Which Roofing Material is Right for You?

Your roof is perhaps the most important part of your home. It not only provides structural support and weather protection, but it also improves energy efficiency and boosts curb appeal.

Because your roof plays such a critical role, when it’s time to install a new one, you’ll want to give it some thought, especially when it comes to material. While asphalt shingles have long been the popular option, there are others that deserve some consideration – like metal, the second most popular roofing material.

Cost

When investing in anything, especially a roof, you’ll need to consider budget. Metal roofs are typically more expensive to install than asphalt roofs. And while metal roofs require less maintenance, repairs are typically more expensive because of the specialty tools and knowledge involved. 

The price difference between asphalt and metal has traditionally been pretty significant, but Jason Murton with Accurate Inspections, LLC, says the cost gap has closed a bit.

“The price of asphalt goes up with oil prices because it’s a byproduct of the petroleum refining process,” he said. “Because of this, you see cost fluctuations much more frequently. Currently, the price difference between asphalt and metal isn’t as much as it was a couple of years ago.”

Durability

Home improvement guru Bob Vila says shingles have a shorter lifespan due to their unique set of weaknesses. On his website he explains, “pooling water and chronically damp conditions can lead to algae and fungus growth, ice dams can create cracks, and temperature spikes between day and night can reduce the life of your shingle roof.” Because of this, the average asphalt roof may last 20-30 years depending on the quality, environment, and climate.

On the other hand, metal roofs are designed to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

“Most people say a metal roof should last about 50 years, but there are some in the Lansing area that are 150 years old,” said Murton. “Years ago, metal roofs were quite common in rural Michigan. They went away for a while, but they’re making a big comeback, and one of the reasons is because of the durability factor.”

Value

If your roof is in poor condition, then a new roof (or at least repairs) is a necessity regardless of whether or not you’re planning to sell your home. However, if you do choose to sell down the road, a new roof will certainly speed up the sale and potentially increase your sale price.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, new roofing was ranked the top home improvement project that appeals to buyers and the number one project likely to add value to a home for resale.

“There is a slight increase in value when you install a metal roof, but like most renovations, it isn’t dollar-for-dollar,” said Murton. “If you’ll be selling in the next few years, asphalt is probably the smarter choice because up-front costs are lower and a lot of consumers still don’t appreciate the benefits and value of metal. However, if you’re planning on staying put, investing in a metal roof is definitely worth considering.”  

Eco-friendliness

Bob Vila’s website says, “Because they’re largely made of recycled material and can be recycled again and again, metal roofs are considered a more sustainable choice than asphalt shingles.” The website adds, “It’s estimated that U.S. landfills receive nearly 20 billion pounds of old asphalt shingles annually.”

“Metal roofs are also more energy efficient,” said Murton. “Many manufactures offer highly emissive metal panels that release absorbed heat in the summer and retain heat in the winter, which can help cut down on your utility costs.”

Curb appeal

When it comes to design, choosing between asphalt and metal is a personal choice. However, keep in mind that both options comes in many different varieties and styles.

Bob Vila’s website says, “While shingle roofs have a traditional look of their own, nowadays they’re being manufactured to mimic the look of slate, wood shakes, and tile,” adding, “the color palette is wide-ranging and there’s a host of different finishes as well, from slightly weathered (to complement older homes) to subtly multicolored.”

While metal roofs were traditionally made of corrugated tin panels, Bob Vila’s site says metal roofing “has come a long way from the farm,” explaining “you’ll see metal roofing that suits less rustic, more refined structures, from California contemporaries to East Coast Victorians, in a spectrum of colors and finishes, and in shingle, slate, and shake styles.”

Some considerations

While it may seem that price is the only downside of metal roofing, Murton does address some of the other common concerns.

“Many people are worried about noise with metal roofs, but if the home is properly insulated it shouldn’t be much of an issue,” he said. “And because we deal with snow in Michigan, you do need to take precautions around doors. When they’re slammed, snow can easily slide down from the roof, potentially hitting anyone standing underneath. However, there are special retaining systems that can be installed to remedy this problem.” 

For more home improvement tips and information, follow the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® on Facebook.

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