Metal Roofs vs. Shingles

Metal roofs are not just for commercial buildings. Many homeowners install metal roofs because they are longer lasting and require less maintenance than shingles. Metal roofs are expanding in design options including roofs made to look like different shingles and tiles. However, metal roofs are also expensive to purchase and install and are different from shingles in many ways. Here are some pros and cons for metal and shingled roofs.

Metal Roof Pros

  • Less maintenance
  • Last longer
  • Less flammable (may reduce home insurance cost)
  • Can be recycled and metal roof sheeting itself is made from mostly recycled material.
  • Snow slides off (also a con, see Metal Roof Cons).
  • Many options in appearance including a wide color selection.

 Metal Roof Cons

  • More expensive:  a standing seam system* can cost almost 100% more than shingled roofs.
  • Aesthetics:  this can be argued but some prefer the appearance of shingles.  However, there are metal roof designs made to mimic different tiles and shingles.
  • Snow slides off in large sheets.  If you do not take care to remove snow, small avalanches of snow and ice will crash off your roof which can be dangerous.  The hood of my car has a dent to prove it.

 *A standing seam system is when metal roof sheets are joined together at seams that protrude 1 ½” to 3” above the roof plane.  These seams lock together where the metal is joined to the roof. Another less expensive system is the screw down steel roof.  In this system, the sheeting overlaps at the ends and is screwed down to the roof.  The screw down system is less watertight than the standing seam system.

Shingle Roof Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Less expensive
  • Aesthetics: Some people prefer the appearance of shingles.

 Shingle Roof Cons

  • Made of mostly non –recyclable material
  • Do not last as long as metal
  • More prone to ice damming.
Roofing options are not limited to metal sheets or shingles.  There are also clay tiles (something you do not see very often in New England), slate tiles, wood shakes, and concrete tiles to name a few.  These all vary in appearance and come with their own set of pros and cons which should be considered before installing on your roof.
Maine Coast Construction

A home built by Maine Coast Construction with a Shingled Roof

 Photos courtesy of Maine Coast Construction and C.O. Beck & Sons Roofing.

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