Metal Roof vs. Shingles

Metal Roof vs. Shingles

When the time comes for a new roof, you have some decisions to make. There are a lot of roofing materials, and they are all viable. In order to pick what is best for you, you need some information.

If you have a pitched roof, your most likely choices are between shingles and metal roofing. Which is better? You can find out right now.

The Essentials of a Metal Roof

Metal roofing is one of the most prominent materials for pitched roofs. It is extremely common in commercial buildings, but it has risen in popularity for residential roofing as well. For the most part, metal roofing comes in one of three materials, but for a price, a few additional metals are available.

Steel is the most common because it is the most affordable. Steel roofing is treated so that it is resistant to water and corrosion. Galvanized or Galvalume steel are the most common. Technically, alloys like stainless steel can be used, but it’s cost-prohibitive for most roofs.

Aluminum is the next most common choice. Aluminum roofing lasts longer than steel in most conditions. This is primarily because it doesn’t require any treatments to withstand water and corrosion. Aluminum is also the best metal for houses near the ocean.

Copper is less common but still a standard metal for roofing. Copper is much more expensive than the other materials, but it also lasts considerably longer. Copper roofs are known to last a hundred years or more, making them a long-term investment. Copper also develops a patina over time, and no two patinas will ever look exactly the same.


The leading reason to use metal on a roof is the toughness. Metals of every variety can stand up to very strong winds, and they don’t dent or puncture easily in the face of hail or falling objects.

One of the reasons metal is so popular in residential roofing is because it offers unique aesthetic opportunities. You can get gray and black aluminum that looks sleek. You can stick with shiny steel or get the illustrious copper finish.

Mostly, metal roofing is cost-effective. Many metal roofs can last for 50 years or more with very little maintenance. That makes them a valuable investment that pays for itself many times over.


However, metal isn’t on every roof, and there are reasons for that. For one, metal roofing is bad for foot traffic. The softer metals are likely to bend underfoot. Some steel is OK with foot traffic, but it’s still not ideal. 

Metal is also a little bit exclusive. It can be harder to source and find experts to install or repair it. Metal roofing prices can also be pretty volatile.

That last part is the biggest drawback to metal. Even in a favorable market, the installation cost is much higher than you will see for shingles, and that price tag, while efficient, is too much for many owners.

Why Shingles Are Everywhere

Shingles are still the most common material for pitched roofs in the United States, and that isn’t likely to change soon. Shingles are largely made from asphalt. They are simple, efficient, and exactly what you would expect from them.


The biggest reason to opt for shingles is to save money. In the long run, they aren’t as cost effective, but the cost today is lower for shingles than pretty much any other type of roof. On top of that, shingles are cheaper to install and repair. There are a range of DIY shingle jobs, but metal repairs pretty much always require a professional.

Shingles are also a known quantity. You know that your roof will fit in with the neighborhood and look how you expect a roof to look.


On the downside, shingles have a short lifespan. They need to be replaced every 20 years on average. They come with shorter warranties, and because they aren’t as tough, they can also come with higher insurance premiums (though this is not necessarily the case). Over the lifetime of a house or building, shingles will cost more money.

They also require a lot more maintenance. Long before you need to replace your shingle roof, you’ll have to replace individual shingles and do other minor repairs. Metal doesn’t need nearly as much attention.

Overall, metal and shingle roofs are both viable options. You see plenty of both for a reason. Mostly, you have to choose the roof that is right for your needs and expectations. Once you do, you can find a roofing contractor to install your roof. If you do opt for metal roofing, contact Alpine Sheet Metal Systems. We can fabricate the metal for you, giving you custom options and great prices. Get a quote today to see what it would take to put a metal roof over your head.

ASMS Sheet Metal Fabrication

About Jeff Folsom

Jeff Folsom is the founder and president of Alpine Sheet Metal Systems, a key player in North Texas’s commercial construction sector, specializing in roofing and architectural design. He also leads Alpine Roofing Construction and Alpine Thermal Imaging Systems, expanding his influence across the U.S. Residing in Dallas, Jeff enjoys travel, auto racing, and boating in his free time.

Contact Us

To top