Metal Roof vs. Shingles - A Cost Comparison (2021) (2022)

Clichés work because they’re true. Like, “you get what you pay for.” When it comes to a metal roof vs. shingles, that cliché is as true as it gets. Being metal roofing pros, we’re used to the sticker-shocked reaction metal roofing prices may receive, but then our customers hear about 50-year warranties and the potential insurance savings and energy conservation, and how safe metal roofs are in storms and against wildfires. Because, yes, you get what you pay for.

Metal Roof vs. Shingles – What Influences the Price?

Metal Roof vs. Shingles - A Cost Comparison (2021) (1)

Influences on the Overall Cost of a New Roof (Metal or Asphalt Shingle):

To start, there are a number of influences that will affect metal roofing materials and traditional asphalt shingles equally relative to base material cost. Those items don’t really effect the metal roof vs. shingles debate too much, and those are:

  1. Geographic Location: For starters, the state you’re in may cost more than another state and this is due to things like shipping, state taxes, material costs, fees, and so on. City dwellers pay more for installation as there may be more permits, parking costs, storage and other fees to take into consideration. Labor costs, though, is what dramatically varies place to place – installing a roof in San Francisco will have far more labor incurred than in Cedar Rapids or Louisville.
  2. Roof Design: The complexity of roof design increases price because it requires more labor and potentially has more waste, too, because of angles and cuts. Roof design even affects things like how easily the contractor gets up on the roof, hoisting the material up, where they can work, how easily they can do their job, and on it goes.
  3. Stripping and Disposal: Roofs have a limit to the weight they can handle, and some materials are restricted as to what surfaces they can go over. You may need to strip the old roof, and then it needs to be disposed of, and the dumping will have its fees too. But if your home is on the young side and there’s only one roof surface up there, it’s conceivable that the new roof can be installed right over the existing roof, which can save some money too.
  4. Labor: This is the X-factor in pricing a job, because it’s so different in every situation – risk factor, complexity, parking, getting materials in place, weather – and each criterion impacts price. The type of installation, like on a batten-mounted system, can even make labor pricier than the materials (but the good news is, batten mounts are uncommon for residential homes). As mentioned above under “geography,” labor costs vary tremendously depending where you are. That roofer in Cedar Rapids makes between $24,600 to $49,800 salary per annum, according to ZipRecruiter, versus the San Francisco roofer who earns between $31,600 and $66,700 – and it’s the customer who pays the difference.

Influences on the Cost of a Metal Roof:

  1. Panel Type: A few factors here influence pricing but the big two are whether panels are overlapping or interlocking, and if they’re interlocking, whether they interlock on all four sides or not. With more folds and cuts, the designing and production of interlocking panels is more expensive, and they take up more room in shipping, hence their higher prices. But they look great and are frequently higher-quality metal, too, for a longer life on your roof.
  2. Substrate: Closely related to the panel type (above). What type of metal is probably the biggest cost influence next to roof size and labor, because different metals have different life expectancies. Aluminum and galvanized steel are the big players in residential roofing because their cost versus value is high and they provide great return on the investment. Other products that perform exceptionally well are copper, zinc, and stainless steel, but they’re cost-prohibitive for the average home and tend to be used more rarely.
  3. Underlayment Choice: Overlooking this is a big mistake because underlayment is integral to the well-being of the metal cladding and everything that’s underneath the roof. This is the critical water and element barrier, and the better quality your investment here, the more security you’ll have – but also less noise from rain and hail, and more energy conservation. You get what you pay for.
  4. Coating or Finish: It’s easy to get caught up in how much curb appeal a roofing product may have, but the finish is far more than just another pretty face. Polyester-based finishes are budget-friendly but they don’t have the longevity of the more expensive PVDF formulas that are well-loved by roofing pros for their fade resistance, their adhesion and their long lifespans.

Why is Labor More for Metal Roof vs. Shingles?

Asphalt shingles need good installation too, of course, but it’s much simpler and faster to do than a metal roof – lay ‘em down, bang them in. The nailed-on aspect of asphalt is a budget-saver. Metal, on the other hand, is more precise, requires accurate measures, takes some special tools, and tends to require more industrial know-how – especially in regions where hurricanes and wildfires may exist.

A metal roof can literally take two to three times more work to install than asphalt, and that’s why it’s more costly on the install. Add in more dormers, skylights, funky angles, and other complexities, and the price goes higher still.

More is Less: Materials

Home size influences pricing for metal roofs too, because the smaller your home is, the more you might pay per square foot for the job overall. The larger the job, the lower the material price tends to drop per square foot, especially for standing seam metal roofs.

(Video) Metal Roof vs Shingles Roof Costs. Is A Metal Roof Worth It? [Price For Metal Roof Vs Asphalt + ROI]

Average Pricing for Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingle

Let’s say you’ve got a roof of 2,300 square feet that needs to be finished, since that’s the median size home in the United States (based on new construction between 2000 and 2019). Prices below are for materials only and do not include include installation costs due to the geographical fluctuation of that cost.

Metal Roofing

You’re looking at anywhere from $2 per square foot of economy metal roofing up to as much as $4 per square foot for standing seam. Pricing based on June, 2021 prices on Multipurpose metal panel and 16″ Standing Seam Minor Rib material and include warranty, delivery, underlayment and trim.

For a 2,300-square-foot metal roof, the materials cost could be between $5,212 and $9,402.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingle roofs, on the other hand, run about $1 – $2.50 per square foot of material.

For a 2,300-square-foot asphalt shingle roof, the materials cost could be between $2,300 to $5,750.

(Video) Metal Roof vs Asphalt Roof Cost Comparison

Metal Roof vs Shingle Cost Conclusion:

The answer is, based on the 2,300 square foot home in the United States, that initial cost for a metal roof is approximately $2,900 to $3,652 more than asphalt shingle roofing for the material. However…

Asphalt Shingles are Cheaper Up Front, but Metal is a Better Long Term Value

Remember the cliché we started with? “You get what you pay for.” Here’s where that comes in…

Life Expectancy

(Video) Architectural shingles vs Metal roofing: Which Roof is Best?

Say you get the high end of asphalt roofing, the pricey product with “50-year life expectancy” – you’re looking at around $6,000 for that same 2,300-square-foot roof material. But asphalt, unlike metal, degrades as it ages. The marketers may say it’ll last 50 years, but its efficacy against fire and wind, even rainstorms, will decline dramatically with each decade. Asphalt is a 20- to 30-year roof in most BEST cases, whatever the marketing materials may say – and the home’s resale value in year 25 will reflect that, even on “50-year” asphalt shingles. If you go to sell your home that has a 20-year old asphalt shingle roof, it’s a good bet that the buyer will ask for that to be replaced or at least a discount on the asking price of your home.

Metal, though, has been proven to last decades – and newer innovations have made metal roofs tougher than ever. A 50-year metal roof will indeed last 50 years if well-cared for (and, in fact, is expected to exceed 60 years!). 60 years is a long time to not have to worry about roof replacement.

Metal Roofing Aesthetics

If you want that traditional asphalt shingle or architectural shingle look, there are metal shingle options available that are great options. Many of these options can be HOA approved as well. Metal shingles offer the same cost and quality options as do metal panels.

Metal: More Than Just a Roof

For homeowners undecided on metal versus asphalt, consider these questions:

(Video) Metal Roofing Vs. Shingle Roofing

  • Do you need superior energy conservation –heat to stay in during the winter and out during the summer? The energy efficiency of metal roofs are proven to save more on energy bills than any other roof, and they can save you 25% on energy costs versus asphalt. If you’re in a warmer climate with fewer winter woes, metal roofs can save 40% on energy costs in the summer! Add that savings up over 25 or 50 years, see how that affects your cost comparison.
  • Do you live in a wildfire region? During 2018’s Carr Fire in California, a metal-roofed home with fire break and other smart planning was the only home left standing when more than 1500 structures went up in flames. FEMA and other agencies recommend metal roofs for regions with wildfire seasons. (Note: Metal roofs work, but must be properly installed with great attention to eaves and soffits and other points of vulnerability.)
  • Do you get a heavy snow? Metal roofs are famous for their ability to shed snow and retain heat in cold zones.
  • Do you live in an area with high winds or hurricanes? No roofing product withstands winds better than metal, period. The most expensive architectural shingles, installed with six-inch nails might stand up to a standing seam metal roof, but that’ll cost around the same as a metal roof.
  • Do you suffer regular hail? Shingles are surprisingly susceptible to hail damage, especially if you’re looking at the budget-friendly 3-tab style, which are noted for getting significant damage from quarter-size hail before the roof is even eight years old. Metal roofs, on the other hand, take a beating from hail without even flinching. Cosmetically, it may get a few dings on lower-gauge metal, but the dings will seldom, if ever, damage the metal roof’s ability to protect you from the elements.

So, Should You Get a Metal Roof or Asphalt Shingle?

Only you know if it’s a great choice for your housing style or your region, but we think there’s a case for metal roofs in nearly every town in North America.

If you’re planning on selling your home in the next five to 10 years, you’ll make up to 6% more on resale value with a metal roof versus an asphalt roof. Granted, if you’re in a windstorm or wildfire region, your roof needs to stay intact that long for that to compute, but having a metal roof is a great step in that direction.

But all we can say about metal roofs and their cost effectiveness is that you really do get what you pay for. With pro installation, a high-quality metal roof is conceivably expected to last over 60 years (and just a “good” metal roof should get you 35-40 years!) That’s 35 to 60 years of reduced energy costs, potential energy savings, and low maintenance. You can bet that adds up, too.

So, the question is, really, when do you want to save money? Now, or for decades to come?

Pro Tip: If negotiating a contract on the roofing job, be sure to look at any clauses regarding leftover materials. Many contractors will include language stipulating that any leftover materials are theirs to do what they want with. If you can properly store the excess, it may be worth it to you to negotiate to keep some of the excess for future projects or for damage that could incur from a tree limb falling, etc.


What is the most cost effective roof material? ›

Asphalt Shingles

That's for good reason. Asphalt is the cheapest of all roofing materials in the market and will last you between 15 to 30 years. This is the best option for homeowners facing budgetary constraints. It is also widely available and comes in a variety of colors.

Which is better a metal roof or a shingled roof? ›

Metal roofing is durable and routinely lasts 2-4 times longer than shingles. Homeowners like the idea of buying only one more roof in their life instead of potentially several. Metal roofing outperforms shingles in cases of hail and other severe weather events.

Do metal roofs leak more than shingles? ›

Do Metal Roofs Leak More Than Shingles? If installed incorrectly, metal roofs have the potential to leak more than shingles. However, if you find an experienced contractor who can install it correctly, metal roofs shed snow and ice to prevent moisture buildup.

What are cheapest roof options? ›

Asphalt. Asphalt is the cheapest roofing material as far as to purchase price and installation fees go. You can expect to pay about $1 to $2 per square foot. Asphalt roofing is popular among budget shoppers.

What is the cheapest roof style? ›

The cheapest roof design is a roof with just hips, which are the sloping part, while the gable is the triangular bit on the end of the roof. A lot of subdivisions require a roof with hips and gables (rather than just a hip roof) so that is the most common form of roof construction.

Which roof lasts the longest? ›

Roofing material that lasts the longest are concrete, clay or slate tiles. These materials significantly outperform other natural products like wood shakes or any manufactured roofing materials including asphalt shingles and metal roofing. Although these materials have a good lifespan, they are not as durable.

Are metal roofs loud when raining? ›

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from homeowners interested in metal roofing. We'll get right to the point–no, metal roofs are not loud in the rain. Preventing sounds from hitting hard, flat surfaces is key to noise reduction.

Is it cheaper to install metal roof or shingles? ›

Traditionally the more popular roofing material, asphalt shingles are less expensive than metal roofs, both for the material and installation. This type of roof shingles typically costs between $5,700 and $12,000 for material and installation, whereas metal roofs typically cost between $5,659 and $16,149.

Are metal roofs worth the extra cost? ›

The results of the study showed that metal roofs renovated with standing seam metal roofing recoup 85% to 95% of the costs. These gains in resale value amount to 1% to 6%, respectively, over homes roofed with asphalt shingles.

Do metal roofs affect WIFI signal? ›

If your internet service is provided by a cable service or satellite dish, a metal roof will not have any impact on your Wi-Fi signal within your home.

Why don't more people use metal roofs? ›

While the initial cost of the fifty year roof may be a bit more, over time, the cost differential between metal and asphalt is about the same, plus there's not all the hassle of having to deal with 3-4 asphalt roofing jobs during the same period of time. Asphalt is more susceptible to the elements.

Does metal roof make house hotter? ›

Do Metal Roofs Make Houses Hotter? Metal roofs do not make a house hotter than other types of roof materials. Because metal roofs have a low thermal mass, they reflect light and heat rather than absorbing it like asphalt shingles.

Do you need gutters with a metal roof? ›

Strictly speaking, metal roofs do not require gutters because metal roofs themselves are resistant to the damage gutters are designed to prevent. However, gutters do play a significant role in protecting other parts of your property.

Do metal roofs interfere with cell phone service? ›

Despite what you may have heard, metal roofs do not disrupt cell service. That said, this misinformation probably comes from the fact that your metal roof can worsen existing service problems. If a utility tower sits close to a home or business with a metal roof, then you may experience interruptions to your service.

Is it OK to put a metal roof over shingles? ›

In almost every case, the answer is yes, you can lay down a new metal roof over an existing shingle roof. This is one of the many reasons metal roofs keep growing in popularity – their installation doesn't require completely tearing off the existing roof, which is a time-consuming and expensive job.

Are metal roofs noisy in rain? ›

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from homeowners interested in metal roofing. We'll get right to the point–no, metal roofs are not loud in the rain. Preventing sounds from hitting hard, flat surfaces is key to noise reduction.

Do metal roofs make the house hotter? ›

Do Metal Roofs Make Houses Hotter? Metal roofs do not make a house hotter than other types of roof materials. Because metal roofs have a low thermal mass, they reflect light and heat rather than absorbing it like asphalt shingles.

Does a metal roof affect cell phone signal? ›

Do metal roofs cause bad cell reception? Many people ask if a metal roof could be the cause of their poor cell phone reception at home. Well, the short answer is no, it isn't! There is no evidence that a metal roof disrupts the signal for your phone any more than another material.

How long will a metal roof last? ›

On Average... The average metal roof will last between 40-70 years. Some materials, like copper roofing, will last even longer — with some copper roofs dating back over 100 years. There are also a number of factors that can increase the longevity of your roof, as well as decrease it.

What happens when lightning strikes a metal roof? ›

When lightning strikes a metal roof, the voltage and risk of fire are quickly contained since metal is conductive and provides the lightning strike with a direct path to the ground outside of the home.

What color metal roof is most energy-efficient? ›

The most energy-efficient metal roof color is anything in a light shade. Lighter colored metal roofs reflect more heat than darker colored metal roofs, reducing your energy costs in warmer months.

Do metal roofs rust? ›

With advances in paint systems, finishes, and other technologies, metal roofs will withstand oxidation and rusting for most of its lifetime. However, there can be factors that affect whether or not your roof rusts. If you have plain, bare steel for example, it will rust.

Do you need gutters with a metal roof? ›

Strictly speaking, metal roofs do not require gutters because metal roofs themselves are resistant to the damage gutters are designed to prevent. However, gutters do play a significant role in protecting other parts of your property.

Are metal roofs slippery to walk on? ›

Metal roofs are more slippery than some other roofing products, so you must wear the right footwear in order to safely walk on your roof. It should be a soft-soled rubber bottom that almost feels like it's gripping the roof – it should feel somewhat sticky, especially on hot days.

Do metal roofs leak? ›

That being said metal roofs aren't indestructible and they can leak. Here are 5 common reasons even properly installed metal roofs can leak. Roofing screws are responsible for the majority of leaks on metal roofs. Metal roofing screws seal water out by compressing a rubber washer at the base of the screw head.

Do metal roofs block WiFi? ›

If your internet service is provided by a cable service or satellite dish, a metal roof will not have any impact on your Wi-Fi signal within your home.

Do you need a lightning rod on a metal roof? ›

Metal roofs do not attract lightning strikes; nor do metal roofs protect a building against lightning. The only way to protect a building is with a properly designed and installed lightning protection system (LPS).

How do I get WiFi to work on a metal roof? ›

How to Get a Wireless Internet Signal in a Home With a Metal Roof
  1. Purchase a wireless router with as long a range as possible. ...
  2. Keep any metal objects within the home as far away from the router as possible. ...
  3. Use a wireless repeater to strengthen the wireless signal as you go through your home.

Can you walk on a metal roof? ›

While the answer is yes, you can walk on a metal roof, our team never recommends it. There are a lot of factors that come into play that deal with your own safety and protecting your roof from damages caused by walking around on it. However, we know that sometimes you have to in certain scenarios.

How often should metal roof screws be replaced? ›

We recommend that if you have an exposed fastener metal roof, it's best to get it checked every ten years or even sooner. It's very likely that in 10 – 15 years your exposed fastener metal roof is going to need a re-screw.

Why do screws back out on metal roof? ›

Thermal expansion and contraction of the metal roofing, and possibly movement of the substrate, can cause through-fasteners to loosen or back out over time. Metal roofing with loose or missing fasteners will suffer reduced wind resistance and possible moisture intrusion.


1. Shingle Roof vs Metal Roof
(Pelican Roofing Company)
2. Busting common MYTHS about Metal Roofing!
(Matt Risinger)
3. Standing Seam Metal Roofing Vs Corrugated Screw Down Metal Roof - Big Differences between the Two
(Exterior Pro Roofing)
4. Shingle vs. Tile vs. Metal Roofs
(Perkins Roofing Corp.: Miami Roofing, Repair, Inspections, and Re-Roofing Company)
5. How Much Does a New Roof Cost? (Average, Metal, Asphalt)
(The Roofing Channel)
6. What are the Differences Between Asphalt, Fiberglass, and Tin Roof Shingles
(Accent Roofing)

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