A metal roof typically cost about three times the amount you would pay to install a 30-year laminated (architectural) asphalt shingles. It is hardly any surprise that a sticker / price shock is a strong deterrent for many people, who would otherwise prefer to install a metal roof.
Frankly, metal roofs are not for everybody. If you have a simple roof with medium pitch, and minimal penetrations, a regular asphalt shingles roof may work just fine for you. However, in some situations, a metal roof may be the only viable option. For example, if your roof has serious ice dam problems, and it’s impossible to improve your attic ventilation / insulation at a reasonable cost, then a metal roof may be your only solution or salvation.
But, enough with the rhetoric, and back to metal roofing costs…
First and foremost, a metal roofing system is far more expensive to manufacture, and its installation requires many specialized accessories, such as end-wall, valley trim and drip edge, and gable flashing. Residential metal roofs are usually made of high grade galvanized steel (G-90 galvanized steel or Galvalume) or rust-proof aluminum, and painted with a premium Kynar 500 paint.
Besides the high cost of metal roofing materials, you also would want to use premium synthetic underlayment instead of roofing felt (this is not a must, but it is highly recommended). The synthetic underlayment costs about 3 times more than a 30 lb. felt. Overall, one square of standing seam materials with all the accessories and underlayment will cost about $400 for a simple gable roof. As you get into cut-up roofs, the cost can be as high as $500-600 per square. On top of that, you need to consider the fact that there are very few qualified installers who will not butcher your roof, and instead, will actually make sure that it is watertight and will last you for the promised lifetime.
Although it is not that difficult to install a simple gable roof on a ranch type home with 3-4″ roof pitch, those are very rare. Most roofs, where metal is installed, are very cut-up. This is were you definitely want to hire a professional metal roofing contractor, instead of a cheaper roofer who usually installs shingles, and all of a sudden, decides to try his luck with metal. Imagine for a second that you just spent some $15000-20000 on a new metal roof and you figured you could save a few grand along the way by hiring a cheaper contractor to install it. Well, now picture that after just a few rains, your new roof is leaking everywhere, because the contractor simply did not know what he was doing. It can easily cost you a few thousand dollars to repair a metal roof that was not properly installed – especially if it is a standing seam system that was butchered. It is nearly impossible to remove in-field installed standing seam panels, without completely damaging them. Most leaks on improperly-installed metal roofs will be in valleys, around skylights / chimneys and along roof-to-wall flashing.
True Cost Of Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles
Consider this – a new metal roof for a hypothetical home costs you $15,000. At the same time, a new 30-year laminated asphalt shingles roof costs $5,000 – exactly three times the difference. An asphalt roof will last an average of 12-15 years. Note: Asphalt shingles lasting only 12-15 years is not spreading a FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Distress) or a misrepresentation of facts – the so called 30-year roof shingles do in fact last a lot less, and their warranties are very misleading. Watch the video below to see a report made by CBC about how long asphalt shingles really last.
Considering that asphalt shingles last 15 years, a metal roof will last at least as long as 3 asphalt ones. Now, consider that when you have to replace your asphalt roof 15 and 30 years down the road, you will also have to pay extra for the tear-off and dump fees, each time you replace it. Also, consider that most homeowners do not replace the roof until it begins to leak and with typical home insurance deductible being $1000, most leaks are fixed out of pocket. On top of that, not only you fix the leak, but also you need to repair / replace the plywood sheeting which has rotted. Additionally, a metal roof will greatly reduce your cooling cost by an average of $50-75+ per month, giving you substantial savings over the years.
Metal roofs are also excellent in ice dam prevention, and will completely eliminate the leaks related to ice dams. You should know that it may cost you anywhere between $275 and $375+ to hire a contractor to remove ice dams off your roof (not solve the ice dams issue all together). By the time you install your second roof, you are almost on par with the cost of a metal roof.
Now if you decide to sell your house 10-15 years down the road, when your roof is almost at the end of it’s life, the buyer will bring this up, and will either want you to replace it, or reduce the sale price of your home. If you had a metal roof on your house, you would not need to worry about it. In fact, you could even increase the home price, based on a fact that it has a lifetime roof on it.
Installing Your Last Roof
Let’s assume that you are lucky and your roof is well ventilated / insulated and you do not have major ice dams problems, if you rake your roof early (right after it snowed), but you are getting to that point when you want to retire in your home, and want a maintenance free, watertight roof, that will last you at least 30 years. Clearly you can’t expect that from an asphalt roof, and it would be too expensive hiring someone to rake your roof each time it snows. In this case, metal is clearly the right material to install, as it will be maintenance and leak free for life.
Bottom line – if you need an inexpensive roof, then you probably want shingles. However, if you are a quality-conscious homeowner, then you should definitely consider a metal roof for your home.
Guide to current Metal Roofing Prices.
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