A Frequently Asked Question:

Are Metal Roofs Better than Shingle Roofs?

Spend a few hours driving around Atlanta and one thing you will notice is that pretty much every roof you see on a home is made from some type of shingle, be it asphalt shingles or wood shake shingle. A very rare sight in the Atlanta area would be a metal roof. But why? Metal roofs supposedly are much more durable and last longer than a shingle roof, which says a lot since newer shingles are made to last upwards of 40-50 years.

Like most things in life, much of the difference boils down to price. A metal roof comes with a heavier up front price tag than a shingle roof. If you want to pay a premium for peace of mind that the roof will last 60-70 years, then metal roofs are the way to go; but if you are on a budget and don't mind replacing the roof in 30 or so years, then shingled roofs are the more economical way to go.

As you can see in Atlanta, most builders set the trend for shingles as the standard roof install and this created a standard for the entire metro-Atlanta region. New homes are built on tight budgets and while metal may last longer, shingles get the job done and make housing more affordable.

Another reason the trend towards installing shingles vs metal roofs developed in Georgia has to do with the weather. Shingles tend to perform well in milder climates with less extreme temperature swings. Atlanta has mild winters compared to other parts of the country and has almost no snowfall.

Some of the benefits of metal roofing center on the protection it provides against extreme weather, and Atlanta just doesn't have to contend with hurricane force winds or blizzard like snowfall on a regular enough basis to justify the higher investment costs of a metal roof. Therefore shingles became the predominant roof in the market, as they do the job well and are budget friendly.

architectural shingle roof

A final major cause for shingle roofs being the main type in Atlanta has to do with HOA's – Homeowners Associations. Much of Atlanta was built using the subdivision method and each subdivision has some type of HOA or board which works to protect the home values in the area. One of the main factors in ensuring the home values is by enforcing cleanliness and uniformity within the subdivision.

The HOA's are powerful local governing bodies which not only dictate the type of roof a homeowner can install but even the color. Once a builder has established the neighborhood by using shingles, it will be very difficult for an HOA to allow one house to use a different material for its roof. This makes changing from shingle roofs to metal roofs almost impossible if you live in a subdivision which dictates the roof type and color you must use when you replace your roof.

For all these reasons, it will be rare to see metal roofs in the Atlanta metro area and shingles will remain the material of choice when replacing roofs for many years to come. As shingle technology develops further, this may not be such a terrible thing. Shingles now last almost as long as a metal roof in some cases and are not as expensive.

Solar technology is also now being introduced to shingles, which may make them a preference over metal roofs in the near future. Its worth getting a free roof estimate to determine which roof is better for your budget and long term goals.

The newest solar technology seamlessly blends the solar field into the shingle field. This is great for a few reasons.

  1. The architectural shingle itself now has the solar power technology built in.
  2. The shingle will not be damaged when a solar panel is installed on top of it. Its not needed anymore! This can reduce roof leaks too.
  3. The solar shingle stand out less than a solar panel and may have an easier time being approved by the HOA.

Metal roofing systems can have solar panels installed on top, but this makes the risk of roof leaks go up, and can damage the metal.

There is a lot to consider when choosing doing a roof replacement project, so be sure to speak with an expert and gather some free estimates so you can make the best decision that works for your budget and long term needs. You also have to consider the roofing material you choose as it relates to roof repairs you may have to do in the future.