Image source: Metal Roofing Alliance
There’s no sugarcoating it – metal roofing is incredibly expensive. Metal roofing can cost double the number of asphalt shingles, but their benefits make it a worthy investment. I typically see more commercial buildings with metal roofs, but the demand for metal roofing for residential homes is growing. Metal roofing systems are more environmentally friendly, require little to no maintenance, and can last significantly longer than asphalt shingles. Let’s discuss the different types of metal roofs available and how much you can expect to pay for each.
On this page
- Types of metal roofing and their cost
- Cost of metal roofs vs asphalt shingles
- Pros and cons of a metal roof
- Is a metal roof right for your home?
Types of metal roofing and their cost
Image source: Ferguson Roofing
If you’re considering installing a metal roof for your home, there’s a variety of options to choose from. While all of these metals are made up of recycled materials, they all differ in varying degrees of weight, durability, and energy efficiency. Let’s take a look at the different metal roof types and their price points.
Cost: $6.50-$21 per sq.ft
Aluminum is commonly used for several different uses like roofs, walls, and siding. It’s incredibly lightweight, durable, easy to install, and cheaper than other metals. While aluminum is not completely resistant to corrosion, it does not rust, making it a good option for coastal homeowners. Aluminum metal panels and aluminum shingles are also fully recyclable and resistant to fire and strong winds.
Cost: $20-$40 per sq.ft
Copper is one of the world’s oldest roofing materials, dating back hundreds of years. In addition to being completely recyclable, copper also reflects solar radiant heat, keeping your home cool and saving you money. While copper is the most expensive of metals, it is also the longest-lasting, with an average lifespan of 100 years or more. Copper is a corrosive metal, but through a process known as patina, a thin layer of corrosion changes the color to an eventual vibrant green. You can observe the effect of patina most notably on the Statue of Liberty.
Image source: Wilson Brothers Roofing
Cost: $8.50-$34 per sq.ft
Thanks to its concealed fasteners, standing seam metal roofs are incredibly durable and resistant to any leakage. For the best appearance, it is best to choose standing seam panels with a smaller width of around 12 inches. While standing seam metal roofs are typically made from galvanized or galvalume steel, some are also coated with Kynar 500 PVDF, a thermoplastic fluoropolymer that prevents rust. Standing seam metal roofs are incredibly energy efficient, reflect UV rays, and can reduce your cooling costs by up to 15%.
Image source: Weather Vane Roofing
Cost: $4-$20 per sq.ft
Often used for more commercial buildings, steel is one of the cheaper metal roofing options to choose from. Because steel is prone to rust when exposed to moisture, it’s often coated with another metal or alloy, which is called Galvanized steel. While steel shingles or panels may have a shorter lifespan than other metal roofing materials, it’s the cheapest option. Unlike aluminum, steel is more resistant to fire without any underlayment. Stainless steel roofs are an option and are more resistant to rust, but are also more expensive.
Image source: Building Enclosure
Cost: $14.50-$21 per sq.ft
Like copper, zinc is durable and lasts extremely long, up to 80 years or more. While it’s mostly used as a metal coating for standing seam and steel roofs, zinc is also sold in roof panels and sheets on its own. Because zinc is an element abundant in nature, it’s very environmentally friendly and is completely recyclable and reusable. Zinc also goes through the patina process, which prevents it from rusting and requires little to no maintenance.
Cost of metal roofs vs asphalt shingles
Image source: Western States Metal Roofing
While asphalt roofing shingles are significantly cheaper than metal roofing, they also require more care and maintenance. If you’re constantly having to repair your roof after a big storm or from natural wear and tear, your roof prices may even out with the installation of a metal roof. Depending on which brand and type of asphalt shingle you choose, whether it’s 3-tab, architectural, or luxury shingle, you can expect to pay an average cost of between $100-$1,000 per square. For an average 2,000-square-foot roof, materials alone cost nearly $6,000, and labor for installation can cost up to $2,000 or more depending on the type and brand of shingle. Asphalt shingles typically need to be repaired or replaced between 15-30 years, with some brands lasting up to 50 years. But if you live in a climate zone with consistent severe weather, your shingles may require more maintenance and more money.
With a metal roof, materials can cost up to $25,000 depending on which type of metal. Labor pricing differs depending on the material and the installer but for the total installation of a metal roof, you can expect to pay between $18,000-$30,000 on average. But when you add in the durability and longevity of a metal roof, which can exceed 80 years, the price is worth the investment.
Pros and cons of a metal roof
Image source: Earth 911
Pros of a metal roof
Durable - Metal is one of the most durable roofing materials available. Unlike a traditional asphalt roof, metal roofs are low maintenance and can withstand strong hurricane winds, impact, and fire.
Environmentally friendly - Metal roofs are mostly made up of recycled materials and can easily be reused. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 11 tons of asphalt shingles can be found in a landfill, where metals rarely go to waste.
Long-lasting - Some metals like copper and zinc can last hundreds of years whereas asphalt shingles can only last 15-30 years without repairs. And with some metals, the patina process can actually give wear and tear a pleasant appearance with changing colors.
Energy efficiency - Metal roofing panels reflect solar radiant heat, keeping your home cool, and can cut your energy costs by 20%.
Resale - According to the 2019 Remodeling Report, a metal roof can increase your home’s resale value by 60% and feature a longer warranty than a high-end asphalt roof.
Installed over existing roof shingles - In most cases, roofers can install metal shingles or panels over an old roof with shingles.
Cons of a metal roof
Expensive - The biggest downside to metal roofs is their hefty price tag. Materials and labor can cost more than double the amount of asphalt shingle roofing, depending on the type of metal and roofing contractor.
Rust - While metals like aluminum do not rust, steel can easily rust when it’s exposed to moisture and will degrade over time. We recommend avoiding a galvanized steel roof if you live in a coastal climate.
Prone to denting - While metal roofs typically require little maintenance, some metals are softer than others and are prone to denting. If you live in a climate with hail storms or any risk of impact, we recommend avoiding metals like aluminum and copper due to their thin and soft features, respectively.
Is a metal roof right for your home?
The cost of a metal roof is incredibly expensive, with the average cost ranging between $18,000-$30,000 for the roof installation. But when you add up the costs of repairs or roof replacements you may encounter with an asphalt shingle roof, it could nearly even out. It also depends on where you live. While metal roofs are extremely durable and perform well in rain and snow, coastal climates with a lot of severe weather like hail and hurricanes may not be the best locations for certain metals like steel and copper. If cost is not an issue and you’re interested in an incredibly long-lasting roof that will save you money on energy bills and maintenance fees, a new metal roof is a worthy investment.