The most popular residential roofing material in America vs. the most popular type of metal roofing. A bit like comparing apples and oranges. There are several common criteria where Architectural Asphalt shingles and Standing Seam are worth comparing and contrasting side by side. Let’s explore!
Cost of Asphalt Roofing vs. Metal
All roofs have a hefty price tag. There’s the cost of the materials and supplies itself, plus labor, building permits and warranty provided by professional contractor. Roofers always price materials and labor by the square.
Note: 100 square feet equals to 1 (roofing) square.
On average, professional roofers charge between $350 and $600 per square for common roof applications such as 3-tab (low-end), architectural and premium shingles. — That’s quite a gap, but the price varies by geographic location, experience of the roofer, familiarity with the product and competition among roofers in your area.
Architectural and Premium Shingles: The cost to install architectural shingles (labor and material included) comes in around $350 to $600 per square installed.
Standing seam Kynar-500 coated Aluminum or Steel: both field-locked and snap-locked panels, the overall installation cost is $950 to $1,550 per square.
Cost of Materials Comparison:
The average cost for typical architectural shingles from manufacturers such CertainTeed, GAF, Owens Corning, and Tamko, range between $100 to $160 per square.
Most Kynar 500 coated standing seam panels start at around $250 per square, but generally range in price from $300 to $500 for 100 sq. ft. of materials and trim. The smaller the order size the higher the price per sq. ft.
For material alone, standing seam is roughly two to three times higher than the cost of architectural shingles.
Installation costs are almost double for standing seam compared to architectural shingles. The cost of labor for standing seam may also depend how the metal panels are fastened.
Snap-locked panels require less effort and tools, than the alternative method of field-locked panels. A pro will always prefer to go with field-lock standing seaming installation because it is inherently more reliable.
On cost alone, architectural shingles are an obvious winner. Yet, there is far more to a roof than the price you pay to install it.
Basic Options and Considerations for Each Material
Architectural shingles are the mid-range option among asphalt shingle products. More expensive, thicker, heavier, and better in appearance than 3-tab asphalt shingles, and less expensive than premium shingles.
Did you know? Architectural are now the most widely used product of not just the three, but of all roofing materials in the U.S.
Architectural shingles are also known as laminate or dimensional shingles as they appear to have depth, whereas 3-tab and traditional asphalt shingles are flat.
Architectural shingles mimic slate (stone) tile, and yet with variation in color are able to stand on their own.
Standing seam is one of three to five option you have when going with metal roofing. It is by far the most popular option for metal roofing.
In our rates above, the price assumes the metal is galvanized steel or aluminum as both are about the same cost.
Yet, standing seam is also possible with copper and zinc, but the material costs go up rather significantly with copper, less so with zinc.
Did you know? It used to be that corrugated steel or tin panels were the most popular and yet rarely used for a residential home. Now, standing seam, along with metal tiles and metal shingles are all growing in popularity for residential applications.
A primary difference between the two is in the name of standing seam. Unless a roof is monolithic, it will have seams. Most roofs do, be they are tile, shake, or shingle. Seams mean moisture can seep in or wind can grow the seam into a gap.
Standing seam has a significant advantage over most other types of roofing in that its seams are capped and thus not exposed to the weather.
Still, over time moisture along with rising and falling temperatures can negatively impact the non-visible seams and therefore the more reliable, fasten-locked, seam method is superior to snap-lock.
Color options for both materials are diverse and numerous. Standing seam benefits from having paint factory finished that not only makes for nicer finish but added lifespan.
While any color is possible, manufacturers tend to have a standard set of 30 to 50 colors that are made available through distributors.
Architectural shingles have a smaller variety of color choices. Beige, black and gray are the popular choices, but red, green, and blue are all available.
The advantage with architectural shingles is the colors will vary from tile to tile. If you enjoy the look of a non-uniform appearance on your roof, architectural shingles are the better option.
There are many items that make for a durable roof this is where metal roofing really has an advantage. However, professional installation is the key to realize any potential advantages of metal over asphalt.
Installation and Maintenance
As noted earlier, both materials offer a DIY option for installation. Yet, neither is suggested as you don’t obtain the many benefits that come with professional installation, such as:
- knowing if a tear off is necessary before new roof is installed
- easy disposal of waste material, particularly helpful with tear offs
- efficient installation, pros can work much faster with overall awareness of project scope
- warranties and service guarantees
- knowledge of person that can effectively handle maintenance and repairs down the road
Unlike with stone and cement roofs, the weight factor isn’t a significant issue with either of these materials. Metal weighs less than asphalt shingles.
During installation the weight factor matters, but more so when it comes to determining if your roof’s frame and home’s structure can handle the weight.
For both architectural shingles and standing seam metal roofing, this is usually a non-issue.
Because of asphalt shingle’s dominance in the market, finding quality installers is easier in most geographic locations.
Metal roofing tends to be more popular in coastal areas especially compared to asphalt shingles.
Yet, when it comes to wind resistance and storm protection, architectural shingles are rated as resistant to 110 to 130 mph (130 mph rating requires special installation method for architectural shingles) wind uplift, whereas standing seam falls in range that is 90 to 130 mph, depending on how the fastening is done.
Did you know? Maintenance between the two materials is almost unfair to compare.
The reason: architectural shingles will wear down within 25 to 35 years. Metal can go 50 to 70 years or more. — This means you can have as many as 3 asphalt shingle roofs on your home in the same time frame as one standing seam metal roof.
Typically, for asphalt shingles the main factors are missing or cracked shingles that need replacing. If it gets to a point where more than 25% of the roof is needing replacement, it is likely more cost effective to just install a new roof.
Yet, replacing asphalt shingles is rather easy compared to standing seam which relies on overall structure of connected panels to be most effective.
Thus, replacing panels on a standing seam roof is more expensive. But rare as metal holds up fairly well to wind, hail, heat and moisture.
The biggest culprit for a standing seam roof is the paint finish coating. Paint finishes will wear down anywhere from 30 to 50 years. Kynar 500 coating will offer longer lifespan compared to acrylic paints.
Note: While acrylic paints are a cheaper option and may work well for your shed, barn or detached garage, we only recommend Kynar 500 or equivalent paint finish for residential installations.
Did you know? If a new paint finish coating must be applied to a standing seam roof at some point, it won’t last as long as the first since it is field finished rather than baked on as is done in the factory.
Pros and Cons Round Up
We’ve covered a lot of ground so let’s review. Here is a list of the advantages of both materials. There are items below we didn’t mention above, all of which relate to the overall value of your roof.
What we like about standing seam:
- unexposed seams make for less chance of moisture to seep below the roof line
- factory finished colors are greater in number compared to asphalt shingles
- energy efficient – metal roofing will allow inside of a home to be cooler in summer than asphalt shingles
- metal roofing is 100% recyclable – whereas asphalt shingles are often destined for landfills by the metric ton annually
- Return on investment (ROI) favors metal roofing, coming in at 87%, compared to architectural shingles that are between 70% and 80%
- Metal will last longer than asphalt shingles, anywhere from twice to three times as long
- Metal weighs less than asphalt shingles
- And metal is mildew and fire resistant, plus impervious to insects and animals
What we like about architectural shingles:
- material costs make architectural shingles more affordable
- finding quality installers that are competitively priced is often much easier with asphalt shingles
- 130 MPH rated architectural shingles can actually be more wind resistant than some metal roofs that are only rate for 110 MPH winds
- color variation from shingle to shingle makes for a more diverse appearance on the roof than standing seam
- in most locations, choosing architectural shingles will blend in with what rest of neighborhood has
What roof are you considering installing on your home this year?