The roof is the most important part of any house. Aside from protecting the contents of the home, the roof, being extremely visible, defines the beauty of your home. No matter how good the walls, doors, and windows are, if your roof is poor, people will think of your house as ugly.
This brings us to choose between metal and shingle roofs. These two are the most common roofing materials. But, you can only pick one. So, which is better? Which should you pick when building a new house or replacing your roof?
To make an informed decision, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. Below is a summary of the advantages and shortcomings of each option.
Today’s metal roofs are not only stylish but also extremely durable and energy efficient. Common metals used are; aluminum, steel, copper, zinc, and titanium.
- Longevity: On average, metal roofs last 70 years, but there are cases of copper and zinc roofs in Europe that have been around for more than 100 years!
- Long warranties: As a show of confidence in the material, most manufacturers are offering long warranties on their metal roofs. 35 to 50-year warranties aren’t uncommon.
- Lightweight: Metal is also very light compared to other roofing materials including asphalt. Although weights vary based on type, most metal roofs are 50% lighter than asphalt shingles.
- Environmentally friendly: Metal roofs reflect more than 60% of solar heat, keeping your home cooler in the summer. Plus, most metal roofs are made from recycled metals.
- High initial investment: Costing between $6 and $14 per square foot, metal roofs are rather expensive. And, installation isn’t any cheaper. By the time you’re done, you’ll have spent thousands of dollars.
- Difficult to install/repair: Installation is usually a labor-intensive project that can take more than a month to complete. Repair is just as labor intensive and both jobs can only be done by professionals.
Shingles come in two main varieties; traditional organic asphalt and the newer fiberglass shingles. Traditional organic shingles feature a heavy felt under the asphalt while fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass core covered with an asphalt layer.
- Lower starting costs: Among the biggest advantages of shingles is the lower initial cost. Priced at between $3 and $4 per square foot, shingles easily fit into most homeowners’ budgets.
- Easy to work with: Shingles are also very easy to install and repair. In fact, you can strip out the old roof and install a new one within the same day – even on your own.
- A wider range of styles: Aside from the basic three-tab shingles, there are endless shingle styles out there; from thicker high-end laminates to wood and slate-mimicking options.
- Longevity: Finally, high-end shingles can last up to 50 years and often come with warranties lasting at least 25 years.
- Shingles are heavy: Most shingles weigh as much as 240 pounds per 100 square feet. Unless you have a very strong foundation, this can affect the life of the home in general.
- Longevity concerns: If the attic space is not properly ventilated, your shingle roof could be destroyed in a matter of years. Additionally, shingle roofs age pretty fast under extreme weather such as severe winds, hail, ice, or rain.
Ultimately, It Depends on Your Choice
If you’re looking for a 100-year roof and have the budget to boot, then metal roofs make the most sense. However, if you live in a place with good weather and are mostly interested in class and style, then shingles would be a good pick. Again, it’s up to you and your particular circumstances.