Roofs are constantly under assault, no matter what the weather. Even on bright, beautiful days, the top of your house is being subjected to all sorts of adverse conditions: ultraviolet light, high humidity levels, leaves and pine needles decaying in the crevices, and let’s not forget our feathered friends paying their “respects” as they fly overhead. Then there’s the rain, snow, hail, high winds, and blowing debris that are a threat all year long. Roofing materials have to withstand all of these things year in and year out, and if they can look great doing it, all the better. Two of the most popular roofing options are asphalt and metal. Of the two, asphalt is by far the most prevalent. By one industry estimate, four out of five roofs in the United States are covered by asphalt shingles. But metal has been quickly gaining ground within the last decade and is now the fast-growing roofing material option. Which begs the question: which is right for your home? A quick comparison will help you weigh the pros and cons of each.
First, let’s be clear. Both types of roofing will do a superb job of protecting your home against moisture incursion, provided they have been properly installed. And that’s a good place to begin our comparison. While both asphalt and metal roofing systems require expert installation to ensure optimal performance, metal roofs are the more challenging of the two. Every component must fit together with absolute precision. There are a lot of very specialized parts and pieces that must be integrated flawlessly to prevent leaks. Taking that into consideration, it may be more accurate to describe a metal roof as being assembled rather than installed. Asphalt roofs are more forgiving of variances and are therefore less labor-intensive than their metal counterparts.
When it comes to longevity, metal roofs are surpassed only by slate. A properly installed metal roof should last between 50 and 100 years. The service life of an asphalt roof will vary depending on what kind of shingle is installed. Standard or “three-tab” shingles last 20 years on average. Architectural shingles, heavier and thicker than three-tab shingles, can last up to 35 years. Each roofing type has its vulnerabilities, however. Metal roofs can be dented by impacts from hail and falling branches. They are also prone to “oil canning,” or waviness along areas that should be flat. This is a cosmetic flaw and does not affect the roof’s performance. Asphalt shingles can be blown off by very high winds and will become brittle over time.
If cost is a major factor in choosing a roofing system, asphalt is the way to go. Even higher-end architectural shingles still cost on average about half as much as metal roofs, making them the more economical of the two. Metal roofs also cost more to install than shingle roofs because of their specialized nature. Of course, if you intend to live in your home for decades to come, a metal roof may be worth the extra initial expenditure, since it will likely never need replacing.
A few additional factors could sway you in one direction or another when it comes to deciding which roofing material is right for you. Metal roofs are louder than asphalt roofs. If you love the sound of falling rain, that could be a plus. If you prefer a quieter home, not so much.
Many homeowners’ associations have rules about roofing types. It’s not uncommon for metal roofs to be banned because they wouldn’t fit in with the rest of the neighborhood. If you live in a community that has an HOA, be sure to check with them before making any decisions.
More and more homeowners today are also taking into consideration the amount of ecological impact their roofing choice will make. Because metal roofs can be recycled, they are considered more eco-friendly than asphalt roofs.
Roofing Specialists Ready to Serve
If the time has come to replace your roof, Nu Look Home Design is the company to turn to for premium Owens Corning™ products and expert installation services. Reach out to us today to learn more and schedule a no-obligation roof inspection and consultation.