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Most cost efficient roof: Metal roof vs. asphalt shingle roof

Is it time for a new roof? Your options are almost endless! Traditional asphalt shingles have long been known for their reliability, cost-effectiveness, selection of color and styles, and ability to maintain relatively cheaply, making them the most popular roofing material for us. But now there’s a variety of options that deserve consideration–especially metal. A metal roof is the 2nd most popular roofing material thanks to its durability, longevity, and a wide selection of color and styles.

Both materials are great options for residential roofing, but one may be better suited to your needs.

Metal roofs vs. asphalt shingles:

Both materials have nearly endless color and style options. While shingle roofs have a traditional look of their own, nowadays they’re being manufactured to mimic the look of slate, wood shakes, and tile. Our partner, GAF, has a wide-ranging color palette with multiple finishes as well, from slightly weathered (to complement older homes) to subtly multicolored.

Metal roofing has come a long way from the corrugated tin panels that we see on barns and sheds. You’ll see metal roofing that suits less rustic, more refined structures, from California contemporaries to east coast Victorians, in a spectrum of colors and finishes, and in shingle, slate, and shake styles. Our partner, Gulf Coast, has the greatest variety of metal roofing options for you to explore.

Because you can likely get the look you want from either metal or asphalt shingle, don’t let appearance be the deciding factor; instead, choose the material that will perform best for you.

Metal roofs tend to be more durable. Metal roofs can stand up to nearly anything mother nature throws at them, so you’ll find that they come with 30 to 50-year warranties, and often outlast that with lifespans of 40 to 70 years. Metal roofs are not without weaknesses. Extreme hail or falling branches could dent a metal roof. Discuss vulnerability concerns with the manufacturer. You’ll learn, for example, a steel roof is hardier than a copper roof.

Shingles have a shorter lifespan, of course. Everything from extreme heat, to extreme cold, pooling water and chronically damp conditions can reduce the life of your shingle roof. Shingle roofs come with 15 to 30-year warranties, depending largely on the region, environment, and climate. In the south, a shingle roof’s lifespan is 12 to 15 years max.

Metal Roofs vs Shingles: Which Roofing Is Best for You?

Shingle roofs are cheaper up front. Though you’ll get more life out of a metal roof, you’ll pay the price at the time of installation. Metal roofs generally can run from $120 to $900 per 100 square feet (one 10-foot by 10-foot area, or a “square” of material), while asphalt shingles will be between $100 and $200 per 100 square feet. Its installation will also run you more for metal since it’s a more specialized job.

You may recoup some of the costs of a metal roof down the road, because you likely won’t ever have to replace it. Additionally, insurance companies may offer discounts to homes with metal roofs.

Metal roofs are more eco-friendly. Because they’re largely made of recycled material and can be recycled again and again, metal roofs are considered a more sustainable choice than asphalt shingles. Metal roofs are also more energy-efficient thanks to their reflective qualities, which can block heat transmission to the home’s interior. Specialized paint coatings can further reduce your cooling bills. Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, need to be replaced more frequently than metal roofs, creating more waste. Also, asphalt shingles are a petroleum-based product, which increases dependency on fossil fuels.

Asphalt shingle roofs generally are easier to install and repair. For pros, the work requires little specialized knowledge and basic tools. Shingles can be installed in a day or two in some cases, sometimes right over the existing layer. Metal roofing installation typically requires a more skilled and specialized tradesman. The job is more precise, with less room for error, so it won’t move as quickly as a shingle installation. However, some lightweight metal products may be able to be installed right over an existing roof in good condition, simplifying installation overall and eliminating the cost of ripping the original roof out.

Repairs are easier for shingles than metal roofing. Though roofing manufacturers don’t recommend do-it-yourself jobs, asphalt sheets are easier to work with than metal ones. Metal roofs are harder to replace individually, due to the way the metal panels are joined together, and typically require a retrofit of an entire panel.

Asphalt shingle roofing is a dominant material for residential roofing projects. However, metal roofing is surging in popularity as more aesthetic options become available.

It’s important to navigate these pros and cons of each material before you decide which to use because this is a significant and long-term investment. If you are ready for a new roof and want to look at some options, contact us at ARS Roofing today.

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