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Metal Roof vs. Shingle Roof – Which is the Best & Most Economical Choice for Florida Area Homes?

To most people, a home is a place of rest and safety, which is why it’s often the most expensive investment you can make. One of the things that make your home feel so safe is the roofing. The roof will protect you from weather elements and animals and save the rest of the house from damage. The roof also plays a significant role in the home’s aesthetics, making it look beautiful and modern, or old and neglected.

When you live in Florida though, choosing a roof is something you must really think about. It’s not merely about aesthetics and covering the house. The general climate in Florida is scorching, meaning your roof must be able to reflect the heat away instead of absorbing it. Florida, especially the Coastal areas, is prone to high winds and cyclones that can blow your roof off if it’s not installed correctly.

Considering those factors, two popular roofing types come to mind- Metal roofing and Asphalt shingles. Let’s compare the two by looking at their features, pros, and cons, and finally giving an educated recommendation for the best roofing material for Florida homeowners.

But first, let’s introduce the two types.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs have come a mighty long way since the days of corrugated tin panels that evoked the image of barns and sheds. Today, metal roofing is made from various metals, including aluminum, galvanized steel, copper, zinc, and titanium. However, the most commonly used materials are aluminum and steel because they are more economical and easier to get.

Metal roofs are also available in different styles and colors so you can get the look you want. You can also get a style that imitates other non-metal materials like tiles, shingles, or wood. That said, metal still strikes an agricultural tone that can look out of place in a neighborhood where every other house has asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt Shingles have been the most popular roofing material for many decades because they are affordable, easy to install, and visually appealing. They are either made of fiberglass or an organic material covered in asphalt. The top coating that makes shingles look so good is made from a mixture of quartz, mica, slate, ceramic, and schist. The back is covered with sand and talc or mica to keep the shingles from sticking to each other. The best thing about asphalt shingles is that they are available in different styles and colors so you can customize your house to your taste. You will notice that asphalt shingles have a dark tone because of the color of surface granules, but they will be consistent with other houses in the neighborhood.

Differences between Metal Roofing and Asphalt Shingle

Differences between Metal Roofing and Asphalt Shingle

Installation

Installing asphalt shingles is definitely easier than installing metal roofing. It can take two days at most, depending on the size of the house.

Unfortunately, warranty and insurance requirements demand you remove previous shingles or roof before installing the new one because they are too heavy. A 100 square feet of three-tab shingles weighs around 280 pounds and 500 pounds for architectural shingles. This weight can weigh down the rest of your house if you combine it with the previous shingles.

On the other hand, metal roofing is much lighter, so it can be installed over a previous roof. A typical aluminum roof weighs only 50 pounds per roofing square, while steel weighs between 100 and 200 pounds. That, however, is not to say that installing a metal roof is easy or fast. The contractor must first lay plywood or oriented strand board under the metal. This extra step is what makes your residential metal roofing quiet when there is a rain or hailstorm outside. It also makes the metal roof more durable and sturdier, so it won’t be blown away by the wind.

Commercial metal roofing takes even more time, as you must elect steel beams first to hold the platform for metal roof panels. However, this method allows for easy expansion in the future and requires zero maintenance.

While installing asphalt shingles seems like an easy job, both these jobs should be left to professionals. Besides being a dangerous job, there are areas around vents that must be adequately sealed. Your warranty is also at risk if you don’t use professional roofing services.

Cost

The initial cost for a metal roof is high by any standards. It will cost you approximately $265 to $600 per roofing square for steel and aluminum roof and $700-$900 for copper or zinc. Add installation cost of $300-$400 per roofing square, and you have yourself a considerable bill to handle. This means a home of 1500 sq. ft. will cost you $7500-$10,000, and a 2500 sq. ft. house will cost $10,500-$19,000 on average.

If you compare metal roof prices to the cost of installing asphalt shingles, it is three times the cost. On average, asphalt shingles cost $70-$90 per roofing square for three-tab shingles and $100-$150 for architectural shingles. Add $150-$200 installation cost per roofing square and another $100 for removing the previous roof. This means that a 1500 sq. ft. house will cost you $6000 to $8000 if you use architectural shingles and $7500- $11,000 for a 2500 sq. ft. home.

This price factor is the reason many people go for asphalt shingles over metal roofing. However, many people forget to look at other costs down the line, such as maintenance cost, energy efficiency, and most importantly, the cost of replacing the roof after a few years.

Asphalt shingles require regular maintenance and repairs, especially after strong winds and hailstorms.

While metal roofing is undoubtedly expensive to install, you will not replace it in your lifetime. The roof also needs minimal maintenance, if any, and saves you a lot of money in the form of energy bills.

If the initial cost of metal roofing is beyond your ability, consider corrugated metal roofs. These are priced similarly to asphalt shingles but last twice as long. Corrugated steel will need annual maintenance to retighten the fasteners and do some resealing and coating with Cool Roof rated colors. Still, it offers excellent value in terms of longevity, energy efficiency, and protection.

Durability

As stated above, the higher cost of a metal roof is offset by its durability. Metal roofs last at least 50-60 years with little maintenance. Copper roofing can even last over 100 years. On the other hand, Asphalt shingles have a warranty of 15-30years at most with constant care, meaning you will replace it three times before a metal roof finishes its warranty.

While manufacturers give a 15-30 years warranty for asphalt shingles, they may not make it that long. An asphalt roof is highly susceptible to hailstorms and high winds, which are common in Florida. In cold weather areas or during winter, the shingles can accumulate mold and mildew due to lack of adequate sunlight. Moss and fungus not only make the roof look unsightly but also reduce its lifespan by half.

Metal roofs don’t have such problems as they can withstand a wind of 150 miles/hour or worse. If sealed well and coated with paint, even a steel roof is impervious to mold, rust, and mildew.

Metal roofing is so durable that insurance companies in Florida offer insurance discounts to homeowners. It’s also completely fire resistant and the best choice for areas that are prone to wildfires. While a line of class A rated shingles is now available for fire safety, asphalt shingles are not 100% fire-resistant.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Roofing

When you live in a location where the daily temperature doesn’t go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the need for a cool roof is non-negotiable. The reflective surface on metal roofing lessens the transfer or absorption of heat into your house. In fact, studies show that a metal roof will lower your energy bill by 50% because you don’t need air conditioning as much. While white coatings on other roofing materials drop their initial reflectance by 25-40 percent, metal roofing retains 95% of its reflectance throughout its lifetime.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles absorb all the sun’s heat and transfer it inside your home. This makes your cooling system work extra hard to keep up with the amount of heat coming in, hence your high energy bill. 

However, this can come in handy during those cold days because the roof will absorb the little heat out there and keep your home warm.

That said, today we have asphalt shingles designed as cool roofs and carry the Energy Star rating for energy efficiency. They are made to reflect more heat and lower the roof’s temperature by 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This is great if you want to enjoy an energy-efficient roof without paying an arm and a leg for it.

Environmental Impact

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, metal roofing is among the most eco-friendly roofing solutions as far as waste-reduction is concerned. This is because metal is 100% recyclable, and it can be used repeatedly. It also helps that you only replace a metal roof after 50 or more years.

If you compare this to asphalt shingles, metal roofing wins hands down. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 11 million tons of asphalt shingles end up in landfills every year and continue to pollute the environment.

As consumers become more aware of their impact on the environment, more and more people are seeking out a sustainable living. The need to save power and petroleum products is a significant factor here, not to mention energy is costly. By using metal roofs, the public meets the outcry to conserve the earth and protect its natural resources.

Protection from Wild Animals and Pests

Raccoons, rodents, and other pests can become a source of serious trouble in your home. Besides eating stuff in your house and dropping their litter all over, their urine destroys your roofing structure very quickly. Over the past few years, cases of pests and wild animals breaking away asphalt shingles and destroying plywood to get access to homes have increased significantly. The places they break free are left open for water to sip in when it rains, causing further damage from your attic going downwards.

Installing a metal roof over shingles solves this problem as metal cannot be pried open. When you install a metal roof, you can rest assured that no animal or pest can open it up or chew through to gain access to your home.

Asphalt Shingles

Pros 

  • Enough variety of colors and styles, and it’s very visually appealing.
  • Easy to install and incredibly affordable.
  • Absorbs the little heat coming from the sun during the cold season.
  • Easy to repair in case of any damage.
  • Energy-efficient grade is available to reflect heat away from the roof.
  • The roof will be consistent with the rest of the neighborhood because shingles still dominate the market.

Cons

  • Highly prone to mold, moss, and mildew during winter.
  • Short lifespan that can be shortened even farther by elements, pests, and mold.
  • Requires regular maintenance.
  • Absorbs heat and directs it to the house, increasing your energy bill.

Metal roof

Pros

  • A good number of styles and colors and can imitate non-metal roofing options.
  • It takes time to install because it’s durable and safe from all elements.
  • Very energy efficient and will save you 40% in energy costs.
  • Homeowners receive tax credits and insurance discounts.
  • Good for the environment as metal is recyclable.
  • Impervious to mold, rust, moss, and wild animals.
  • Fire and hail resistant.
  • It can raise the resale value of the house if the buyer likes how it looks.

Cons

  • Metal roof installation is costly
  • All the advantages are dependent on how well it was installed.
  • It stands out from other houses because it’s still not a popular choice.
  • If expansion is needed later, it will be hard to find the exact color.

The Verdict

Metal roof vs. shingle roof

Metal roof vs. shingle roof; which is better for Florida homeowners? If the above features are anything to go by, metal roofing wins by a big margin.

Florida’s climatic condition requires a roof that can withstand high wind, hailstorms, and reflect heat from the house. If it’s a matter of appearance, you can choose a metal tile roof or metal roof panels that resemble other roofing options. It’s also good to paint the roof and make it more energy-efficient and aesthetically appealing.

Get more of your metal roofing questions answered by calling Direct Metal Roofing, Inc. in Brevard County, Florida.

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