If you’re considering replacing your roof, you might be asking yourself “What are the real differences between metal vs. asphalt roofs?” or “How do I know which is better for me?” as well as “Do I have to do this again in 10 years?” We’ve got the answers to your questions and more that you hadn’t even thought to ask.
The Rundown: Metal vs. Asphalt Roofs
To give you a basic idea of the metal vs. asphalt roofs breakdown, asphalt roofs are the most popular choice for a few reasons: they’re cheaper, provide relatively good protection and come in a variety of styles that match every home type. Asphalt is not as durable as other roofing options, so it requires slightly more maintenance and replacing after a certain period of time.
Metal roofs, on the other hand, last much longer. They provide exceptional protection for your home and are also available in many colors. However, they don’t have the traditional shingled look and instead add a much more unique element to your home’s appearance. Metal roofs are generally more expensive than asphalt, but they require much less maintenance, so they could actually save you money down the road.
As we said, metal roofs are favored because of their durability and specialized style. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and drawbacks of metal vs. asphalt roofs.
Advantages of a Metal Roof
Metal roofs are built to last. The material is strong and resistant to damage. They require very little work to maintain and don’t require replacing until 40-70 years after installation — that’s two or three times longer than the average lifetime of an asphalt roof.
Metal roofs are also very lightweight. This makes them easier to ship and install, and puts less stress on your home’s structure. Not only will your roof last longer, your house will benefit from a metal roof, too.
The biggest advantage of a metal roof is its energy efficiency. Metal naturally reflects most of the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them like asphalt. It keeps your home much cooler in the summer and saves you money on your energy bills. Additionally, metal roofs can be made from recycled materials, so they don’t contribute to the consumption of oil and petroleum like asphalt. When the roof does eventually need to be replaced, the metal can be 100% recycled.
Metal roofs are available in a wide variety of colors. If metal is the look you choose for your home, there’s a shade out there that will fit it perfectly.
Disadvantages of a Metal Roof
Because of the higher cost of materials and skilled labor to install them, metal roofs require a larger investment up front. If you want a high-quality metal roof that will allow you reap the energy-saving benefits, it’s important to hire a certified installer who is qualified and comfortable using metal as a roofing material. If you can handle the initial investment, your metal roof will last you a long time and require minimal maintenance. If you plan on being in your home for a long time, a metal roof will save you money over time.
Metal roofs are visually unique. They have a specific look that might not work with every home’s design, and it’s not always desirable to stand out in your neighborhood. Look at other homes in your area for reference to determine what roofs are the most attractive and provide the highest return on investment.
Sometimes, metal roofs can be noisier than asphalt roofs, in that you can hear heavy rain or hail hitting the surface. While some enjoy the sound of the rain on a metal roof, many would prefer to be shielded from the elements audibly as well as physically. Don’t let this deter you, qualified roofers can find solutions to insulate the roof and minimize noise.
Asphalt is a popular roofing choice because of its low cost and aesthetic options. Let’s see what other reasons there might be behind choosing asphalt vs. a metal roof.
Advantages of an Asphalt Roof
Asphalt shingles are much cheaper up front, both in materials and installation cost. For the price, they offer moderate protection and can last from 10-15 years. Many think that this length of time for the price point makes asphalt the best value — particularly if they don’t plan on staying in their home forever and can delay the replacement for a new owner.
Asphalt is an economic material and, thanks to advances in shingle design, can be very attractive. Asphalt shingles are highly customizable with endless combinations of colors and textures. Architectural shingles are a more expensive option that offer more dimension through additional layers. An asphalt roof will blend well with other homes in your area and can be made to match any home’s desired look and design.
During the winter, asphalt is naturally insulating, and will help retain your home’s heat. It absorbs the sun’s rays and could save you money on your heating bill.
Disadvantages of an Asphalt Roof
Just like an asphalt driveway or parking lot, an asphalt roof can get very hot and cause your home to heat up as well. This means you could spend more on your monthly energy bills for air conditioning, though most quality asphalt roofing products these days offer cool roofing options to mitigate that factor.
Asphalt also doesn’t handle temperature fluctuations well. Too many quick changes in air temperature can cause it to crack. UV rays from the sun can also cause damage to asphalt shingles, meaning your roof will need continual maintenance year after year, especially if you live in a place with a variable climate.
Asphalt roofs usually need to be completely replaced after a decade or so. If your roof is in need of repair it can lower your resale value. Having a more durable roof is more attractive to buyers and could increase your return on investment.
Asphalt is also not an eco-friendly roofing option. Asphalt is made from petroleum which is a refined form of crude oil. Its cost depends on the fluctuations of the oil market, which is not kind to our environment. It’s also difficult to dispose of when individual shingles or an entire roof need to be replaced. As most of its elements cannot be reused or recycled, they end up in landfills.
Metal vs. Asphalt Roofs: Which is better for my home?
When weighing the difference between metal vs. asphalt roofs, you’ll want to consider things like cost, durability, and customization. Your roof has to work for you, but also complement your home’s style. Asphalt roofs are probably the most common choice in your neighborhood, because of their low cost. If you choose to use asphalt shingles, your home will blend in with the rest on your street. If you install a metal roof, your home might stand out. You can also watch your neighbors replace their roofs while yours stands strong, as metal roofs are much more durable than asphalt.
It’s up to you if you’d rather choose the popular asphalt or unique metal look. Whether you’ve decided on a metal or asphalt shingle roof, Werner Roofing is at your service for the installation. We proudly install both GAF asphalt shingle roofs and Sheffield Metals standing seam roofs. No matter what you love most, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us today to talk about roofing options for your home.