Metal Roof vs Shingles: Comparing Costs, Durability and Aesthetic Appeal

Last updated on April 9, 2024

This article will provide a clear comparison between metal roofs and shingles, offering unbiased, detailed information to aid your roofing decisions.

Key takeaways:

  • Metal roofs have a modern appearance, while shingles offer a traditional aesthetic.
  • Metal roofs are more durable and can last up to 50 years, while shingles usually last around 20 years.
  • Metal roofs are more expensive upfront but offer better long-term cost-value balance.
  • Metal roofs are more resistant to extreme weather, while shingles are more vulnerable.
  • Metal roofs can increase home resale value, while the impact of shingle roofs depends on their condition.

Key Differences

key differences

Metal roofs and shingles serve the same primary function but differ significantly in material composition, appearance, and installation methods.

Metal roofing, typically made from steel, aluminum, or copper, presents a smooth, modern look and comes in sheets or tiles.

This roofing option is recognized for its ability to reflect solar heat, which can help reduce cooling costs.

In contrast, asphalt shingles are made from a fiberglass base topped with asphalt and granules; they offer a traditional aesthetic with a variety of color options.

Shingles are sold in strips and are more straightforward to install than metal roofing, often making them a preferred choice for DIY projects.

Additionally, the weight of these materials varies, with metal being lighter than asphalt shingles, influencing structural considerations and installation processes.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Metal roofs boast longevity, with a life expectancy of up to 50 years or more, significantly outpacing the average asphalt shingle roof’s 20-year span. They are also highly resistant to the elements, making them an ideal choice for areas prone to extreme weather. Sustainability is another plus; metal roofs are often composed of recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of their life, reducing environmental impact.

Energy efficiency is a key benefit as well. Metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs by 10-25%. However, they tend to be more expensive upfront, which could be a barrier for some homeowners.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles are more cost-effective initially and provide a traditional aesthetic that appeals to many. They are easier to install and repair, which translates to potential savings in labor costs. But they are more vulnerable to weather-related issues, like high winds and hail, and contribute more to landfill waste as they require more frequent replacement.


When comparing the initial outlay for metal roofs and shingle roofs, shingles often come at a lower price point. Installation of asphalt shingles is straightforward, reflecting in a lower labor cost. On the other hand, metal roofing typically involves a larger upfront investment due to the cost of materials and a more specialized installation process.

However, it’s essential to consider long-term expenses; metal roofs can last over 50 years, while shingles may require replacement after 20 years. Metal roofs can also contribute to energy savings by reflecting UV radiation, which may lower cooling costs. While asphalt shingles are economical initially, metal roofs often offer a better cost-value balance over time.

Durability Factors

Metal roofs boast a lifespan of 40-70 years, depending on the material, significantly outlasting asphalt shingles that generally need replacement every 15-30 years.

The resilience of metal roofing against harsh weather, including high winds, hail, and even wildfires, is superior to that of shingles. Additionally, maintenance for metal roofs is minimal in contrast to the periodic repairs often required for shingle roofs to address issues such as lifting or displacement.

However, impact resistance varies between materials; some metal roofs may dent upon impact with large hail or falling branches, whereas asphalt shingles can absorb such impacts with less noticeable damage. The metal’s protective coating may also degrade over time, particularly in coastal areas where salt spray accelerates corrosion. In contrast, shingles are susceptible to algae and moss growth, as well as cracking and blistering under intense UV radiation, potentially shortening their effective lifespan.

Temperature fluctuations can cause both roofing types to expand and contract. Metal roofs, engineered with fastening systems that accommodate movement, typically handle this cycle better than shingles, which can crack or loosen under stress.

In summary, metal roofs offer greater longevity and durability, though specifics such as climate, installation quality, and material grade can influence the performance and lifespan of both metal and shingle roofing solutions.

Resale Value

Investing in a quality roof can significantly impact a home’s marketability. Metal roofing, often perceived as a premium material, may enhance a home’s value, as it tends to have a longer lifespan and could provide energy savings due to its reflective properties. Potential buyers might be attracted to the low maintenance and durability of metal roofs, which can translate to a higher resale value.

On the other hand, while asphalt shingles are less expensive initially, they generally require more maintenance and have a shorter lifespan. However, they are widely popular due to their affordability and variety of styles, which can appeal to a broad range of buyers. The impact of shingle roofing on resale value generally depends on the condition of the roof at the time of sale.

It’s important to consider the local market preferences as well. In areas where metal roofing is prevalent, installing a metal roof could have a more substantial impact on the property’s resale value compared to regions where asphalt shingles dominate.


Is it better to get a metal roof or shingles?

While metal roofing offers greater durability, shingle roofing provides a more affordable and easily installed alternative, with the choice often being dependent on the homeowner’s budget, installation capabilities, and aesthetic preferences.

Does a metal roof devalue a house?

Contrary to devaluing a house, a metal roof reportedly adds value to the home, as evidenced by the 2023 COST VS. VALUE REPORT that shows a national average recouped cost of 48.9% of the original price.

How much more expensive is a metal roof over shingles?

A metal roof for a 1,700-square-foot area is typically more expensive than an asphalt shingle roof for a 2,000-square-foot area by approximately $3,156 to $6,952.

What is the lifespan of a metal roof compared to shingles?

A metal roof typically lasts 40 to 70 years, while shingle roofs usually have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.

How does the installation process differ between metal roofs and shingles?

The installation process for metal roofs typically involves attaching large panels with hidden fasteners, while shingles are installed by nailing them in overlapping rows.

Are there distinct energy efficiency differences between metal roofs and shingles?

Yes, metal roofs are generally more energy efficient than shingle roofs due to their reflective properties and superior insulation capabilities.