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Asphalt Shingles vs. Metal:

Which Roof is Right for You?

Asphalt Vs. Metal in Collierville, TN

Do you know your roof needs to be replaced? Are you trying to decide if you should stick with an asphalt roof or make the switch to a metal roof? You’re not alone.

I get asked which is better all the time. The truth is, one isn’t better than the other. It all boils down to the look you want and (mostly) your budget.

To help you make the right decision for you, I came up with the 4 main points to compare the two types of roofs. But before we get to the comparisons, you need to know a little about each of them.

What is an asphalt shingle roof?

The most common type of roof you see today is an asphalt roof. There are three types of asphalt shingles: 3-tab, dimensional, and luxury.

Three Tab Shingles in Collierville, TN


The most basic asphalt shingle is the 3-tab shingle. It’s a single-layer shingle made from a fiberglass base. The base is coated with mineral granules. Fiberglass provides durability. The mineral granules give each piece a range of color tones. Three-tab shingles are an ideal weight. They’re neither too light nor too heavy. If shingles are too light, you may have issues with uplift. If they’re too heavy, you need extra reinforcement. Choose these shingles, and you’ll have a roof that’s able to resist wind and fire. This is good news for homeowners who live in areas with extreme weather conditions. Three-tab shingles usually come with either a 20, 25, or 30-year warranty. You can recognize 3-tab shingles by the notches in the exposed layer. This adds a decorative element to your roof. Since these are the most basic shingles, they’re also the most cost-effective and work well for homeowners who are on a tighter budget.

Dimensional Shingles in Collierville, TN


If you want to upgrade a bit from 3-tab shingles, consider dimensional shingles. Visually, the biggest difference is that 3-tab shingles make a repetitive pattern on the roof. Because they’re constructed from two or more layers of shingle material, Dimensional shingles have a three-dimensional appearance. From a durability perspective, the multiple layers provide a higher level of strength. Dimensional shingles come in a range of grades. The heaviest grades can withstand up to 130 mph winds. Depending on the grade, you’ll also find longer warranty periods. Homeowners like dimensional shingles because they look more attractive. You’ll find plenty of color choices so that your roof looks unique. They’re also quite popular, so you shouldn’t have any issues with availability. Roofing contractors like them because they’re better at covering over structural imperfections. Like the 3-tab shingles, dimensional shingles work on most roof types and pitches. Expect to pay more for dimensional shingles than you will for the 3-tab, but they’re still less expensive than the premium shingles we’ll look at next.

Luxury Shingles in Collierville, TN


If you like the look of natural slate or cedar shakes, you’ll want to consider premium shingles. Often called designer shingles, your roof will stand out in the neighborhood when you choose these for your new roof. Luxury shingles are stunning! They’re thicker with a distinct profile. They’re not only visually appealing; luxury shingles are made from the highest quality materials in the industry. They offer an even higher level of protection from weathering than 3-tab or dimensional shingles. If you live in a luxury home and want a premium exterior finish, designer shingles are an excellent choice. Maybe you’re simply looking for a heavy-duty roofing material that comes in a wider selection of colors and patterns than standard shingles. Luxury shingles are a great fit for you too!

Any of the three main types of asphalt shingles will work for a wide range of roofing needs. Talk with a specialist at Findlay Roofing today for help selecting the best shingles for your unique home!

What is metal roofing?

The second most common roof after asphalt is metal roofing. There are two types of metal roof systems: standing-seam and screw-down panels.

A standing seam metal roof system is a series of metal panels locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. This allows for the metal panels to expand and contract freely when the metal heats up.

Standing Seam Metal Roof by Zion Roof Restoration

A screw-down panel is just what it’s called; it’s screwed down. The screws are screwed through the metal panel which leaves no room for expansion and contraction.

Screw Down Panel by Zion Roof Restoration

That’s why I would not recommend putting a screw-down panel over a heated space such as your home or office due to its lack of expansion capability.

Asphalt shingle roof vs. metal roofing:

4 key comparisons

Now that you know a little about both types of roofs, you’re ready to learn how they match up on key factors such as cost, lifespan, and warranties. Continue reading to find out which one is right for you.

1. The cost of an asphalt shingle roof vs. a metal roof

A new roof is an investment. When investing in anything, especially a roof, you need to consider your budget.

With that in mind, an asphalt roof is going to be more affordable than a metal roof. Metal panels already cost more than asphalt shingles, but a metal roof also requires more skill and labor to install.

So, you can expect the metal roof to cost double the asphalt roof’s price when looking at your roofing estimate

For example, a two-story house with a little complexity, good accessibility, and using dimensional asphalt shingles will cost $3.55 per square foot. You can expect a metal roof to be double that price per square foot.

Is an asphalt shingle roof or a metal roof right for you based on your budget?

If you’re on a tight budget, then you’re probably going to go with asphalt. But if you can afford a metal roof and want that look, get it installed and forget about it for the next 50 years. To learn more about what factors into the cost of a roof, check out this article on how much a new roof costs.

2. Does an asphalt shingle roof or a metal roof last longer?

The lifespan of a roof is how many years you can expect to get out of it. When your roof is properly installed and adequately ventilated, it’ll get as close as possible to the manufacturer’s specified lifespan.

With that in mind, a metal roof is going to last longer than an asphalt roof. For example, a dimensional shingle roof has a lifespan of 30 years, while a standing-seam metal roof has 50 years.

Is the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof or a metal roof right for your situation?

You already know that a metal roof is going to live longer than an asphalt roof. Be aware, for some; this 20-year difference may not be a big deal. Especially if they’re not in their forever home.

However, if you’re in your forever home and want to put a roof on and forget about it, a metal roof may be right for you.

When investing in a quality roof, you expect to get the most out of it. Check out this article on how to get the most out of your roof replacement to truly maximize the life of your roof.

3. Your warranty options for an asphalt shingle roof vs. a metal roof

A warranty is in place to protect you and your roof from any future problems. When you get a new roof, you should have a couple of warranties on the materials and the contractor’s workmanship.

Be aware; the workmanship warranty will depend on the local roofing contractor you hire. However, the warranty you get on the materials vary.

Asphalt shingles come out of the package with a warranty. For example, a dimensional asphalt shingle comes with a 30-year warranty. Be aware; this warranty is only on the materials and not the workmanship.

However, if you use all of one manufacturer’s roofing components instead of mixing and matching from other companies, you can qualify to get the enhanced warranty. Once you register your roof with the manufacturer, the enhanced warranty covers your roof for the next 50 years.

Metal roof panels don’t allow you to get an enhanced warranty. But they do come with a 30-year paint warranty that covers the protective coating on the metal panels.

Which roof offers better warranties?

An asphalt roof comes with more warranties from a manufacturer. You’ll also have the opportunity to get an enhanced warranty.

Be aware, a workmanship warranty is just as important as a warranty on the materials.

4. Asphalt shingle roof maintenance vs. metal roof maintenance

Roof maintenance is the periodical checking of all the vulnerable areas on a roof that could be susceptible to having a problem. Depending on the type of roof, whether residential or commercial, it will be annual, biannual, or quarterly maintenance.

An asphalt roof needs to be maintained and inspected at least once a year. For example, your pipe boots and valleys need to be checked, so you don’t end up with a costly leak.

On the other hand, getting a standing seam metal roof requires virtually no maintenance. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be inspected; this kind of maintenance will catch future problems.

On the other hand, a screw-down panel metal roof needs more maintenance than a standing seam. As time passes, the pressure caused by a lack of expansion and contraction of the metal will cause the holes in the washers to get wallowed out by the screws.

Which roof requires less maintenance?

Every roof needs some form of general maintenance, and some require more than others. With that in mind, a metal roof is going to need less maintenance than an asphalt roof.

Is an asphalt shingle roof or a metal roof right for you?

An asphalt roof will be more cost-effective, and you get great warranty options, but it has a shorter lifespan and needs more maintenance.

A metal roof system is going to be more expensive but lives longer and requires less maintenance. However, I would only recommend a standing-seam metal roof over a heated space like your home or office.

Whether it’s asphalt or metal roofing, make sure you hire the right contractor.

Now you know how the two different types of roofs stack up to each other. Remember, one isn’t better than the other.

If you like the way, a metal roof looks and fits your budget, go for it and get that peace of mind for the next 50 years. But no matter what, pick the roof that’s right for you and your situation.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation!

Let the residential roofing contractors at Zion Roofing assist with your next project. Call us to schedule a free consultation and estimate at (901) 304-9466, or fill out this contact form to get in touch with our team!

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