Metal Roofs vs Shingles
In choosing a roof for a house, metal roofing and asphalt shingles both have their share of advantages and disadvantages over the other. Ultimately, regional climate will be a primary factor in determining the best roof for a particular house, however there are several consideration used to weigh one type of roof against the other. The most common considerations used in comparing these two roofing materials are their ability to keep a house cool in the summer and warm in the winter, soundproofing, resistance to fire damage, overall strength and longevity of the material, and finally cost.
Metal Roofing vs. Traditional Shingles
Both types of roof may use very different type of material in their construction. Shingles come in two forms, made either of fiberglass or organic, typically paper in an asphalt shell. Fiberglass is more popular due to its low cost and flexibility, whereas organic uses more asphalt, making them more durable than fiberglass, but makes them less environmentally friendly. Metal roofs are most often steel, but may be copper, tin, zinc, or other metals. Metal roofs are environmentally friendly, made at least partly of recycled metal, and may usually be recycled again at end of life.
A house should remain cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and the roof is integral in temperature regulation. Metal roofs are inherently reflective, diverting sunlight and keeping a house cooler in hot temperatures. Asphalt shingles, especially black ones, absorb heat and make a house warmer when the sun is beating down on a house. Overall, metal roofs are superior on a hot sunny day. Their reflectivity reduces the time that cooling systems are needed. White or lighter colored metal roofs with proper ventilation and sealing increase energy effeciency.
In colder temperatures, shingles on a sunny day will once again absorb heat, keeping the house warmer. However, many metal roofs, with insulation, can also keep a house adequately warm in the winter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the energy savings of a metal roof in hotter climates are so significant that, in the aggregate, even if the metal roof is less efficient in the winter, they have far lower annual energy costs.
Warranty & Longevity
While both types of roofing come with multi-year warranties, metal roofing generally comes with a warranty of 25 to 40 years, while most shingles have twenty to twenty-five year warranties and may actually only last 12 to 20 years. In the case of inclement weather, metal roofs are far more reliable. They are less likely to fall apart in high winds, even hurricane force when properly installed, and are less likely to be substantially damaged in hailstorms or when hit by lighting. In the case of shingles, though, if not installed properly, individual shingles may be damaged or algae may develop in humid weather, necessitating replacement of part or all of the roof.
In addition, shingles may not withstand layers of dense wet snow in the winter. The weight and cold can cause shingles to crack, causing leaks, whereas a sloped metal roof will allow snow to simply slide off, preserving the roof’s integrity.
While metal roofing has many significant advantages, its upfront installation cost is typically more than the cost of putting on a shingle roof. While there are federal rebates for metal roofs and they will generally save more money in the aggregate, the intimidating upfront cost is a difficult hurdle to overcome for many consumers. Most roofing companies are glad to give quotes for a multitude of roofing types and materials to suit the consumer’s budget and preference. The longevity of a metal roof will far outweigh the initial costswhen compared to a shingle roof over a 30 to 40 year measurement span.