Metal Roofing vs. Shingles Pros and Cons

Metal Roofing vs. Shingles Pros and Cons

When it comes time to look at replacement options for your residential roofing, you will most undoubtedly come across plenty of roofing options available in the market. Shingles have been the go to roofing product for most residential roofing replacement projects, however metal roofing has been gaining in popularity year after year and is arguably the second most popular residential roofing material used today.  Below we look to highlight both the advantages and the potential drawbacks for each roofing material, so that you can make an informed decision on which product is best for your needs when it comes time to replace your home’s roofing system. 

Metal Roofing

Pros

  • Wide Range of Options
Since various kinds of metals are used for making metal roofing systems, you have numerous style options available to choose from. Metal roofing can be made to resemble wood shakes, slate tiles, clay or any number of designs. Metal is also available in a wide range of colours, shades, finishes and hues. For these reasons, metal roofing is considered to be more customizable than other residential roofing options available.
  • Low Maintenance
One of the more popular benefits of a metal roofing system is that they don’t require a lot of maintenance and upkeep. In fact, to keep your roof in great condition all you really need is to clear any loose debris such fallen branches from on top of your roof and cut back and tree branches that may potential rub against your roofing.
  • Extremely Durable
Metal is one of the most durable and long-lasting roofing material options available today. It is resistant to wind, snow, rain, ice, fire and even lightning strikes. It is no surprise that some manufactures offer an 80-year warranty on their top-grade metal roofing and 40 – 50 years on their standard metal roofing product. This is why many metal roofing sales specialists will claim that this will be the last roof replacement your home will need.  
  • Environmentally Friendly
Metal roofing is considered the most environmentally friendly roofing option for several reasons. Metal roofing is completely recyclable, many manufacturers use recycled materials in their products and metal has the highest solar reflectivity reducing heat transfer, making it energy efficient, especially in the summer months.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing
There is a metal roofing option to match any home’s design or style needs. The available options with metal roofing is considered a benefit, but it’s ability to match the architectural design or style needs of any home has to be listed on it’s own. Your metal roof can stand out as the focal point of your home’s aesthetic or it can fade into your home appeal and help accentuate your home as a whole. No matter what style metal roof you choose, you can guarantee it will be beautiful. 

Cons

  • Labour Intensive
Installation of metal roofing systems require specialised tools, equipment, training and knowledge. Not all roofing contractors have the experience, knowledge or ability to complete a metal roof installation. As a result, metal roof installations tens to be more expensive than other roofing materials.
  • Cost of Materials
The durability and longevity of metal comes at a cost. Even though most metal roofing systems are comparable to the cost of other premium roofing materials, they can run 5+ times more than your basic 3-tab asphalt shingles and premium metal products can even be as high as 10 times the cost of basic shingles.
  • May Dent 
Even though metal roofing is extremely durable and can withstand decades of abuse from Mother Nature, some metal is prone to dents from large hail and falling tree limbs. Some metal roofing options also will not permit you to climb up on top of your roof as this can cause damage. If this sounds like a deterrent, the issue can be avoided entirely by choosing metal roofing that comes with a dent resistant guarantee. 

Asphalt Shingles

Pros

  • Economical
If you are concerned about the short-term costs of your roof, asphalt shingles are a great option as it is lighter on your wallet. Every aspect of having your roof shingled is less expensive than other roofing options. The material is less expensive to purchase and the installation is less labour intensive. 
  • Easy to Maintain
Another great benefit of installing asphalt shingle roofing is that it is easy to clean and maintain. Unlike other roofing materials, you are able to get on top of your shingled roof without the fear of damaging your roof.
  • Varying Warranty Periods
Due to the popularity of shingles among homeowners, they are manufactured with different characteristics which lead to differing warranty periods. Basic 3-tab shingles may come with a 15 – 25 year warranty, where higher quality architectural shingles may come with a 40 or even 50 year warranty. 
  • More Roofing Contractors Available
Since the installation of shingle roofing is easier than other roofing materials and doesn’t require any special tools, there are more contractors available to complete your roof replacement. Because there is more competition, this can also help reduce the cost of your roof installation.

Cons

  • Shorter Lifespan
Basic asphalt shingles have a life expectancy of roughly 20 – 25 years, and may not last that long if installed incorrectly. There are premium options that can last up to 50 years, but these shingles also come with a premium price point. If you are in your forever home and are comparing the cost of shingles with other materials such as metal, it may be wise to consider the cost of future replacements in your cost analysis.
  • Not Environmentally Friendly
Asphalt shingles are manufactured from an oil-based material and the process creates a large amount of greenhouse gases, they also take a long time to decompose. Even though some old shingles can be recycled or repurposed for use in asphalt pavement, most end up discarded in landfills were they sit for long periods of time and which leads to an increased toll on the environment than other roofing materials.
  • Vulnerable to the Elements
Shingles have been known to be vulnerable to extreme weather conditions including hail, strong winds, excessive heat and sever rain storms. The severity of this vulnerability depends on the type and quality of the shingles you have installed on your home.

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