Roofing, Siding, and Deck Blog Post

Metal Roofs Vs. Shingle Roofs

New Metal Roof Install

For decades, asphalt-based shingles have been the undisputed leader in the Atlanta roofing industry.  However, with the ever rising price of raw materials that go into making asphalt shingles, alternative systems such as metal roofing have slowly become more competitive.  This article will compare Metal Roofs to the much more common Asphalt Shingle Roof.  Our comparison will be based on two of the most important factors that homeowners must consider with any new roofing system.

Metal Roofing Vs. Shingle Roofs

There are two factors that truly differentiate the two roofing materials, which are:

  • Price
  • Durability

These will ultimately help us determine the value for each roofing system, however, value will be relative to individual homeowners and homes.

 Price Of Metal Roofing Vs. Asphalt Shingles

Oftentimes you will hear roofing companies that install metal roofs really focus on the “lifetime” cost of a roof. You might also find that shingle roofing companies try to pitch you on how much more economical asphalt shingles are.  Neither company is being completely honest.  There is a huge range of metal roof options and an even larger range of asphalt shingle options.  As an example: GAF designer shingles can cost much more than a Galvanized metal corrugated exposed fastener roofing system, and a Standing Seam metal roof will be vastly more expensive than a 25 year 3-tab shingled roof.  Roofing manufacturers have diversified their product offerings over the years.  This variety is great for consumers who want an endless array of options. It can make it a little harder to cut through the clutter when comparing roofing systems for your home.





Asphalt Shingles

25 Year



GAF Timberline Architectural Shingles

GAF Designer


Metal Roofing


5V Metal Panels


Stone Coated



26 Gauge

Standing Seam

Price Difference Explanation

To better explain price differences, we will rank each type of roofing system into three subgroups of good, better and best.  For instance, 25 year 3-tab shingles would be good, GAF Timberline Shingles would be better, and GAF designer shingles would be best. For metal roofing, 29 gauge G-60 galvanized exposed fastener roofs would be good,  stone coated metal shingles would be better and standing seam roofs would be best.  Be sure to check out my post on How Much A Roof Costs In Atlanta for more of what goes into the cost of a shingled roof.

The cheapest roofing system out of all the roofs mentioned in this comparison would be a 25 year 3-Tab asphalt shingle roof, but a cheap corrugated metal roof isn’t going to be that much more.  Both of these roofing systems have some major drawbacks, but that is discussed in the durability section.

Both GAF Timberline shingles and metal shingles from companies like Gerard were made to replicate the look of a traditional wood shake look.  Though the durability of each system is much better than the good options, neither is without its faults.  Finally, you have Standing Seam metal roofs and Designer Shingle roofs.  Both of these high end options take a trained professional to install and should easily last 50 years barring any unforeseen weather event such as a tornado or softball size hail.

How Long Will Metal Roofing Last Vs. Asphalt Shingles

Before we get into how long these systems should last you, let me point out that the best roofing systems in the world are practically worthless if they aren’t installed properly.  The statement that you get what you pay for is especially true when it comes to the installation quality of metal roofing.  Because metal requires a higher degree of skill to install than shingles, it’s important to make sure your contractor really knows what they are doing.





Asphalt Shingles

12-15 Years





Metal Roofing







One of the main advantages to asphalt shingles over the years has been its relative durability and much cheaper cost than metal.  With the increasing price of shingles to Galvanized Metal territory, shingles have started to lose their edge.  Using the same Good, Better and Best rating above, we can make a few lifetime assumptions about both Metal Vs Shingles.

I realize each manufacturer makes different claims as to their product warranty, but this is the realistic lifetime you can expect for each, either a metal roof or asphalt based roof.

TIP: Pay specific attention to the entire roofing system being installed, not just the top layer.  Many shingle manufacturers won’t honor their warranties unless the entire system was installed.

Storm Damage Durability

In a world free of hail storms or other extreme weather conditions, every roof would reach its maximum potential, but as any Atlanta roofer can tell you, we don’t live in such a world.  It’s important to consider the impact extreme weather will have on your roof.  Typically there are two major things that damage roofs before the end of their expected life cycle–hail damage and wind damage.

How Does Each Roof Stand Up To Hail?

Hail damage is perhaps a shingled roof’s biggest foe.  Until recently, hail damage to roofs was one of the biggest sources of roofing work in the Atlanta area.  Hail as small as a quarter can damage 10 year 3-Tab shingles.  Architectural shingles, however, do much better with hail damage.

From my own experience, architectural shingles typically don’t suffer any damage unless the hail is golf ball size or bigger.  All major shingle manufacturers do make Class 4 impact resistant shingles, but they don’t exactly fit into this good, better, best model.  Metal roofing, on the other hand, stands up to hail very well.  Even the cheapest metal roofing system can keep performing its job when impacted by large hail stones.  While hail leaves cosmetic damage to metal roofing, such as small indentations, it does not shorten the life of a metal roof.

How Does Each Roof Stand Up To Wind?

When it comes to wind damage, things are a little more evenly matched between shingled roofs and metal roofing systems.  3-Tab shingles only have a 70-80 mph wind rating in most cases, and roofs over 8 years old can often start failing in gusts as low as 40 mph.  Cheaper metal roofing, such as 29 gauge 5V panels, are especially prone to blow offs when they aren’t properly fastened to the decking, a common occurrence in roof over applications. 

Architectural shingles such as GAF’s Timberline shingles are rated up 130 mph so long as six nails are used per shingle and the shingles have proper time to seal.  Stone Coated Steel shingles also have a 120 mph-130 mph wind rating.  Also you can expect the same ratings for both Designer shingles and Standing Seam systems.  You will want to make sure the standing seam roofing systems are properly sealed at all eaves and rakes.

Which Roof Is Best For Your Home, Metal Roofing or Asphalt Shingles?

The best roof for your home is ultimately a choice you have to make yourself.  Do you want the most economical roof that will keep rain out of your house? Perhaps you prefer the best system money can buy and that will last the longest time.  Feel free to give Fowler Exteriors a call at 770-800-8758, and we can walk you through a few options you may be considering. You can also contact us here for a free quote.

Scroll to Top