Metal Roof vs. Shingles: Choosing a Roofing Material

Are you debating a metal roof vs. shingles, and you’re not sure which way to go? If you’ve never had a metal roof before, you might not know much about them. And you might have heard things that aren’t necessarily true. We’re here to help make sure you have all of the facts before choosing which type of roof you want. After all, it’s a big decision. The list below outlines pros and cons of each type of roof to help you come to your own consensus.

Are you thinking about updating your home’s exterior but don’t know where to begin? At brick&batten, our expert designers are ready to help bring your design goals to life! We will collaborate with you on a virtual exterior design to guide your updates.


dark ranch home with wood panels and a metal roof

Longevity

The debate between choosing a metal roof vs. shingles often circles around how long each type of roof lasts. While there have been some significant advancements in the lifespan of shingles, metal roofs are typically more durable. Metal roofs usually come with 30-to-50 year warranties, while 15-to-30 year warranties are more common with shingles.

Despite their reputation for durability, metal roofs are not invincible. These roofs are typically attached as large panels. The panels expand and contract as the weather gets warmer or cooler. While the panels adapt to varying temperatures, fasteners, washers, and screws sometimes degrade over time. If water collects on a metal roof and the material wasn’t installed properly, serious damage can occur. On the other hand, shingles can be susceptible to fungus and algae growth because water can accumulate on them in damp conditions. 


Backyard rendering of a home with a pool, brown shingled roof, and modern glass doors

Impacts of Weather

When making a choice between a metal roof vs. shingles, weather is definitely something to keep in mind. Because every climate is unique, make sure to consider your specific climate and discuss options for your roof with a licensed roofing contractor. If the temperature between morning and night has extreme spikes in your region, the lifespan of shingles can be negatively impacted and therefore reduced.

Snow is another aspect to take into account. When snow accumulates on a roof, its impact will vary depending on the roof’s material. With steel roofs, when snow or ice melts, it will slide off and go through the gutters all at once. The rapid flow can potentially damage your gutters or anything beneath your eavestroughs. To prevent this, you can look into purchasing snow guards. If your home has a roof with shingles, the layering and texture of the material will serve as a barrier between your roof and gutters. The shingles slow the process of the melting snow entering your gutters. The slower the water goes through the gutters, the less likely it is to cause damage. 


rustic modern ranch home with a dark metal roof

Cost

Cost is always a factor in any exterior design decision, and, because a roof update is expensive, it’s top-of-mind in the metal roof vs. shingles debate. When it comes to your roof, cost is a multi-dimensional concept. The up-front cost is one element, but don’t overlook the cost over time. Metal roofs are much more costly than shingles upfront. These roofs range from $120-$900 per 100 square feet, while shingles stay between $100-$200 per 100 square feet.

However, although metal roofs cost more at the time of installation, they can make up for it with cost effectiveness over time. These roofs don’t have to be replaced as frequently as shingles and, because they are energy efficient, can save you money on heating and cooling costs. 


large gray home with a dark shingled roof and a three-car garage

Potential Repairs

If you’re choosing between a metal roof vs. shingles, you should understand that there is potential for repairs at some point. Ideally your roof, whether steel or shingle, will last the entire duration of its warranty. However, sometimes the unexpected happens. If your roof is damaged, you should understand what the repairing process looks like depending on your roofing material. If your metal roof needs repairing, it can involve removing entire sheets of metal and replacing them. Shingles, on the other hand, can be replaced one shingle at a time. 


light-colored coastal ranch with a light gray metal roof

Finding a Roofing Contractor

Not every roofing contractor offers metal roofs. If you are interested in installing a metal roof vs. shingles, you might need to do some searching to find a specialized roofing contractor. Not only can these contractors be a little bit harder to find and schedule with, they tend to charge more for labor. The climate where you live can also impact your ability to schedule a roofing contractor. This work is typically done in dry conditions and contractors avoid installing roofs in freezing temperatures.


modern white home with a red metal roof

Style and Color Options

If you have a design style in mind, there are many ways to ensure each exterior element aligns with that style — your roof included! Metal roofs look incredible on sleek modern homes, and they’re also a common choice for modern farmhouse exteriors. If a traditional home with earth tones is more the vibe you’re after, shingles may be the way to go. 

When deciding between a metal roof vs. shingles, research your color choices. If you want a layered, dimensional look, shingles can help accomplish that. Shingles often come in layered colors that produce a multi-faceted overall shade. Metal roofs are sleek and come in solid color choices. Typically, the color options are more broad for shingles. One thing to note is that you can paint a metal roof if you end up wanting to change the color.


modern home with a dark shingled roof and metal awnings

Consider Combining Materials

Are you struggling to decide between a metal roof vs. shingles? Why not combine the two? We love the way shingles look when paired with accents of metal. The example above demonstrates how well a shingled roof looks with metal awnings. Combining the two elements provides layers of texture that elevates a home’s curb appeal. 


modern farmhouse with a shingled roof

Are You Ready for a New Roof?

Choosing between a metal roof vs. shingles is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. Between cost, longevity, style and color, and potential repairs, there are lots of factors to weigh. We’re here to make sure you can see a full picture of what each material offers to make an informed decision.

Your roof is the very top layer of your home’s exterior design. We’re here to help you with each element of your home’s exterior design, from the ground on up. Get started today.