Metal roof vs. shingles cost comparison
Metal roof vs. shingles cost comparison
$5 – $16 metal roof cost per square foot
$7,500 – $40,000 metal roof average cost installed
$3 – $5 asphalt shingles cost per square foot
$5,700 – $12,000 asphalt shingles average cost installed
Cost of metal roof vs. shingles
A metal roof costs $5 to $16 per square foot installed, works in all climates, reflects the sun's heat, is lightweight, and lasts 30 to 80 years. An asphalt shingle roof costs $3 to $5 per square foot installed, is affordable, best for moderate climates, easy to repair, and lasts 15 to 30 years.
|Roof size (square feet)||Metal roof cost installed||Asphalt shingle roof cost installed|
|1,000||$5,000 – $16,000||$3,000 – $5,000|
|1,500||$7,500 – $24,000||$4,500 – $7,500|
|2,000||$10,000 – $32,000||$6,000 – $10,000|
|2,500||$12,500 – $40,000||$7,500 – $12,500|
|3,000||$15,000 – $48,000||$9,000 – $15,000|
|3,500||$17,500 – $56,000||$10,500 – $17,500|
Is a metal roof better and cheaper than shingles?
A metal roof has higher initial costs but a longer lifespan, less maintenance, and better energy efficiency. A metal roof maintains its value with a higher return on investment. Shingles are cheaper and easier to install but don't hold their value or last as long.
Pros and cons of metal roof vs. shingles
|Comparison||Metal roof||Asphalt shingle roof|
|Average cost installed||$5 – $16 per square foot||$3 – $5 per square foot|
|Life expectancy||30 – 80 years||15 – 30 years|
|Warranty||15 years to Lifetime||25-year, 30-year, 50-year, or Limited Lifetime|
|Resale value / ROI||85% to 95% ROI||Up to 70% ROI|
|Climates best for||Extreme hot and cold climates||Moderate climates|
|Installation||Specialized training and experience needed||Requires only general roofing skills|
|Appearance||Varies by material but is considered a high-end look||Considered less aesthetic|
|Energy savings||Heat reflective (reflects up to 84% of the sun's heat)||Heat absorbing (absorbs up to 78% of the sun's heat)|
|Maintenance||Fire, water, and algae-resistant; moderately hail-resistant||Moderately fire-resistant but prone to algae and fungus|
|Weight||Lightweight enough for metal-overlay installation||50% heavier than metal|
Appearance / variety
Metal roofs installed with concealed fasteners provide an expensive seamless look. Asphalt shingles manufactured to look like wood, tile, or slate offer a high-end appearance.
Metal roofs reflect heat, making them more energy-efficient than shingle roofs. Roofers also paint, coat, or cover a metal roof to improve energy efficiency further.
Metal roof painting costs $1.20 to $2.70 per square foot for an elastomeric, energy-efficient paint, including labor.
Metal roof coating costs $1 to $4 per square foot for metal-specific sealants and labor.
A PVC membrane costs $4 to $10 per square foot installed and reflects heat off a flat roof.
Maintenance / durability
Metal roofs are more fire, water, and hail resistant than shingle roofs. While hail causes minor denting on a metal roof, it does not typically lead to water intrusion. Shingles are prone to algae and fungus growth in damp climates and cracking in cold climates.
A metal roof warranty lasts 15 years to Lifetime, depending on the metal and manufacturer. Asphalt shingles come with a 25-year, 30-year, 50-year, or Limited Lifetime warranty. Roof warranties typically cover manufacturer defects, not damage or normal wear and tear.
Metal roof costs compared to shingles by type
A metal roof costs $500 to $1,600 per square installed but lasts 30 to 80 years, is energy-efficient, and requires little maintenance. A shingle roof costs $300 to $500 per square installed. Shingles last 15 to 30 years and are easier to color-match when making roof repairs.
Metal roof costs
A metal roof costs $5 to $16 per square foot installed or $1 to $8 per square foot on average for materials. Premium metals like copper, zinc, or stainless steel cost up to $20 per square foot for materials alone.
|Material||Cost per square foot installed||Average total cost installed|
|Aluminum||$7 – $17||$10,500 – $42,500|
|Copper||$13 – $30||$19,500 – $75,000|
|Corrugated metal||$5 – $12||$7,500 – $30,000|
|Galvanized steel||$5 – $13||$7,500 – $32,500|
|Galvalume metal||$5 – $13||$7,500 – $32,500|
|Rusted (Corten)||$6 – $11||$9,000 – $27,500|
|Stainless steel||$10 – $21||$15,000 – $52,500|
|Tin (Terne)||$6 – $18||$9,000 – $45,000|
|Zinc||$10 – $20||$15,000 – $50,000|
A standing seam roof costs $9 to $16 per square foot installed, with concealed fasteners lasting longer than exposed fasteners.
Galvanized steel and galvalume are the most common materials for metal roofing due to their durability and low cost. Other options include:
Corrugated metal roofing costs $5 to $12 per square foot installed and includes any light gauge metal that is folded to improve strength.
Tin or terne metal roofs cost $6 to $18 per square foot installed. Tin roofing is not pure tin but steel, stainless steel, or aluminum coated in a tin-zinc alloy called terne.
Zinc roofing costs $10 to $20 per square foot installed. Zinc is a long-lasting material with a self-healing natural patina.
Copper roofs cost $13 to $30 per square foot with installation. Copper is the most expensive metal roofing material.
Asphalt shingle roof costs
An asphalt shingle roof costs $300 to $500 per square on average installed or $80 to $130 per square for materials alone. Asphalt shingles are also called composition, 3-tab, and fiberglass shingles.
|Shingle type||Shingles cost per square foot installed||Average total cost installed|
|Asphalt composition / 3-tab||$3 – $5||$5,700 – $12,000|
|Architectural / dimensional||$4 – $6||$7,000 – $16,000|
|Luxury / premium asphalt||$6 – $7||$9,000 – $17,500|
|Cedar / wood shingles||$5 – $12||$7,500 – $30,000|
|Composite / rubber||$7 – $14||$10,500 – $35,000|
|Metal shingles||$6 – $14||$9,000 – $35,000|
|Natural slate||$10 – $30||$15,000 – $75,000|
|Solar shingles||$26 – $50||$39,000 – $125,000|
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material, but other shingle types include:
Architectural shingles cost $4 to $6 per square foot installed and have a longer lifespan than standard asphalt shingles. Architectural shingles are also called dimensional, laminate, and 3D shingles.
Composite roof shingles cost $7 to $14 per square foot installed and are made from recycled plastic or rubber.
Natural slate roof shingles cost $10 to $30 per square foot installed but may require additional structural reinforcement to support the added weight.
A cedar shake roof costs $7 to $15 per square foot installed. Wood shakes are hand-split from lumber and have a more rustic appearance than wood shingles.
A Tesla Solar Roof costs $26 to $50 per square foot, including old roof removal and installation of solar shingles, inactive shingles, an inverter, and one or more Powerwalls.
Frequently asked questions
Is a metal roof or shingles best in cold climates?
A metal roof is better than shingles in cold climates. Metal roofs warm in the sun and allow snow and ice to slide off. Adding roof heating cables costs $5 to $15 per linear foot to prevent ice dams from forming on the roof.
Do metal roofs leak more than shingles?
Metal roofs are more watertight than shingles when properly installed and maintained. Schedule regular inspections to check for loose screws, fasteners, or panel gaps that may lead to leaks. Metal roof repairs cost $300 to $1,500, with leak repairs costing $200 to $1,000 on average.
Is a metal roof heavier than shingles?
Metal roofs are 50% lighter than asphalt roofs. Roofers often install metal panels directly over an old roof since the lightweight panels don't overweigh the structural support.
Getting estimates and hiring roof contractors
Before hiring a roofing company near you, be sure to:
Get at least three estimates with similar materials to compare.
Check out their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Confirm the roofing contractor has experience installing your preferred roofing material.
Select a contractor with National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) certification.
Choose licensed, insured, and bonded companies that have been in business for 5+ years.
Get a detailed written estimate, contract, and warranty before work begins.
Avoid the cheapest quotes as quality may suffer.
Don't pay in full before work begins. Arrange a deposit and payment schedule instead.
Questions to ask
How long have you been in business?
How many roofs did you install in the past year?
Can you provide references from past work?
Are you NCRA-certified?
Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
What is your experience with metal roofs?
Do you recommend a shingle or a metal roof? Why?
Do you provide a free estimate?
Do you have any metal or shingle manufacturer certifications?
Does the estimate include tearing off the old roof?
Will you obtain the necessary permits?
How long will the project take?
What type of guarantee do you offer on your work?
What will you do in the event of unexpected bad weather?
How will you access my roof? What safety precautions will you take?