Metal Roofing vs Shingles: Which is Cheaper?

Jan 19, 2024

Roofing is a major investment for any homeowner. While most people are familiar with traditional asphalt shingles, metal roofing has been garnering attention for its durability and longevity. But, how does the cost of metal roofing compare to other options? Let’s break it down.

The Initial Cost of Metal Roofing

Initially, metal roofing can be more expensive than asphalt shingles. The cost of metal roofing ranges from $120 to $900 per square foot, compared to asphalt shingles, which cost between $70 and $160 per square. The price difference largely depends on the type of metal used, with copper and zinc being the most expensive.

The Long-term Cost of Metal Roofing

While the upfront cost of a metal roof may be higher, the long-term savings can be significant. Metal roofs last upwards of 50 years, more than twice the lifespan of asphalt shingles, which average 20 to 25 years. This means that while you may pay more initially for a metal roof, you will likely save money in replacement costs over the long term.

The Cost of Metal Roofing vs Shingles: Other Factors to Consider

When comparing the cost of metal roofing to shingles, it’s also important to consider other factors. For instance, metal roofs are more energy-efficient, helping to reduce cooling costs during hot summer months. Furthermore, they require less maintenance than asphalt shingles, further reducing long-term costs.

Is Metal Roofing Cheaper in the Long Run?

While the initial cost of metal roofing can be a deterrent for some, the long-term benefits often outweigh the upfront expense. Between lower maintenance costs, increased energy efficiency, and longer lifespan, metal roofing can end up being the more cost-effective choice over time. However, each homeowner’s situation is unique, and it’s important to consider all factors before deciding on a roofing material.

In conclusion, though the initial cost of metal roofing is higher than traditional shingles, the long-term savings and benefits make it a worthy investment for many homeowners.

The Durability of Metal Roofing

One of the most compelling reasons why homeowners choose metal roofing is its remarkable durability. Unlike conventional roofing materials, metal roofs are highly resistant to various weather conditions and can significantly withstand the test of time.

Metal roofing is known to shrug off heavy rain, snow, hail, and high winds with ease. Its ruggedness effectively makes it less susceptible to water leaks and damage from falling debris. This makes it an excellent choice for homes in areas that are prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes or wildfires.

Moreover, metal roofs are resistant to fire, mildew, insects, and rot. They do not crack or corrode, and high-end metal roofs are less likely to be affected by winds that would cause shingles to rip off. This makes metal roofing a sustainable, long-term investment for your home.

Another impressive attribute of metal roofs is their ability to reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs by 10-25%. This thermal efficiency can significantly lower your energy bills, especially during the summer months.

The durability of metal roofs is also evident in their performance over time. Most metal roof manufacturers offer a 30 to 50-year warranty, but it is not uncommon for these roofs to last 70 years or more with proper maintenance. This longevity outperforms the typical lifespan of other roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, which usually need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years.

In conclusion, the durability of metal roofing is exceptional. Not only can it withstand harsh weather conditions, resist fire and rot, and reflect heat, but it also maintains its structural integrity for decades. While the initial cost might be higher compared to other roofing materials, the long-term benefits and savings that come with a metal roof make it a worthy investment for many homeowners.

The Aesthetics of Metal Roofing

When it comes to aesthetics, metal roofing offers a wide array of design options that can easily complement any architectural style. Unlike traditional roofing materials, metal roofing comes in various colors, finishes, and styles, making it a flexible choice for homeowners who want to add a unique touch to their homes while ensuring durability and protection.

One of the most attractive features of metal roofing is its versatility. It comes in a variety of styles including vertical seam panels, metal shingles, and tiles. The vertical seam panels offer a modern, sleek look while metal shingles can mimic the appearance of traditional shingles, slate, or wood shakes. Metal tiles, on the other hand, can replicate the style of clay or concrete tiles, providing the same aesthetic appeal without the weight. This means, regardless of your home’s design, there’s a metal roof that can match and enhance its overall look.

Another compelling aesthetic advantage of metal roofing is the range of color choices available. From neutral hues to more vibrant tones, metal roofs can be painted or coated in practically any color, providing an opportunity for homeowners to customize their roofs according to their personal preferences and the architectural design of their homes. Additionally, some metal roofs come with special finishes that can provide an aged appearance, which can add character and style to your home.

Beyond style and color, the clean lines and distinctive sheen of metal roofs can add a touch of sophistication and modernity to any home. This distinctive look can not only enhance your home’s curb appeal but also potentially increase its resale value.

In conclusion, metal roofing doesn’t just offer superior durability and longevity, it also presents homeowners with an array of aesthetic options that can enhance the appeal of their homes. Whether you’re going for a traditional look with faux shingle metal roofing or aiming for a more contemporary style with vertical seam panels, metal roofing can be tailored to meet your design needs.

The Weight of Metal Roofing

Choosing the right roofing material for your home requires consideration of several factors, one of which is weight. Metal roofing is a popular choice for many homeowners, not just because of its durability and aesthetic appeal, but also because it’s much lighter than most traditional roofing materials.

Typically, metal roofing weighs between 50 to 150 pounds per 100 square feet, significantly lighter than other materials like asphalt shingles, which weigh around 200-350 pounds per 100 square feet, or clay tiles, which can weigh as much as 600-900 pounds per 100 square feet. This lightweight nature of metal roofing offers several benefits to homeowners.

Benefits of Light Metal Roofing

One of the primary benefits of the light weight of metal roofing is its ease of installation. Because metal roofs are so much lighter, they can often be installed directly over an existing roof without the need for a complete tear-off, saving homeowners both time and money.

Further, the light weight of metal roofing also means less stress on the home’s structure. This can be particularly beneficial for older homes that might not be able to support the weight of heavier roofing materials.

Moreover, lighter roofing materials like metal can also help to reduce the impact on the environment. Less weight means less energy required for transportation, and less waste if the old roof does need to be removed.


Despite metal roofing’s light weight, it’s important to note that not all metal roofs are the same. Different types of metal, such as steel, aluminum, and copper, can vary in weight, as can different styles of metal roofing, such as standing seam, corrugated, and metal shingles. Therefore, homeowners should consult with a professional roofer to determine the best type of metal roof for their specific needs.

In conclusion, the light weight of metal roofing is a significant advantage over other heavier roofing materials, offering benefits in terms of ease of installation, reduced stress on the home’s structure, and environmental impact. As with any home improvement decision, though, it’s important to consider all factors and consult with a professional before making a final decision.

The Installation of Metal Roofing

When considering a new roofing option, one of the important factors to consider is the installation process. Metal roofing offers a unique set of advantages and challenges when it comes to installation. Let’s delve into the factors that play a significant role in the installation of metal roofing.

Ease of Installation

Metal roofing is generally easier and quicker to install compared to traditional roofing methods. The roofing materials usually come in multiple-shingle sections or in 12 to 36-inch-wide panels which can be installed by professionals quickly. The ease of installation can significantly reduce the overall cost as it means less labor and time.

Professional Installation

While the process may be quicker, installing a metal roof requires professional expertise. The process requires specialized knowledge and tools, making it less suitable for DIY projects. It’s crucial to hire a professional contractor experienced in metal roofing installation to avoid any potential issues down the line.

Roof Structure and Condition

Before metal roofing installation, the current state and structure of the roof are taken into account. Metal roofs can be installed over existing roofs, which can save on removal and disposal costs. However, any issues such as leaks or damages should be addressed before the installation to ensure the longevity and performance of the metal roof.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions also play a vital role in the installation of metal roofing. Ideal conditions are when the weather is dry and warm. Rain or cold weather can make the installation process more difficult and potentially dangerous.

Safety Measures

Due to the sleek and slippery nature of metal, special safety measures should be taken during the installation process. Roofing contractors need to use safety harnesses and other precautionary measures to avoid accidents.

In conclusion, while the installation of metal roofing is quicker and more straightforward, it does require professional knowledge and expertise. Considering the potential savings in time and future maintenance, it’s a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

The Maintenance of Metal Roofing

One of the significant benefits of metal roofing lies in its low maintenance requirements. Unlike traditional roofing materials such as shingles, metal roofs require little to no attention once installed. This feature makes them an ideal choice for homeowners seeking a long-term roofing solution with minimal upkeep demands.

Although metal roofing is more resilient than most other roofing materials, it doesn’t mean they’re entirely maintenance-free. A few preventive measures can prolong the lifespan of your roof and maintain its aesthetic appeal.

Regular Inspection

Conducting a regular inspection is an essential part of metal roofing maintenance. It allows you to identify and address any problems early, preventing more costly repairs in the future. Look for signs of damage such as loose, bent, or rusted panels, and seek professional help if necessary.


While metal roofs are typically resistant to algae and moss, they can still accumulate dust and debris. An occasional cleaning with water and a soft brush will keep your roof looking its best. However, avoid using abrasive cleaners as they can damage the protective coating on your roof.

Gutter Maintenance

Proper gutter maintenance is also crucial in preserving the integrity of your metal roof. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and seep under the roofing material, leading to rust and deterioration. Regularly cleaning out your gutters and ensuring they’re properly aligned will prevent water damage.

Sealant Check

Over time, the sealant used in metal roofing can wear out, leading to potential leaks. Checking the sealant around flashings and seams annually and replacing it as needed can help maintain the watertight integrity of your roof.

In conclusion, while metal roofs have a reputation for being low-maintenance, they still require some attention to keep them in top condition. Regular inspections, cleaning, proper gutter maintenance, and sealant checks are all part of this process. By taking these precautionary steps, you can enjoy the benefits of a metal roof for many years to come.

The Lifespan of Metal Roofing

One of the key considerations in choosing a roofing material is its longevity. The lifespan of a roof not only impacts its overall cost-effectiveness but also the frequency of roof replacements. When it comes to metal roofing, you’ll find that the longevity often outmatches other popular roofing materials such as shingles.

A typical asphalt shingle roof might last anywhere from 20 to 30 years, depending on the quality of materials used and the maintenance practices. On the other hand, metal roofs are known to last at least 50 years, with some lasting up to 70 years or more. This essentially means a metal roof could last the lifetime of your house.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Several factors can influence the lifespan of your metal roof. These include the quality of the installation, the type of metal used, the climate and weather conditions in your area, and how well the roof is maintained.

Quality of Installation

Proper installation plays a significant role in the lifespan of metal roofing. Properly installed metal roofs can withstand wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour. A poorly installed roof, however, may fail much earlier than its estimated lifespan.

Type of Metal

Different metals have different lifespans. For instance, copper and zinc roofs can last well over 100 years, while steel and aluminum roofs can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years.

Climate and Weather Conditions

Metal roofs are highly resistant to weather-related damage. However, in areas with extreme weather conditions such as heavy snowfall or high winds, the lifespan of the roof could be affected.


Although metal roofs require less maintenance than shingles, regular inspections and minor repairs can extend their lifespan significantly.

In Conclusion

While the initial cost of a metal roof may be higher than other roofing materials, the long lifespan of metal roofing often makes it a more cost-effective choice in the long run. With a lifespan of at least 50 years, a metal roof could be the last roof you’ll ever need to install on your house.

The Final Verdict

When it comes to deciding whether a metal roof is a superior choice over shingles, it’s important to consider several factors. Both roofing types have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, but the final verdict depends largely on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

While the initial cost of metal roofing might be higher than that of shingles, metal roofs are known for their long-term durability and cost-effectiveness. Unlike shingle roofs, which typically last around 20 to 30 years, metal roofs can last up to 70 years with minimal maintenance. This makes them a worthwhile investment for homeowners who plan on staying in their homes for an extended period.

Additionally, metal roofs provide a unique aesthetic appeal that is not matched by traditional shingles. Whether you prefer the sleek, modern look of standing seam panels or the rustic charm of corrugated metal, there’s a metal roofing option that can enhance the overall look of your home.

Furthermore, metal roofs are lightweight, reducing the structural stress on your house, and are quicker to install than shingle roofs. They can even be installed over an existing roof, saving you the cost and hassle of roof removal and disposal.

Maintenance for metal roofs is also minimal, mainly consisting of periodic inspections for any potential damage. However, when repairs are needed, they can be more expensive than those for shingle roofs.

In conclusion, while the cost of installation for metal roofing might be higher, the long lifespan, aesthetic appeal, minimal maintenance, and potential energy savings make it a worthwhile consideration for homeowners. It’s essential, however, to weigh these factors against your own unique needs and circumstances to determine which roofing type is the best fit for your home.

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