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How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost vs. Asphalt Shingles in 2024?

April 19th, 2024 | 7 min. read

How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost vs. Asphalt Shingles in 2024?

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Are you trying to decide between metal or asphalt shingles for your roof replacement? Does the decision come down to how much each costs?

The answer to both questions is easily answered by getting an honest comparison of the cost of a metal roof vs. the cost of an asphalt shingle roof. Unfortunately, the key word is “honest” when it comes to the roofing industry. 

Too much content only focuses on the material cost or the cheapest options because, let’s be honest, roofing is incredibly expensive. Some even separate all the costs and have you do the math. 

I understand my fellow roofers want to avoid scaring away potential customers, but homeowners like you will never trust the industry unless there’s full transparency. So, let’s use my 30-plus years as the owner of Bill Ragan Roofing to be as transparent as possible. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have answers to the following questions:

  • How much does a metal roof cost vs. asphalt shingles?
  • Why does a metal roof cost more than asphalt shingles?
  • What else factors into the cost of a metal roof and asphalt shingles?

How much does a metal roof cost vs. asphalt shingles?

As of 2024, a metal roof costs more than asphalt shingles. However, the price difference between the two depends on the type of asphalt shingle and metal roof. 

So, let’s look at how much a new roof costs based on the three types of asphalt shingles and two types of metal roofing. The price ranges below are for a full roof replacement, not just for the materials. 

How much do asphalt shingles cost?

The three types of asphalt shingles cost anywhere from around $4.00 to $8.00 per square foot. To be more specific, 3-tab asphalt shingles (the lowest quality) cost around $4.00 per square foot. 

examples of the three types of asphalt shingles

Higher-quality architectural asphalt shingles cost around $5.00 to $6.00 per square foot, which is why it’s the most affordable for quality roofing material on the market. The highest quality and longest-lasting luxury asphalt shingles cost around $8.00 per square foot but can easily get more expensive.

How much does a metal roof cost?

Metal roofing costs range from $4.50 to $16.00 per square foot, depending on the type of metal roof and metal. An exposed fastener metal roof (also called exposed fastener) costs around $4.50 to $6.50 per square foot, but maintenance fees come later when the fasteners need to be replaced. 

standing seam metal roof and exposed fastener metal roof

A steel standing seam metal roof (also called hidden fastener) costs around $12.00 to $16.00 per square foot. However, upgrading to a premium metal (like copper) can cost anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00 per square foot.

Why does a metal roof cost more than asphalt shingles?

Now, you know how the cost of metal roofing compares to the cost of asphalt shingles. But why is this the case?

The main reasons come down to the price of materials, components, and labor costs. 

Metal panels are more expensive than asphalt shingles

The biggest reason why a metal roof costs more than asphalt shingles is simply because the material itself is more expensive. No matter what type of metal you choose, metal panels will cost more than shingles. 

The difference in material costs also varies by location and manufacturers, but metal is simply a more expensive material. Just like the material itself, the components of a metal roof (more specifically a standing seam metal roof) will also be more expensive than an asphalt roof’s components.

Labor to install metal roofing is much different than installing asphalt shingles

Not only do metal panels cost more than asphalt shingles, but they also require more skill and labor to install. The required skill and specialty experience are a big reason why metal roofing’s labor costs are more expensive than asphalt shingles. 

Metal roofing also takes longer to install, which increases these costs even more. The fact that it takes more skill to install, it’s crucial to hire a roofing company with plenty of experience installing metal roofs. 

What else factors into the cost of a metal roof and asphalt shingles?

At this point, you know how metal roofing’s cost compares to asphalt shingles and why it’s more expensive. But no matter which one you choose, your specific roof determines where you’ll fall in the price ranges above. 

Below are the main factors a roofer takes into account when looking at your roof to determine the cost of your replacement. 

Roof square footage

Your roof’s square footage is the most obvious factor that impacts the cost of your new roof. It determines the amount of materials used, labor, and time needed to complete the job.

Just know that your home’s square footage doesn’t equal your roof’s square footage. Instead, you’ll need to measure your home’s footprint for a more realistic idea of your roof’s size.

Roof accessibility

Roofers use a roof access point for every single piece of the roof replacement process. The harder your roof is to access, the more it impacts a new roof’s cost. 

example of a roof that has no easy access point(Roof with no easy access point)

Things like landscaping below the roofline, patio area, a fence, and how far away the materials and dump truck are a few examples of what makes a roof hard to access. Simply put, the more obstacles they have to work around to get the job done increases labor and time costs. 

Number of penetrations

Just like working around things to access your roof, the number of penetrations to work around increases the cost. A roof penetration is anything that pokes through a roof, such as plumbing vents, gas vents, kitchen/bathroom vents, skylights, and chimneys. 

The more penetrations your roof has, the more time and labor it takes to complete the project. This also increases material prices because every penetration must be flashed properly to prevent leaks. 

Roof pitch

Roof pitch (also called roof slope) is your roof's steepness (angle). The steeper the roof pitch, the more it adds to the labor and material costs of your new roof. 

This is simply because a steep roof pitch doesn’t allow the installers to move around or access the materials as easily as they would on a walkable pitch. It also comes down to safety and taking the proper precautions during installation, like using harnesses and tying off.

Roof complexity

Everything we already covered plays into roof complexity, which is simply how the roof is designed. How complex your roof is depends on the number of facets, penetrations, angles, hips, valleys, its pitch (steepness), and how high off the ground it is. 

complex architectural asphalt shingle roof(Very complex roof)

The more complex the roof, the more expensive it is to replace. For example, a roof cut up with multiple facets at different angles, hips, valleys, and a steep pitch can end up being much more expensive than a simple ranch-style roof with only two or four roof facets, no matter the material used. 

What else do you need to compare when deciding between a metal roof and asphalt shingles?

Now you know what you need to know about metal roofing’s cost vs. asphalt shingles. The difference in cost is enough for some homeowners to determine which one is the right roofing material for them. 

But while cost is usually the biggest decision-making factor, there are plenty of other things to compare. After all, how can you feel confident you’re making the right decision if you don’t have all the information?

That’s why I wrote another article comparing the pros and cons of asphalt shingles and metal roofing, plus their lifespan, warranties, and more.

Check out Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles: Which is Right for You to get all the information you need to make the right roofing material decision.

roofing material quiz

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