Posted by McElroy Metal ● February 05, 2019

How Does the Value of Metal Roofs Compare to Shingles?

Homeowners faced with roof replacement often let price be their deciding factor; however, just comparing the sticker price of a metal roof and a shingle roof can be very misleading. Longevity, resale value, aesthetics, and installation all affect the up-front costs as well as the long-term return on investment (ROI) of both shingle and metal roofs.  Consequently, it’s essential to consider much more than just the cost when comparing various roofing options.

What Things Affect the Price?

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With regard to pricing, it is important to understand that many factors impact the price of a roof. For starters the geographic region, product selection, and complexity of the roof all impact the initial cost. But the variables don’t stop there. For both asphalt shingles and metal roofing, there are also several price points and levels of quality.

Shingle prices are affected by the material thickness, type, and warranties.

Metal roofing system prices vary depending on the type of system. Concealed fastened and exposed fastened are the two predominant types. Paint choice and installation techniques are also factors that impact cost, but more importantly, value and performance.

The best way to determine budgetary numbers for your home is to contact qualified local contractors in your area and obtain estimates. When gathering your metal roof estimates, be sure to consult with a contractor that specializes in metal roofing.

Word to the Wise:  As you might guess, contractors that only “dabble” or occasionally install metal roofing often steer homeowners toward shingles because it’s their comfort zone. Don’t let their comfort zone push you to accept shorter term solution for likely the biggest investment you have, your home.

Installation

Installation is another piece of the pricing puzzle.

The cost to install shingles is often cheaper than the cost to install metal roofing. Shingle installation requires much less formalized training and can be installed very quickly. So, with a lower-skilled crew, the per hour cost will be lower for shingles than metal.

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Another variable on pricing depends on the style of the roof, panel selection, and eave height. These factors can cause pretty big swings in the installation cost between shingles and metal roofing. As a rule of thumb, exposed fastened panels on straight gable roofs with low eave heights (like ranches) will be the least expensive.

That being said, the additional costs of metal installation can often be offset by avoiding tear off of the existing shingles. Did you know that most building codes require the original shingles to be removed before new shingles can be installed? In some cases, they will allow for 2 layers of shingles but rarely more. If you’re planning to install new shingles over your existing shingles, be sure to check with your knowledgeable contractor or local building code officials to make sure you’re in compliance. Keep in mind that when shingles do need to be removed, there is a cost. Metal panels, on the other hand, can often be installed over the top of the existing shingles saving the homeowner cost, mess and headaches. These savings can help offset the increase in installation cost and as a bonus, you gain a feel good about keeping materials out of the local landfill.

In summary, both types of systems are widely respected for bringing certain things to the table.  For shingles, it’s price and ease of installation. While those are certainly valid considerations, both of those attributes are short-term. Conversely, metal roofing is well known for providing both long term value and exceptional performance.

Let’s take a closer look at just how metal roofing gains the reputation for the best value when it admittedly has a higher front end cost:

  • Metal roofing is durable and will likely be the last roof you install
  • Metal roofing has high reflectivity, resulting in lower utility expense
  • Metal roofing has a high recycled content
  • Metal roofing looks great, improving curb appeal and the value of your home

Lifespan and Durability

As mentioned earlier, lifespan is one of the most significant differences between metal and shingles. If price is the single determining factor in your decision, you simply can’t beat shingles.  As long as you’re okay with replacing your roof again in 10-20 years or so and don’t mind some ongoing maintenance costs in the meantime, they can do a great job of inexpensively protecting your home. But it’s important to understand that ultimately, shingles provide little long term value.

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And really that should come as no surprise. We all know that we can’t buy on price and expect the best performance. 

So how does metal roofing provide so much value? For starters, metal roofing will last 2-4 times longer than shingles. So it’s quite likely that a metal roof will be the last roof you install on your home.

Beyond lifespan, metal roofing also requires much less maintenance which is a pretty important point with most homeowners. Most homeowners accept that after storms and high winds, they will be faced with picking up shingle pieces in the yard and possibly even some replacement in extreme cases. Conversely, while it can happen, it’s incredibly rare for metal roofing to blow off during high winds. In fact, its superior performance to wind is why you often see it used in coastal locations. 

Metal roofing also outperforms shingles in regards to hail. While hail can literally destroy a shingle roof and allow rain to enter the home, in most cases any hail damage to metal roofing is simply cosmetic and allows the owner (and their occupants!) to remain in the dry. Interested in learning more about this? Check out these articles about the performance of metal roofs in high wind and hail prone areas.

Aesthetics and Resale Value

The other important factors to consider when comparing metal and shingle prices are aesthetics and resale value. Let’s start with the aesthetics. Most homeowners agree that given a choice, they prefer the look and life span of metal roofing. In fact, according to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), metal roofing has a market share of over 10% for retrofit applications.  

The trend towards metal roofing has certainly gained momentum. Historically, homeowners were almost auto-programmed to accept frequent shingle replacement caused by standard weathering or storm damage. But American homeowners now seem less likely to accept the need for frequent roof replacement and are beginning to demand longer life products like they’ve long expected for other elements of their homes like foundations and windows. 

Metal roofs come in a wide range of finishes and styles. You can choose a metal roof that looks like slate, shake, or tile and, as Todd Miller points out in this article, those styles can, “be a great way to enhance a home immediately through increased beauty as well as the “high end” value implication of an upscale home.”

The use of PVDF (Kynar 500®) paint systems on a metal roof also mean that the roof will continue to look new without experiencing chalk or fade. That means that the high-end look of a metal roof is maintained over its lifespan.

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Some have claimed that a metal roof can increase a home’s resale value 1 to 6 percent, but that number can be difficult to prove. However, a metal roof is more likely than not going to increase a home's value by some amount. Miller explains it nicely like this, “While it is impossible to ever predict the exact amount of value that a new roof will add to a home, the benefits of a metal roof are things that are sought after by prospective home buyers. It becomes a natural conclusion, therefore, that homes with the benefits of metal roofing will sell faster and for higher value.”

What Do You Want from Your Roof?

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It all boils down to what you want. If low-cost today is your only criteria, then it’s likely a shingle roof will be your best option. If, however, you’re more interested in a roof that does the following, then metal roofing could be a serious consideration in your roof replacement journey:

  • Lasts for decades
  • Increases the curb appeal of your home
  • Reduces your utility bills
  • Increases the value of your home

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Learn everything you to know about Residential Metal Roofing.

About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The family-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 13 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer. More information can be found at http://www.mcelroymetal.com.

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