Are Shingles Better than Metal Roofing?

Directly compare three types of shingles against two types of metal roofing for pricing, speed, reliability,and durability. Learn the advantages and disadvantages for both applications. Also explore other factors such as how steep the roof is, and whether or not it is new construction or a tear off.

Shingles vs Metal Roofing

Know that there is more than one grade of shingles and metal roofing. In fact, there are many grades. The lowest grade is twenty year three tab shingles. The highest grade is standing seam metal roofing made from copper. Metal roofing is generally more expensive than shingles of any kind. The price of shingles is more directly affected by the cost of crude oil than the price of metal since shingle include petroleum by-products incorporated directly in their manufacturing. When the price of gasoline reached over for dollars per gallon a few years ago, the price of shingles soared to the point that they were no more cheaper than metal at all. Click here for our roofing cost calculator.

Need for Speed

Its simple; metal roofing goes on faster than shingles on straight run applications. When the job goes beyond three roof lines or has a bunch of hips and valleys, then the metal slows down to a crawl. Some situations demand the need for great speed such a re-roofing application; you don’t want the inside of your house to get soaked due to a freak storm. This is all dependent on just how how fast you want the job done, and how complicated it is. Three tabs are the fastest way to go in general. They are readily available and install easily as long as the weather permits. Their installation slows down considerably during very hot or very cold conditions. Consult with your roofing contractor before including this in your decision.

Reliability and Durability

Metal roofing can be more reliable than shingles during high winds, hail storms, and ice dam build ups. However, in the end it is hard to beat a forty year dimensional shingle for the ultimate in reliability. This is due to the fact that metal roofing expands and contracts much more than shingles. This can weaken the fasteners over time yielding the roof vulnerable to leaks. Even standing seam roofs if not installed properly can have the fasteners weaken over time and actually allow the metal panels to shift downwards resulting in a less than attractive roof from the right perspective.

Other Factors

It is more difficult to walk a metal roof than it is a shingled roof. This may seem like a non factor, but you must consider the fact that you may want to walk on your roof in the future, such as if you decide to install Christmas lights, clean out the gutters, or search for a leak. Just know that below a 4/12 roof pitch metal roofing performs much better.

Which looks better? This is a matter of opinion. If you like the continuous appearance of a metal roof, then no one is going to persuade you that a shingle roof is better and vice versus. Pastel colors in metal and shades of grey in shingles will pretty much match any theme you decide or are stuck with for the exterior of your house.

Energy efficiency is not really a factor. Metal roofing does a better job of reflecting the suns radiant energy back into the atmosphere than shingles do. This translates to a savings in cooling your home hot summer months when there is a great deal of sunshine. However, consider this. What about the winter? The savings you encountered during the summer will be turned around into added expenses during the winter months.

In the end, its what you want. There is no cut and dried answer to which is better. My personal preference is thirty year dimensional shingles in a shade of grey on top of a radiant barrier underlayment.