Metal Roofing 101: Material Comparison

When selecting a roofing material there are many factors to take into consideration beyond installation cost. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of metal roofs and other common roofing materials. While the initial investment of a metal roof is higher, the value it offers over a lifetime is substantial.

Here’s how metal compares to the common roofing materials of asphalt, tile, and shake in various important factors.

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True Cost:

At $900-1200 / square foot, metal roof installation costs the most of these per square foot, but it is important to note the energy savings, potential insurance savings and resale value gain that it also provides.

Warranty:

Metal roofing comes with a 30-50 year manufacturer warranty as well as warranty from the installer. Tile also typically comes with a 30-50+ year warranty, while asphalt comes with a 10-30 year warranty. A 5-year warranty is standard for shake roofing options.

Maintenance:

Here’s one of the areas where asphalt roofing’s shortcomings are magnified. Shingle replacement is very common in asphalt roofs, and re-caulking and sealing are likely also necessary as the asphalt roof ages. Tile and shake will also need their respective maintenance, as tiles can crack and slide while shake is susceptible to mold, rot, and leaking. Metal roofing, with it’s average lifespan of 50+ years and rare need for repair is the clear winner here.

Aesthetic:

The color and style of your roof can be a determining factor for some when choosing a roofing option. As not every style is right for everyone, variety and options are important. Metal roofing boasts the options of shingles that can match the look and feel of any traditional roofing material and standing seam panels that offer a distinct look. A wide range of colors are available too. While a wide range of tile styles are available, tile roofing has limited color selection to choose from. Shake offers a rustic, natural appearance, which may look great for some, but not all homes. Asphalt is only available in a limited selection of colors, though there are a few common variations in color shading choices.

Environment:

Metal roofing, as well as tile and slate to a lesser extent, are all considered energy efficient and eco-friendly. Metal roofing is also the only option that is 100% recyclable. Asphalt on the other hand is made from crude oil and other chemicals and ends up in landfills after its short lifespan.