What's Better: Metal or Asphalt Roofing?

Feb 26, 2024 | Roofing Materials

comparing metal and asphalt roofing

When it comes to choosing a roofing material for your home or building, the decision between metal and asphalt is often at the forefront. Both have their own set of advantages and considerations, making it essential to weigh the pros and cons before making a final choice.

From cost-effectiveness and durability to energy efficiency and installation process, there are various factors to consider. In this discussion, we will explore the key aspects of both metal and asphalt roofing, providing you with the necessary information to make an informed decision.

So, whether you are a homeowner looking to replace your old roof or a contractor seeking the best option for your clients, join us as we unravel the debate and shed light on what truly makes one material better than the other.


optimizing financial efficiency through analysis

When comparing metal and asphalt roofing, one key aspect to consider is their respective cost-effectiveness. This entails evaluating the maintenance cost and return on investment associated with each roofing material.

Metal roofing typically has a higher initial cost compared to asphalt roofing. However, it offers significant long-term savings in terms of maintenance and repair expenses. Metal roofs are highly durable and resistant to weather and fire damage, requiring minimal upkeep over their lifespan. On the other hand, asphalt roofs are prone to deterioration and may necessitate regular maintenance, including shingle replacements and repairs. These maintenance costs can add up over time, making asphalt roofing less cost-effective in the long run.

In terms of return on investment, metal roofing offers a higher value proposition. Its longevity, typically lasting up to 50 years or more, means that homeowners can recoup their initial investment over time. Additionally, metal roofs can increase a property's resale value, making it a wise investment for homeowners looking to maximize their returns.

In contrast, asphalt roofing has a shorter lifespan, typically lasting between 15 to 30 years. This shorter lifespan can diminish the overall return on investment. Moreover, the lower durability and higher maintenance requirements of asphalt roofing may deter potential buyers, reducing the resale value of a property.

Considering the lower maintenance costs and higher return on investment, metal roofing emerges as the more cost-effective choice when compared to asphalt roofing.

Durability and Lifespan

long lasting and resilient materials

Metal roofing boasts exceptional durability and an impressive lifespan, making it a superior choice over asphalt roofing. When it comes to durability comparison and longevity analysis, metal roofs outperform their asphalt counterparts in several key aspects. Metal roofs are known for their ability to withstand extreme weather conditions, including high winds, heavy snowfall, and intense heat. They are also highly resistant to fire, rot, and insect damage, which further enhances their lifespan. On the other hand, asphalt roofs are more susceptible to damage from hail, wind, and UV radiation, leading to a shorter lifespan.

To better understand the durability and lifespan of metal and asphalt roofing, let's take a closer look at a comparison table:

Aspect Metal Roofing Asphalt Roofing
Durability High Moderate
Lifespan 40-70 years 20-30 years
Resistance to Fire High Moderate
Resistance to Wind High Moderate
Resistance to Hail High Moderate

As seen in the table, metal roofing excels in terms of durability, lifespan, fire resistance, wind resistance, and hail resistance. These properties make metal roofs a long-lasting and reliable choice for homeowners, providing peace of mind and potentially reducing maintenance and replacement costs over time.

Maintenance Requirements

regular maintenance is required

When comparing metal and asphalt roofing, it is crucial to consider their maintenance requirements. Proper maintenance is essential for the longevity and upkeep of both types of roofs.

Understanding the specific maintenance needs of metal and asphalt roofing can help homeowners make informed decisions and ensure the optimal performance and durability of their roofs.

Metal Vs Asphalt Maintenance

To ensure the longevity and performance of both metal and asphalt roofing, regular maintenance is essential. Proper maintenance practices can help extend the lifespan of the roof and prevent costly repairs in the future. Here is a cost effectiveness analysis of metal vs. asphalt maintenance:

Metal Roof Maintenance:

  • Inspect for rust or corrosion and treat as needed.
  • Clear debris such as leaves, branches, and dirt from the roof surface.
  • Check for loose or damaged fasteners and tighten or replace as necessary.

Asphalt Roof Maintenance:

  • Regularly clean gutters and downspouts to prevent water backup.
  • Inspect for damaged or missing shingles and replace promptly.
  • Remove moss or algae growth to prevent further damage.

Longevity and Upkeep

Proper maintenance practices play a crucial role in ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of both metal and asphalt roofing systems. While both materials have their unique maintenance requirements, they can provide exceptional durability when properly cared for.

In terms of longevity comparison, metal roofing systems tend to have a longer lifespan compared to asphalt roofs. With regular maintenance and inspections, a metal roof can last up to 50 years or more, whereas an asphalt roof typically lasts around 20 to 30 years.

Maintenance costs for metal roofs are generally lower than those for asphalt roofs. Metal roofs require less frequent maintenance, typically limited to periodic inspections and minor repairs. On the other hand, asphalt roofs may require more frequent maintenance, including regular cleaning, resealing, and shingle replacement.

To compare the maintenance requirements of metal and asphalt roofing systems more effectively, refer to the table below:

Maintenance Tasks Metal Roofing Asphalt Roofing
Regular Inspections Every 1-2 years Every 1-3 years
Cleaning As needed Annually
Repairs Occasionally Occasionally
Replacing Shingles Not required Every 20-30 years
Resealing Not required Every 5-10 years

Energy Efficiency

reducing energy consumption effectively

Energy efficiency is a key factor to consider when comparing the advantages of metal and asphalt roofing. Both types of roofing materials have their own energy-saving benefits, and understanding their differences can help homeowners make an informed decision.

Here is an energy efficiency comparison between metal and asphalt roofing, along with an analysis of their environmental impact:

  • Metal Roofing:
  • Reflectivity: Metal roofs have high reflectivity, meaning they can bounce off a significant amount of the sun's heat, reducing cooling costs during hot summers.
  • Insulation: Metal roofs can be installed with insulation materials, enhancing their energy-saving capabilities by preventing heat transfer.
  • Recyclability: Metal roofs are highly recyclable, reducing their environmental impact and promoting sustainability.
  • Asphalt Roofing:
  • Heat Absorption: Asphalt roofs tend to absorb more heat, resulting in higher cooling costs for homeowners.
  • Energy Efficiency Coatings: Some asphalt shingles are available with energy-efficient coatings that can reflect more solar heat and reduce energy consumption.
  • Environmental Concerns: Asphalt roofing materials are petroleum-based and have a higher carbon footprint compared to metal roofing.

Considering these energy efficiency factors and environmental impact analysis, it is clear that metal roofing offers better energy-saving benefits and a more sustainable choice for homeowners.

Weather Resistance

durable outdoor protection solution

Metal and asphalt roofing differ significantly in their ability to withstand various weather conditions. When it comes to weather resistance, metal roofing offers several advantages over asphalt roofing, but it also has a few disadvantages.

Metal roofing is known for its exceptional weather resistance. It can withstand high winds, heavy rain, and even hailstorms. Metal roofs have a high strength-to-weight ratio, which allows them to withstand extreme weather conditions without getting damaged. Additionally, metal roofs are non-combustible, making them more resistant to fire compared to asphalt roofs.

On the other hand, asphalt roofing has its own set of advantages and disadvantages when it comes to weather resistance. Asphalt shingles are less resistant to high winds and can be easily blown off during storms. They are also prone to cracking and curling due to extreme temperatures. However, asphalt roofs are generally more resistant to impact from hail compared to metal roofs.

Aesthetics and Curb Appeal

enhancing visual appeal and attractiveness

When it comes to enhancing the overall appearance of a building and increasing its curb appeal, the choice between metal and asphalt roofing can have a significant impact. The aesthetic appeal and exterior design of a roof can greatly contribute to the overall visual appeal of a building.

Here are three factors to consider when comparing the aesthetics of metal and asphalt roofing:

  1. Style and Versatility:
  • Metal roofing offers a wide range of design options, including different profiles, colors, and finishes. It can mimic the look of traditional roofing materials like slate, tile, or wood, making it suitable for various architectural styles.
  • Asphalt roofing comes in a variety of colors and textures, allowing homeowners to choose a style that complements their home's exterior design. It is particularly popular for traditional and colonial-style homes.
  1. Longevity:
  • Metal roofs have a sleek and modern appearance that can enhance the curb appeal of contemporary and industrial-style buildings. They are known for their durability and can maintain their aesthetic appeal for decades.
  • Asphalt roofs offer a classic and timeless look that can enhance the curb appeal of traditional and suburban houses. While they may not last as long as metal roofs, they can still provide an attractive appearance for a considerable period.
  1. Maintenance and Aging:
  • Metal roofing requires minimal maintenance and does not fade or deteriorate easily, maintaining its aesthetic appeal over time. It is resistant to cracking, warping, and discoloration.
  • Asphalt roofing may require more regular maintenance, such as periodic cleaning and shingle replacement. Over time, asphalt shingles can show signs of aging, such as color fading and curling.

Environmental Impact

biodiversity loss and pollution

The choice of roofing material can have a significant impact on the environmental footprint of a building. When comparing metal and asphalt roofing, it is important to consider their environmental impact. Metal roofing is known for its longevity and recyclability, making it a sustainable option. On the other hand, asphalt roofing has a shorter lifespan and is not as easily recyclable.

To further understand the environmental impact of metal and asphalt roofing, let's conduct an energy efficiency analysis:

Aspect Metal Roofing Asphalt Roofing
Lifespan 50+ years 20-30 years
Recyclability Fully recyclable Limited recycling options
Energy Efficiency Reflects solar heat, reduces cooling needs Absorbs solar heat, increases cooling needs
Environmental Impact Low emissions, minimal waste Higher emissions, more waste

From the comparison, it is clear that metal roofing has a lower environmental impact compared to asphalt roofing. Its longer lifespan, recyclability, and energy efficiency contribute to a reduced carbon footprint. Additionally, metal roofing materials often contain a significant proportion of recycled content, further reducing the environmental impact.

Noise Reduction

sound muffling technology for headphones

Noise reduction is an important consideration when comparing the performance of metal and asphalt roofing materials. Both types of roofing can provide some level of noise reduction, but there are certain factors that influence their effectiveness in this aspect.

Here are some key points to consider regarding noise reduction in metal and asphalt roofing:

  • Metal Roofing:
  • Metal roofing can effectively reduce noise from rain, hail, and other external sources due to its solid and durable nature.
  • The thickness and insulation materials used in metal roofing can further enhance its noise reduction capabilities.
  • Proper installation techniques, such as using sound-dampening underlayment, can significantly reduce noise transmission.
  • Asphalt Roofing:
  • Asphalt roofing, although not as effective as metal roofing in noise reduction, still provides a reasonable level of sound insulation.
  • The multiple layers of asphalt shingles can help absorb and minimize noise from external sources.
  • The installation of additional insulation materials beneath the asphalt shingles can further enhance noise reduction.

When it comes to noise reduction, both metal and asphalt roofing materials have their advantages. However, metal roofing tends to outperform asphalt roofing in terms of reducing noise from external sources. Additionally, metal roofing's durability and resistance to extreme weather conditions contribute to its superior noise reduction capabilities.

It is important to consider these factors along with other aspects such as energy efficiency when choosing the most suitable roofing material for your needs.

Fire Resistance

protection against heat and flames

When it comes to fire resistance, metal and asphalt roofing materials have distinct characteristics and performance.

Metal roofing is known for its excellent fire resistance, as it is non-combustible and can withstand high temperatures without igniting or spreading flames.

On the other hand, asphalt roofing has flame retardant properties but is more susceptible to fire damage due to its combustible nature.

It is crucial to understand the differences in fire safety between the two options before making a decision for a roofing system.

Metal Vs Asphalt Fire Resistance

Metal roofing and asphalt roofing differ significantly in their fire resistance capabilities. When it comes to fire resistance, metal roofing has the upper hand over asphalt roofing due to its inherent properties. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Insulation: Metal roofs have better insulation properties compared to asphalt roofs. Metal reflects heat away, preventing it from penetrating the building, while asphalt absorbs and retains heat, increasing the risk of fire spread.
  • Impact resistance: Metal roofs are highly resistant to impact from falling debris, such as tree limbs or hail, which can potentially cause fires. On the other hand, asphalt roofs are more prone to damage, which can expose underlying combustible materials and increase fire risks.

Metal roofing's superior insulation and impact resistance make it a safer choice in terms of fire resistance compared to asphalt roofing.

Fire Safety Comparison

In terms of fire safety and resistance, it is crucial to compare the capabilities of metal roofing and asphalt roofing.

Fire safety regulations require buildings to be constructed with fire-resistant materials, including the roof. Metal roofing is known for its exceptional fire resistance. It is typically made from non-combustible materials such as steel or aluminum, which do not contribute to the spread of fire. Metal roofs have a Class A fire rating, the highest level of fire resistance.

On the other hand, asphalt roofing is less fire-resistant. While asphalt shingles are treated with fire-resistant chemicals, they can still ignite under high heat and are more likely to contribute to the spread of fire.

Therefore, when considering fire safety, metal roofing is the superior choice.

Flame Retardant Properties

Flame retardant properties are a crucial factor to consider when evaluating the fire resistance of roofing materials. When comparing the fire safety of metal and asphalt roofing, it is important to understand their flame retardant properties.

Here are three key points to consider in the fire resistance comparison:

  • Metal Roofing:
  • Metal roofs are inherently fire resistant due to their non-combustible nature.
  • They have a Class A fire rating, which is the highest level of fire resistance.
  • Metal roofs do not contribute to the spread of fire and can help protect the structure from external fire sources.
  • Asphalt Roofing:
  • Asphalt shingles are made of a fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and mineral granules.
  • They have a Class A or Class B fire rating, depending on the specific product.
  • While asphalt shingles are not completely fireproof, they are designed to resist fire and provide some level of protection.

Considering the flame retardant properties is crucial in choosing a roofing material that enhances fire safety and provides adequate protection for your building.

Installation Process

step by step installation instructions

During the installation process of metal and asphalt roofing, specific steps and techniques are followed to ensure a precise and durable outcome. Both metal and asphalt roofing have their own unique installation techniques, each with their own pros and cons.

Metal roofing installation begins with the preparation of the roof, which involves removing the existing roofing material and inspecting the roof deck for any damage or repairs needed. Next, a layer of underlayment is applied to provide additional protection against moisture and leaks. The metal panels are then installed, starting from the bottom and working upwards, with each panel carefully fastened to the roof deck using screws or nails. Flashing is installed around roof penetrations, such as chimneys or vents, to prevent water infiltration. Finally, the edges of the roof are sealed with trim pieces to provide a finished look.

On the other hand, asphalt roofing installation begins with the removal of the existing roofing material and the inspection of the roof deck. A layer of underlayment is then applied, followed by the installation of asphalt shingles. These shingles are typically nailed to the roof deck in a staggered pattern, with each row overlapping the previous one. Flashing is also installed around roof penetrations to prevent water leakage. Finally, the edges of the roof are sealed with ridge caps or other finishing materials.

The pros of metal roofing installation include its durability, as metal roofs can last up to 50 years or more, and its resistance to fire, rot, and insects. Additionally, metal roofing can be installed over existing roofing materials, which can save time and money. However, the installation process can be more complex and time-consuming than asphalt roofing.

On the other hand, asphalt roofing installation is relatively straightforward and can be completed more quickly compared to metal roofing. Asphalt shingles are also more affordable compared to metal roofing materials. However, asphalt roofs have a shorter lifespan, typically lasting between 15 to 30 years, and are more prone to damage from severe weather conditions.

Availability and Variety

wide range of options

Metal and asphalt roofing offer a wide range of availability and variety options to suit different architectural styles and homeowner preferences. When it comes to variety options, both metal and asphalt roofing materials come in various styles, colors, and finishes. This allows homeowners to choose the roofing material that best complements their home's aesthetic appeal. Some popular metal roofing options include standing seam, corrugated panels, and metal shingles, while asphalt roofing options include traditional three-tab shingles, architectural shingles, and designer shingles.

Availability of roofing materials can vary depending on the region. Asphalt roofing is widely available and can be found in most regions due to its popularity. It is often the default choice for many homeowners. On the other hand, metal roofing may have limited availability in certain regions, especially in areas where it is less commonly used. However, the popularity of metal roofing is steadily increasing, and it is becoming more readily available in a wider range of regions.

Long-Term Value

investing for future growth

When comparing the long-term value of metal and asphalt roofing, it is important to consider their durability and cost-effectiveness.

Metal roofs are known for their exceptional durability, often lasting 50 years or more, while asphalt roofs typically have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.

Additionally, metal roofs require minimal maintenance and repairs, resulting in lower long-term costs compared to asphalt roofs.

Considering these factors, the long-term value of metal roofing outweighs that of asphalt roofing.

Durability Comparison

In terms of long-term value, the durability of metal roofing far surpasses that of its asphalt counterpart. Metal roofs have a proven track record of withstanding the test of time, offering superior durability and performance compared to asphalt roofs. Here are three key reasons why metal roofing is a more durable and cost-effective choice:

  • Weather Resistance: Metal roofs are highly resistant to extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, strong winds, hail, and snow. They do not warp, crack, or deteriorate like asphalt roofs, ensuring long-lasting performance and protection for your home.
  • Lifespan: Metal roofs typically have a lifespan of 40-70 years, while asphalt roofs typically last around 15-30 years. This significant difference in lifespan translates to fewer repairs and replacements over time, resulting in lower long-term costs.
  • Maintenance: Metal roofs require minimal maintenance, with no need for regular resealing or re-coating like asphalt roofs. This further enhances their durability and reduces overall maintenance expenses.

Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

With its unmatched durability and superior performance, metal roofing proves to be a more cost-effective choice when considering long-term value. A cost-effectiveness comparison between metal and asphalt roofing reveals that while the initial installation costs of metal roofing may be higher, its longevity and minimal maintenance requirements result in significant savings over the lifespan of the roof.

Metal roofs can last up to 50 years or more, compared to the average lifespan of 20-30 years for asphalt roofs. This extended lifespan translates into lower replacement and repair costs, making metal roofing a financially prudent investment. Return on investment analysis further supports the cost-effectiveness of metal roofing, as the higher upfront expenses are offset by energy savings, reduced insurance premiums, and increased property value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Metal Roofing Be Installed Over an Existing Asphalt Roof?

Yes, metal roofing can be installed over an existing asphalt roof. This method, known as roof-over installation, offers several advantages.

Metal roofing is lightweight, durable, and resistant to fire, harsh weather conditions, and pests. It also provides excellent energy efficiency and can help reduce utility costs.

In contrast, asphalt roofing offers its own benefits, such as affordability and a wide range of styles and colors. However, metal roofing's longevity and low maintenance requirements make it a popular choice for many homeowners looking to upgrade their roofs.

Are There Any Government Incentives or Tax Credits Available for Installing a Metal or Asphalt Roof?

Government incentives and tax credits play a crucial role in encouraging homeowners to invest in energy-efficient roofing solutions. When comparing metal and asphalt roofs, it is important to consider the potential financial benefits.

Currently, there are several government incentives and tax credits available for the installation of both metal and asphalt roofs. These incentives aim to promote energy efficiency and sustainability.

Additionally, it is worth noting that metal roofs tend to offer superior energy efficiency compared to asphalt roofs, leading to potential energy savings for homeowners.

How Does the Cost of Metal Roofing Compare to the Cost of Asphalt Roofing Over Time?

Comparing long term costs: metal vs asphalt roofing, there are several factors to consider when choosing between the two options.

Metal roofing typically has a higher upfront cost compared to asphalt roofing. However, metal roofs have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance, which can result in cost savings over time.

Additionally, metal roofs are more energy-efficient and can help reduce energy costs.

It is important to weigh the initial cost against the long-term benefits when deciding between metal and asphalt roofing.

Are There Any Specific Maintenance Requirements for Metal or Asphalt Roofs in Extreme Climates?

Metal roofs are known for their durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, making them a popular choice in extreme climates. They may require occasional inspections to ensure that there are no loose or damaged panels.

On the other hand, asphalt roofs may require more regular maintenance, such as debris removal and occasional repairs, to prevent damage from extreme weather events.

When it comes to maintenance requirements for metal or asphalt roofs in extreme climates, there are a few key considerations.

Can Metal or Asphalt Roofing Be Recycled at the End of Its Lifespan?

Recycling options for metal and asphalt roofing play a significant role in reducing the environmental impact of these materials. Both metal and asphalt roofing can be recycled at the end of their lifespan, offering a sustainable solution for waste management.

Metal roofing can be melted down and reused to create new metal products. This process helps conserve valuable resources and reduces the need for raw materials. By recycling metal roofing, we not only minimize landfill waste but also contribute to the circular economy.

Similarly, asphalt roofing can be ground up and used as a component in new asphalt pavement. This recycling method is known as asphalt shingle recycling and is gaining popularity due to its environmental benefits. By reusing asphalt roofing, we reduce the demand for virgin materials and decrease the energy consumption associated with the production of new asphalt.

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