Part of researching your roof replacement involves exploring shingle type. There are a few different materials used for roof shingles, from tile to wood to rubber to metal and asphalt. Choosing a material for your new shingles can be overwhelming. Many homeowners are often torn between metal and asphalt shingles. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these different materials? The choice between metal and asphalt will affect the aesthetic appearance of your home, but can also determine the length of time before you need to replace shingles again. 

Let’s explore the difference between metal and asphalt to consider the effectiveness of both roof shingle types, pros and cons included. 

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Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are higher in cost but can be a worthwhile investment if you are looking to increase the value of your home. Environmentally friendly due to their ability to be recycled, metal roofs can also save you money on your energy bill. Metal roofs reflect solar heat and keep interiors cooler than other shingle materials. Consider how long you plan to stay in the property being fitted for shingles before choosing metal, as you’ll want to be sure you have enough time to experience the benefits of investing in a metal roof. Metal shingles retain an average 60.9 percent of their value in resale, according to Remodelling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value report. 

Pros

There are many reasons why consumers value metal shingles and choose them to add value to their home. Here are some of the advantages of metal shingles.

  • Metal shingles have an average lifespan of 80 years, which is longer than some other types of roof shingle including asphalt. 
  • Investing in metal shingles can actually save you money over time. Because metal shingles reflect solar heat, they can reduce cooling costs by 10 to 25 percent
  • Metal roofs are environmentally friendly. Ranging from 25 to 95 percent recycled material, they’re completely recyclable at the end of their lifespan as well. 

Cons

Despite metal shingles being a popular choice, they do have drawbacks. Here are some reasons why people often decide metal shingles are the best for their project. 

  • Though metal shingles have a longer lifespan than asphalt and other types of roof shingles, they can be more expensive to install. Installation costs typically range from $5,000 to $28,000. 
  • Metal roofs can be noisy if you live in an area with a rainy climate. Though you can counter this issue with insulation, installing insulation will add to the total cost of your roofing project. 
  • If you have metal shingles that need to be replaced down the line, it can be difficult to find metal that matches the rest of your shingles. You can counter this by purchasing extra shingles when you first install metal roofing shingles, but finding a replacement metal can be a big inconvenience. 
  • Some metal roofs are subject to expansion and contraction. They must be installed in a way that allows the panels to “breathe,” which means any error in installation can cause big problems with loose panels down the line. 

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles commonly referred to as 3-tab roof shingles are one of the most common types of roof shingle in the United States. Easy to install and flexible with design and color, asphalt shingles are ideal for getting new shingles on a budget or for rental properties where the aesthetics of your home are less of a concern. According to Remodelling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value report, asphalt shingles hold 68.2 percent of their value in resale. 

Pros

Here are a few reasons why asphalt shingles are some of the most popular roofing materials. 

  • Asphalt shingles are one of the cheapest materials to install. If you’re in a bind, opting for asphalt as your shingle material can get the job done on a budget. The installation of asphalt shingles typically ranges from $3,000 to $12,500.
  • Coming in hundreds of colors, asphalt shingles are designed to fit into the aesthetic appearance of a wide array of homes. They are often manufactured to look like slate, offering a simple and lightweight shingle for your home. 
  • If you own a rental property and are looking to cut costs on new shingles, asphalt can be a great option. Asphalt gives a polished look without the high cost of materials like tile or solar. 
  • Asphalt is naturally fire-resistant and offers increased resistance to hail, which can decrease insurance costs. If you live in an area prone to hail or wildfires, you might want to consider opting for asphalt roofing shingles. 

Cons

Asphalt shingles aren’t the right solution for every scenario. There are a few reasons why it might be best to use a different material. 

  • Though asphalt can be cheap to install compared to metal roof shingles, they don’t last as long on average. Asphalt shingles have a lifespan of around 20 years, which is tied for rubber as the shortest lifespan. 
  • Asphalt shingles can be susceptible to mildew problems if excess water accumulates on your roof. This is a common problem with asphalt shingles and a consideration for those living in climates with a lot of moisture. 
  • In contrast to metal roofs, asphalt roof tiles can actually transfer heat into your home. This can dramatically increase your energy bill as you have to turn up your AC unit to get your home cooled. Not to mention, the shingles themselves can be damaged by excessive heat. There are cool roof coatings that can be added to asphalt shingles at an additional cost, but this material is not as naturally energy efficient as other materials.
  • Asphalt shingles aren’t as environmentally friendly as metal roof shingles, which is something to seriously consider when selecting a roofing material. 

Comparing Roof Shingle Pros and Cons Side-by-Side

When comparing roof shingle pros and cons, it can be helpful to see some of the key differences beside each other. Here’s how metal shingles vs asphalt shingles stack up against each other.

Metal Shingles Asphalt Shingles
Lifespan Approx 80 years Approx 20 years
Energy savings Reducing cooling costs by 10% to 25% Not typically considered energy efficient.
Easy to replace Can be hard to match colors Yes
Cost to install $5,000 to $28,000 $3,000 to $12,500
Color options Limited Extensive

Choosing Your Roofing Shingles

When it comes to selecting roofing shingles, consider your budget as well as the purpose of the property you’re re-shingling. Comparing roof shingle types pros and cons are a good way to aid your decision and determine the features you’re looking for in new shingles.