The roof of your home is, quite literally, the first layer of your shelter against the outside world. It’s part of what makes a house more than just a temporary shelter. A safe and secure roof contributes to a safe and secure home. Your roof is an integral defense against the heat of summer, the cold of winter, torrential rain, gusting winds, heavy snowfall, and more. It’s the very first line of defense your family has against the perils of nature. It must be able to withstand tens of thousands of hours of exposure to sunlight, water, humidity, and precipitation to keep your loved ones safe and your property whole and undamaged.
Yet, there are many different types of roofing, and each have their own pros and cons. Check out the advantages and disadvantages. Here, we’ll discuss the differences between metal roofing and asphalt shingles, so that you can make an informed decision about which of these options is most suitable for your home, your climate, and your family.
Types of Metal and Asphalt Shingle Roofing
Not all metal roofs are created equally, and the same can be said for asphalt shingle roofing as well.
Metal roofing comes in a broad spectrum of different styles, which are mostly categorized depending on the type of metal that is used. In addition to the metals used, the types of coatings (or lack thereof) also play a role in distinguishing one metal roofing type from another. For example, aluminum roofs rarely require any type of coating at all, whereas steel roofs generally have an anti-rust coating of some sort. You can also find zinc, titanium, stainless steel, and copper roofing options.
There are two types of asphalt shingle roofs. The first is a more traditional organic version. These consist of a felt core layered with asphalt. The second, fiberglass shingles, look very similar, but instead of a felt core, they feature a fiberglass core.
Most people are more accustomed to the look of asphalt shingles, although this does vary somewhat by region. As a result, many homeowners prefer the layered, multi-piece appearance of asphalt. Builders are also, typically, more experienced with asphalt shingles, for the same reason. There are many different color options for asphalt, which makes it appealing for those who want to match their roof to their brick or trim. Metal roofing can also be aesthetically pleasing, but it also requires more specific planning to achieve a particular look, since the broad range of colors is not readily available. Three-tab asphalt shingles lie flat, but there are more textured options available as well.
In rural regions, as opposed to urban and suburban settings, the sleek, utilitarian look of metal roofing is more prevalent. While there aren’t as many custom choices, metal roofing does offer style options in the form of color choices, panels, shingle- and tile-type styles, etc.
Installation and Cost
Installing asphalt shingles requires less specific training, but it should be noted that typically the previous shingles must first be removed due to weight.
More often than not, metal roofing does not require the removal of previous roofing materials. Of course, the weight per square foot depends greatly on the variety of metal used; aluminum is very light while steel is much heavier.
While metal roofing may cost more out the outset, its durability helps to offset those costs. Many metal roofs can last over half a century, while a shingled one may need roof repair or to be replaced every 20-30 years. Of course, these costs may even out over time—the ultimate decision is up to the homeowner. Damage from weather conditions tend to affect asphalt shingles more as well (hail, high wind). Newer technologies, like fiberglass core asphalt shingles, are certainly more resistant than organic shingles to this sort of damage. Additionally, certain shingle types are more susceptive to mold, algae, mildew, and other organic contaminants.
Metal roofs, on the other hand, are also vulnerable to certain conditions that encourage corrosion. Consult with your roofing company to determine the best fit for your home. If you are in a darker or damper region, asphalt may be more costly over time. If you happen to live near saltwater, a metal roof may end up being costlier.
Asphalt shingled roofs are generally more easily damaged, but it’s also much easier to spot-repair damage in the case of an accident. With metal roofs, a full repair may be necessary. On the other hand, metal roofs are less likely to experience damage from the same events.
Cost wise, asphalt roofing is less expensive, but require replacement much sooner than metal roofing. However, metal roofing lowers energy bills significantly over time.
A combination of cost consideration and aesthetic preferences help most homeowners decide which roofing type is right for them.