Shingle Vs Metal

Shingle Roof vs. Metal Roof – What’s The Better Choice?

If you were to ask a group of production builders, “what is the best roofing material on the market today?”, they would likely tell you asphalt. For the average residential architect on the other hand, would likely say metal. Heaven only knows what a home owner would choose—asphalt, metal, slate, clay, concrete—or if they’ll even care at all.

Most home owners care mostly about price, and don’t seem to care as much about material, as long as the roof functions properly and will last a little while into the foreseeable future. Now, production builders care about looks and function, too, but affordability is definitely top of mind, and architects, they want a roof to function well, but they are mostly concerned that it be aesthetically pleasing.

If you were to ask a roofing contractor who deals in both metal and shingle, you would probably get this answer. Metal is best, but shingle is King. Metal will hands down outlast a shingle roof, virtually maintenance free, but can cost 2 to 3 times the cost of a shingle roof. As where shingle roofs today have warranties that can rival the best metal roofs, the material is easy to find, easy to install, easy to maintain, and let’s not forget, easy on your wallet too!

Indeed, asphalt is easy to install and produces a decent-looking roof, but most architects, builders and contractors say the product is still King mainly because it’s economical.

So where does that leave you? The tradeoffs are not so simple. Both materials are versatile, offering a variety of looks. But is it enough to specify an asphalt roof that should last 18 to 50 years or more? (Depending on the product line you choose), Or is it worth it to pay two to three times as much for a metal roof that could outlive you and your house? Considering how long the average home buyer stays in a house, the answer may be simple.

Here’s a handy guide that outlines the pros and cons of asphalt versus metal roofing.


Pros For Asphalt Shingles:


The low cost of an asphalt/fibreglass shingle is its biggest selling point. The average shingle roof should set you back around $3.00 to $4.00 a square foot. Making it an ideally suited option for most home owner’s budgets.

Easy To Work With:

There is no easier roof to install. In most cases, a house can be stripped of old material and re-roofed in one day by professional contractors. Even serious DIYer’s have been known to take on roofing projects. Although it is highly recommended that you don’t. This is due to your safety and warranty issues.

Style Options:

There are plenty of roofing styles that shingles have to offer. Starting with your basic three-tab for the cost-conscious, to a wide array of fancy styles mimicking wood shakes or slate tiles. Basic three-tab shingles still dominate the roofing industry, but thicker, high-end laminates are booming and becoming more popular. They are available in many colours and styles, with deep shadow lines.

Easy To Repair:

As easy as asphalt/fibreglass shingles is to install, it’s equally as easy to repair if it gets damaged.

Great Warranties:

Today, the higher end laminate shingles are coming with warranties that rival even the best metal roofs. Providing you hired a Manufacturer Certified Roofing Contractor, you could receive a 50 year Non-Prorated warranty. Which would replace the roof 100% for a period of 50 years should there be a defect in the shingle, 15 years – 130mph wind warranty and 10 to 15 years for streaking of the shingle. These warranties were unheard 5 years ago.

Good Performance Record:

Asphalt shingles have been used in the roofing industry for over 100 years. Depending on the product line, asphalt/fibreglass shingles come with a 25- to 50-year warranty. Many are fire-rated (as high as Class A), and require minimal maintenance. Some manufacturers offer products that meet Energy Star requirements and qualify as a cool roof under federal standards, making them eligible for tax credits.

Cons For Asphalt Shingles:

Shingles Are Heavy:

While most shingles come in around 200 to 240 pounds per square, some laminate, higher end shingles can clock in at close to 500 pounds per square. (1 square equals 100 square feet. 10×10 foot sections.)

Longevity Concerns:

The performance of a shingle roof is very closely tied to a well ventilated attic space. An improperly ventilated attic space will shave years off your roofs lifespan and will undoubtedly void your shingle warranty. A shingle roof must absolutely be well ventilated with a static vent system and a well balanced intake system. Unfortunately, the later is one that most homeowners and roofers alike seem to either ignore, or just don’t know about it, causing plenty of roofs to fail early.

Nascent Recycling:

The asphalt recycling industry is still young. Studies show that shingle roofing waste makes up 8% of the total building-related waste stream. However, manufacturers are developing ways to find uses for the material including pavement, new roofing, and road and ground cover.

Susceptible To Severe Weather:

In general, asphalt provides good uplift protection, but the product does not hold up well to severe weather such as extreme winds, hail, driving rain or ice and snow accumulated on the roof.

Will Not Increase The Value Of Your Home:

Asphalt/fibreglass shingles are considered a maintenance issue. It is something that needs to be done either way, therefore will not increase your value of your home. Although it might help you sell faster when a new home buyer knows he won’t have to deal with it.


Pros For A Metal Roof:

Will Increase The Value Of Your Home:

Metal roofs are considered an upgrade where one will not ever have to replace again. (Certainly not in your life time) This makes your home appealing to new home buyers as they know this is one last thing they don’t need to worry about. Making your home appealing to new home buyers increases home value.

Environmentally Friendly:

As one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials, metal roofs have proven to be up to 60% more reflective than shingles and will help keep your house cooler in the summer. Plus, the product often contains high, recycled content and is itself recyclable.


Metal is about the lightest material you can install on your roof. Though weight varies based on type, most metal roofs are up to 40% lighter than shingle roofs. Some can get as low as 50 pounds per square.


Metal offers good weather resistance and can last a long time. There are rumors of copper and zinc metal roofs in Europe lasting well over 100 years. Though this might be possible with care and maintenance, you can reasonably expect a metal roof to last about 70 years or so, give or take. Metal roofs are not as susceptible to venting issues as a shingle roof is. This does not mean boycott venting. You still need it for your attic to vent humidity in the winter and the heat in the summer. It just means, an under ventilated roof will not affect a steel roof as it would a shingle roof.

Long Warranty:

Many metal manufacturers offer limited warranties that will last anywhere from 35 to 50 years.

Cons For A Metal Roof:


Metal roofs will generate cost of two to three and a half times the cost of a shingle roof. That’s $6.00 to $14.00 a square foot. This is metal’s biggest drawback. Even though the price of a metal roof has come down over the years, it is still incredibly expensive. Stainless steel, Zinc and copper are even more expensive. Enough so, you might choke on your food, if you heard the price while eating.

Difficult To Install:

You must make sure you have a qualified roofing contractor on your project. Metal roofs are very difficult and are a very tedious material to use. This is one of the main factors that contribute to the price of your roof. You will also have to expect that the roofers will be working on your project much longer than a shingle crew will. Some metal roofs can take longer than a month to be completed, and some, even longer than that.

Extreme Expansion And Contraction:

Critics contend that some metal roofs expand and contract quite a bit, which compromises their long-term performance and their ability to remain water tight. This though, is often a function of the installation.

Unsightly Protection Measures:

All metal roofs are prone to have big ice sheets come sliding down off your roof. I have seen cars get crushed like pancakes, and hot tubs flattened out. This leads to installing unsightly ice guards and railings to stop the ice from coming off the roof. Which ultimately takes away the straight-lined modern look that the metal roof provides. Making the roof visually un-appealing.