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Metal Roofs vs Asphalt Roofs

If it’s time to install a new roof, it can be hard to choose the right roofing material. Asphalt shingles have long been known for their reliability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of maintenance, making them the most popular roofing material today. But there are other options to choose from such as metal, which is the second most popular roofing material due to its durability, longevity, and a wide selection of styles.

 

Though either material can be a good option for your next roofing material, you may find that one is better suited for what you need than the other. Looking at metal roofs vs. asphalt roofs and comparing everything from how it looks to the cost will help you make the right decision for your roof.

Asphalt Roof Installation

Appearance

The layered look of asphalt shingles is by far the more popular of the two types. It is said that asphalt shingles are on 80% of homes in the United States, and this is mainly because asphalt is the material that homeowners are accustomed to seeing on houses. Asphalt shingles come in various colors to match the outside of the home. The three-tab shingles appear to be flat while the more expensive architectural shingles appear to be three-dimensional.

Oftentimes choosing a metal roof would go against the grain in a neighborhood full of asphalt shingles. The metal material can come in panels, shingles, or tiles, and can be in various colors and styles to resemble the rest of the home.

 

Durability

Metal roofs are known for their longevity, a metal roof can last 50 years or more with little to no maintenance before needing to be replaced. Whereas, an asphalt roof will need to be replaced several times within that same time. 

Metal roofs are less durable than asphalt roofs as they are more likely to be damaged from hail and intense wind. The type of asphalt material plays a role in how durable it is, such as an organic material is less durable than a fiberglass one. Another factor is if asphalt shingles fail to receive enough sunlight, it can cause mold and mildew to accumulate. Metal roofs can withstand high winds and bad storms way better than asphalt, and they are more resistant to mold and mildew. 

 

Installation

Asphalt shingles can weigh a lot, a single shingle of 100 square feet, can weigh as much as 180 pounds. To install the roofing material the previous materials may need to be removed, either due to the weight or because the warranty or insurance requires the removal of previous shingles. Installing new asphalt shingles can take a day or two of labor, depending on the size of the house.

In general metal roofing is much lighter and can be installed on top of the previous roof. However, this all depends on the metal material used. For example, if you were to choose aluminum as your metal material it is only about 50 pounds per square foot, whereas steel can weigh up to 250 pounds. Metal roofs also tend to take longer to install, this is partially due to the extra step of laying plywood. This added step is important however because it helps to soften the sounds of rain or hail which are enhanced with a metal roof. When properly installed, rain or even hail should sound no different inside a home with a metal roof than it does inside a home with asphalt shingles.

Cost

When it comes to the costs of metal roofs vs. asphalt roofs, metal roofing will cost more at approximately $100 to $200 per roofing square for steel or aluminum shingles. It’s important to note that the cost after installation will cost about $500 to $1,000 per square. This is, on average, about three times the cost of asphalt shingles and is another reason many homeowners opt for asphalt shingles instead.

Asphalt roofing costs about $50 to $80 per roofing square for three-tab asphalt shingles, which is much less than the average metal roofing cost. Installation costs about $80 to $150 per square, and if you need to remove the existing roof, that adds about $80 to $150 per square. A highly pitched or steep roof will add even more to the installation cost. 

 

Energy Efficiency

A metal roof in the summer can lower your monthly cooling bill by about 25 percent. Metal roofs as a material are reflective, which lessens the heat transfer into the home. As for asphalt shingles, they instead absorb the heat of the sun, sending it from the roof to the home, making the home’s cooling system work harder. In winter, asphalt shingles use the heat absorbed from the winter sunlight to make the home much warmer. However, metal roofs also perform well in winter. The year-round energy usage will still be lower with metal than with asphalt. 

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