Differences Between Asphalt and Metal Roofing: Quick Facts

March 15, 2021

Asphalt shingles are popular home roofing products. Metals have been popular with industrial roofing though the trend is changing in favor of home roofing. Shingles are cheap to purchase, install and repair. Metal roof is much expensive to install but can last thrice the time shingles will last. Both compare well in terms of fire resistance and holding out precipitation.

Asphalt vs. metal roof- are there any differences? Let take a dive into this subject.

Differences between asphalt and metal roofing


Metal roofing is made up of various kinds of metal sheets. Popular roofing metals are copper, zinc, aluminum, and different types of steel, for example, galvanized steel, galvalume steel, and weathering steel roofing. On the other hand, asphalt roofing shingles are made of asphalt, which is primarily derived from petroleum products and gravel. But asphalt shingles are not purely made up of asphalt. Some are made up of felt paper or fiberglass, a coat of asphalt, and ceramic granule coating. The fiberglass version is lightweight and cheaper to produce, which makes it popular with many homeowners.

Life cycle

Longevity is a key factor to consider when choosing a replacement roofing material and metal roofing takes the day. Albeit expensive when first installing metal, roofing can last for well over five decades, with zinc and copper exceeding a century in some cases. Shingle roofing, in contrast, has a short lifecycle, with most shingle roofing lasting for only 25years at most, depending on the material. Shingle replacements, for example, tear-off or, in some cases, second-layer additions, are commonplace. You will have replaced your shingle roofing at least three times than someone who installed a metal roofing.

Color varieties and color limitations

Metal roofing comes in virtually any color you want, from bright colors, deep solid colors to earth tones; consumers are spoilt for choice. There is a whole industry built around developing paint systems for metal sheets. These paint systems will also carry out real testing in the outdoor environment to ensure they are fail-proof.

Shingles are marred with color limitations. You may have noted that most shingle roofs are dull or dark in color if you are observant. The reason for the lack of variety in color is the raw materials for making shingles. Asphalt is dark in color and the granite material added to provide fire resistance and UV protection is also darker by nature. It is, therefore, almost impossible to produce vivid colored roofing shingles.

Ease of Repair

Shingles win in the replacement or repair aspect. In case of installation or repair failure, shingles are easier to fix compared to metal roofing. You have to remove shingles close to the affected area one time and replace them the same way. You can purchase the required number of shingles that will fit that particular section.

Metal roofing is much complicated to fix in case of failure because you will have to deal with interconnected full-length metal sheets. During the repair, the contractor will have to remove entire panels-a cumbersome process that touches unaffected areas and is more labor-intensive.


Weight is another strong metal roofing selling point. Roofing shingles are heavier than metal sheets despite recent advances in production technology. Asphalt, the base material for shingles, is denser than metal, adding to the fact that more materials such as sand and ceramic granules will be added.

Metal roofing, in contrast, will just be hammered into thin sheets, which brings another difference. It is secure to walk on shingles during repair since they will not dent, scuff or buckle under foot traffic, causing potential leaks.

Fire resistance

Metal is naturally incombustible, while shingles have ceramic granules added to make them fireproof. But there are fire concerns with shingles, although they have a class A fire rating. The rating means that they cannot burn on the surface. Asphalt is derived from petroleum and is a semi-solid petroleum product. Shingles will therefore burn to incase the fire breaches the surface protection and reaches the inner asphalt layer.

Bottom Line

The choice between shingle vs. metal roofing rests on consumers' taste and financial ability. Both roofing systems will keep away precipitation from your home for as long as the material can last, although metal roofing lasts longer than shingles. Carrying maintenance on shingles is much easier than their metal counterparts.


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