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 Shingles vs. Standing Seam Metal Roofs
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 $4.50 and $8.50 per square foot or $450 and $850 per square for common roof applications such as 3-tab (low-end), architectural or laminate shingles (mid-range), and premium designer shingles on the high-end. — That’s quite a range, but pricing varies greatly by geographic location, company size and experience of the roofer/crew, familiarity with the product, and competition among roofers in your area.
Architectural and Premium Shingles: The cost to install architectural shingles (professional labor, materials and supplies, and warranty included) can range between $4.50 to $8.50 per square foot or $450 to $850 per square (100 square feet) installed, depending on the project specifics and the market in which the house is located.
Standing Seam – Kynar-500 coated Aluminum or Steel Panels: both field-locked and snap-locked panels, the overall installation cost can range between $11.00 and $20.50 per square foot or $1,100 to $2,050 per square.
Cost of Materials Comparison: Asphalt vs. Metal
The average cost for typical architectural shingle materials from manufacturers such CertainTeed, GAF, Owens Corning, IKO, Atlas, and Tamko, range between $1.00 and $2.50 per square foot or $100 to $250 per square of shingles (three to five bundles of shingles to cover 100 square feet, depending on the product.
Most Kynar 500 (premium protective paint finish) coated standing seam metal panels start at around $4.00 per square foot or $400 per square, but generally range in price from $4.00 to $6.50 per square foot or $400 to $650 per square (or 100 sq. ft.) of materials and trim, depending on the order size, color, metal thickness, etc.
The smaller the order size for custom standing seam panels, the higher the price per square foot will be due to the set up costs necessary for the order fulfillment at a sheet metal shop.
As you can see, standing seam panels are roughly two to three times higher in material cost than architectural shingles.
Installation costs for standing seam are also typically double the cost to install architectural shingles. That said, the cost of professional installation for standing seam is somewhat dependent on how the metal panels are joined at the seams:
- Snap-locking standing seam metal panels together requires less effort and fewer tools, meaning it’s a faster and less costly installation process
- Field-locking standing seam panels together is a longer and somewhat more tedious approach, so it costs more for labor but 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 composition shingles 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 can mimic slate (stone) tile and cedar shakes, and yet with the variation in colors, they are able to stand on their own.
Standing seam is one of the main options you have when going with metal roofing. It is by far one of the most popular options among architectural metal roofing choices for homes because standing seam roofs are durable, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. Other options include metal tiles and corrugated or ribbed metal panels with exposed fasteners.
In our rates above, the price assumes the metal panels are made of G-90 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 homes. Now, standing seam, along with metal tiles and metal shingles are all growing in popularity for residential roofing 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, whether they are tiles, shakes, or shingles. 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. The fasteners are also concealed by the sheet metal panels, which greatly reduces the possibility of roof leaks down the stretch.
Still, over time moisture along with rising and falling temperatures can potentially negatively impact the seams and therefore the more reliable, field-locked seams 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 a nicer finish but also provides an added lifespan with a Kynar 500 paint finish warrantied to last for 30 years.
While any color is possible metal roofing, manufacturers tend to have a standard set of 30 to 50 colors and shades that are made available through distributors.
Architectural asphalt 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 the 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 roofs, this is usually a non-issue.
Because of asphalt shingle’s dominance in the roofing market and its straightforward application method, 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 a special 6 or 8 nail installation method for architectural shingles) wind uplift.
Similarly, architectural standing seam panels can range in ratings between 110 mph and 130 mph for wind uplift, depending on the thickness and strength of the panels, and how the fastening is done (field-locked or snap-locked).
Did you know? Maintenance between the two materials is almost unfair to compare.
The reason: architectural shingles will wear down within 20 to 30 years. Metal roofs can go 50 to 70 years or more. — This means you may need to go through as many as three asphalt shingle roofs on your home in the same time frame as one standing seam metal roof.
Typically, for asphalt shingles, the main warning signs and factors are missing or cracked shingles that need replacing or warn out stone granules which mean the shingles are due for a replacement.
If it gets to a point where more than 25% of the roof is in need of replacement, it is likely more cost effective to just install a brand 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 far more expensive. But needing a replacement of metal panels with standing seam is rare as metal holds up very well to the 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 paint finish coating offers a significantly longer lifespan compared to acrylic or polyester paints.
Note: While acrylic or polyester 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?