Metal Roof vs. Shingles – Which is best for me?

millers roofing

Replacing a roof is a labor intensive process and a significant investment in your home. That’s why choosing the right roofing material for your home is so important. We’ve compiled a list of the 3 most important factors for you to consider when making the choice between shingles and metal roofing to help make your decision easier: Durability, Maintenance, and Cost.

Roofing Durability

When your roof is the first line of defense in protecting the inside of your home from the elements, the durability of your roofing material is critical. Keep in mind that different geographic locations experience different varieties of weather conditions. Here are a few things to consider for roofing durability.

Resistance to damage

When it comes to roofing resistance to damage, metal roofs are very tough and highly resistant to hail damage. Unfortunately, an asphalt shingle roof won’t fair as well in the next hailstorm.

Color fading

Longevity of curb appeal is a big concern for most homeowners. With a large investment in your home, it’s understandable that you want to consider how long your roofing material is going to look it’s best. Your roof is exposed to UV radiation from the sun day after day, 365 days a year. The UV radiation that causes materials to fade affects roofing materials at different rates. There are a variety of other factors that also contribute to premature fading like mold, algae, dirt, and acid rain. Modern roofing materials are made with fading in mind, and you can expect the average metal roofing section and composite shingle to retain its color longer than asphalt shingles. When considering the other factors, metal roofing sections could be the best are resisting fading due to the elements.

Lifespan of material

No matter if you choose shingles or metal roofing, both roofing materials have a manufacturer’s recommended lifespan. A roof takes the brunt of the punishment Mother Nature dishes out and nothing lasts forever. On average, the lifespan of a shingle roof is 22 years compared to 50+ years for a metal roof.

Compare the level of durability between shingle and metal.

Roof Maintenance 

Just like any other part of your home, your roof requires maintenance to stay in functioning condition. Here are a few things to consider for roofing maintenance. 

Ice dams

Ice dams are a common issue many homeowners in the Northland experience. These ridges of ice form at the edge of a roof and prevents the water (melting snow) from draining off the roof. The backed up water behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to your walls, and ceiling. While it’s still theoretically possible for a metal roof to get an ice dam because melting snow can still freeze on the cold overhangs and cause a buildup of ice,  we have never witnessed an ice dam cause a leak on a steeply pitched metal roof. If you have a shingle roof, removing ice dams is much more urgent to prevent the built up water pushing the shingles and leaking into your home.

Roof shoveling

Those of us in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin are well aware of just how much snow can fall in a Winter season (and sometimes includes both Fall and Spring.) All of that snow adds a great amount of weight to your roof, and can cause a collapse if it gets heavy enough. While snow may slide easier off a metal roof than shingles, it can still build up if the roof is a smaller pitch. Unfortunately, you may still need to use a roof rake to remove all that snow, no matter the roofing material you decide to go with.


No matter the roofing material you choose, Mother Nature can still find a way to cause a leak. While repairs to shingle roofs are relatively straight forward and effective, repairs to a metal roof can be pretty difficult. Metal roofing repairs often have premature failure because the patched area may expand and contract at a different rate than the surrounding metal roofing material. This difference in expansion and contraction between the two products places stress on the repair, which can lead to cracking, splitting, and ultimately, failure of the patch.

When it comes to roof maintenance, you should expect to have to do less to maintain a metal roof. 

Roofing Cost

Cost is a big component for most homeowners to consider when deciding on a roofing material. It’s important to consider more than just the upfront cost when weighing out the pros and cons for each roofing material.

Upfront cost

The average standing seam panel metal roof will run you  about $17,00 to $30,000, depending on the type of metal you choose to use. Compared to the $6,000 to $9,500 average cost of a shingle roof, a metal roof is going to be much more expensive up front.

Cost of ownership

If you break down the cost of the roofing material over the manufacturer’s lifespan, the average metal roof will cost about $350-$600 a year to own. The average shingle roof of the same size will cost about $270 -$430 a year. When you factor in possibility of being more likely to have to replace you shingle roof before it’s suggested lifespan due to weather damage and the time and money you need to spend maintaining a shingle roof, a metal roof may end up being cheaper to own in the long run.

Round up Recommendation

If you live in an area like Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin, the durability and low maintenance of a metal roof may be well worth the higher upfront cost. If you aren’t planning on staying your current home for the whole life of your metal roof, that higher upfront cost may not be distributed over enough years for the higher upfront cost to be worth it. Both shingle roofs and metal roofs are great options and serve their purpose of diverting water away from your home. Both roofing materials also carry their own pros and cons, but hopefully after reading this post, you are well equipped to make the confident decision on which roofing material to use for your next roof replacement.

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