Roofing Materials

Shingle Roofs vs. Metal Roofs

Stephen Vernon
April 3, 2023


A new shingled roof on a home

Shingle roofs are the most popular roof in North America, and they have been for a long time. Metal roofs are starting to gain popularity, however, as homeowners recognize the unique benefits they have to offer, such as sustainability, longevity, and fire resistance. As homeowners face the prospect of a roof replacement, many are faced with the question of choosing shingles vs. metal vs. a synthetic material, and aren’t sure of the pros and cons. Here at Cenvar Roofing, we believe that the best way to simplify the decision-making process and make it painless for homeowners, is to provide an explanation of the difference between some of the roofing options available. Read on for an in-depth explanation and comparison of the pros and cons of shingles vs. metal roofing materials.

Roofing Materials

When it comes to roofing materials, there are many options on the market. While the vast majority of homes use shingles, an increasing number of new roofs are being done in metal, synthetic, or other emerging eco-friendly materials. Each type of roofing material is unique and has various pros and cons. Here is an overview of the most common materials used.


A shingled roof

Shingles are the most popular roofing materials for a good reason. Typically made from asphalt and a fiberglass mat, shingles are a low-cost, effective roofing material option that come in a variety of colors and designs, and provide a traditional exterior aesthetic.


A green metal roof

Metal is gaining in popularity, which is not surprising. Metal roofing material is typically made from recyclable, non-combustible materials. It comes in a variety of colors and designs, and is the only roofing material on the market that remains 100% non-combustible throughout the entire lifespan of the roof, which is up to 70 years or longer, if maintenance and upkeep is done well.

Other Synthetic and  Green Roof Options

Metal and shingles are the two most common roofing materials, but there are a variety of other options available for homeowners who are interested in them. Synthetic materials such as faux slate, and eco-friendly roofing materials such as green roofs are options that are gaining traction in the roofing industry, especially in 2020. For a closer look, look at our article on the Top Roofing Trends of 2020

Shingles vs. Metal

A black shingled roof

Because shingles and metal are the top roofing material options, most homeowners find themselves deciding between using one or the other for their roof replacement. There are several pros and cons of each material that homeowners should consider. It is important to remember that each roof is different, and certain situational factors may make a certain type of roofing material the best option for a specific roof. However, in the vast majority of cases, homeowners are able to choose whichever roofing material they prefer. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of each material.

Pros of Shingles

Cost. One of the biggest advantages of asphalt shingles is their cost-effectiveness. Especially compared to metal roofs, asphalt shingles are affordable for many homeowners, and the lower labor costs associated with their installation make the cost of the shingle roof replacement typically significantly less than the cost of a metal roof installation.

Color. Shingles are available in a wide variety of colors and designs, which makes finding the perfect match or complement for a home’s exterior a simple task. Here at Cenvar Roofing we are proud to offer 7 different color blends with a wide range of shades within them, which means you will be able to find a satisfactory color, even for the most obscure home color or the strictest HOA.

Installation/Repairs. The installation process and associated labor costs for shingles is much simpler than metal, which is a more specialized task.

Cons of Shingles

A newly shingled roof

Shorter lifespan.  Shingles have projected lifespan of anywhere from 20-50 years, depending on the quality of materials and installation, and routine maintenance and upkeep. However, eventually, that roof will need to be replaced.

Not as eco-friendly. Another con of shingle roofs can be that they are not as eco-friendly as other roofing options, including metal. While parts of many shingles are able to be recycled, the manufacturing process still produces greenhouse gas emissions.

Pros of Metal Roofing

Durability. One of the biggest pros of metal roofing is it’s durability and long life-span. With proper maintenance and care, a metal roof can last up to 70 years or more before needing to be replaced. Metal roofs are also extremely durable, and can withstand extreme elements without cracking or loosening. However, a major con associated with this durability is the paint that covers the metal, which will be covered below.

Metal roof with a chimney

Environmentally friendly. Metal roofs are very eco-friendly. The vast majority of metal roofs are made from recycled materials, and virtually all metal roofs are 100% recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Metal roofs are also very energy efficient, and have been shown to reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 20%.

Fireproof. Metal roofs are the only roofing material on the market that are 100% non-combustible and remain so throughout their entire lifespan. This makes a metal roof a fantastic option for the homeowner who is concerned with fire protection.

Cons of Metal Roofs

Cost. A substantial con of metal roofs is that they can be significantly more expensive than shingle roofs. While there are definite long-term benefits of metal roofs, the higher cost upfront can deter homeowners who are looking to keep their roof replacement as affordable as possible.

Durability of the Paint. Metal roofs are made of galvanized steel and aluminum, which does not rust. If a metal roof is installed unpainted, it can last decades, if not centuries. However, the paint used is a baked enamel, and only lasts up to 40 years before it starts to crack and peel off. Once the paint begins to peel, the roof will have to be repainted every 3-4 years. So while the roof can technically last 70+ years, most homeowners end up needing to replace their roof after about 40 years - which is quite similar to the lifespan of a shingle roof.

The durability of metal roofs is impressive

Denting. Another drawback of metal roofs is that while they are extremely durable, they are prone to denting. Whether hail, falling branches, or a homeowner walking on top of it, a metal roof can dent somewhat easily, and must be treated with care while walking on top of it. Shingle roofs don’t typically have this issue.

Style. While metal is available in a variety of colors and styles, it hasn’t caught up to the variety of options that shingle manufacturers offer. Another factor to consider is that metal can suggest an agricultural tone to a building, although with it’s growing popularity, metal is quickly becoming a mainstream roofing solution.

What Should I Choose?

A home with a new shingle roof

When it comes to choosing the material for your new roof, it’s important to take into consideration the pros and cons of the materials you are considering. However, it is also important to consider the particular roof, setting, and any unique aspects of the roof and home that may be better suited to one type of material or the other.

One of the ways that Cenvar Roofing helps customers make the best decision for their roof is through our free estimate process. When you schedule a free estimate, one of our highly qualified sales representatives will come to your home, inspect your roof, and have a conversation with you and explain the pros and cons of each available option for your roof. Cenvar Roofing has locations all over the central Virginia region. Schedule a free estimate appointment today to get the process started!

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