Choosing material for a new roof could be discerned as little more than a nuisance for those who can see that something up there needs to be done, but who don’t wish to kept all day looking at pictures of clay, slate, and cedar. However, for those of us in possession of a more meticulous nature, and who want not only a roof that looks fantastic, but provides the best service for a particular array of circumstances, spending a little more time before making the final call is wise.
Today we’re going to pit metal roofing against asphalt shingle roofing to see which comes out the winner.
Metal Roofing Pros and Cons
As the name implies, this roofing system is made out of metal, often zinc, copper, or steel alloys. A finish is often applied for extra protection and shine. The two most common finishes are PVDF and polyester. A metal roof can also be colored and designed to compliment just about any building’s aesthetic qualities; in fact, metal can actually mimic—with convincing results—other, more expensive material. So if you’re thinking: I don’t like the idea of a metal roof, because, well, metal, this hesitancy has long been laid to rest. But let’s move right to the straight dope:
- As mentioned, colors and designs abound to achieve just about any look you want
- Metal is lightweight and strong; it’s going to last the life of the house, blocking water and UV rays, throwing snow off its back, and defying high winds
- Metal can withstand fire and will not succumb to pest infestation
- Roofing contractors can install a metal roof with quickness and relative ease
- You’re apt to pay a higher price for this material—around $12.50 per square foot
- Metal can get a bit noisy in the rain, if not fit with sound-canceling insulation
- Copper and aluminum roofing is susceptible to denting, be it from hail, falling trees, or the occasional meteorite; some contractors, however, can assure you a dent free guarantee on installation
Asphalt Shingle Pros and Cons
This roofing system consists of overlapping asphalt shingles. Some asphalt shingles are made with organic material, whereas others utilize fiberglass. Since the 1970s, fiberglass shingles have proven to be more durable and are thus more commonly used. And speaking of common, asphalt is hands down the most popular roofing material in the industry, with around 80% of America’s homes relying on it every day. Now why is that the case? Let’s start with the benefits:
- Being so common, an asphalt roof is super easy to install; it’s also quite affordable at around $3.50 to $6 per square foot
- After an asphalt roof is installed, there is basically no maintenance involved; expect about 20 years of full-on protection
- This material offers lots of designs and colors to choose from
- Extreme swaying temperatures in a volatile climate can cause these shingles to crack and leak
- High winds will also pose more of a threat to asphalt than metal (think of those Santa Anas from the Great Basin)
- Greenhouse gas—bad for the environment—is produced during asphalt shingle manufacture; don’t expect Greta Thunberg to be dropping by for dinner any time soon
So here’s the verdict: Choose metal if you’re looking for lifelong protection against just about anything Mother Nature can throw at it, and if you don’t mind paying a little extra money up front (keep in mind that because metal lasts for so long, it winds up paying for itself). Choose asphalt to give your home a low cost, classic, traditional appearance that’s virtually maintenance free for a straight 20 years. We hope this article has helped with the decision you’re about to make. May the best of good fortune be with you when taking care of your home.