Metal Roofs vs. Shingles — How They Compare

Which Roof Should You Choose?

When it’s time to install a new roof, you’ll have plenty of choices, with many different roofing types available. Each one has specific advantages or disadvantages and may be more appropriate for certain climates. So, what solutions should you consider for your roof replacement and, specifically, which is the best choice in a metal roof vs. shingles comparison?

Comparing the Different Roofing Materials

Let’s begin by looking at the various roofing materials today.

Asphalt shingles are certainly popular and can be found across the country. Most people choose a three-tab version with its own distinctive appearance and a variety of colors or blends to choose from. You can also pick architectural or laminated shingles, where the individual sheets are bonded for more resistance. Some manufacturers have a premium solution that may last longer but will come with a higher price tag.

Wood shingles are also cost-effective and work well on older homes with steeply pitched roofs. They are relatively common as well but may require more in the way of maintenance due to their composition.

Metal roofs are very durable and come in a wide variety of types and styles. You can pick galvanized steel with different thicknesses or opt for aluminum or copper for a distinctive look and broader appeal.

Slate tiles are probably the most durable of all solutions and are very likely to outlive your current home. They’re quite easy to maintain but are arguably the costliest of all.

Clay tile roofs are also durable and particularly resilient to the sun. The way they are made helps them last, but they are relatively heavy, which could add to the installation cost.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Each Type?

It helps to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Wood Shingles


  • A unique look that helps add to curb appeal
  • Resistant to wind
  • Relatively cheap when compared with other roofing materials
  • Resistant to impact
  • Good life expectancy of up to 30 years
  • Easy to install


  • Not fire resistant and may be banned in certain fire zones
  • Vulnerable to insect infestation, most notably wasps
  • Need a lot of maintenance
  • Could be prone to rotting when wet

Clay Tiles


  • Very durable and will not weather as quickly as other systems
  • Resistant to fire and may get the highest level of fire rating
  • Good impact resistance in the face of hailstones
  • Able to put up with high wind speeds
  • Great life expectancy of anything up to 100 years
  • Available in a variety of styles and shapes
  • Eco-friendly


  • Heavyweight, which means that you need to be sure that your roof can withstand the weight
  • More expensive than most other types of roofing products
  • Relatively fragile despite their impact resistance and vulnerable to cracking if you walk on them
  • Difficult to install

Slate Tiles


  • Classy appearance with unique colors and patterns, so your roof could stand out in your neighborhood
  • Built to last, potentially lasting up to 100 years
  • Environmentally friendly due to their durability
  • Resistant to fire


  • Very expensive when compared to all other roofing materials
  • Particularly heavy, so you may need to upgrade your roofing structure first by adding adequate support beams
  • It May require specialized installation practices and knowledge
  • Difficult to repair as each tile may have its own unique design and contour, so it may be hard to source a tile that fits in.

What Are the Specific Advantages and Disadvantages of Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles?

Certainly, asphalt shingles and metal are two of the most popular roofing alternatives, and you may want to compare one against the other to see which should be the better choice. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each one.

The Pros and Cons of Metal Roofs

A metal roof is a perfect solution if you want to keep maintenance as low as possible. You just need to make sure that leaves or debris do not accumulate on the roof and inspect any damage after a storm.

Metal panels are a lot lighter than asphalt shingles, which puts less stress on your roofing structure and gives a lower propensity for damage. These panels are easier to transport to your worksite and carry up to the roof.

Metal roofs will typically last up to 60 years before they need to be replaced, which is perhaps twice as long as an asphalt shingle roof. Plus, they are easier to install than their shingle counterparts.

With an eye to the environment, metal wins each time. These panels are made from 100% recycled material and can also help you reduce the overall size of your carbon footprint. Metal roofs reflect solar radiation, which should help regulate the heat in your attic. As such, these roofs have fantastic energy efficiency and you can save on your cooling costs.

Expect to find a large variety of design options, colors, and blends. You can choose standing seam or exposed fastener panels and pick galvanized steel, galvalume, zinc, or copper as your base material.

Still, metal roofing panels can be more expensive than asphalt shingles, especially if you choose the standing seam solution, which commands a premium. The metal roof cost is, however, 

You’ll also need to check with your local Homeowners Association (if you have one), as some of them will not allow metal roofing or may require you to get specific permission.

Bear in mind that metal may not respond well in certain climates when exposed to salt spray. You may decide not to install a metal roof if you have a coastal property.

The Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

The biggest advantage of asphalt shingle roofing may be the cost, in the short term. This is why it’s one of the most common roofing materials in America, and you can also choose different types of shingles, such as three-tab or architectural.

It takes a lot less time to install asphalt shingles than metal roofing, and when it comes to repairs, it’s relatively quick and easy. While metal is durable, replacing a leaking panel will probably take longer.

You shouldn’t run into problems with any HOAs or need to seek specific permission for your residential roofing plans.

Of course, there are certain disadvantages, such as a shorter lifespan. As mentioned, a metal roof could last twice as long, and you may need to factor that into your budgetary projection. 

An asphalt shingle is not very durable and can certainly be affected by windstorms. This may cause the protective granules to break loose, and you may notice that some shingles start to curl or buckle. This can be due to deteriorating underlayment, poor overall ventilation, or bad installation.

You can buy asphalt shingles in colors other than the traditional brown or dark gray, but the selection will not be as extensive as it would be for metal. Also, these shingles are not recyclable, so they may contribute to the landfill problem.

How to Decide Between Metal vs. Shingle Roofing

So, while there are many different types of roofs, your choice may come down to asphalt shingles and metal. You will want to take into account factors like what each type of roof requires, budget, and location as you decide.

Asphalt shingles may be best if you have a restricted budget or may need to worry about neighborhood restrictions. They could be your choice if you’re not too worried about their lifespan or are okay with additional maintenance costs.

Alternatively, you can expect your installed metal roofing systems to last much longer, and this is the better choice if you’re looking to cut down on your energy bills. They are better suited to locations that frequently suffer from severe weather or high winds, although not so good in coastal locations where salt spray could cause corrosion. The cost of a metal roof will typically be higher.

Choosing the Best Roofing Installers

Whichever roofing type you choose, always entrust the work to experienced professionals like those here at JET Contracting. We have been serving the North Georgia area out of Athens for almost 20 years. 

Get in touch with our team of roofing professionals if you’re looking for a top-quality roofing contractor. We’ll answer any questions about asphalt shingle or metal roofing and be delighted to give you a free quote.

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