Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingles


If you’re replacing an existing roof or need to build a new roof for your property, you’ll find that there are a lot of materials to choose from. Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages, and in this article we’re looking at the pros and cons of two popular solutions: asphalt shingles and metal roofing.

Metal roof pros

Metal roofs are becoming more popular with homeowners in the UK – and for good reason. Advantages of metal roofing include:

  • Long-lasting – a quality metal roof can last for 50-75 years, and some metal roofs will last for over a century with minimal maintenance
  • Low maintenance – metal roofs are durable and highly resistant, and won’t require regular maintenance even decades into their lifespan; all you need to do is inspect the roof every now and then to make sure all is in order
  • Plenty of choice – there is a healthy variety of metal roofing options, including stainless steel, zinc, copper and lead
  • Durable – metal roofs are resistant to many forms of damage, including fire, wind, water and even rodents
  • Environmentally friendly – whichever metal you choose, you can rest assured that it will be 100% recyclable; metal roofs are also much less energy intensive to produce than other materials

Metal roof cons

Downsides are sparse for metal roofing, but the main disadvantage can be quite a sticking point for some:

  • Higher initial cost – metal roofing is typically more expensive to install than shingles, however, they prove much more cost-effective in the long term when you include the maintenance and replacement costs that naturally come with shingles; weigh up these considerations before making your choice

Asphalt shingles pros

Asphalt shingles are a traditional roofing material, commonly used domestically throughout the country. Here’s why:

  • Cheap to install – the main draw for asphalt shingles is the low installation cost, however, this is offset in the long term due to routine maintenance and eventual replacement costs
  • Easy installation – shingles don’t require specialist installation and can even be installed by skilled DIY enthusiasts; this is part of the reason that installation is cheap compared to metal roofing
  • Range of options – asphalt shingles come in a huge variety of colours, designs and styles, suitable for traditional and modern, contemporary homes

Asphalt shingles cons

Despite their popularity, asphalt shingles do suffer specific drawbacks that are largely addressed by metal alternatives. These include:

  • Short lifespan – the expected lifespan of shingles is around 15-20 years, at which point they’ll require replacing or extensive repair
  • Not as environmentally friendly – the use of petroleum in the production of asphalt roofing materials makes them a far less sustainable solution; asphalt shingles are also less likely to be recycled once they come to the end of their lifespan
  • Susceptible to damage – strong winds can tear shingles right off your home, shingles are also less resistant to fire damage and can also be damaged by rodents and animals; natural weathering of the material also means they offer less protection as time goes by
  • Regular maintenance required – asphalt shingles require routine maintenance; while individual shingles are easy to replace, doing so often is far from cost-effective
  • Poor installation – although a specialist isn’t required for installation, this could potentially make it harder to find a reliable, quality installer; poor installation of any roofing material can bring severe consequences in the future, so you need to be certain of your roofer’s skill before making any decision

Cost Comparison

Specific costs for any roof installation will change depending on a variety of factors – most obvious being the size of the roof in question.

As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, the main thing to remember is the price trend of each roofing style. Metal roofs are more expensive to install, due to the need for  specialist contractors and materials. Some roofing materials are cheaper than others,  stainless steel is cheaper than zinc, for instance, so there is some breathing room.

Asphalt shingles are cheaper to install initially. However, when you take into account the shorter lifespan and the regular need for repairs and maintenance, an asphalt roof is less cost-effective in the long term. Metal roofs won’t require much – if any – extra maintenance costs throughout their lifespan, which is already substantially longer than that of an asphalt roof.

When it comes down to it, this is the biggest deciding factor, and it will depend on personal budget considerations, though it’s fair to say that for a more affordable long term investment, a metal roof is the clear winner.

As metal roofing specialists, we at JTC Roofing provide expert supply and installation of metal roofing to domestic and commercial clients throughout the UK. If you require advice on the most suitable metal roof for your property, simply contact our friendly team today we are always happy to help.


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