How To Look At A House

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What is the cost difference between asphalt shingle and metal roofing?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A galvalume 5V-crimp 26-gauge metal roof with a clear finish, like in the photo above, costs about 75% to 100% more than a 20-year rated 3-tab shingle roof. Adding a paint finish, a heavier gauge of metal, a different profile of the panels, or going to metal shingles or standing-seam will increase the cost difference further. Also, the price of the raw materials for the metal panels and asphalt shingles fluctuates, making the cost difference move a little closer or farther apart from month to month.

   But there are more things to evaluate than just price if you considering switching to metal when you re-roof your home. Here’s the pros and cons of metal roofing compared to asphalt shingles:


  • ENERGY EFFICIENT - The high reflectance of sunlight from a white or clear-finish metal roof reduces air conditioning costs by 25% compared to a dark-gray asphalt shingles. There are also federal and state tax rebate programs offered from time to time for improving the energy efficiency of your home with a metal roof. Not all metal roofs qualify for the rebates, so check with your roofing contractor.
  • LONGER LIFE - Because a metal roof lasts 30 to 50 years, compared to the average 17 year life of a 3-tab shingle roof, the cost per year over the roof’s lifespan can be less than shingles.
  • RECYCLING - Metal roofing is recyclable when removed as part of a demolition or renovation, whereas asphalt shingles go in the landfill. It is a considered a “green” construction material.STORM RESISTANT - When installed to the manufacturer’s specs, a metal roof will easily resist hurricane-force winds and is the roof of choice for southern coastal areas. Also, asphalt shingles lose their storm resistance as they age, but metal roofs do not. 


  • AESTHETICS - While a metal roof will likely increase the resale value of your home, some homebuyers do not consider them to be aesthetically pleasing, and associate metal roofs with barns and commercial buildings. Also, a few homeowner associations limit the allowed roof material to shingles.
  • REDUCED CELL-PHONE SIGNAL - If your home is in an area that has a weak cell-phone signal, you will notice that it diminishes considerably when you are under a metal roof.
  • REQUIRES MORE SKILL TO INSTALL - Not all roofing contractors offer metal roofing. Asphalt shingles are simple to install in comparison with metal roofing, so it’s important to get a knowledgeable and experienced roofer for a metal roof.

   There are also several popular myths about metal roofing that are nonsense. They are not noisy in the rain (unless the roof is installed on a barn with no underlayment or roof sheathing), and they do not attract lightning. Buckling of the roof surface due to excessive expansion and contraction of the metal is sometimes argued as a defect, but this problem only occurs in a poor installation.

   After weighing the pros and cons, you will probably find that metal roofing is an attractive option. Obviously, though, if you are planning on selling your home within the next 5 years or so, a metal roof is an uncertain investment compared to the universal acceptance and low cost of shingles. 

    Also, see our blog post Can metal roofing be used on a low slope/pitch roof?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •  

  To learn more about roofs and attics, see these other blog posts:

Why is my roof sheathing sagging between the trusses?

Why is granule loss a problem for an asphalt shingle roof? 

What are the mistakes to avoid when doing attic improvements?

What causes roof shingles to curl up at corners?  

What causes shingles to buckle along a line on the roof?

What causes leaks at a fake roof dormer? 

What causes a sagging roof ridge line?

What causes bubble-like blisters in a built-up and gravel roof?  

Why does it cost so much more to replace a steep roof than a low slope roof? 

What is "ponding" on a flat roof?

Is an attic required to have a light by the building code? 

How can I inspect my roof for hurricane damage?

Why is premature curl of roof shingles a problem?

How can I tell if a roof has more than one layer of shingles? 

What are the common problems with attic insulation? 

What is the life expectancy of an asbestos cement shingle roof? 

What's the average lifespan of a roof?

Why is it a mistake to replace a roof and not replace its flashings? 

Why is there no attic access hatch in the house?

What is the building code requirement for an attic access hatch, scuttle, or door? 

Does a roof with multiple layers of shingles last longer?

What can I do to prevent roof leaks?

Are roof trusses better than roof rafters (stick framing)? 

Why is a popped nail in a shingle roof a problem? How do I fix it?

What are the most common problems with wood roof trusses?

What causes a lump or dip in the roof? 

If my roof is not leaking, why does it need to be replaced?

How can I be sure my roofing contractor got a permit?

How many layers of roofing are allowed on a home? 

What are the dark lines running parallel to shingles on my roof?

Can metal roofing be used on a low slope/pitch roof? 

How can I make my roof last longer?  

What are the warning signs of a dangerous attic pull-down ladder?

How can I find out the age of a roof? 

Should I buy a house that needs a new roof?

Should I buy a house with an old roof? 

What are those metal boxes on the roof?

What does "lack of tab adhesion" in an asphalt shingle roof mean?

Why do roof edges start leaking?

Why do my dormer windows leak? 

Do home inspectors go on the roof? Do they get in the attic?

Should I put gutters on the house? 

How much of a roof truss can I cut out to make a storage platform in the attic? 

What's the difference between an "architectural" and a regular shingle roof? 

What does a home inspector look for when examining a roof? 

Do stains on the ceiling mean the roof is leaking?

How can I tell if the house needs a new roof?  

 Why does my homeowner's insurance want a roof inspection?

What are the hazards to avoid when going into an attic? 

     Visit our ROOF AND ATTIC page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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