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Is a Metal Roof Cheaper Than Shingles?

metal roof vs shingle roof

When it comes to roofing, the battle between metal and shingles is a heated one. But beyond the aesthetics, a crucial question lingers: is a metal roof cheaper than shingles?  The answer, like many things in life, is a bit more nuanced than a simple yes or no.

Is a Metal Roof Cheaper Than Shingles?

In my professional opinion the overall cost including labor and materials is more for a metal roof than a shingle roof. However, there are many variables that will effect your decision. In this article I will go over them so you can make a informed decision.

Upfront Cost: Shingles Win the First Round

Shingle roofs are undeniably cheaper to install initially. Asphalt shingles, the most popular choice, can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 per 100 square feet, while metal roofs can range from $120 to a whopping $900 per 100 square feet. That’s a significant difference that can make shingles very attractive, especially for budget-conscious homeowners.

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But Here’s the Rest of the Story: The Long-Term Game of Metal

However, thinking solely about upfront costs misses the bigger picture. Metal roofs boast a lifespan that dwarfs shingles.  A typical shingle roof lasts 15-20 years, while a metal roof can shrug off weather for 40-70 years, or even over 100 years with proper maintenance.  This means you’ll likely replace a shingle roof several times over the lifespan of a single metal roof.

Factor in Potential Savings: Energy Efficiency and Reduced Repairs

Metal roofs also offer superior energy efficiency.  Many metal roofs reflect sunlight, lowering your cooling costs in the summer. Additionally, metal roofs are much less susceptible to wind damage or hail compared to shingles, which can translate to fewer repairs throughout the years.

Selling Your Home? Metal Might Make You More Money

Finally, metal roofs can increase the resale value of your home.  While some neighborhoods may have aesthetic restrictions, in general, potential buyers recognize the value of a long-lasting roof.

So, the Verdict? It Depends on Your Priorities

Is a metal roof cheaper than shingles? In the short-term, definitely not. But if you’re looking for a long-term investment that offers durability, energy savings, and potential resale value, metal roofs may be the smarter choice, despite the initial investment.

Pros and Cons of Metal Roof vs Shingle Roof

Here’s a comparison of metal and shingle roofs to help you decide which is best for your home:

Metal Roof

Pros:

Durability… Metal roofing last much longer than shingle roofs, typically 40-70 years compared to 15-30 years for shingles. This can save you money in the long run as you won’t need to replace your roof as often.

Strength… Metal roofs are resistant to fire, wind, hail, and pests. They can withstand even the harshest weather conditions.

Energy Efficiency… Metal roofs do a good job of reflecting sunlight, which can help keep your home cooler in the summer and reduce your cooling costs. You can also install solar panels on a metal roof more easily than on a shingle roof.

Low Maintenance… Don’t require much maintenance. They don’t crack or rot like shingles, and they just need to be rinsed occasionally to remove debris.

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Curb Appeal… Metal roofs can come in a variety of styles and colors, and they can add a modern or rustic look to your home.

Increased Resale Value… Homes with metal roofs can sell for a higher price than homes with shingle roofs.

Cons:

Higher Cost… Metal roofs are more expensive to install than shingle roofs.

Noise… Metal roofs can be loud with heavy rain or hail.

Dent Vulnerability… Metal roofs can be dented by hail or falling objects.

Slick Surface… Metal roofs can be slippery to walk on.

Shingle Roof

Pros:

Lower Cost… Shingle roofs are the most affordable roofing option.

Easy to Repair… Shingles are easy to repair or replace if they are damaged.

Wide Variety of Styles and Colors… Shingles come in a wide variety of styles and colors to match any home’s style.

Cons:

Shorter Lifespan… Shingle roofs only last 15-30 years, so you will need to replace them more often than a metal roof.

Less Durable… Shingles are not as resistant to fire, wind, hail, and pests as metal roofs.

Higher Maintenance… Shingles may need to be inspected and repaired more often than metal roofs.

Less Energy Efficient… Shingles absorb heat from the sun, which can make your home hotter in the summer and increase your cooling costs.

Ultimately, the best choice for your home will depend on your budget, your climate, and your priorities. If you are looking for a durable, low-maintenance roof that will last for decades, then a metal roof is a good option. If you are on a tight budget and are looking for a more traditional roof, then a shingle roof may be a better choice.

What’s Cheaper Metal Roof or Shingles

Shingles are cheaper upfront than metal roofs. Asphalt shingles, the most common type, typically cost around $4.25 to $13 per square foot, while metal roofs range from $4 to $30 per square foot. So, for the initial installation, a metal roof will likely cost you double or even more than a shingle roof.

Here’s a breakdown of the cost difference:

Shingle Roof: $7,225–$14,025 for a 1,700-square-foot roof (average).

Metal Roof: $15,000–$24,500 for a 1,700-square-foot roof (average).

However, keep in mind that metal roofs can last 40-70 years, whereas shingle roofs typically need replacing every 15-30 years. So, while the upfront cost of a metal roof is higher, you may save money in the long run because you won’t need to replace it as often.

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What Skills are Needed to Install a Shingle Roof?

Installing a shingle roof requires a combination of physical ability, technical knowledge, and safety awareness.

Here’s a breakdown of the key skills you’ll need:

Physical Skills:

Strength and Endurance… Roofing involves lifting heavy bundles of shingles, walking on uneven surfaces, and working long hours outdoors. You’ll need good stamina and physical strength to handle the demands of the job.

Balance and Coordination… Working on a roof requires good balance and coordination to safely maneuver and handle tools while maintaining stability.

Agility… You’ll need to be agile to climb ladders, navigate around roof vents and chimneys, and move efficiently on the sloped surface.

Technical Skills:

Tool Proficiency… Familiarity with using hand tools like hammers, utility knives, chalk lines, and roofing hatchets is essential. You might also encounter power tools like roofing nail guns and air compressors, so some knowledge of safe operation is helpful.

Following Instructions… The ability to follow blueprints and installation guides is crucial. Understanding proper shingle application techniques, flashing installation around penetrations, and ventilation requirements is necessary.

Problem-Solving… Roofing projects can present unforeseen issues. Being able to identify problems and find solutions, like dealing with uneven roof surfaces or adapting to complex roof features, is a valuable skill.

Safety Awareness:

Fall Protection… This is paramount. Using proper fall protection equipment like harnesses and lifelines is essential to prevent serious injury.

Working at Heights… Comfort and focus when working at heights is necessary. If you have a fear of heights, installing a roof might not be ideal.

Following Safety Procedures… Understanding and adhering to safety protocols for handling roofing materials, using power tools, and working in hot weather conditions is crucial.

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Additional Considerations:

Weather Tolerance… Roofing work often takes place outdoors, so you’ll need to be able to tolerate working in hot sun, rain, and wind.

Remember, installing a roof can be dangerous. If you’re not comfortable with heights, lack the physical capabilities, or don’t have the necessary experience, it’s always best to hire a professional roofing contractor to ensure a safe and high-quality installation.

What Skills are Needed to Install a Metal Roof?

Installing a metal roof requires many of the same skills as shingle roofs, but with an added emphasis on metalworking and knowledge specific to metal roofing systems.

Here’s a breakdown of the key skills needed:

Physical Skills:

Strength and Endurance… Similar to shingles, metal roofing involves lifting heavy metal panels, working on uneven surfaces, and enduring long hours outdoors.

Balance and Coordination… Maintaining balance and coordination while working on a sloped roof with metal panels is crucial.

Agility… Good agility is necessary to navigate around roof features, climb ladders, and move safely on the metal surface.

Technical Skills:

Metalworking Knowledge… Understanding how to cut, bend, and seaming metal panels using specialized tools like shears, brakes, and seamers is essential.

Sheet Metal Layout… The ability to plan and layout the metal panels to minimize waste and ensure proper coverage is required.

Metal Roof System Installation… Knowledge of different types of metal roofing systems (standing seam, panels, shingles) and their specific installation methods is necessary. This includes flashing installation for water protection and proper ventilation techniques.

Tool Proficiency… In addition to tools used for shingles, metal roofing requires familiarity with sheet metalworking tools and possibly power tools like metal shears and nibblers.

Following Instructions… As with shingles, the ability to follow blueprints, manufacturer specifications, and safety guidelines is essential.

Safety Awareness:

Fall Protection… Absolutely necessary. Using fall protection equipment like harnesses and lifelines is crucial to prevent serious injury from falls.

Working at Heights… Comfort and focus when working at elevations is essential. If you have a fear of heights, metal roof installation might not be ideal.

Safe Metalworking Practices… Understanding how to safely handle sharp metal edges, use power tools, and avoid electrical hazards is important.

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Additional Considerations:

Weather Tolerance… Similar to shingle roofs, working outdoors in various weather conditions is expected.

Licensing and Permits:

Depending on your location, you might require specific licenses or permits to perform metal roof installations.

Overall, installing a metal roof is a complex task that requires a combination of physical strength, metalworking skills, and a strong understanding of safety procedures. It’s generally recommended to hire a qualified and licensed metal roofing contractor for a safe and high-quality installation.

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