Asphalt Shingle vs Metal Roofing

The age old this vs that of asphalt and metal roofing. There are advantages to both, you just have to ask yourself specific questions to see which is best for you. The answer revolves around your future plans more than it does the materials’ capability. Let’s start with aesthetics.

Curb Appeal: Yay or nay?

Consider your location. Some home owners live in covenants or HOAs and this isn’t even a consideration. There are multiple types of each to consider. Do you like uniformity or does the word “blah” come to mind? Do you prefer a more textured look or does that make you think “busy”? Uniformity caters to metal whereas shingles inherently provide more texture.
Function: Maintenance prone or maintenance free?

Nothing is truly maintenance free forever, but your material choice will have different needs. It has been my experience that pro metal arguments say metal is maintenance free and hail proof. Not true! Metal comes in different styles and thicknesses. For a residential roof, a minimum of no less than 26 gauge should be used. Let us also assume we are talking about Ag panel and not standing seam, because standing seam is twice the cost.

Opinion time: This is my “go to” for the asphalt vs shingle discussion… the metal fasteners. They are the enemy to the economically priced metal roof. Over time, these exposed fasteners expand and contract, opening the holes wider and wider. The rubber grommets dry out and crack leading to the eventual small leak. There are HUNDREDS of these penetrations on an ag panel style metal roof. This was acceptable for farm use and storage, but may be lacking in long term security for your home. Repairability for a shingle roof is much easier and cheaper than metal.

Wrapping it up, coming back to shingles. Yes, shingles can blow off and suffer from hail damage. Yes, they degranulate as they dry out and start to weather. There’s one saving grace, especially if you live in hail prone regions like the Midwest. Your roof will get hailed out eventually. Before you roll your eyes and call me a typical roofer, it’s a major exterior piece which you don’t have to pay the full cost of replacement when it starts to show its age. There’s a little bit of beauty in that for any homeowner.
Energy Savings: I have to hand this one to metal, hands down. Even your ag panel roofing is going to do a great job with solar reflectivity and thermal bridging. Sure, metal can get warm, but the fact is it doesn’t draw the radiant heat that asphalt shingles do. It also does a better job of trapping heat in the winter. Many companies with metal roofing as their sole trade report energy savings of 30-40%.

Speaking of energy savings, suppose you plan on solar in the future and need a roof mounted system. It is important to note, Ag panels do NOT have fasteners for solar panels. On the other hand, there are fasteners available for standing seam metal roofing. Some of the higher end stone coated steel roofing systems have insertable mounts as well, but you should inquire with your solar company and roofing manufacturer before making a final decision.

Weight: This is another advantage to metal, but even the heaviest class 4 impact resistant shingles don’t pose any long-term threat to the structural integrity of your home. Sometimes homeowners ask about snow load and in some regions that’s a concern. The truth is, in the Midwest south of Nebraska, that’s not a normal concern. Northern and north of Nebraska, there may be some consideration. Don’t forget to put snow guards on to protect your family and friends walking by!

So remember, both shingles and metal roofing have different advantages. The biggest issues stem from homeowner expectations being much higher for lower priced materials. That goes for both asphalt shingles and steel roofing. What’s clear and obvious for some homeowners may require some give and take decision making for the next. It’s up to you to do the research and talk with professionals who can provide you with the answers to get the most out of your investment.
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