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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Jun 23, 2020 9:54 AM

How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost Compared to Shingles?

When faced with roof replacement, homeowners used to push the easy button and buy the cheapest most popular product…asphalt shingles. But over the past several years, a funny thing has happened.  Homeowners, tired of the constant churn of shingle replacement, have started researching to find better options.

And after their research, many homeowners end up selecting a metal roof.  In fact, according to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), metal roofing now has a market share of over 12% for retrofit (or re-roofing) applications. That’s an impressive gain in market share over a relatively short period of time. It seems savvy consumers like the story that metal roofing has to tell.

Top Benefits of Metal Roofing Compared to Shingles

Residence Stillman Valley

  • Metal roofing is durable and routinely lasts 2-4 times longer than shingles 
  • Homeowners like the idea of buying only 1 more roof in their lifetime instead of potentially several 
  • Metal roofing outperforms shingles in cases of hail and other severe weather events
  • Metal roofing is highly reflective and can save 20-30% on electricity bills  
  • Metal roofing has a high recycled content which means it actually helps reduce landfill pressure instead of adding to it like asphalt shingles
  • Metal roofing looks great, improving curb appeal and resale values

Given the sharp increase in market share, it seems that more and more homeowners are making performance, not price, their dominant purchase decision.

Learn more about metal roof cost.

What Factors Affect the Cost of a Re-Roof project?

The geographic region, eave height and complexity of the roof (hips/dormers, valleys etc.) are all variables that impact the cost of roof replacement. But beyond that, product selection and installation costs are also dominant factors.

Product Type

The broad type of product selected and the family of products within that category greatly impact cost.  So while the first tier decision might be metal or shingles, the second tier decisions include things like: thickness of the product and style/type of product.  

For example, there are two predominant types of metal roofing: concealed fastened and exposed fastened panels. The product and installation cost vary greatly between the two styles.  So while, exposed fastened panels on straight gable roofs with low eave heights (like ranches) might be priced comparative to asphalt shingles, a concealed fastener system might be much more costly.   


Another important factor in pricing considerations is aesthetics.  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 coating, or paint system, that is factory applied to the metal roof panels also has a direct effect on long-term performance and aesthetics. PVDF (Kynar 500®) paint systems are proven to provide the best long-term performance with regard to panel fade and chalk. So if you’re interested in the curb appeal of your home, fade and chalk resistance should be high on your list and you’ll want Kynar 500/(PDVF) paint. 


Believe it or not, many suppliers still offer the lower grade paint systems like Silicone Modified Polyester (SMP) for residential application.  Once they understand the differences, most homeowners are more than willing to pay a couple hundred dollars more on the total cost of their roof to gain the long-term benefits of Kynar 500 coatings.  

Curious what your home would look like with a metal roof? Try our Visualizer  and experiment with styles and colors.

Installation Costs

Installation costs can be another big factor in the overall project price comparison between shingles and metal roofing. That’s because there’s a big difference in the required skill-set between the products. Shingles are well known for being easy to install. With ease, comes a cheaper labor rate. Metal on the other hand requires much more skill, finesse and training. So it’s only logical that per hour labor rates are typically higher for a qualified metal roof installer.  

Lifespan and Durability

While the type of product selected, aesthetics and installation costs are the obvious factors when comparing costs between metal roofing and shingles, lifespan and durability should also be considered. In recent years, homeowners have started to evaluate their roof purchase from a life cycle cost instead of just the purchase price. To determine the life cycle of something you simply divide the number of years something is expected to last by the price. 

Remember, when considering life cycle costs for shingle vs. metal roofing, it’s important to understand that shingles have an expected lifespan of 10-20 years and metal roofing easily pushes 50 years.  You should run the numbers for your own house, but below is an example of a process you might use:  




Initial Cost



Multiply by # of roofs needed to provide coverage for 50 years



Total 50 year product cost



Annual Roofing Cost (based on install price divided by 50 year service life)



Annual Energy Costs



Annual 20% Energy Savings for Metal Roof 



Annual Roofing Cost to Consumer




As you can see, if price at the time of install is the single determining factor in your decision, you simply can’t beat shingles as shown in the first line of the table above. As long as you’re okay with replacing your roof again in 10-20 years or so, shingles are the product to beat. 

But it’s important to understand that ultimately, shingles provide little long-term value. And that should come as no surprise. We all know that we can’t buy on price and expect the best performance. It’s really a pay me now or pay me later scenario. You can spend less on a shingle roof today and put another one on in 10-20 years or opt to spend a bit more now and in all likelihood, spend less in the long haul.

Beyond lifespan, metal roofing also requires much less maintenance, which is a pretty important point with homeowners. Most homeowners accept that after storms, hail and high winds, they may be faced with a roof replacement or at the very least some repairs. Conversely, metal roofing systems are inherently less prone to damage from Mother Nature and can be engineered to withstand high winds. In fact, metal’s superior performance to wind is why metal roofing is so prevalent in coastal locations.

Are you interested in learning more? Check out these articles about the performance of metal roofs in high wind and hail prone areas.

Resale Value

Another piece of the cost puzzle, involves resale. Homeowners often consider improvements to their home an investment. But given the short life-span and constant replacement necessary, it’s difficult to consider shingles an investment. Between reduced energy bills and increased resale value, Metal on the other hand, offers a payback on investment.Eds-House-048-sized

According to Zillow, roof replacements will return 60-70% of the investment. Yet this roof cost estimator shows a national average of 85.9% return on investment for metal roofing. That’s admittedly a pretty big difference but understandable with the obvious benefits of metal roofing.

What Do You Want from Your Roof?

In summary, both metal roofing and asphalt shingles are popular and have their advantages.

For shingles, it’s price and low installation costs. 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, exceptional performance and a solid return on investment.

It all boils down to what you want. If low-cost today is your only criteria, then 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 

Next Steps

If you’re ready to explore metal roofing and learn what it might cost for your home, the best approach is to contact qualified local contractors and request estimates from those that meet your requirements.  

When you reach out to contractors though, it’s important to have a list of questions ready.  And if curb appeal is important to you, be sure to find out what type of paint systems they use.  It’s also important to find out how much metal roofing they have installed.  Contractors that only “dabble” or occasionally install metal roofing often steer homeowners back toward shingles because it’s their comfort zone. Don’t let someone else’s comfort zone push you to accept a shorter-term solution for what may be the most significant investment you have, your home.  

Download the Residential Metal Roofing Guide

Learn everything you need to know about Residential Metal Roofing. Check out our metal roofing resources for inspiration and answers to your questions.

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.

Topics: Education, Metal Roofing, FAQ, Residential

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