Cost of Metal Roof vs Shingles – Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular with many savvy homeowners, and it’s not hard to see why; compared to more traditional approaches, metal roofing offers many significant advantages over asphalt shingles, including a very long lifespan, low maintenance, excellent durability, and superior solar reflectance which can help drastically reduce your cooling costs and HVAC load by reflecting solar radiant heat away from the roof in the summer.
Metal roofing used to be rare for residential properties, but the material is growing in popularity because of its strength and durability. Steel and aluminum are the most popular materials for metal roofing, but other options include copper, zinc, titanium, stainless steel and stone-coated steel.
There are many myths that circulate about metal roofing. Contrary to popular belief, it is not any noisier than asphalt when properly installed. It is not more susceptible to lightning strikes, and it is highly resistant to rust. Also, metal roofing does not have to look industrial; modern versions are available in all sorts of colors and designs that mimic traditional shingles.
Roofs perform such an essential function that “keeping a roof over your head” is synonymous with shelter. They keep moisture from destroying your home and protect the interior from inclement climate conditions.
Roof costs can be high, but they’re a fraction of the price you could pay for ignoring roofing problems. Investing in your roof also generally raises property values.
Roofing prices will vary depending on several factors, as discussed in-depth below. If you’re not sure where to start, local roofing contractors can help put together quotes.
Guide to New Roofing Costs & Estimates
When estimating the cost of a new roof, know that you’ll have a wide variety to choose from. Roofing contractors will estimate the cost of a new roof based on many factors, including:
- Existing roofing, if any
- Material type
- Underlayment and accessories
It’s also important to take into account how you select your contractor. You need to make sure they have a license and insurance before you hire them, or else you could have some legal problems. Contractors’ prices will also vary by the scope of the work, the materials you choose for the roofing and whether you need to re-roof part or the whole of the roof. You might also pay more if the roof is harder to access or is steeper, which involves more prep and safety equipment.
Roof Calculations (area, pitch, slope)
Every roof type is a shape: squares, rectangles, trapezoids and triangles. Below are some tips for making the calculations yourself, or you can use our roofing calculator
Calculate a Roof’s Area
To calculate the area of your roof, you need to multiply the length and width of your roof to get a rough estimate. Use a tape measurer to measure the length and width and then multiply to get the area. You can also get a rough measurement by measuring one floor of your home. So for example, if a single floor of your home is roughly 1,200 square feet, that means your roof might be around that square footage as well.
Calculate Pitch & Slope
Then you’ll need to calculate pitch and slope of the roof. Pitch is the rise of the roof divided by the span (rise/span). Slope is the rise over run of the roof (rise/run). You dont have to go on the roof to calculate the pitch or slope. There is a pitch card available from roofing manufacturers that you can use from the ground. Roofs usually have one of three pitches, unless they’re designed specifically for a special type of home:
Low pitch: rises 3 inches every 12 inches
Medium pitch: rises 6 to 9 inches every 12 inches
High pitch: rises 9 inches for every 12 inches
Once you have the pitch or slope and the sum of all of the sides, you can come up with a rough estimate of the actual area using the roof pitch table.
So using the first example, if your roof with a tape measurer is 1,200 square feet with a pitch of 3/12, that means your actual square footage can be calculated as:
1,200 x 1.04 = 1,242 sq. ft. of roofing
There will be extra calculations for eaves and overhangs, but roofing contractors will know how to do those calculations, so be sure to consult with them before buying the materials.
Roof Estimates & Cost
Estimating the size of a roof is crucial in the next step of the roofing process: materials. If you get the measurements wrong, materials could cost you up to two to three times more because you buy too much or too little. Precision is crucial in this process to ensure you estimate the right amount on materials and accessories in the installation process. Be sure you double-check with the roofing professional on the measurements before moving forward in the roof installation process.
Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles
When you’re choosing what kind of material to install on your roof, two popular options recommended by roofing professionals are metal and asphalt shingles. These are very common in the United States, especially asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are seen on at least 70% of homes in the United States because they’re affordable, easy to install and don’t cost as much to repair as other materials. However, metal roofing is growing more popular because of its energy efficiency and cooling ability.
Here is some more information on these two types of roofing materials to help better determine which is best for your home
Metal Roof vs Asphalt Shingle Cost Comparison
One of the singular most important factors to any homeowner is the cost of a roofing material. It’s imperative to know that asphalt shingle roofing is much less expensive than metal roofing. Here is an approximate cost breakdown of each:
3-tab shingles: $90 per roofing square (i.e. 100 square feet)
Architectural/laminate shingles: $100 per roofing square
Felt: $20 per roll
Synthetic underlayment: $85 for 400 square feet
Steel or aluminum shingles: $265 to $375 per roofing square
Corrugated steel panels: $120 to $150 per roofing square
Stone-coated steel: $350 to $425 per roofing square
Standing seam: $400 to $600 per roofing square
Copper or zinc roofing: $700 to $900 per roofing square
With such high prices, you might wonder why you should invest in metal roofing at all. The reason is its longevity. It can last fifty years or more with little maintenance. Asphalt roofing needs to be replaced two to four times in its lifetime which means additional replacement and maintenance costs.
Metal roofing is also energy-efficient, offering savings of up to 40% on energy costs. Reflective metal roofing cuts down on air conditioning costs and emissive metal roofs help cut down on greenhouse gases and hot temperatures. Altogether, this means money savings, energy efficiency and less pollution.