Metal vs. Asphalt
People say to us all the time “I’ve been hearing and seeing more about these metal roofs. What are better metal or asphalt shingles?”
The answer is a bunch of questions.
What goals are you trying to accomplish when purchasing your new roof? How long do you plan on owning this property? If I invest more money in a more expensive roof system, will I recoup the cost when I sell?
By answering these questions, you can decide which kind of roof system is best for you.
One of the most considerable differences between metal and asphalt shingles is the cost. Although shingle prices continue to rise and the gap is closing, it is still cheaper to buy an asphalt roof than it is to buy metal. In most cases, significantly cheaper. If you purchase a standing seam, residential metal roof system, the total cost will be 1.5 to 2 times more expensive than asphalt shingles.
But doesn’t metal last longer?
In theory, metal should last longer. In practice, it will only last as long as the finish(paint) protects the steel. Once the finish is gone or damaged, the steel can rust and deteriorate. We currently sell Metal Sales™ brand steel which carries a 45-year paint warranty. This warranty states that the finish will not crack, flake, chip, or peel for 45 years and it will not fade for 30 years. If these failures occur, they will either repaint or replace the steel. If they choose to replace it, the warranty does not cover the labor to do so.
So what about asphalt then?
We mostly sell CertainTeed shingles. They now carry a lifetime warranty. Does this mean they expect their products to last forever? No, it means that they will pay some amount of money to the buyer forever as long as several conditions are met. They pay 100% of the replacement cost if the shingles fail in the first 10 years. After that, they pay a pro-rated percentage of the material cost only. That means they will give you a percent of the cost of the shingles but no money for all the labor required to tear off the old and install the new. After the initial 10-year period, the percentage decreases 1/600 every month, so at 40 years you would receive 20% of the cost of the shingles if you still had the paperwork (proof). If you have the shingles installed by a Certified Contractor, the initial period of 100% coverage extends to 50 years on a residential property.
This gets us back to asking yourself what is best for you. If you plan on living in your house for 30 to 40 years and only care about what is going to last the longest, maybe metal is worth the investment. If you think it is likely that your house will be worth more at the time of sale to justify spending more now then maybe metal is the choice. If you don’t plan on staying in your house long term or if you qualify for the extended warranty then maybe shingles are the better option.
Other people care less about cost or how long it will last, and only want their house to look as good as possible. In which case, you should ask your contractor for addresses/photos/ websites with examples of the different roof systems installed. You own the property so the only opinion that matters is yours.
I hope this blog educated you on some of the differences between metal and asphalt. It was not intended to be an endorsement of one product over the other. No matter what product you choose, a new roof is a substantial investment that deserves careful consideration. Both metal and asphalt have been and will continue to be viable options for homeowners in our region.