Why Does a Metal Roof Cost So Much? Is It Really Worth It?

Every year, you should expect to spend at least 3% of your home’s value on performing routine maintenance. 

That percentage varies depending on the age of your home and whether or not you’re taking on any large maintenance projects that year. Of the larger maintenance projects, replacing your roof or re-roofing your home is one of the more costly.

When it comes time to think about a new roof, you’ve got options ranging from asphalt to concrete, plastic to metal. And while the cheapest option is asphalt, one of the most durable, sustainable, and low maintenance options is metal.

So how much does a metal roof cost, and is it worth it? Keep reading to find out.

Asphalt vs Metal Roof Costs

The cheapest roofing material on the market is asphalt. Asphalt shingles vary depending on their quality, but most range between $70 and $160 per 100 square feet. 

Metal roofing, depending on the type of metal you choose, can cost anywhere from $120 to $900 per 100 square feet. For installation, you’re looking at approximately $70 to $500 per 100 square feet for a metal roof. Asphalt costs $50 to $175 for installation.

While there are high-end asphalt shingles that cost just as much if not more than your standard metal roof, a metal roof costs almost always exceeds that of asphalt. Though not as expensive as a green roof or a roof made of solar glass, it’s not the cheapest roofing material out there. That is, at least not in terms of upfront costs.

Metal Roofing Options

Overall, including materials and installing metal roofing, you’re looking at a price tag between $5,000 and $12,000. But this cost will vary depending on the type of metal roofing you choose.

Below we’ve listed some of the most common metal roofing options and their costs.

Standing-Seam Roofing 

These are the most basic type of metal roofing. They’re made with metal panels that run vertically along the slope of the roof. Each panel features vertical raised ribs that are spaced every 6, 9 or 12 inches.

Standing-seam roofs are some of the most common types of metal roofing. The cost for standing-seam roofing can be anywhere from $750 to $1,400 per square, which includes both labor and materials.

Metal Shingles

Metal shingles are a more aesthetically-pleasing option for metal roofing. They can be formed into shapes that look like wood shakes, slate, and even Victorian metal tiles. This is accomplished by pressing and forming painted or coated aluminum or steel.

The cost of metal shingles falls somewhere between $700 and $1,000 per square. That cost includes materials and labor.

Stone-Coated Steel

Stone-coated steel roofing looks like shakes but offers all the durability and fire resistance of a metal. They’re made of galvanized steel and come in a wide range of color options. 

Stoned-coated steel runs between $850 and $1,100 per square for both materials and labor.

Copper

Copper roofing is among the most expensive metal roofing you can get. But that’s because it has unparalleled qualities. It doesn’t rust, it’s soft enough to tool, weathering actually makes it more beautiful, and there’s no finish on it that scratches or peels.

For all of those benefits, you pay a premium. A copper roof starts at a base price of $1,800 per square, including materials and labor. 

Other Factors in Metal Roof Cost

Besides the materials and labor of installing those materials, there are other items to consider in the cost of a metal roof. Your roofing contractor provides an estimate based on:

  • Existing roof (if any)
  • Potential tear-off costs
  • Size of the roof
  • Slope
  • Underlayment and any other needed accessories
  • Ventilation
  • Scope of work
  • Flashing

Contractors will consider what type of home you have in their cost, as well. For example, taller homes are generally more expensive because of the amount of labor and the danger involved in installing a roof at greater heights.

Accessibility to the roof is another factor determining cost. Accessibility refers to how easy it is for workers to get to your roof. But it can also include items such as whether or not there are power lines, trees, or other obstructions limiting access to either part of or the whole roof.

If your roof has underlying structural issues, this will impact how much you pay for installation. Roofing companies will require that structural damage is fixed before proceeding to install any roof. That includes items affecting the framework and even potential water damage.

In some cases, you might require permits or licenses to re-roof or install a new roof. You’ll have to add this to your overall cost. And don’t try to do the job without a permit—if you’re caught, you’ll have to do the job all over again, doubling your costs.

Of course, how much you pay will also depend on where you live. While the cost of materials won’t vary much between cities and states, the cost of labor does vary. This isn’t something you can get around—but do shop around for quotes before making a decision on who will install your new roof. 

The Benefits of Metal Roofing

Now that you understand how much a metal roof costs, you should also understand why they cost this much. In this case, it’s true that you get what you pay for. And what you’re paying for a metal roof is well worth it because of these benefits.

Longevity

One reason that metal roofs cost as much as they do is because of how long they last.

A metal roof, of almost any type of metal material, will last as long as 50 years. For metal roofs made of copper or zine, that lifetime doubles to as much as 100 years. And that 50 to 100 years is only when degradation begins to show—not when you need to replace it.

Asphalt shingles are certainly cost-effective. That’s the main reason why they’re one of the most popular roofing options in the U.S., if not the most popular. And although they’re more affordable in terms of upfront costs, they’ll only last as long as 15 to 30 years.

It’s possible to extend that lifecycle by taking good care of your asphalt shingles. But that costs you in terms of time and money when you need to replace them. Those costs will be even more frequent if you live in a region with all four seasons or heavy rains and wind.

Wood shingles are a bit more comparable to the lifetime of a metal roof. These can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. However, they’re prone to cracking and warping with the weather—meaning they require a lot of maintenance.

Weathering

Compared to most other roofing materials out there, metal holds up to weather better than almost anything. That includes wood, plastic, concrete, and of course, solar glass panels. 

Metal is the best choice in most weather conditions. It can withstand snow, hail and ice, extreme cold, extreme heat, strong winds, and driving rain. But all of that depends on how well it’s installed.

Eco-Friendliness

For those concerned with reducing their impact on their environment, the material with which their roof is constructed makes a big difference. While not everybody has the option of installing and maintaining a green roof, there are other ways of being eco-friendly.

Asphalt, for example, is one of the least eco-friendly roofing materials out there. This is because it’s a petroleum-based product that isn’t recyclable. In fact, an estimated 11 million tons of asphalt shingle waste goes into landfills around the U.S. every year—not to mention the large amount of waste produced in the extraction, refinement, and transportation processes of petrol. 

Metal roofing is far more eco-friendly than asphalt shingles. This is because metal roofing is highly recyclable.

Beyond the fact that many metal coils and sheets are created using recycling, even leftover pieces, damaged parts, and tear-off panels can be recycled. When it comes to aluminum roofing, at least 95% is made using previously recycled materials. And in terms of emissions, the production of metal emits far fewer greenhouse gases than petroleum-based products.

Low Maintenance 

As we’ve already discussed, asphalt doesn’t last as long as metal roofing does. While you can prolong its lifetime by inspecting any mold or algae, check the flashing, inspecting the shingles, and clearing debris that can hold water and damage the roof, that constant maintenance costs you in terms of time.

A metal roof, on the other hand, is incredibly low maintenance as long as it was installed correctly. All you have to do is clean up the gutters as you would with any other type of roof.

You should also remove debris, but leaving it there for a longer period has less of an impact than it would on an asphalt shingle roof. And if it ever stains or leaves caked-on dirt behind, that’s easy enough to wash away.

Lightweight

Contrary to what you might think, metal is actually a relatively lightweight material. That makes a huge difference in the wear and tear of your home.

Because it’s so lightweight, a metal roof doesn’t put so much stress on the structure of your home. It’s less likely to cause frame damage that could cost you an arm and leg in the future. Even worse, if you don’t catch structural damage until a home inspection for the sale of your home, you could end up paying a lot more in the transaction.

Aesthetic Possibilities 

There is a variety of options for the aesthetic appeal of metal roofing. They can be cut into all different shapes and sizes to fit any shape or home design, from modern to traditional. There are panel systems like standing seam systems and exposed fastener systems.  

Metal can be painted and pressed to look like tile systems or to imitate the appearance of shingles or wood shakes. Color options range from bright colors to earth tones. As a bonus, many of these pain systems last decades, which means even less maintenance and upkeep on your end.

Cost Savings of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs cost as much as they do because they’re low maintenance, environmentally friendly, and come in such a wide range of options. The majority of those benefits point to one ultimate benefit: lower long terms costs on replacement, maintenance, and damage to your home.

But, there are another few cost-related benefits to consider in metal roof costs. That is, they actually represent cost savings in some ways. We’ve detailed these below.

Energy Efficiency

It’s possible to find metal roofs with special features that make them more energy efficient. Look for metal roofing with highly emissive panels which release heat in high temperatures and retain heat when the weather gets cooler. 

The color and finish of a metal roof also contribute to its energy star rating. If energy efficiency savings are what you’re after, choose your color and finish accordingly. 

Higher Property Value

Metal roofs increase the value of a property between 1 and 6%. Why? Because potential buyers recognize that they’ll need to do less maintenance and are unlikely to have to replace the roof they’re buying.

Insurance Benefits

Metal roofs are the most fire-resistant material for a roof. They’re also less likely to be damaged by hail, rain, or extreme weather from storms. This might mean you pay less on your home insurance premiums.

Get a Free Estimate Today

If you’re looking to replace your roof, you have plenty of options in terms of materials. Many people opt for asphalt roofs because they cost less than most other materials in terms of up-front costs. But in the long run, a metal roof cost pays for itself in longevity, low maintenance, energy efficiency, and a host of other ways.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, you should get some quotes. Contact us for a free estimate.