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Toledo Homeowner Information: Which Is Better? Metal vs. Shingle Roofs

Jul 20, 2018

Most Toledo houses use asphalt shingles for roofing – but there is a major challenger. Metal roofing is growing in popularity (not just in Ohio but around the country), and many consumers are concluding that metal offers many advantages over asphalt. There are, however, many skeptics who argue that metal is not a realistic competitor with traditional roofing, whether that be due to cost or other factors. Taking both arguments into account, here’s a comprehensive guide to metal and shingle roofs, and where each material stands on several factors.

Leaking

A properly constructed metal roof is very leak-resistant. When a metal roof does leak, it’s rarely because of the material and more commonly due to improperly installed screws. Metal roof panels are large, solid sheets, and this means more surface area covered from the elements. Contrast this with asphalt shingles, which is a layered material that makes it easier for water to leak.

Lifespan

The life cycle of a metal roof may as well be the lifespan of the entire house! A high-quality metal roof can last up to 60 years, and most warranties come with a minimum of 30-year protection. Metal is a durable material that can hold up to the elements, and metal roofing does not split, crack, or streak the way other materials may.

Asphalt roofing is reasonably durable itself. Left on its own, an asphalt shingle roof can last 20 to 30 years, but that does not account for weather. The biggest weakness an asphalt roof has is its susceptibility to the elements. Even the best constructed asphalt roof can grow mold or mildew, and this takes its toll on your roof. Asphalt is an organic material made from oil byproducts, so it is not as long-lasting as metal roofing.

Energy Efficiency

A surprising benefit to metal roofing is that it can lower your electric bill. This is because metal reflects much of the sunlight rather than absorbing it the way asphalt does. Though metal obviously heats up too, the fact that it reflects light away from your home means that less heat transfers to your house – saving on the air conditioning during the hot summer months.

Cost

This is, perhaps, metal roofing’s biggest weakness. The truth is that initial roofing costs for metal roofs can be double or triple the rate of asphalt. Startup costs turn many potential customers away from considering metal roofing on its own.

That said, there’s more to consider in terms of cost. When you factor in the long-term costs of a metal roof, the numbers start to even out. Consider, for example, the lifespan of the two materials. Asphalt can last, as we’ve said, up to 30 years – but within those 30 years there may be extensive repairs required. Metal roofing lasts anywhere from 50 to 60 years and requires very little – and significantly cheaper – maintenance in the meantime. Factor in the energy and insurance savings, and a metal roof starts to look like a much wiser investment.

Weather

As we’ve seen, metal roofs hold up great in the rain, but what about other weather, especially in colder climates?

Unfortunately, metal roofs have a mixed relationship with snow. On one hand, it heats up fast and provides a slippery surface to shed snow faster, but this can have the tendency to “avalanche” snow all at once. Installing snow guards and other protective equipment can mitigate this issue.

When it comes to hail, metal roofs hold up great. This is partially why insurance companies offer discounts for having a metal roof – they are much more resistant to hail damage. They can, however, dent in the same way cars do, though repairs are much easier than on asphalt roofs.

Installation

Roofers must lay traditional asphalt shingles one by one in a time-consuming process. If you’re replacing an older roof, you also must remove the old layer before adding new shingles, because asphalt tends to be a heavy material.

When you install a metal roof, however, installers can lay it directly over an existing material. This is because metal roofing is much lighter than other shingles, and it is easy to install – the large panel sizes cover much larger areas, much faster.

Comparison

Beyond the initial investment, metal roofing holds up as well as, if not better, than asphalt shingles in almost every case. When life cycle costs come into play, even the expensive starting price evens out, because of money saved in other aspects. Though asphalt shingles remain the most popular choice, it is clear why metal roofing is a rising contender in roofing.

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