Asphalt vs Metal Roofing

Metal Roof vs Asphalt Roof

Arguably the most important surface in your entire home, a roof endures the most direct weather exposure and plays the biggest role in protecting you and your family from the elements. Roofs block rain, wind, hail and snow. They also catch most of the sunlight and help to provide insulation to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. With such an important role in the functioning of your home, it is essential that you have a roof that not only looks good, but one that also performs well under stress.

Having a damaged roof can be costly in more ways than just the repair costs. The roof repair itself might not be cheap, but that usually pales in comparison to the secondary damage done to your other items. A leaky roof can leave your furniture ruined, your flooring destroyed, and even cause damage to your electrical grid should you be unlucky. With this in mind, most home owners value durability of a roof over anything else and when deciding between asphalt and metal that decision can be tough.

Of course, companies that product only asphalt claim that their roof is not only cheaper, but also lasts longer. On the other hand, metal roofing manufacturers make the same claim, pointing to an overall stronger material that will outlast the home. When it comes down to it, there are advantages offered by both roofs, and ultimately the home owner's budget could be the deciding factor.


Traditionally, asphalt shingles have been the go to roofing material for residential use, and until recently it would be strange to suggest anything else. Though asphalt is very heavy, the cost of materials and installation is usually very low compared to other options, which is the highest selling point. Additionally, asphalt can come in a variety of styles, so it fits well on most houses.

One unique quality of shingled, asphalt roofs is that it is actually not overly difficult to make the installation into a do-it-yourself project. This can attract the more daring home owner, and certainly provides a level of appeal should damage occur. If you do learn how to properly install this type of roofing, rather than having to pay for repairs should they be needed, you can just as easily climb up on the roof and do it yourself.

Overall, asphalt is certainly the less expensive option for roofing, but in some cases they can last 50 years or even more. Still, buyers should be aware that, in many locations around Canada, a roof that is warrantied for 50 years may only last for half of that time. Despite this, asphalt will stand up to most adverse weather conditions, and with virtually any color option available, they can go well with most home design plans.


Though they have been used in commercial and industry use for some time, it is only recently that the residential market has really embraced metal roofs. It was a tough start at first, because the reality is that cheap metal roofs are just that; cheap. Fortunately for potential buyers, a quality metal roof actually has many great qualities, not the least of which is their extreme longevity.

In most cases, a metal roof will last a good 100 years, much longer than any asphalt roof. Furthermore, unless you purchase the cheapest metal you can find, these roofs offer superior protection against the elements. One of their more unique selling points, metal roofs can also be fashioned into just about any roofing design you can imagine, and can even be made to imitate shingles.

Overall, metal roofs are a very solid and reliable option, but their Achilles heel lies in the price. Even a cheap metal roof is going to cost as much as expensive asphalt and most people don't want to settle for the cheap metal. If you are able to budget for it though, a good metal roof can certainly be a great option for your home.

The Comparison

When it comes down to longevity, you will have a hard time finding a roof that lasts longer than a well-made metal roof. Additionally, these metal roofs can come in a very wide variety of styles and colors, some even looking like the asphalt roofs that are so popular. On the other hand, these higher end metal roofs can cost two, three, or even four times as much as their asphalt cousins.

For those looking to get cheaper metal roofing, there have also been cases of poor performance under high wind and rain or snowy conditions, which can be a problem depending on the weather where you live. Furthermore, these cheaper metal roofs will often leave the owners hearing each and every drop of rain, and can look downright ugly on top of a home. Despite this, if money is no issue, there are plenty of designs that look quite attractive and offer not only superior performance under extreme weather but also a comfortable and quiet feel.

Bottom line, the argument goes between price and longevity. Most asphalt roofs should last through your time of ownership, but if you are worried about handling extreme weather and wish to have a different look, metal may be the way to go. Just keep in mind, a quality metal roof will cost you considerably more money.

Which One is Best?

Depending on the weather conditions in your area and your budget, the answer to this question could be different. On one hand, metal is stronger overall, but the cheaper metal roofs are going to be more prone to wind and hail damage than their asphalt counterparts. On the other hand, asphalt is almost always going to be cheaper than metal, and in some cases can last well past the 30 or 40 year warranty that comes with them.

Ultimately, the factors that affect most buyers' decisions are the cost and the presentation. The simple reality is that if money is no issue, metal is going to be the longer lasting and better choice. If you do have to stay within a budget though, don't let the claims of these metal roofing companies discourage you; asphalt is still a solid roofing option.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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