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Metal vs Shingle Roofs—Which is Right for You?

When buying or maintaining a home, there are a lot of decisions to make in your building plans—including those concerning roof maintenance or installation. You may be building a roof on a custom home, or you may be replacing the roof on your current home. Either way, it’s important for homeowners to consult with their builder to understand their options and make the best decision possible.

The Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is one option Denver home builders may consider. Amazingly, these roofs can last from 40 to 70 years, making these a potentially smart investment. These roofs are also very durable, withstanding wind up to 140 miles per hour. They do not crack or corrode, and some types of metal will be resistant to many of different impacts it will encounter in Colorado.


As far as maintenance, metal roofing does not require as much as other roof types. During storms with lightening or fires, this material will not spark or burst into flames, so it is rated very high for safety. Metal roofs are designed to be slippery and will not allow for accumulation of snow or rain. Metal roofing tiles are lighter in weight—ranging from 50 to 150 pounds per square (an area equal to 100 square feet). They can be applied to other roofing structures without needing to tear down the material underneath. They also reflect solar radiant heat; so cooling costs are reduced by 10 to 25 percent. For those who are concerned about being environmentally friendly, metal roofs are made with 25 to 95 percent recycled materials and are completely recyclable at the end of their life.

While there are many advantages of metal roofs, homeowners and home builders must be aware of the disadvantages as well. First and foremost, metal roofs can be up to two to three times more expensive than other roofing options. They can range from $150 to $600 per square foot of material.

Metal roofs will also be noisier than other roofing materials. Rain, hail, and other weather conditions will be noisy; insulation can be added to dull the sounds but that will add to the cost of the roof and building plans overall. Furthermore, some weather, such as hail, may dent the metal. Any repairs that involve walking on the roof may result in dents as well.
Metal roofs can expand and contract if applied in large panels. If they are not installed with the proper fasteners to allow the panels to breathe, they may loosen over time. In addition, if there are repairs needed to replace panels, it may be difficult to find an exact color match given the wide range of metal colors available and the UV damage and fading that is likely to occur over time in the Colorado sun.

Finally, water collection to poorly installed metal roofs can cause damage, especially to thinner metal panels. Some metal materials may rust or tarnish in certain weather climates as well.

Asphalt Shingle Roofs the Good and the Bad

While there are certainly plenty of pros and cons to metal roofing, another option is to choose a shingle roof. One option in this category is an asphalt roof. This is the most affordable type of shingle roof, as well as the easiest to install. They work well with steep-sloped angles and adapt to various applications. Shingle roofs do not require special tools or materials for chimneys, roof edges, or vents. They are very low maintenance and will not break if walked on.


In particular, asphalt shingles are light weight and work well with most roof types. As far as maintenance and repair, it is easy and most shingle brands are available with good fire protection. Asphalt shingles are available in many different colors and are available in laminate or organic.

Of course, asphalt shingle roofs have their disadvantages despite the many advantages. They are susceptible to wind damage, as they may not be resistant to very high winds. Asphalt shingles can also transfer heat into the home and can be damaged by the heat. In shady areas of the roof, mildew can grow if there are moist areas in the shady locations.Shingle roofs can last up to 15 to 30 years, a duration significantly lower than metal roofing options.

A Look at the Benefits and Drawbacks of Wood Shingle Roofs

Another option for a shingle roof is wood shingles. These are very unique and give a very natural look to a home that can increase the property value. These shingles are available in many different colors, cuts, and thickness. They are light and do not require additional structural support. They insulate the attic and in that way are energy efficient while allowing the roof to breathe. Wood shingle roofs are also very durable, withstanding storms and walking on top of them for repair or maintenance. If properly sealed, they are not as likely to deteriorate.

However, wood shingles also have their downfalls. While they could be a preferred material to use, they are slightly more complicated to install. They are more expensive than asphalt shingles, but just like metal shingles, the investment could be worth it. Wood shingles require more maintenance than other shingle types and are susceptible to insect, rot, and mold damage. They are not recyclable and are not rated high for fire safety.
The Positive and Negative Sides of Slate Shingles

One more option for shingle roofs is slate shingles. These shingles are also attractive and unique. They are available in many different styles and colors, are low maintenance, and fire resistant. They have a very long lifespan, so it would be worth the investment for most cases.
They are, however, expensive to install and replace. They are heavier than other roofing options and require reinforcing structures along with special tools for installment. They are also not as durable as the other options, so it may be difficult to walk on them during repairs or maintenance.


A home builder or roofer will want to carefully research these options for their building plans before installing your roof. Your Denver home wouldn’t be complete without a quality roof; this guide provides you with a some of tools you need to make a decision that will be perfect for your home and new roof.