Metal vs. Shingle Roofing: Comparing the Cost

Metal roofing compared to shingle roofs

If you’ve lived in your house for 15+ years, chances are it’s getting to the point where a roof replacement is inevitable. It’s a scary thought considering it can easily make your wallet at least $10,000 lighter.

While many homeowners stick to shingles and opt for a shingle roof replacement, metal roofing has exploded onto the scene in recent years and is fast becoming the roofing material of choice. It’s no surprise; metal roofs are durable, beautiful and cost-effective.

Learn more:

Let’s examine the difference between shingles and metal roofing, including costs of both.

Types of shingles and metal roofing

Today’s residential roofing options are vast, so it can be a little confusing—even frustrating—when shopping for new roofing materials. Let’s briefly discuss what’s out there:

Roofing shingles

Modern shingles are designed to withstand weather and aging like never before, not to mention look great. Architectural shingles offer a much-desired 3D look, making this a top choice for homeowners shopping for shingles. Basic 3-tab asphalt shingles are still available at budget prices, but these shingles only carry a life expectancy of around 12 years.

Shingle roofing examples

Learn more about roofing shingles

Metal roofing

What was once reserved for barns, shacks, and sheds, metal roofing is now a staple in the residential roofing market. Advances in metal roofing technology have catapulted this type of roofing into a viable alternative to asphalt shingles.

The price gap between shingles and metal roofing is shrinking, and today’s metal roofs come in a wide variety of styles: shingles, standing seam, tiles, slate and more. The most common types of metal used to produce metal roofing products are steel and aluminum. Steel is priced a tad lower than aluminum, but both types offer similar benefits.

Metal roofing varieties

Learn more about metal roofing

Comparing costs between metal and shingle roofing

Shingles are still the more affordable option when looking exclusively at upfront pricing. However, metal is superior in most cases when it comes to long term cost of ownership.

**The costs below depict the average roofing costs for a 25 square roof (2,500 square feet) installation in Kansas City, MO. We chose this city because the cost of living in Kansas City is middle-of-the-road compared to other major U.S. cities. Your costs may be higher or lower.

Cost Breakdown for roofing shingles

  • Material (shingles): $10,000 - $12,000
  • Labor: $2,000 - $4,000
  • Supplies/installation materials: $100

Total: $12,100 - $16,100

Cost Breakdown for metal roofing

  • Material (standing seam metal roofing): $13,000 - $14,000
  • Labor: $4,500 - $9,000
  • Supplies/installation materials: $600 - $700

Total: $18,100 - $23,700
Costs information taken from

As you can see, there’s about a $6,000 difference between installing shingles versus a standing seam metal roof. If money’s tight, shingles are clearly the more affordable option. However, that’s not the case when looking at the long term savings offered by metal roofs.

Hometown’s metal vs. shingle roofing costs based on real projects tracks the cost of actual roofing projects nationwide. With our free Roof Replacement Costs tool, you see the costs of various roofing projects on a national and a local level. Here are those links:

Long term costs of shingles vs. metal

Metal roofs often last 50 or more years with proper maintenance. Shingles roofs typically last 12 to 20 years. This means you may go through 3 shingled roofs to match the durability of a single metal roof installation.

Do the math:

  • Shingle roofing over a 50-year span: 3 roofs at $12,000 a pop (conservatively) = $36,000
  • Metal roofing over a 50-year span: 1 roof at about $20,000
  • Difference over a 50-year period: Metal is $16,000 cheaper

Metal roofing is clearly the more cost-effective roofing choice over the long term.

cost of shingles vs metal roofing

Return on investment (ROI)

Metal roofing offers quite a nice ROI. According to 2014 stats collected by Remodeling Magazine, upgrading to a standing seam metal roof offers a 63% ROI. That’s pretty good, but not quite as good as shingles.

The statistics show a 67.6% ROI for homeowners who install new 25-year minimum roofing shingles.

Here are the numbers used in this study:

Metal Roof replacement: Tear off existing shingles or other roofing, and replace with 30 square of standing seam metal roofing formed on site. Install felt underlayment, ice barrier, custom flashing and drip edge using the same material.

  • Cost: $34,495
  • Value: $21,731
  • Cost vs. Value (ROI): 63%

Shingle Reroofing: Tear off and replace 30 square of shingles with min. 25-year fiberglass asphalt shingles. Install new felt underlayment, galvanized drip edge and aluminum flashing.

  • Cost: $18,913
  • Value: $12,777
  • Cost vs Value (ROI): 67.6%

The fact that shingles offer a higher ROI compared to metal isn’t surprising when you consider these figures don’t factor in the usable lifespan of the roof. The statistics take a look at the immediate ROI of replacing a roof with each type of roofing material.

It’s clear that replacing your roof with any quality shingle or metal roofing product is a great way to invest in your home and increase its value.

Money-saving tips

  • Most metal roofs and some shingle roofing products qualify for local and federal tax incentives. This allows you to recoup some of your initial investment.
  • Call at least two or three roofing contractors for quotes. Use these estimates as leverage to get a better price.
  • Consider installing a metal roof over top of your existing shingles. By eliminating the tear-off, you can save time and money on the installation.
  • Go with a qualified, reputable roofing contractor to maximize the lifespan of your new roof. Plus, doing it yourself may void any applicable warranties.

Should you switch to metal?

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to go with new shingles or make the switch over to metal roofing. Here are a few:

  1. Cost – Do you like the lower upfront costs of shingles, or do you prefer the long-term savings offered by metal?
  2. Homeowners association (HOA) – does your HOA allow metal roofing? (most do)
  3. Climate – Metal is excellent at reflecting the sun’s UV rays and shedding snow and rain.
  4. How long will you live there? – If less than 25 years, shingles may better suit you. If more than 25 years, the long-term durability of metal roofing may make it the better choice.
  5. Roofing contractor experience – Some roofing contractors having never installed a metal roof. If this is the case for your contractor, avoid being the “sacrificial lamb.” Go with a product your contractor has experience installing.

In the end, you really can’t go wrong with metal or shingle roofing products as long as you choose a proven, high-quality product and have it installed by an experienced roofing company.