three houses with metal and shingle roofing

Metal vs shingles: Which is better for your roof?

Comparing metal and shingle roofing based on cost, appearance, and more

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Key Facts

  • Metal roofs are tiled or panelled materials usually made of aluminium, corrugated iron, and steel. They often have a high resale value because they last longer and are easier to maintain.
  • Shingle roofs are often tiled materials overlapping one another. They can be asphalt, fibreglass, and composite. They are cheaper upfront because of easy installation.

Even roofs do not last forever. At some point, you will need to replace them. But with so many roof types available, which is worth the significant investment? Should you go for metal roofing or shingle roofing? And if you pick the latter, must it be asphalt shingles?

This comprehensive article on metal roofs vs shingles compares the two based on essential factors. These include cost, appearance, installation complexity, durability, and eco-friendliness. At the end of this roof shingles vs metal roof guide, you should be able to pick the better option based on your needs and budget.

Why are metal roofs so common?

a house with a maroon metal roof

‘Metal roof’ is an umbrella term for various metal roofing panels or tiles installed in mostly residential houses. While the most common roofing options are corrugated and aluminium, roofing professionals may also use:

  • Copper metal roofing

  • Standing seam

  • Stone-coated steel

When it comes to popularity, asphalt shingle roofs continue to dominate the market. However, metal panels and tiles are giving them a good run for their money for one good reason: durability. Metal roofs offer longevity because of their ability to resist corrosion and handle extreme weather conditions, such as hail. They are also easy to maintain and so require less replacement.

What are shingles made of?

a house with a light brown shingle roof

Unlike metal roofs, which can be panels, shingle roofs are tiles attached, overlapping one another. Their materials can also vary:

  • The asphalt shingle roof is the most popular because it is cheap and easier to install.

  • The architectural shingle roof is sometimes called dimensional or laminated shingle. It combines mineral granules coated with ceramic and fibreglass as the base.

  • Solar shingles are individual solar panels with photovoltaic cells laid out like asphalt shingles.

  • Composite shingle roofing features different materials, such as fibreglass and asphalt. 

Roof shingles vs metal roofs: Which is better for your needs?

It is easy to spot metal roofs and asphalt shingle roofs: their appearances are worlds apart. However, looks are not the only thing differentiating these roofing materials. So which is ideal for roof replacement? And which works better with your budget and location? Use this comparison guide to help you choose wisely.

In terms of cost/resale value

When comparing the cost of metal vs shingle roofs, you should learn about the following:

In general, metal roofing costs are higher than those of asphalt shingles. Aluminium roofing, for example, can be around £60 to £80 per square metre to install. It becomes even more expensive if you choose Colorbond sheeting to replace an existing roof. Asphalt shingles are cheaper, making them ideal for those who want to have roofing ASAP. Shingle material installation costs are about £40 per square metre.

You can go for corrugated if you want metal roofing without draining your budget. This is often 20% less expensive per square metre than asphalt shingles. Plus, metal roofs are longer-lasting than shingles, giving them a higher resale value. 

Recommendation: Metal roofing is more expensive but becomes cheaper over time because you are less likely to replace it. Also, you might recoup the costs because of its higher resale value.

In terms of appearance

Another way to settle the metal roof vs shingle roof debate is to judge them according to their appearance. For example, which boosts a home’s curb appeal? When it comes to beauty, shingled roofs are likely to win. They easily add dimension, drama, and texture to a home, even if you are only using an asphalt roof. Plus, they are available in various colour palettes.

Most homeowners think of metal roofs as too industrial, and that is not entirely true these days. Although the design options are still limited, metal roof aesthetics have improved over the years. For example, standing-seam metal requires fasteners and connectors, but it hides these well for a cleaner look.

Recommendation: If you equate curb appeal to beauty, you can never go wrong with shingles. However, metal roofing is catching up with more designs available now.

In terms of installation complexity

Another way to evaluate shingle roofing vs metal roofing materials is to look into their installation process. Which is easier to work with? Here, metal roofing is more complicated and time-consuming to install than shingle roofs. It can even be more challenging than adding solar panels. For this reason, you always need a roofing contractor specialising in metal.

With shingle roof installation, you do not require a lot of tools and steps. It is also lightweight, so it is easy to cut and shape. To install metal roofing means dealing with many components. These include sealants, fasteners, drip edges, and underlayments, to name a few.

Recommendation: Shingles are more convenient to install. Metal roofs require many components, tools, and expertise to get right.

In terms of durability/maintenance

two men inspecting a damaged roof

This guide on metal roofs vs asphalt shingles will not be complete without discussing their longevity. Whether you want to install a new roof or replace an old one, ensure it is a worthwhile investment.

Metal roofs tend to last longer than asphalt shingle roofs. With proper care, they can last between 40 and 70 years. It is because they:

  • Require less maintenance than other roofing materials. Asphalt shingles, for example, are prone to disintegration and slippage. Their sealants can also break down, causing other home parts, such as rubber pipe boots, to come through the roof and damage it even further.

  • Can withstand severe weather events. They can handle high winds, torrential rain, and heavy snow. Most of all, they can manage the extreme Australian heat.

  • Are fire-resistant. Some shingles score high in this category, but metal roofing is almost always non-combustible. This makes it ideal for places vulnerable to wildfires.

Recommendation: The service life of shingles is between 20 and 30 years, especially with proper installation. However, metal roofing lasts even longer while needing less maintenance.

In terms of eco-friendliness

The best residential roofing material should be durable and sustainable. In this category, shingle roofs can be just as eco-friendly as their metal counterparts when they allow air to circulate properly.

However, in general, a metal roof is more eco-friendly. First, it is 100% recyclable. You can still find recycled materials made of asphalt shingles. But because they are still petroleum-based, not all facilities accept them.

Metal roofing also scores higher in energy efficiency than shingle roofs. Contrary to what most people think, they do not trap heat. Instead, they reflect it into the atmosphere. This makes the material ideal for homes in warm climates. In fact, they can reduce energy costs by as much as 40%.

Recommendation: Install metal roofing for a more eco-friendly or energy-efficient home. 

Achieve the best roof for your home with Airtasker

Whether you choose metal or shingle roofing, it is always wise to hire a professional roofing contractor. Their expertise will ensure that your roof is fitted correctly and will last for many years. This will help you avoid disputes with your home insurance company or the need for costly repairs in the future.

Depending on your budget, preferences, and location, professional contractors can also advise on the best roofing materials. To hire an expert for your roofing project, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Open an account for free.

  2. Post a task. Indicate whether you require roof installation, replacement, or repair. Include if you prefer metal roofing or shingles, and share your budget, location, and timeline. Be as detailed as possible. For example, how much are you willing to spend on additional services like roof cleaning?

  3. Wait to receive proposals and quotes from roofers. You can also search for profiles that best match your requirements.

Ultimately, do not DIY shingle or metal roofing installation if you wish to avoid irreparable damage and severe injuries. With Airtasker, you can connect to reliable roofers in the UK and choose the best pro for your needs. If you’re still on the fence between metal and shingle roofing, feel free to revisit the table below and post a task when you’re ready. 

Metal vs shingle roofing

Metal Roofing
Shingle Roofing
Cost/Resale Value
Has a higher resale value than asphalt shingles
Cheaper upfront because the materials are common
Attractive because of its texture and dimensions 
Complicated because of different components and specialised tools
Takes less time to install because it is lightweight and easier to cut.
Can last up to 70 years, resisting fires and severe weather conditions
Can last up to 30 years but is prone to breakage and slippage
Provides higher energy savings and is 100% recyclable
Hard to recycle, especially when made of petroleum.

FAQs on metal and shingle roofing

Some homeowners try to put metal roofs on top of shingle roofing to hopefully increase energy savings. However, local building codes do not allow it. Furthermore, you need a stable underlayment to guarantee that the metal roofing can stay put.

Yes, a metal roof can be noisy when it rains. However, it might indicate an underlying problem in the metal roofing system or insulation when it gets too loud. For example, there might be increased friction.

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