Home Improvment

Switching From An Asphalt Shingle Roof To A Metal Roof

Have you been asking yourself what to do about your aging roof?  Years ago I had to put a new roof on my home and it was a stressful process looking to find the right material to use.  We had a bad storm come through one night, and I woke up to a bunch of shingles laying in my yard. 

The insurance company came out and looked at the damage and they would only give me a small amount of money to repair the damage.  The roof itself didn’t look all that old. So they figured it had more life in it.  I had purchased the house just 6 or so years ago so who knows when the last time it had been replaced. 

I patched the roof myself and made the necessary repairs with the plan to soon replace the roof and start fresh.  Some of the other shingles on the house did not feel very secure, so I decided it was probably time to replace it. 

The vast majority of residential property in our country has asphalt roofing.  For those of you who do not know what kind of roofing this is, asphalt shingles are a petroleum based product that you can find at your local home improvement store. 

Feel free to go and look at your local store for the different kinds of shingles they have available so you can get a better idea of what is out there.  Some Home Owners Associations (HOA) even require a specific product to use for your roof.  Thankfully I do not live in an area that requires membership to an HOA.

I did not have any restrictions for what products to use on my roof.  I started pricing out the different options and found materials for my house to come out to approximately $2,600 just for shingles. 

I have a small house, so this number is relatively low compared to many other houses on the market.  I have replaced a few roofs over the years, and I wanted to find something that I could install that would last longer than your standard shingle. 

Shingled roofs need to be inspected after about 20 years to make sure that they are still holding up well.  I have personally had roofs last well beyond this timeframe, but it is always good to keep an eye on it once it hits 20 years old.   

I ended up finding a contractor who gave me a quote for a metal roof, and the materials cost alone was twice the cost.  I planned to save some money by removing my old shingles and disposing of them myself, which hindsight being 2020, I should have had help when I tore the roof off.  It took me 2 – 14 hour days to remove the roof myself…I was in rough shape afterward to say the least.

I had my contractor/friend come out with his crew and install the metal roof.  They did it with a crew of just 3 guys in about a day and a half.  Sure, the cost was twice as much, but many metal roofs can last twice as long or more than asphalt roofs. 

Depending on your location, a metal roof could last well over 70 years.  Imagine if you decided to install a metal roof on your house.  That roof may very well outlive you!  I like the idea of making that investment. 

I want my home to have a long-lasting roof that can hold up better to storms.  I would also check with your insurance company and ask them if they offer any promotions for switching to a metal roof.

Environmental Impact: 

Let’s do some math here.  Imagine a house over the course of 100 years has 5 asphalt shingle roofs installed.  This is assuming that each roof lasts 20 years.  Depending on storms and your geographical location, you may have many more roof replacements.  Let’s say the average shingle roof tear off and install is $10,000. 

That house will undergo $50,000 worth of work over the course of the 100 years.  Roofs are measured in Squares, which comes out to 100 square feet worth of roofing.  1 Square of roofing shingles can weigh up to 240 pounds and your roof might require 40 squares worth of shingles. 

That is around 9,600 pounds worth of asphalt shingles.  Multiply that number by the 5 times the roof would be replaced and we have almost 50,000 pounds or 25 tons of petroleum based waste that will need to be properly disposed of. 

If you were to install a metal roof, you could avoid sending almost 25 tons worth of petroleum based waste to a landfill.  Sure, some of it may be recycled and turned into asphalt pavement.  This is reserved for cities that have programs for this setup.  I would be willing to bet that many people send them to the landfill.

Some Cons

Some people complain about how loud the roof is when it is raining outside.  I have family members who have metal roofs as well, and they do not complain about it.  In fact, they actually enjoy the sound of rain on the roof. 

It is almost like a white-noise that helps them fall asleep.  Insulation in your attic can help soften the noise if this is a problem for you.  It can not only maintain a good temperature in your house, but it can also deaden the noise of rain on a metal roof. 

If you install a metal roof and you feel like it is way too loud when it rains, I would check your attic and make sure you have plenty of insulation.  I personally prefer 8-12 inches worth of insulation to maintain my energy efficiency in my house!

So How Do We Get Started?

  1.  Have a licensed professional come out and provide you with a roof inspection
  2. If you are not very happy with the quote, I encourage you to seek multiple opinions!
  3. Have your contractor provide you with metal roofing options such as color and design with a list of price comparison
  4. Schedule an installation date that works well for you and your contractor
  5. Agree on the price and process for installation
  6. Enjoy your new metal roof!

This Is A BIG Investment

 At the end of the day we have to weigh in the cost of a metal roof, which in this example may cost close to $20,000 depending on the contractor and materials.  Can you afford to pay twice as much for a roof?  Yes the long term investment is there and makes perfect sense, but many homeowners just don’t have that kind of money laying around.  Some contractors allow for financing, which is helpful, but even then it is a big investment up front.

On my next house, I will definitely look into financing options for a metal roof.  Sometimes banks will offer a line of credit towards a new roof at a reasonable interest rate so that you can pay the sum of money back over the course of a few years.  I would check with your local contractor to see if financing options are available through them as well!