This is one of the most common questions/issues being asked or faced by many homeowners dealing with a leaky roof or a roof that is starting to show some serious signs of age such as cracking, brittle, chipping and/or missing shingles.
With that being said, let’s put the guess work aside and hear what some of the top ranked roofing experts on our platform have to say in regards to the age old question; repair Vs. replace?
Case 1. A Leaky Asphalt (Composition) Shingles Roof:
If your house has an asphalt roof that is at least 10 years or older, and is either starting to leak, with ugly stains developing in the ceilings near the attic or top floor, or the shingles is showing serious signs of age with chipping and cracks visible to the naked eye, then chances are that your roof needs to be replaced and you should not waste any money trying to repair it!
But, if your roof is less than 10 years old and most shingles on the roof seem to be in good shape, with no visible cracks or major chipping in the shingles, then you may be able to get a few more years of service by properly repairing it, once the cause and location of the leak has been properly diagnosed and identified.
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 in the Face of Storms, Hail, and Exposure to Elements
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 up shingles off the roof. If your asphalt roof gets exposed to a major hail storm, then it’s veryl likely you will need to replace the entire roof due to the damage that hail can do to shingles.
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, hail, 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, G-90 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.
Back in the day, metal roofing was used to cover homes, barns, commercial roofs, factory buildings, and churches before asphalt shingles were even invented. Metal was solid, affordable, and durable roofing material.
Nowadays, metal roofing is enjoying some impressive resurgence in popularity and demand, whether it’s standing seam, corrugated metal sheets, or ribbed metal panels.
Corrugated metal panels are often used in commercial and low-end residential applications, but standing seam is becoming a lot more prominent and extremely popular in high-end residential and commercial retrofits and new roof installations.
Both of these systems have their pros and cons that must be considered before deciding which particular system will best suit your needs.
From Metal to Corrugated Galvanized Iron Sheets
Metal, namely copper, has been used as a roofing material since about 970 BC. Corrugated metal panels were invented the early 1800’s. It was the “new and improved” metal roofing system featuring wavy or ribbed panel profile. Corrugating the sheets of metal, which was hot-dip galvanized iron at the time, increased their strength and longevity.
During the installation, corrugated metal panels are overlapped by one or two ridges, through-fastened onto the roof deck or frame, and commonly sealed with caulk (in between the corrugated panels at the point of overlap) to keep rainwater and moisture out. Needless to say caulking is the least permanent part of the corrugated metal roof.
Standing seam metal roofing became the “new and improved” roofing option in the mid-1900’s. The “standing” or raised seams made the durable roofing material even more weatherproof. The ridges that run the length of standing seam metal roofs are the seams between the metal panels.
Bending the panel edges up to a height of ½ to 1 ½ inches, then folding them over makes standing seam metal roofs more weatherproof. The raised seams force rainwater and moisture to run down off the roof in the “channels” between the seams instead of working its way between the metal panels.
Difference in Price
While the cost of corrugated metal will be similar to asphalt shingles, standing seam featuring improved design, thicker panels and better warranties can seem very expensive in comparison. With standing seam, materials and installation costs will be roughly two to three times the cost of corrugated metal or shingles.
However, with standing seam, you’re not going to have to buy another new roof for a very long time, if at all. Either corrugated metal panels with exposed fasteners, or standing seam metal roof with concealed fasteners will last significantly longer than asphalt. Hence, either system can be a smart investment in your home.
Corrugated metal roofs are significantly cheaper (their cost is similar to the cost of architectural asphalt shingles.) and run about $400 to $700 per square (100 square feet) installed. The material is less expensive and the panels are easier to install, which saves on labor costs. However, the additional maintenance expenses and the need to stay on top of it should be figured into the decision. It is definitely not an “install it and forget it” type of roof.
Standing seam metal roofs are considerably more expensive and generally cost between $900 and $1,400 per square to install. The material is more expensive and the panels are much more difficult to install. A very steep roof and a roof with lots of dormers and valleys will jack up the price higher. A specialty metal roofing contractor with experience in standing seam should be hired to do the installation.
The installer should know what he is doing before taking on the job. Assuming you spend $1,200 per square (100 square feet) to install standing seam on a roof that measures 20 squares, you are looking at about $24,000 for a typical standing seam roof.
An improperly installed standing seam roof will require additional investment to repair and installation defects in the future, when it fails. Your installation will also cost significantly more if you have to find another roofer because the one hired originally got frustrated and walked off the job. 😉
Difference in Materials
Standing seam metal roofs are a little more heavy-duty than corrugated metal roofs due to the thickness of the roofing material. While on the surface this difference in thickness may seem insignificant at first, but it is worth considering.
Corrugated metal sheets are commonly made from 29 or 26-gauge steel (typically G-60 or G-90 hot-dip galvanized steel), also referred to as G-29 or G-26. It is slightly thinner than standing seam.
Standing seam metal panels are usually 24 or 22-gauge (G-90 or Galvalume steel), also referred to as G-24 or G-22. It can occasionally be 26-gauge, but that is as thin as it gets.
This difference in thickness is part of the reason for the difference in price between corrugated metal and standing seam. The thicker material used in standing seam panels costs a little more than the thinner material commonly used in corrugated metal sheets.
Difference in Coatings
Most corrugated metal roofs are resilient and rust-resistant, but standing seam is even more so.
Corrugated metal roofing sheets are usually made from steel that is “galvanized” or coated with zinc. This zinc coating gives the steel that dull, silver color before it is painted. It also makes the steel resistant to rust and corrosion. Corrugated metal sheets are also available in aluminum and Galvalume steel, but these materials are more expensive.
Standing seam metal roofs are commonly made from a material called Galvalume which is steel that has been “super-galvanized.” This super-galvanizing coating is an aluminum-zinc alloy. Galvalume is roughly twice as resistant to rust and corrosion as the steel used for corrugated metal roofing because of this special galvanizing process.
This slight difference in the protective coating is figured into the higher price of standing seam material. Yes, it is a little more expensive, but it offers twice the resistance to rust and corrosion resulting in a much longer-lasting and durable roofing system.
Looks and Aesthetics
Corrugated metal roofs and standing seam each impart their own “look” onto a building. Which looks best is really a matter of opinion. They are both available in a wide range of colors.
Corrugated metal roofs have a less formal look. The ridges are closer together and usually soft and rounded. There are corrugated metal panels available with sharp corrugation lines rather than soft waves, though.
Standing seam metal roofs have a slightly more formal look. The raised seams are 1 to 1 ½ feet apart and look like sharp, straight ridges. A darker standing seam metal roof looks almost like a pinstripe suit.