Choosing a material for a new roof is a big decision. You’ll want to consider which roofing material will offer your home the best protection, while also considering the financial impact of your decision. To help you decide, let’s consider two of the most popular roofing materials, metal vs. asphalt roofing, and compare the pros and cons to see which might be best for your new home or re-roofing project.

Metal vs. Asphalt Roofing

When comparing metal vs. asphalt roofing, there are obvious differences in the investment level of the two materials, but also the durability, protection, and lifetime value of each. Let’s look at the pros and cons of metal vs. asphalt roofing in more detail:

Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

Metal roofing makes a great alternative to traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles. It’s well known for its supreme durability and protective qualities as well as its environmental benefits.

Pros of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is one of the longest-lasting roof types, offering consistently great performance and value over its lifetime. Here are some of the advantages of metal vs. asphalt roofing:

  • Durability: Metal roofing is known to be extremely durable and resistant to wind, impact, and severe weather events. It’s also lightweight, which limits the extra stress to your home’s structure.
  • Lifetime Value: The long lifetime of metal roofing (60+ years) combined with its excellent durability means it costs less to maintain than asphalt roofing. You could save money down the road by investing in a metal roof, especially if you plan to live in your home for a long time.
  • Unique Appearance: Metal roofing has a striking look that makes homes stand out. Even if you’re not going for the modern farmhouse look, there are many types of metal roofing that can improve your home’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Highly Protective: Metal roofing offers excellent protection for your home against the elements. From high winds to hail to fire, metal roofing can resist it all — some home insurance policies will even offer discounted premiums if your home has a metal roof.
  • Sustainability: Metal roofing is one of the most environmentally-friendly roofing materials available. Not only is it energy efficient and reflects heat from your home during the summer, but also the roof itself can be made of mostly recycled materials and can be 100% recycled after use.

Cons of Metal Roofing

The biggest difference between metal vs. asphalt roofing is the initial investment. Metal roofs cost more to install, but they outlast asphalt shingle roofs in terms of maintenance and lifetime value. Let’s take a look at some of the cons of metal vs. asphalt roofing.

  • Investment Level: Metal roofing requires a significant upfront investment, a good cause for hesitation when considering a new roof. Although the lifetime value of metal roofing may make up for sticker shock, some homeowners, especially those who don’t intend to stay in the home long enough to enjoy the returns, opt for a less expensive alternative.
  • Specific Look: Metal roofing’s unique look isn’t for everyone. If you put a metal roof on a home in a residential neighborhood, it’s likely to stick out. Metal shingles were developed to appear more like a traditional shingled roof, while offering many of the benefits of metal roofing.
  • Requires Specialized Installation: In order to install metal roofing on your home, you’ll need to work with an experienced installer who’s confident working with metal roofing products.

Asphalt Roofing Pros and Cons

Asphalt roofing is a reliable roofing material, trusted by homeowners and roofers alike. It offers a range of styles and investment options that fit every home design and budget.

Pros of Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt roofing is popular for a reason. The classic look of a shingled roof, plus its affordability and easy installation make asphalt roofing the most common roofing material for residential roofs.

  • Investment Level: Asphalt roofing requires a lower investment than metal roofing, though the prices between different types of asphalt shingles can vary widely. 3-tab asphalt shingles, for example, are economical and very affordable, while dimensional, designer, and high-performance asphalt shingles will be more expensive, but also provide greater protection and last longer before needing repair or replacement.
  • Durability: Innovation in asphalt roofing products has resulted in longer-lasting, more durable shingles that provide excellent impact and wind resistance. Enhanced asphalt roofing options will increase the cost of materials, but also reduce the maintenance required every time a storm blows through your neighborhood.
  • Classic Look: Asphalt roofing offers the classic roof design many homeowners imagine when they picture residential roofs. Asphalt shingles come in every shade and texture, and can be made to mimic other materials like wood and tile.
  • Easy to Install: As the most common roofing material, nearly every respected roofing company will be more than capable of installing a great quality asphalt roof on your home. Even experienced do-it-yourselfers may be able to handle the installation and maintenance of asphalt roofing, though it’s recommended to leave it to professionals in order to preserve product warranties.

Cons of Asphalt Roofing

Asphalt roofing has a shorter lifetime than metal roofing, and usually requires replacement after 10-15 years. They are also susceptible to damage from wind, hail, and other weather events and require consistent maintenance to keep in optimal condition.

  • Lifetime Value: Although asphalt roofing is more affordable to install than metal roofing, it only lasts a fraction of the lifespan of a metal roof before it needs serious repair or replacement. This lowers the lifetime value of asphalt roofing.
  • Basic Appearance: Although dimensional and designer shingles come in attractive shades and textures, asphalt roofing won’t help your home stand out in a crowd.
  • Vulnerable to Severe Weather: Asphalt roofing does a good job of protecting your home from the elements, but can be damaged by strong winds and large hail. It’s also more susceptible to moss, mildew, and algae growth, which can shorten its life.
  • Requires Consistent Maintenance: Whether a few shingles came loose during a storm, or became warped from the sun, asphalt roofing requires continual inspection and maintenance to keep it in good condition. Asphalt roofing is also heavy on your home, which adds stress to your home’s structure.

Metal vs. Asphalt Roofing: Which is Best for You?

Both metal roofing and asphalt roofing can offer great protection for your home. Although they may differ in the details and styles, you can’t go wrong with either choice. When choosing whether metal vs. asphalt roofing is better for you, you’ll need to consider specific details about your home, lifestyle, and budget.

Whether you’ve decided on a metal or asphalt roof, Zeeland Lumber & Supply has the materials you need from the top brands on the market. From Fabral metal roofing to Certainteed asphalt shingles, we have all the supplies you need to get started on your new roof.