Metal Roofing vs Shingles: What Are the Pros and Cons of Each?

Are you preparing to install a brand-new roof or replace an existing one?

If so, you have more options today than ever before.

One of the most difficult decisions to make is whether you’ll choose a metal roof or shingles. While each offers its own advantages, it’s important to understand the major differences between the two so you can make a more informed decision.

Not sure what sets them apart? That’s why we’re here.

Today, we’re breaking down the differences between metal roofing vs shingles so you know exactly what to expect.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

What is Metal Roofing?

When you think of metal roofs, a particular image likely springs to mind. Traditional metal roofs were comprised mainly of corrugated tin panels. Called standing seam roofs, these were once characteristic of mostly barns and sheds, though the popular modern farmhouse aesthetic has again made them popular for homeowners seeking a more rustic look.

Today, you can find metal roofing in a variety of materials, including:

  • Zinc
  • Galvanized metals
  • Aluminum
  • Copper

This means that whether your personal style is primitive, ultra-modern or anything in between, you can find a metal roofing system that meets your needs. 

What is Shingled Roofing?

Shingled roofs are those that feature individual, overlapping elements. The shingles are usually flat and rectangular. Roofers will lay them in specific courses, beginning at the bottom edge of the roof and working up. As they do so, each course will overlap the joints below.

While shingles are among the most traditional types, there is a great variety of shingles on the market designed to mimic other materials at a fraction of the cost. For instance, you can find shingles that look like:

  • Slate
  • Cedar shakes
  • Tile

You can also incorporate special touches into your shingles. For instance, if your home has Victorian architecture, you can find ones with whimsical scalloped edges. Or, if it has Mediterranean touches, tiles that mimic terracotta are ideal.

One of the greatest benefits of shingles is the bevy of available customizations, ranging from different finishes to different colors depending on your preference.

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing vs Shingles

Now that you know more about what each style encompasses, let’s discuss a few advantages and drawbacks of each type of roofing, taking into consideration some of the most important issues facing homeowners today.


As discussed, you’ll have a variety of options to choose from with both shingles and metal roofing.

If you go with a metal roof, you’ll notice that there are a few major variations available. In addition to choosing the type of metal you want, you can also select a specific format, including:

  • Shingle
  • Tile
  • Panel
  • Ribbed 

The only drawback with going this route? The more unique metal styles, such as metal tiles, will come at a higher price tag. You’re also more limited in your design options.

On the other hand, you can find an almost infinite number of shingle variations, designed to meet any personal style and household budget.

In addition to traditional asphalt shingles, which come in myriad colors and accents, you can also find specialty shingles, such as a cedar shake or slate varieties. Shingles are also available in different weights, patterns, sizes, and shades.


When you invest in a new roof, you want it to last. Thankfully, as long as you partner with a reputable and qualified roofing company, you’ll get plenty of life out of your new installment, regardless of whether you choose metal or shingles.

That’s because the length of life that each provides doesn’t just hinge on the material alone. You also need a roofer that adheres to best practices for roofing installation and maintenance. 

While metal roof used to be the go-to for homeowners prioritizing longevity, the playing field has evened thanks to modern manufacturing technology. Now, you can find heavier or laminated shingles that are equally as durable and long-lasting as metal roofs. 

Durability and Weather-Resistance

Due to their heavy weight and durability, high end shingles are less prone to lift up during a storm than a metal roof. They also have high fire-safety ratings and hold up well against water and wind. These features help them keep your structure as protected as possible.

Metal roofs also hold up well against years of rain, sleet, and snow. However, keep in mind that this material is more susceptible to denting. This is especially true in the case of heavy hail, tree limbs or other airborne debris. Also if you are getting a metal roof check the warranty as most don’t cover paint fade or peeling.

Eco-Friendliness and Energy-Efficiency

You can find both metal and shingle roofs that are extremely eco-friendly and energy-efficient. 

Yet, this is another category in which shingles really shine! 

Newer ones are designed to absorb heat and help warm your home during the winter, cutting back on utility costs. In addition, there are myriad models of shingles that are specially-built to be extra-efficient and as sustainable as possible.

Metal roofs often made from recycled materials and are recyclable themselves, which cuts down on waste. In addition, they also help keep your home’s energy consumption as low as possible during the hot summer months. 

Keep in mind that for both materials, installation quality matters. Even the most eco-friendly roofing materials in the world can be rendered ineffective if your roofer does not apply them in the correct way.


While both metal and shingle roofs usually come with warranties, most shingle roof warranties are better than metal.

The GAF Golden Pledge Warranty that comes with GAF certified shingles and installers is a 50 year non pro-rated warranty on materials and a 25 year warranty on labour.

Using a GAF certified Master Elite contractor will give you peace of mind for your roof for many years to come.

Home Resale Value

You naturally want to install a roof that will deliver a high return on your investment. In the event that you decide to sell your home down the road, you need a roof that will help increase the value of your property, not detract away from it. 

In general, any time you install a new roof, you add resale value to your home. In fact, research shows a mid-range roofing replacement delivers an impressive 66% to 69% ROI!

If you go with shingles, architectural varieties will yield a higher return than standard, three-tab ones. The best part? Even the most premium-grade shingles normally come at a lower price point than metal roofs. The savings you’ll receive on your new installation give your ROI an automatic bump-up.

Appearance and Design Options

When it comes to curb appeal and overall appearance, many homeowners prefer shingles simply due to the vast number of color and texture options on the market. You can find ones to complement any home, in any style. This way, your home can stand out as much as you want it to, or it can be built to look similar to others in your neighborhood.

You’ll have an equally wide range of design choices with metal, though your individual varieties will be slightly more limited. 

Cost and Affordability

For both types of roofs, you’ll find that there are two ways that contractors determine the cost:

  • By square (100 square feet)
  • By bundle (33.3 square feet)

Your contractor should be able to give you an accurate price based on the material you select and the size of your new roof. Of course, the final number will depend on any customizations, premium features, or other special touches that you select. Ultimately, shingle roofs outrank metal roofs in terms of cost and affordability. 

Ease of Installation and Replacement

An experienced and capable roofing team will be able to install any kind of roof with ease. Yet, there are some materials that are easier to work with than others. 

In terms of initial installation and ongoing maintenance, shingles are a little easier to manage.

Why? If you have an issue with one that needs repair, you can simply replace a portion of the roof rather than the entire surface. They’re also easiest to work with, install and maintain. 

At the same time, metal is lightweight and easy to transport. You can also install a metal roof on top of an existing roof in many cases. Yet, the process requires the complicated steps of plywood framing and underlayment, which require certain skills to perform. 

Regardless of the material you select, it’s important to understand that installing a roof requires a specific skill set and as such, it’s always best to let a professional and qualified team take the reins rather than attempting to do it yourself. 

Design and Install the Roof of Your Dreams

At the end of the day, choosing between metal roofing vs shingles comes down to a personal choice. Both are excellent roofing materials that look great and are built to last. Yet, on most factors, including variety, affordability, and ease of installation, shingle roofs come out on top.

When you’re ready to start designing your dream roof, we’re here to help.

Teaming with qualified roofing contractors who can guarantee a high-quality installation is the first and most important step in this journey. With more than 25 years of industry experience, our team is more than capable of handling even the most sophisticated job.

Fill out our contact form today and let’s connect!

T. Simpson

Originally founded by a 16-year-old Tony Simpson as a way of acquiring funds to help pay his way through university, T. Simpson Roofing, propelled by Tony’s strong work ethic and commitment to delivering quality work and unbeatable customer service, quickly grew into a thriving business.

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