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Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles

Roofing techniques and materials have remained largely the same over the past decade. Obviously, the advent of solar power cells had caused a small rift, but this technology was integrated into the roofing industry relatively smoothly thanks in part to hardworking contractors who sought out the right talent to perform solar installations. Contractors are always on a quest to cut costs and increase the structural integrity of every project, but when it comes to roofing, it can be difficult to decide which material is best for your project, especially when weighing the pros and cons of metal roofs and asphalt shingles.

In this article, we will compare and contract metal roofs and asphalt shingles to help you determine which is best for your next project.

Cost and Lifespan

Asphalt is one of the least expensive roofing materials. The average lifespan of asphalt shingles is 15 to 20 years. Asphalt has remained an important roofing material despite changes in the construction industry. The Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) suggest replacing asphalt shingles after 20 years.

Metal roofing is significantly more expensive than asphalt. However, the cost is justified when you consider the extended lifespan of metal roofs, which average over 50 years. Alternatives to asphalt and metal roofs include tile, slate, and shake.

Aesthetics

Asphalt shingles are typically considered an inexpensive option that focuses on functionality overs style; however, the market has abandoned traditional three-tab shingles in favor of laminated designer shingles, sometimes dubbed “architectural shingles.” Laminated designer shingles can resemble more expensive roofing materials like shake and slate. This is one of the most popular roofing materials. The residential roofing market continues to shift toward laminates. Laminated asphalt shingles have added dimensionality because of extra layers of fiberglass mat, which create a wood shake-like appearance. Laminated shingle styles are also typically offered with longer warranties and better wind ratings.

Metal roofs have also improved their aesthetic with stamped-panel metal shingles that look like shake, slate, and tile. A metal roof doesn’t have to be silver or gray. They can come in a variety of colors and styles.

Resiliency

Resiliency is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” A resilient roof can handle being walloped by a severe storm and doesn’t crumble under the pressure of melting ice or a minor earthquake. What causes asphalt to be so resilient? SBS-modified or “rubberized” shingles improve impact resistance and ensure that shingles stay put when conditions get worse. New advances have resulted in asphalt shingles that can protect homes from nearly everything, even algae.

Metal roofs can withstand winds exceeding 140 miles per hour, which is the equivalent of an F2 tornado. However, the most impressive aspect of metal roofs is their ability to resist fires. With wildfires scorching various parts of the country each year, builders are turning to metal roofs to give new and existing homes a fighting chance against the torrid dry season. Metal roofing is typically designated with a Class A fire rating, which means it is “nearly impenetrable” to moisture while resisting impacts from hail and debris. With improved coatings that help resist corrosion, metal roofing is safer than ever before.

Energy Efficiency

One major advancement in asphalt shingles is improvements to the Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) which includes metrics for reflectance and thermal emittance. Adding asphalt granules with light-reflecting pigments can increase the solar reflective value of a roof ten times over. This type of roof, deemed “Cool Roofing” is designed specifically to reflect solar energy, not absorb it. This eases the burden on the home’s cooling systems and reduces wear and tear on the roof. Comparatively, the highly reflective surface of metal roofing typically provides a 30 percent cost saving on cooling when compared to other roofing types.

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