Is A Metal Roof Cheaper Than Shingles?- A Cost Comparison

Roofing costs differ widely depending on the materials used and the intricacies of the roofing style. Some roofing designs can be expensive, despite the materials used.

The most popular choice for roofing in recent times is metallic and shingles. Many people have adopted these roofing styles for various reasons. People seem to be moving away from traditional tile roofing designs.

Roof shingles are particularly common in the United States. The roofing design is popular as it creates neat aesthetic patterns.

Metal has been the standard roofing material for many years now. Various metal roof designs offer flexibility and customization.

Roofing costs have sky-rocketed due to supply chain issues. The demand is as high as it has ever been. Many consumers try to get the most affordable options.

So, is a metal roof cheaper than shingles?

Metal roofs are more expensive than shingles. The cost of metal roofs is quite high. It is because metal roofs are more durable and less malleable. On average, a metal roof costs just over three times the cost of shingles per square foot. Shingles are certainly the cheaper options.

Types Of Shingles

Shingles come in a variety of materials and designs. Some patterns are simple, and others are quite intricate.

Shingles have been used in roofing for a long time, since medieval times, and in much Victorian age architecture. These materials have an incredible aesthetic and have many other excellent properties.

Shingles are prevalent in many European countries and also in the United States. It is popular because it is quite affordable.

Here are the common types of shingles:

1. Asphalt Shingles

There are two popular varieties of asphalt shingles. In the United States, fiber-glass-based asphalt shingles are popular. In Europe, bitumen is the preferred choice.

Asphalt shingles are coated in special hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbon coat offers sufficient protection against the elements.

The biggest criticism of asphalt shingles is that they are not durable. The best quality asphalt shingles will last 60 years. Many asphalt shingles unravel after 30 years.

These hydrocarbons melt in the sun after many years. Rainwater washes the hydrocarbon layer away, leaving the asphalt exposed. As a result, the weather deteriorates. Asphalt rots in certain conditions.

2. Stone Shingles

Stone shingles are the most durable variety of shingle roofing. The best quality stone shingles will last four centuries before you must replace them. Most Victorian-era architecture used stone shingles.

Stone shingles have interesting patterns. The individual shingles are curved to have special and detailed designs.

Some designs are simple and practical.

Unlike other materials, stone shingles do not rot. They also don’t require an additional layer of protection like asphalt or wooden shingles. What causes the slates to unravel?

Stone shingles are destroyed when the individual stones come loose over time. It happens as a result of weathering. The cement underneath the stones becomes weak, and consequently, the stones begin to fall off.

3. Wooden shingles

Wooden shingles are made of cured hardwood. The wood is treated through several industrial processes and finished with a protective oil-based coating.

The coating seals the wood and protects it from the elements.

Coating wood is important, as it keeps wood pests away. Pests such as termites can burrow into the wood and feed on it. They also lay eggs inside the wood. Uncoated wood deteriorated rapidly after a short period.

Wood shingles are the easiest to customize.

You can have beautiful and very detailed patterns. It makes for aesthetically pleasing architecture.

The biggest disadvantage of wooden shingles is that they need maintenance. You need to apply a fresh coat of oil every once in a while to prevent the roof from rotting.

4. Fiber-cement Shingles

Fiber-cement shingles are not as common as they once were. Certain fiber-cement shingles were outlawed, as they were deemed dangerous. Asbestos shingles were banned as the material is carcinogenic.

5. Solar Shingles

Solar shingles are made of photovoltaic cell material. These shingles act as roofing and generate electricity to power the building.

Solar shingles were invented in 2009. These are environmentally friendly panels that facilitate the production of clean energy. They work better in places that receive a lot of sunlight.

Types Of Metal Roofs

Just like shingles, metal roofs come in different types. These roofs are classified according to the type of metal. There are four primary types of metal roofs:

  • Steel roofs
  • Zinc roofs
  • Aluminum roofs 
  • Copper roofs

1. Steel Roofs

If you are searching for durable roofing material, you should invest in steel roofs. These are roofs made of an alloy of iron and carbon.

Steel roofs are popular because of their low maintenance. These materials could go for years without being replaced.

The initial cost of steel roofs is high, but in the long run, they are better. It is because steel roofs have a low maintenance cost. 

The most you would be required to do is paint them every once in a while. Steel is very resistant to oxidation. It does not rust easily.

2. Zinc roofs

Zinc roofs are known for their aesthetic properties. The roofs are beautiful and look quite decent.

They are also very durable. Compared to steel, zinc is easily oxidized. The property is an advantage.

Zinc eventually develops a thin layer of oxide that protects the metal from the elements. With time, you do not have to paint zinc as the metal patinas. 

To patina means to change color due to oxidation when a roof patina forms a beautiful green or blue color.

The biggest disadvantage of zinc is that it is prohibitively expensive.

3. Aluminum roofs

Aluminum roofs are some of the least expensive iron roofs. These materials are lightweight and malleable. It makes them easy to work with, as you can easily bend them into shape.

Aluminum offers resistance to rust and corrosion. The property makes it an ideal roofing material. 

A huge disadvantage of aluminum is that it dents easily. It provides little resistance to impact due to its malleability.

4. Copper roofs

Copper is excellent roofing material. Like zinc, copper will patina and change its shade after some time. 

With copper, you get a highly durable roofing material. It offers resistance to rust. Unlike aluminum, copper does not dent easily. 

Copper has a brilliant aesthetic when it is new and gets better as it develops a thin oxide layer. It makes the copper look great. Unfortunately, copper is costly roofing material. 

Advantages Of Shingles

Shingles are popular, as they have several advantages. These include:

1. Affordable

Shingles are very cheap compared to other roofing options. Shingles only cost a third of metal roofing costs.

2. Easy to install

Shingles are comparatively easy to install. They require a simple laying and stacking procedure.

3. Great for aesthetics

You can customize shingles into beautiful patterns and wonderful designs. The shapes of each shingle can be custom designed.

4. Customizable

Shingles can be designed to suit different roofing styles.

Disadvantages Of Shingles

Using shingles as roofing material comes with its disadvantages. These are:

1. They are not durable

Compared to metal roofs, shingles are not as durable. They typically begin to unravel after 30 years.

2. They require a lot of maintenance.

Shingles must undergo constant maintenance to ensure that they do not fall apart.

3. Vulnerable to mold

Shingles easily develop mold and algae. It makes them unattractive.

4. Vulnerable to wind

If they are not secure, a strong gust of wind could blow shingles away.

Advantages Of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has several advantages. They include:

1. Durability

Metal roofs are incredibly durable. A metallic layer will outlast nearly all roofing alternatives.

2. Sturdiness

Metal roofs are quite tough. They offer maximum resistance to impact and can withstand compression.

3. Easy Installation

Metal roofs are easy to install. Metallic sheets are cut into sizes and installed in blocks.

4. Fire resistance

Metal roofs provide high resistance to fire. Metals do not burn easily.

Disadvantages Of Metal Roofs

Just like shingles, metal roofs have their shortcomings. They include:

1. Expensive

Metal roofs are expensive when compared to other options.

2. Noise

Metal roofs tend to get loud in the rain. They can be a nuisance, and the rain makes them uncomfortable.

3. Seams

Metal roofs can easily unravel at the seams if they are not correctly installed.


Roofing costs are as high as they have been in a long time. It has prompted consumers to search for the most affordable roofing options.

There are several roofing options, but the most popular options are shingles and metallic roofing. These options have their unique characteristics and advantages. They are also relatively affordable when compared to other materials.

Of the two options, shingles are more affordable. They cost only about a third of the cost of metal roofs per square foot. The affordable nature of shingles makes them the ideal option if you intend to save money.

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