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Asphalt vs Metal Shingles: Which is Right for Your Roof?

Whether your roof is leaking, repairs are imminent, or you’re constructing a new home, choosing the roofing product that will best protect and beautify your home is an important early step. Both metal and asphalt shingle roofing systems have their advantages. You’ll want to consider your budget, the long-term maintenance and durability of the products, and your own personal taste. 

Here’s what to consider as you make this important decision:  

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles  

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material used in the U.S. They come in sheets, stacks, or rolls and are nailed onto a wooden deck or oriented strand board.  

  • Cost Efficient 

Asphalt shingles are less expensive than metal roofs. Prices will vary depending on manufacturer, type, and style, but they tend to cost less than other roofing materials.  

  • Easy to Install 

The size and weight of Asphalt shingles make them easy to maneuver, place, and install for qualified roofers. Asphalt installation can be completed quickly with lower labor costs than metal roofs.    

  • Variety of Styles  

Asphalt shingles come in a multitude of colors, shapes, and styles. From traditional strip shingles to dimensional and luxury styles, there’s a product for you. Choose black, gray, or brown, or go bold with red, blue, or green. Go solid or blend colors. Contrast or match your home’s color and trim.  

  • Easy Maintenance and Repair 

Check your roof once a year or after significant weather occurrences for loose shingles. Since asphalt shingles are small and light, it’s easy to replace individual shingles that come loose or start to weather as the result of extreme temperatures or heavy winds.  

Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles 

  • Life Span 

Although properly installed and maintained asphalt roofs will last for decades, metal roofing wins in a head-to-head matchup. That’s why it’s critical to choose the right contractor to install a full roofing system with an extended manufacturer’s warranty.  The roofing material and the installer you choose can determine the lifespan of your roof. For either type of roof, you should receive a basic limited lifetime warranty from the manufacturer and an additional workmanship warranty that covers installation.  

  • Carbon Footprint 

The U.S. produces 11 million tons of asphalt waste each year that enters landfills. Asphalt shingles do not biodegrade or release methane. But they are made from petroleum products and their refinement, fabrication, and transport cause the release of greenhouse gasses. To reduce the environmental impact, shingles can be recycled to produce road base or new roofing shingles.  

  • Maintenance 

Although maintenance of asphalt roofs is fairly simple—pay attention to loosening shingles—they do require regular upkeep. Extreme weather can sometimes cause shingles to shift and lift. And if your home is shaded by overhanging branches that can fall, you risk further damage to the roofing. That shade coupled with moisture is also the perfect environment for moss to grow. Moss can grow, spread, and creep under shingles to lift and damage your roof. But regular inspection and early removal of growth can prevent any significant damage. 

Advantages of Metal Roofs 

Metal roofing material comes in large sheets that you attach to a roof deck. You can select flat seams that interlock with fasteners and hold the metal surface to the roof frame.  

  • Durable 

Durability is one of the strongest selling points of a metal roof. A properly installed roof by a reputable contractor can sustain wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour and may come with a long warranty of 50+ years. 

  • Environmentally Friendly 

Metal roofs contain at least 25 percent recycled content and are 100% recyclable at the end of their life as a roof. They are also energy efficient. Metal roofing reflects heat up and away from your home, keeping your home cool in the summer. But color matters. The greatest energy efficiency will be realized by lighter colored roofs. You may save up to 50% off your summer energy bill with a metal roof

  • Low Maintenance 

When properly installed, metal roofs require very little maintenance. But like their asphalt counterpart, they need to be inspected annually—especially after a storm. As with asphalt roofs, you’ll want to be sure the areas around the roof are clear. Trim overhanging branches that could fall and dent and damage your roof. 

  • Weather Resistant  

The slick surface of a metal roof is designed so that snow and rain slide off. A snow break will help prevent the snow from melting too quickly and hitting the unsuspecting as they enter your home.  

Disadvantages of Metal Roofs 

  • Cost 

Metal roofs cost several times more than asphalt roofs. Some styles can cost as much as $900 per 100 square feet, plus installation.  

  • Difficult to Install 

Metal roofs are more difficult to install and require well-skilled professionals who know how to handle the heavy and cumbersome panels. The interlocking fastening systems vary from product-to-product and there are many components to a full roofing system. Miss one or improperly install them and you lose out on the benefits of weather resistance, durability, and energy efficiency. 

  • Difficult to Repair 

Although metal roofs may need fewer repairs over their lifetime than asphalt shingles, when they do need to be fixed, it’s often more difficult and costly. You can’t just remove a few small tiles; you need to replace full panels. Rust, dents, and other damage are not easy to fix. 

  • Noisy During a Rainstorm 

Even well-insulated metal roofs are noisier than their asphalt counterparts. Whether a heavy rain or hail storm, you’re going to hear it! 

  • Dents 

Depending on the thickness of the materials used, a metal roof is prone to dents from falling objects and tree limbs. And often the only way to repair them is to remove and replace the panel, trying to match the color as closely as possible. 

Looking to replace your roof? NOW Remodeling in Boise, Spokane, and Richland is a Preferred Contractor of Owens Corning roofing systems which means we meet their high standards for installer training, insurance, and licensing. Because we employ the entire six-step system, using all Owens Corning products and installing them to the exact manufacturer specifications, we provide you with a double lifetime warranty that covers products and labor. We don’t take shortcuts, and neither should you. Do your research and request your free quote today. 

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