Metal Roof vs Shingles: Which is a Better Choice?

Metal Roof vs Shingles: Which is a Better Choice

When you need a new roof, you have an opportunity. You don’t have to replace it with what you already had. 

You can choose the roofing material that makes sense for your building and what you want. In that light, you might want to consider the differences between metal and shingle roofs.

As different as these materials can be, they have a few features in common. Primarily, these are materials that thrive on pitched or sloped roofs. Neither does well with ponding water, but as long as there is a slope, they are incredible options for roofing materials. 

So, metal roof vs shingles: which is actually better? 

Shingle roofs have a lower up-front installation cost, look good, and come in many different colors. However, they have a short lifespan, and they’re not the most ecofriendly option. Metal roofs are more expensive, but also more durable. 

Let’s get deep into the differences to help you make an informed choice.

Shingles: An Affordable and Aesthetically Pleasing Option

Typically, shingle roofs are made from an asphalt material. They are layered roofs that do great at protecting against water, as long as there is an incline. They are safe for walking, easy to maintain, and pretty much the staple among roofing materials. 

Everyone is familiar with asphalt shingles, and there are reasons for that familiarity. Their popularity stems from what they do well.


Shingles have a much lower up-front cost than any metal roofing material you can choose. They are also one of the easiest materials to install. This makes installation faster, and it saves on labor costs. So on several fronts, shingles have a lower out-of-pocket expense.

Asphalt shingle roofing also comes in a variety of aesthetics that all look good. They’re the classic roof, so they always make sense visually. On top of that, shingles are easier to repair than pretty much any other roofing material. You simply have to replace the damaged shingles.

Because they are so common, it’s usually easy to convince an insurance company to sponsor a new shingle roof. Getting them to shell out money for premium roofing can sometimes be a challenge that you’ll never face with shingle roofing.


Shingles have the shortest lifespan of all common roofing materials. They usually only last 10 to 20 years, and they will need some repairs during the course of that time. They cannot stand up to extreme weather. Heavy winds and hail will frequently damage a shingle roof, so this is not the choice for sustainability.

Speaking of sustainability, shingles produce more waste than metal roofs. Most of the shingle roofing material cannot be recycled, so when you repair or replace the roof, you fill a large dumpster.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about shingle roofs is that they are cheap up front but not in the long run. In terms of overall cost efficiency, they lag behind metal roofing options.

Metal Roofs: Durable, Fireproof, & Ecologically Sustainable

Even when you choose metal roofing, additional options remain. You can get steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc for your roof. Each has its own set of pros and cons, but there are a few general commonalities among these metals. They are all resistant against corrosion (steel because it is treated), and they are all high-grade materials. 


There are compelling reasons to choose a metal roof, and durability tops the list. Even the lowest-quality metal roof can stand up to substantial bad weather. Hail and heavy winds rarely damage metal roofing. Because of that, they last much longer than shingles. The worst metal roof will typically last 20 years or more, and many metal roofs will live up to 50 years. If you go with very high-end metals, you can get more than 100 years out of the life of the roof.

You can see how this makes metal roofing much more cost effective than shingles.

On another note, metal roofing is fireproof. It is almost entirely recyclable, and if you choose the right metal for the building, it can look amazing.


The biggest downside to metal roofing is the up-front cost. Installation is labor intensive, and the materials are pricey. A metal roof can easily cost three times as much as a shingle roof, and if you opt for copper, the price can go even higher.

Even after installation, metal is much harder to repair. When something goes wrong, you’ll typically need a specialist to fix the problem.

Something that is easy to overlook is that metal roofing is noisy. Rain will create a cacophony of sound against the metal, and even light hail will be surprisingly loud. 

The last major con is weight. Metal weighs a lot more than asphalt. In some cases — like resisting heavy winds — this is a good thing. In other cases, it’s a major problem. Some building designs cannot support the weight of a metal roof, and the option is off the table from the beginning.

Metal Roof vs. Shingles: Making the Right Choice for Your Home

Ultimately, you have a lot of good choices before you when you want a new roof. Metal and shingles are both valuable and merited. If you think clearly about the pros and cons of each choice, you can make the best possible decision. When you do decide, Total Roofing and Service Inc. can do the work for you. Contact us today to schedule your roof replacement.