Metal Roof vs. Shingles: How to Choose the Best Roofing Material for You

House Roofs

How often do you stop to think about your roof? For many people, the answer to is seldom to never. And yet the roof is actually one of the most important parts of your home.

After all, the roof keep rain and snow from leaking inside, helps insulate, and can also add a tremendous amount of curb appeal to the overall appearance of a house.

When choosing the best material for a roof, most homeowners will face the choice between a metal roof vs. shingles. This isn’t always an easy decision, so it’s important to have all the necessary information for buying the type of roofing material that will best serve your needs.

Let’s take a look at a few of the differences between these materials.

Red Roofs


Shingles have long been the most common type of roofing material. Anywhere you look, it’s easy to spot homes with shingle roofing. In fact, when most people think of roofing, they immediately think of shingles. So what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using shingles?

Advantages of Shingles

For starters, shingles are typically more economical in the short term. They are cheaper than metal and are easier to install and replace. Individual shingles cover a small surface area, requiring very little time or expense for repair or replacement. 

Shingles are also easy to walk on during installation. And once they are securely in place, they offer great traction. 

Disadvantages of Shingles

Shingle are generally less expensive in the short term and easy to install, and yet there are also a few disadvantages.

Unfortunately, shingles don’t typically last as long as metal roofing. They tear easily, putting them at risk of damage in areas with high winds and other extreme weather conditions.

Because of this, shingles can cost you more in the long run. They might cost you less up front, but you’ll likely be faced with the added expense of replacement that you wouldn’t have to deal with when using metal.

They also require lots of nails. Each individual shingle requires multiple rows of nails driven through the shingle into the roof deck underneath. This means lots of holes in the roof.

Another factor to consider is that shingles aren’t environmentally friendly. After all, most are made of oil and therefore are non-recyclable. This had made them less popular in recent years with homeowners wishing to use green building materials whenever possible.

And finally, shingles have a greater tendency to hold onto moisture, resulting in the growth of mold, mildew, and algae.

Metal Roof

Metal Roofing

You might be surprised to learn that metal roofing is actually very common. This is especially true in parts of the country with harsh weather such as an extended rainy season or extreme temperatures.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Advantages of Metal Roofing

Believe it or not, metal roofing is surprisingly lightweight. This makes it relatively easy for installers to transport and handle up on the roof. And due to the lightweight, the material puts less pressure on the structure than shingles.

Another significant advantage of a metal roof is lower long-term costs. Though it’s true that the up-front cost is higher, you can expect a metal roof to last at least three times longer than shingles.

Metal roofing performs better in harsh conditions, especially compared to asphalt shingles. It holds up well in driving rain, snow, strong winds, hail and ice, and in environments with extreme heat.

It’s also fire resistant. This is a significant factor for many homeowners looking to replace their roofs. Most metal roofing is Class A fire-rated and noncombustible. Thus it’s a great material to have if your home is located in a wooded area where there’s a higher chance of hot embers falling on the roof.

Metal roofs are more energy efficient than shingles and are low maintenance due to the fact that they won’t tear the way shingles typically do.

If you’re interested in using metal roofing for your home, click here for more information.

Disadvantages of Metal Roofing

The primary disadvantage of metal roofing is cost. It’s simply more expensive in the short-term. 

Metal roofing is less forgiving and requires greater precision. There is zero room for errors. Because of this, installation should be left to trained craftspeople who know how to do the job right.

Another significant drawback to metal roofing is “oil canning”. This refers to the visible waviness that often appears in the flat areas of metal roofing. This issue is purely aesthetic and won’t impact the performance of the material once installed, and this is another reason to have installation completed by professionals.

Aerial view of roofs

Things to Consider Before Choosing Roofing Material 

For most people, the budget is a primary factor for the type of roofing material they use for their home. After all, your budget will impact the amount of money you’re willing or able to spend for any home improvement project.

Try to keep in mind that if you plan to stay in your current home for many years, the amount you invest today will likely have an impact on the number of repairs you’ll have to make in the future.

Another major factor is your roof design. Not all materials will work with every roof. You’ll have to consider the pitch, square footage, and the complexity of the roof, among other things.

You will also need to check with your HOA to make sure they allow the type of roofing material you’re wanting to use.

Aerial view of house in forest

Choosing Metal Roof vs. Shingles

As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of roofing. At the end of the day, the decision will boil down to personal taste and budget.

Deciding between metal roof vs. shingles for your new roof can be confusing, but this article should help make the choice a little easier. Just remember to ask plenty of questions and be the best-informed consumer you can be.

Click here to learn how to avoid common first-time homebuyer mistakes.

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