalt shingle roofs and avoiding premature replacement.

Aesthetic and Design Options

A house with a beautiful shingle roof

Both metal roofs and shingles provide homeowners with a plethora of aesthetic choices to enhance the curb appeal of their homes.

Metal Roofs

Advancements in Design

Metal roofing has undergone significant advancements in design, offering a diverse range of options to suit various architectural styles and homeowner preferences. With metal roofing systems, homeowners can achieve the look of traditional shingles, tiles, or even wood shakes, without compromising the durability and longevity associated with metal. This versatility allows for seamless integration into both traditional and contemporary home designs, making metal roofing a versatile choice for enhancing curb appeal.

Versatility in Styles

Metal roof panels (metal shingles) offer versatility in styles, mimicking traditional roofing materials such as shingles, tiles, or wood shakes. This means homeowners have a broad selection to choose from, ensuring their roofing complements the overall aesthetic of their home. Whether it’s the sleek lines of standing seam panels or the textured appearance of metal tiles, there’s a metal roofing style to suit every taste and architectural design.

Shingles

Diverse Color Palette

Shingles also offer a wide array of colors, textures, and styles to cater to different aesthetic preferences. Whether homeowners prefer a classic, timeless appearance or a more modern, sleek design, there are shingle options available to suit every taste. From the traditional appeal of asphalt shingles to the enhanced durability and visual appeal of fiberglass shingles, homeowners have the flexibility to create the desired look for their homes.

Material Options

Shingles come in various materials, each offering unique benefits. Asphalt shingles are popular for their affordability and ease of installation, while fiberglass shingles boast enhanced durability and resistance to fire and moisture. Additionally, wood shingles offer a natural aesthetic and excellent insulation properties, making them an attractive option for some homeowners. By choosing the right material, homeowners can achieve both aesthetic appeal and practical benefits for their roofing needs.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

A small house with a metal roof.

Efficient energy use and environmental responsibility are key considerations in roofing choices. Metal roofs and shingle roofs differ in their energy efficiency and environmental impact.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are recognized for their superior energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact. Here’s why they stand out in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability:

Solar Reflectance: Metal roofs are highly reflective, effectively bouncing solar radiant heat away from the building. This characteristic reduces the amount of heat absorbed by the structure, resulting in lower cooling costs during hot weather. Studies have shown that metal roofs can reduce cooling costs by 10-25% compared to traditional roofing materials.

Recycled Content and Recyclability: Many metal roofing materials contain a significant percentage of recycled materials, ranging from 30% to 60%. Furthermore, at the end of their long lifespan, metal roofs are 100% recyclable, contributing to a circular economy and minimizing environmental impact.

Shingle Roofing

Let’s look at the details of two shingle types:

Asphalt Roof

When it comes to energy efficiency and environmental sustainability, an asphalt roof has several drawbacks:

Energy Efficiency: Traditional asphalt shingles have lower solar reflectance compared to metal roofs, meaning they absorb more solar energy. This can increase the temperature of your home during hot weather, leading to higher air conditioning costs. Some modern asphalt shingles are designed to be more reflective, but they still generally fall short of the energy efficiency provided by metal roofs.

Environmental Impact: The production of asphalt shingles requires significant amounts of energy, primarily derived from fossil fuels, which contributes to their larger carbon footprint. Additionally, the majority of old asphalt shingles end up in landfills at the end of their life cycle, where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Recycling options for asphalt roofing are available, but not as widespread or efficient as metal roofing.

Fiberglass Roof

Fiberglass shingles are a type of asphalt shingle, but with some differences in composition and performance:

Energy Efficiency: Fiberglass shingles consist of a fiberglass mat, covered with a waterproof layer of asphalt and topped with ceramic granules. This construction can offer slightly better energy efficiency than traditional asphalt shingles due to the nature of the fiberglass mat, which is thinner and less dense. This can result in a slightly higher reflectivity and better thermal performance, but still does not reach the efficiency of metal roofs.

Environmental Impact: Like traditional asphalt shingles, fiberglass shingles also have a considerable environmental footprint. They are produced using significant amounts of energy and non-renewable resources. Although they are slightly lighter and use less asphalt, which could reduce their environmental impact compared to organic asphalt shingles, they still face challenges in recycling and disposal, contributing to landfill waste.

Best Roof for Extreme Weather

A house’s roof covered by snow during winter

In Canada, where weather conditions can be notably severe, selecting the appropriate roofing material becomes paramount. Canada experiences extreme weather such as heavy snowfall, ice accumulation, and drastic temperature fluctuations, necessitating a roofing solution capable of effectively enduring these challenges.

Metal roofs stand out as a preferred choice for Canadian climates owing to their exceptional durability and remarkable ability to efficiently shed snow and ice. By efficiently shedding snow and ice, metal roofs mitigate the risk of structural damage and the formation of ice dams, safeguarding the integrity of the roof and the structure beneath it.

Noise Level

In addition to other factors, such as durability and energy efficiency, noise level is an important consideration when choosing a roof material between metal and shingles.

Metal Roofs

Metal roofs, due to their rigid structure, may generate more noise during rainfall or hailstorms compared to shingle roof systems. The sound of raindrops hitting the metal surface can be audible inside the home, potentially leading to increased noise levels during inclement weather conditions.

However, homeowners can address this issue by incorporating noise-reducing underlayment and insulation during the installation process.

These additional layers act as barriers to sound transmission, dampening the noise and creating a quieter indoor environment.

With proper insulation, metal roofs can offer the same level of noise reduction as shingle roofs, providing homeowners with peace and tranquillity even during adverse weather events.

Shingle Roofs

Shingle roofing systems including asphalt shingles and fiberglass shingles are known for their superior sound insulation properties compared to metal roofs. The layered structure of shingles, along with the presence of attic space, effectively absorbs and disperses sound waves, reducing the transmission of noise from rain, wind, or other external sources into the living space below. This inherent sound-dampening capability contributes to a quieter and more comfortable environment for homeowners, enhancing their overall quality of life.

Conclusion: Metal Roofs vs Shingles

When choosing between a metal roof and shingles, homeowners should consider factors like cost, durability, maintenance, design, and environmental impact.

Metal roofs offer longevity and energy efficiency but come with a higher initial cost.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles and fiberglass roofs provide a classic look and are more affordable upfront, though they may entail higher long-term maintenance expenses.

Consulting the expertise of a roofing contractor is a crucial aspect of the decision-making process.

Ultimately, investing in your home’s roof is investing in its protection and comfort. By carefully assessing the pros and cons of each option, homeowners can make a decision that aligns with their needs and preferences for years to come.