Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingle Roof: A Comparison of Cost and Longevity

by | Aug 28, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Often called a home’s crown, the roof is a critical aspect of any building. Not only does it provide shelter from the elements, but it also plays a significant role in a structure’s overall aesthetics and energy efficiency. As homeowners select the perfect roofing material, the choice between metal roofs and asphalt shingle roofs comes into focus. In this article, we’ll comprehensively compare these two contenders, considering factors such as cost, longevity, environmental impact, maintenance, aesthetics, and more.

Understanding Metal Roofs

Explanation of Metal Roofing Materials

Metal roofs come in various materials, including steel, aluminum, and copper. Each material has distinct properties contributing to the roof’s overall performance and longevity. Steel is known for its strength, aluminum for its lightweight nature and corrosion resistance, while copper exudes a timeless appeal and exceptional durability.

Benefits of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are synonymous with longevity and durability. They often outlast asphalt shingle roofs by decades, lasting 40 to 70 years. The minimal maintenance requirements of metal roofs make them a hassle-free option, while their reflective surfaces contribute to energy efficiency by reducing heat absorption. Furthermore, the environmental benefits of metal roofs shine, given their recyclability and energy-efficient coatings.

Drawbacks of Metal Roofs

While metal roofs offer numerous advantages, their higher upfront cost can be a deterrent for some homeowners. Additionally, the acoustic properties of metal can lead to increased noise levels during rainfall, although this can be mitigated through proper insulation. Lastly, metal roofs may have limited style options compared to asphalt shingle roofs.

Exploring Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Overview of Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingle roofs are a popular choice due to their affordability and versatility. They are available in various styles, colors, and textures, making them adaptable to different architectural designs.

Advantages of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

The initial cost advantage of asphalt shingle roofs makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners. Their ease of installation further contributes to their popularity, allowing for quicker roofing projects. Additionally, the wide range of styles and colors ensures homeowners can find a look that complements their preferences.

Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Despite their advantages, asphalt shingle roofs have a shorter lifespan than their metal counterparts, typically lasting around 20 to 30 years. They are also more susceptible to weathering and damage, necessitating more frequent repairs and replacements. It ultimately leads to higher long-term maintenance costs.

Cost Analysis: Upfront and Long-Term

Breakdown of Upfront Costs

Metal roofs generally cost more upfront due to their premium materials and durability. In contrast, asphalt shingle roofs are more affordable initially, making them an accessible choice for homeowners with budget constraints.

Calculation of Long-Term Costs

When considering long-term costs, metal roofs often shine. Due to their reflective properties, their extended lifespan means fewer replacements, reduced maintenance expenses, and potential energy savings. These factors contribute to a higher return on investment (ROI) over the roof’s lifetime.

Consideration of ROI

Homeowners must factor in the upfront investment and the potential savings over time. While metal roofs require a more significant initial investment, their longevity and energy efficiency can lead to substantial financial benefits in the long run.

Longevity and Durability Comparison

Lifespan of Metal Roofs

The extended lifespan of metal roofs can be attributed to their resistance to various elements, including rain, snow, and sun exposure. Additionally, their corrosion and rust resistance ensures they remain structurally sound and visually appealing over the years.

Lifespan of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

The average lifespan of asphalt shingle roofs is notably shorter. Their durability is affected by weather conditions, temperature fluctuations, and UV radiation, leading to a higher likelihood of cracking, curling, and missing shingles over time.

Environmental Impact and Energy Efficiency

Environmental Benefits of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are environmentally friendly due to their recyclability and reduced landfill waste. They can also incorporate energy-efficient coatings and cool roofing technology, reflecting solar heat and contributing to energy savings.

Environmental Considerations of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

In contrast, asphalt shingle roofs pose disposal challenges due to their non-biodegradable nature. They lack inherent energy efficiency features, which can contribute to higher energy consumption for cooling purposes.

Impact on Local Ecosystems

Choosing metal and asphalt shingle roofs can have broader environmental implications, influencing local ecosystems through water runoff and heat island effects.

Maintenance and Repairs

Maintenance of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs require minimal maintenance, with periodic inspections and cleaning being the primary tasks. Promptly addressing potential issues ensures the roof’s longevity and minimizes repair costs.

Maintenance of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Regular inspections are crucial for asphalt shingle roofs to identify and address cracks, curling, and missing shingles. Clearing debris and maintaining gutters are also essential to prevent water damage.

Cost Comparison of Maintenance

While metal roofs have lower maintenance requirements, asphalt shingle roofs demand more frequent repairs and replacements. Over time, these maintenance expenses can significantly impact the overall cost of the roof.

Noise Considerations with Metal Roofs

Noise Concerns

Metal roofs can generate noticeable noise levels during rainfall due to their hard surface. This noise factor is more pronounced in homes with minimal insulation.

Mitigating Noise Issues

Homeowners can take steps to reduce noise issues by using appropriate underlayment materials and enhancing attic insulation and soundproofing measures.

User Considerations

The decision regarding noise considerations depends on the homeowner’s location, climate, and personal preferences. Those in rainy areas prioritize noise reduction, while others prioritize other factors.

Aesthetics and Curb Appeal

Aesthetic Advantages of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Asphalt shingle roofs offer versatile design options, allowing homeowners to select styles and colors seamlessly blending with different architectural styles.

Aesthetic Appeal of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs, although often associated with modern and contemporary designs, offer unique finishes and textures that can enhance a building’s visual appeal.

Role of Aesthetics in Decision-Making

Aesthetic considerations are vital in the decision-making process, as the roof’s appearance contributes significantly to a home’s curb appeal and overall architectural harmony.


In the intricate dance of selecting a roofing material, the choice between metal and asphalt shingle roofs emerges as pivotal. As this article has illuminated, the decision must encompass a careful evaluation of factors such as cost, longevity, environmental impact, maintenance, and aesthetics. With a comprehensive understanding of both options, homeowners can make an informed choice that aligns with their priorities and budget. As you embark on this roofing journey, remember that a well-chosen roof not only shelters but also stands as a testament to your prudent investment in your home’s future.

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