What Is The Cost Of Metal Roofing vs Shingles?
Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular roofing materials in the US, why is this? Because they are affordable, lightweight, easy to fit and with plenty of choice in terms of design and color. The downsides? Shingles don’t always last the course, with asphalt shingles only clocking up on average around 15 years. At the other end of the spectrum comes metal roofing, pricey to buy and install but with a very impressive lifespan, often in excess of 50 years. So, now the million-dollar question, what is the real cost in detail of metal roofing versus shingles and is it really worth the money?
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The cost of metal roofing vs shingles
The million-dollar question is about right as with metal roofing costs, the sky can literally be the limit! In order to compare the costs, take a look at this table to see for yourself.
|Type of roof per square foot installed||Cost per square foot||Roof on 1,200 square foot single storey home|
|Metal roofing||$5.50 - $14.00||$8,400 - $19,000+|
|Asphalt shingle roof||$3.50 - $7.00||$4.200 - $8.500|
Metal roofing costs
On average, a metal shingle roof will range from $7 to $10 per square foot installed and a standing seam metal roof will cost between $10 and $12 per square foot installed. The average price for a new metal roof is $11,000 with a range of $7,858 and $14,412 depending on different variables like the choice of metal, the size of the roof and the pitch and sometimes, your zip code.
What is a standing seam metal roof?
Standing seam metal roofs are really gaining currency and popularity because they not only look good but are also very durable. Panels are attached to the roof deck with a concealed fastener. The name comes from the seamed metal panels which are commonly made from galvanized and galvalume steel with a feature called vertical ribs or legs that sit proud above the flat area. Incredibly durable with a sleek and contemporary look, a standing seam metal roof is virtually indestructible with its concealed metal fasteners protected from moisture and damp and the effect of UV from the sun. There are lots of different types to choose from as well with variations on the width of the panels, thickness, shape and the type of metal.
Metal roofing costs in more detail
|Roofing Material||Metal cost per sq foot||Average cost of 1,200 sq foot roof|
|Steel standing seam||$4.25||$12,300|
|Stone coated steel||$3.87||$12,400|
|Aluminium standing seam||$6.00||$14,412|
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Why is a metal such a good choice for roofing renewal?
Whatever the reason for your renewal, whether it is damage, old age or problems with structural integrity, metal roofing is one of the best energy efficient materials for your home. Some metal roofing products are also incredibly quick and easy to install saving hours of labor time. You can also install a metal roof over an existing steep, flat or gabled roof thus avoiding the cost of tear down of the existing roof and dump fees although you will need to find a roofer who is prepared to do overlayment as not all will.
The head to head between metal roofs and shingle roofs
An asphalt shingle roof will cost between $3.50 and $7 per square foot installed, compare this with a metal roof which will set you back $5.50 to $14 per square foot installed. So, the math is obvious, metal is much more expensive so do the attributes of a metal roof stand up when compared with asphalt shingles? Here we compare some of the key features of both roofing materials.
Energy efficiency – metal roofs are incredibly energy efficient so will reduce your cooling costs during the summer and heating costs in the winter, compare this with asphalt shingles which are poor insulators and offer virtually no energy saving
Fire resistance – metal is resistant to fires outside the home whereas asphalt shingles will only offer fire resistance for about two hours
Repairs – asphalt shingles are much cheaper to repair with an average cost per roof square of between $250 and $500, compare this with a metal roof which can rack up repair costs of $500 to $1,000 for the same unit. The trade off is that roof shingles require much more frequent repair than metal roofs which have a reputation for great durability and very low maintenance
Wind resistance – asphalt shingles can only withstand wind speeds of up to 70mph whereas metal roofs can cope with over double that at 160mph providing they have been correctly installed
Strength and damage resistance – asphalt roof shingles are easily damaged whereas metal roofing is much more robust and resistant to scratches and dents
Insulation – metal roofs are excellent insulators and will keep energy costs low, asphalt roof shingles are not good insulators at all
Durability – unsurprisingly, metal roofing offers excellent longevity, with professional installation and good care, many metal roofs will last for decades, often in excess of 50 years, compare this with asphalt roof shingles which will last around 20 years if you are lucky
Eco-friendly – metal roofing is recyclable whereas asphalt roof shingles are not
Installation – metal roofing requires slightly more expertise than standard roof shingles and some metals like copper, require specific skills which can all bump up the cost. Asphalt roof shingles in contrast are easy to install and this is a relatively unskilled job
A closer look at different metal roofing materials and what they are
Stone coated shingles are available in a range of different options including shake, slate, tiles and shingles and in a wide choice of colors. They are ceramic coated and acrylic bonded.
Stainless steel panels are top dollar when it comes to metal roofing materials and most roofers will bear testament to the fact that they can retain their appearance for at least half a century because they are resistant to corrosion. Also, the metal doesn’t crack or become brittle or expand and contract in different weather seasons.
What is Galvalume? Galvalume is a mix of steel, aluminium, zinc and silicone and comes in a wide range of colors. Like stainless steel, galvalume has an impressive lifespan of fifty plus years; however, it can degrade when it comes into contact with other metals like copper or iron and also treated wood which may form the roof deck and concrete, so it needs careful management. The finish on galvalume can fade or build up a chalky residue so requires a specific coating treatment to prevent this happening.
Galvanized roof shingles are a very affordable option at $3 to $3.50 per square foot and around $7.50 installed for interlocking steel shingles. The two most common types that roofers use are G-60 which is a budget end product aimed at roofing for outdoor buildings like workshops and garden sheds and G-90 which is the alternative for residential buildings. During manufacture, the metal is treated with a thin coating of zinc oxide to help resist corrosion and then painted with a resin based architectural coating to help prolong preservation.
Aluminium ticks the green box as it has great eco-credentials, frequently being manufactured from recycled aluminium and you can recycle your old roof when you are done with it. Aluminium is light so no costly roof deck upgrades required and it is also easy to work with, helping to keep your labor charges as low as possible. Even with these advantages, this roofing material is still strong and durable. The only drawback is the primary color of aluminium which is not popular and also doesn’t improve with age and weathering. Aluminium is also softer than say stainless steel so it does dent with fallen branches or even workers walking across it plus it will expand and contract as the weather changes.
Copper is a premium roofing material not least because of the price! Not usually used for domestic homes, copper requires expert installation and the color will change over time as the metal is exposed to the sun and it oxidises. It will go from a shiny ‘new penny’ look to a green/blue color. Copper is lightweight and malleable and responsive to soldering so can create a complete seal over the roof. The upside is that it can last for over one hundred years and it is also recyclable but be prepared to break the bank if you want a copper roof.
Zinc is another strong metal with a good reputation for both lifespan and durability. Zinc does need proper installation and to be sealed correctly and ventilated to prevent a build up of corrosion on the underside of the roof. A zinc roof will last between fifty and one hundred years or possibly even longer in the right climate. Unlike any other metal, zinc possesses a self-healing property making it virtually maintenance free.
What are the factors which can influence the final cost of a new roof and which are not specific to either metal roofing or shingles?
The price of the roofing material whether you choose metal or shingles is one factor but there are plenty of other elements involved when installing a new roof which are not specific to either roofing material and which can hugely influence the final bill. Here are some other cost factors to consider:-
- Ease of access - how easy or difficult it is to get on site can impact your labor charge enormously. Dump trucks need to be able to pull up alongside the house to take away waste roofing material and also deliver the new roofing product at height straight onto the roof deck, anything which impedes this will just require more labor hours
- Overlayment - not all roofers endorse overlayment which is where a new roof is put on top of the existing one, it is great for saving costs but doesn’t always give a proper finish. It will depend upon the condition of the current roof and also whether the roof code in your area allows it
- Professional fees – these may be required if you are upgrading or changing the design or adding a new storey of accommodation, you will need the services of an architect or surveyor
- Third party contractor costs – some elements of the project may be sub-contracted like the cost of scaffolding hire, this might not appear on the roofer’s estimate, instead you could be handed a separate bill
- Repairs/damage – even with the most thorough roofing inspection, there could be some hidden work needed to the roof frame which is not apparent until the old roof is torn down. Some leaks can be pretty invisible but if there is rotten lumbar on the deck then this will need to be repaired or renewed before the new roof can be installed
- Building permits
- Roof codes – roof codes are regulations which are specific to your local area and require roofs to be installed in a way which is both safe and also to promote sustainable practises, your roofer should be able to tell you more about this. Roof codes normally only make a financial impact on older properties which have not had a new roof in a long time
- Roof features – whatever your choice of roofing material, roof features like chimneys, skylights and dormer windows will add to the cost
- Zip code – where you live can influence the cost of both roofing materials and labor, the average roof cost for renewal across the US is $8,000 - $15,000 but the variation in cost for a new roof across the USA can be as much as 18%
How to find the right contractor for your roofing choice
Asphalt shingle roofs are easy to install and almost every roofing company will offer this service. Metal roofs can be more specialist depending on which type of metal you choose. Here are some top tips to finding the right roofer for your job.
- Ask friends, family or work colleagues for a recommendation
- Always obtain two or three quotations, more if you are comparing metal roofing options with asphalt shingles
- Make sure you only consider estimates which follow a thorough roofing inspection at height both internally and externally otherwise you could find some nasty surprises once work starts and the old roof is stripped off
- Ask your contractor if there are likely to be any additional costs which you should budget for
- Find out if you can speak to previous customers particularly those who opted for the same roofing material
- Ask about your contractor’s insurances and licenses
- Don’t forget about warranties and guarantees for both workmanship and materials which should be provided in writing at the end of the project
The best of both worlds, why not choose metal roof shingles?
Some homeowners want the durability and advantages that a metal roof can offer but dislike the final look so opt instead for metal roofs that look like shingles which give a real residential appearance and finish. Most metal shingles are made from galvanized steel or aluminium but some companies sell zinc and copper shingles.
The bottom line
Metal roofs cost two to three times more than asphalt shingles but represent a much better investment because of their superior longevity, energy efficiency, durability and resistance to damage plus their low maintenance requirements. It comes down to the simple choice of whether you want high upfront costs and are prepared to shell out for an expensive roof or you want to play safe and keep your costs lower by opting for asphalt shingles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a roof square?
A roof square is a handy measurement that roofing contractors and retailers use to make it easy to compare the cost of different roofing materials. A roofing square equates to 100 square foot. Be aware that your roofer may add in both wastage and installation costs per roof square on your estimate whereas when you look at costs at your local roofing depot or online, they will be just for the materials only so will probably be cheaper.
Should I paint my new metal roof?
Painting a metal roof gives you the option of bespoking the color to suit your home plus it provides the opportunity to add a further protective layer. The roof will need to be power washed first even if it is new as dust and debris will attach very quickly, then a primer is added followed by a top coat. Regular treatments throughout the life of the roof will help keep a pristine appearance and also allow you to change the color if you want to.
What is Terne?
Terne is a popular tin roofing product which has a steel inner core with a tin coating. Terne is both resistant to corrosion and very durable.
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