While many homeowners choose to install asphalt shingles roofs on their homes, often lured-in by the attractive low prices of asphalt, many quickly learn that sometimes, with a low price there can also be a whole slew of unexpected and often costly problems. A metal roof can in some cases provide a far better alternative.
Although a metal roof normally costs significantly more compared to asphalt, its longevity, curb appeal, and energy efficiency can make it a most cost-efficient and sustainable choice.
In this article you’ll be able to compare asphalt with metal in terms of longevity, durability, energy efficiency and pros and cons of each system.
Disadvantages of Composition Shingle Roofs
Temperature Sensitive Installation
One important factor to be aware of is that asphalt shingles installation is temperature sensitive. Asphalt shingles should not be installed when temperatures are below freezing.
For greatest durability and longevity shingles need to adhere to each other, and this process is hampered in cold temperature.
Unfortunately, many inexperienced roofers are not aware of this issue, and proceed with the installation when it is too cold outside. This means homeowners could end up having roofing problems right from the get-go.
Attic Ventilation Issues
Composition shingles roofs may suffer damage as a result of problems with your attic ventilation. If the attic is poorly vented, the infrared heat from the sun can lead to a drastic increase in temperature inside the attic. This heat coming from below can cause a problem known as “cupping” when the shingle tabs curl under.
Lack of Substantial Durability
While asphalt shingles will keep your home safe and protected under average weather conditions, they tend to falter when it comes to inclement weather. Generally, asphalt shingles perform better in cooler climates than in hotter ones.
Problems can be compounded if the roof is low pitched and does not have adequate sloping to encourage water drainage. As a rule of thumb, thicker asphalt roofing shingles (laminated or premium style) are more durable, so they are worth paying more money for.
Sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage the ceramic granules embedded in the asphalt coating, which causes cracks and loss of color. Extreme heat may cause asphalt shingles to curl at the edges. Sudden and drastic temperature changes (thermal shock) cause shingles to contract and expand thereby leading to cracks which can lead to roof leaks. Strong winds may lift shingles off the roof.
Finally, asphalt shingles are susceptible to mildew and moss growth, especially when there are large trees towering over the roof. Thus, an asphalt roof may require periodic cleaning and maintenance.
To make sure your composition shingles roof lasts and functions properly, you should inspect it every year. Asphalt shingles tend to get easily damaged, and if they are not properly maintained and repaired in due time, the damaged area can lead to roof leaks.
It is best to repair any damaged asphalt shingles before it rains or snows, so that moisture does not further exacerbate the existing damage.
For homeowners looking to use “green” roofing materials, asphalt shingles will not be the first choice. They are a petroleum-based product, and require a lot of energy to manufacture. At the end of their service life, asphalt composition shingles typically do not get recycled, and have to go the landfill, where they decompose very slowly, emitting methane gas. In fact, a large percentage of post-construction waste in our landfills is asphalt shingles! 🙁
While it is technically possible to recycle asphalt shingles to be used as pavement patching material, the process is often too complicated and costly to undertake, and the easier landfill option is chosen instead. One way you can make your asphalt roofing shingles more “green” is to install the premium quality laminated shingles which can last as long as 30 to 40 years. For comparison, a low-end 3-tab shingles will only last about 15 to 20 years, provided it was installed properly.
Metal vs. Asphalt
Metal’s inherent features make it a significantly better roofing material compared to asphalt composition shingles. When it comes to durability, longevity, maintenance, energy efficiency and recyclability, metal greatly outperforms asphalt shingles on all fronts.
Durability: Metal roofing will offer your home exceptional protection. It meets the toughest wind, fire, and impact codes in the country. Also, metal roofs are covered by cutting edge paint that contains inorganic pigments for maximum protection against harmful UV rays. Metal roofs are also impervious to moisture, and easily shed snow and ice. Steel roofs are highly resistant to algae, mold and mildew and will not ever be affected by termites and other insects.
Longevity: In comparison to asphalt roofing, metal roof will easily last three times longer. A properly installed metal roof can last 35 to 50 years or longer, depending upon the type of system, metal type, thickness of the panels, and the quality of installation. Today’s metal roofs can be made of Galvalume, galvanized steel, or aluminum, which in most cases, should help to eliminate all worries about rust or corrosion.
Maintenance-free: unlike asphalt shingles, once installed a metal roof requires no maintenance or repairs. This feature lends itself to significant savings throughout the long service life of a metal roof. Also, metal roofs will remain looking like new for years to come and will not susceptible to ugly black stains caused by mildew and algae build-up.
Green: While asphalt shingles are harmful to the environment, a metal roof is a rare environmentally – friendly roofing product. Independent studies show that a metal roof’s cool reflective properties allow homeowners to save up to 40% on energy bills and reduce wasteful energy consumption. Your metal roof will never end up in the landfill, as metal is 50-100% recyclable.