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Average Metal Roof Cost vs Shingles

The cost of a metal roof installation is dependent on a number of factors, such as the type of roofing material you choose, the square footage required, the pitch and slope of your roof, and the roofing contractor you use. The national average for the cost of metal roofing materials ranges from $6.38 to $28.50 per square foot installed (i.e. including labor), which means the average cost of a metal roof on 1600 square foot homes is between $12,400 and $45,600.

Read on to learn more about the different types of metal roofs available, roofing prices and how you can be sure to pick the right metal roof for your roofing project.

Why Choose a Metal Roof?

Though more expensive on average, metal roof over shingles installation is worth it. Metal roofing can be installed over an existing roof if the shingles are still in good shape. If the old roof has any leaks or is rotting, it is typically recommended that these issues are addressed before installing a brand new metal roof. The durability, reliability, sustainability and efficiency of a metal shingle roof makes the roof installation well worth the initial expense in the long-run. If the proverbial Three Little Pigs had the choice, you bet the wisest of them would pick a roof made of metal. Metal roofs can not only withstand the wind, rain, snow, and searing heat but also maintain the optimum temperature in your home (and protect from the occasional Big Bad Wolf, of course). 

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof?

Metal roofing installation cost varies in price depending on which metal roof styles and materials are chosen and whether you opt for metal shingles such as Aluminum, or corrugated metal panels. If we take, for example, the average cost of metal roofs on 1600 square foot homes, Asphalt is the cheapest material at $2,192, making an asphalt roof a viable option for those on a budget. On the other end of the spectrum, copper roof panels could set you back up to $36,000 for a 1600 square foot home. 

Be sure to check the materials are approved by UL, FM Global, or an equivalent regulator. Here are some of the different materials on offer for your metal roof:

  • Asphalt $1.37 per square foot, $2,192 per 1600 square foot home. 
  • Aluminum Shingles – $4.63 per square foot, $7,408 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Galvalume – $1.63 per square foot, $2,608 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Galvanized Steel – $3.25 per square foot, $5,200 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Stone Coated Steel – $3.87 per square foot, $6,192 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Aluminum Sheets – $3.87 per square foot, $6,192 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Zinc – $7.50 per square foot, $12,000 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Stainless Steel – $8.00 per square foot, $12,800 per 1600 square foot home.
  • Copper – $22.50 per square foot, $36,000 per 1600 square foot home. 

Metal Roof Cost versus Shingles

While the cost of metal roofing panels stands at between $1.63 to $22.50 for materials alone, shingle roofing made of either metal, such as galvanized steel or aluminum, or asphalt, can be up to 2 to 3 times less expensive than metal roof panels. However, you truly get what you pay for in this respect. It is easy to see how the durability, sustainability, reliability, and efficiency of metal roof panels merits their expense compared to a metal or asphalt shingle roof.

  • Durability – Metal roof panels can typically last up to 60 years if they are not corroded (up to 3 times longer than shingle roofs). They are also able to withstand winds up to 160mph as long as they are installed correctly, as opposed to 70 mph for shingle roofs. Learn more in our guide to How Long Do Metal Roofs Last.
  • Reliability – Metal roof panels are low maintenance once installed and dent resistant, in contrast to a shingle roof which is likely to suffer from forms of curling and buckling. They have a Class A fire rating too, so they are more fire-resistant than shingle roofs. 
  • Sustainability – Metal roofing is typically made of up to 25% recycled material and is 100% recyclable. The material also retains its resale value long after installation.  
  • Efficiency – Metal roof panels provide better insulation than shingle roofs, helping to maintain an optimum temperature in hotter climates by reflecting sunlight and heat. What is known as ‘cool metal roofing’, heat deflecting metal roof panels can often pay for themselves through increased energy efficiency while helping the planet.

Metal Roof Panel Types

Metal roof panels vary in terms of how they are installed. Each has its own advantages, from cost-effectiveness to ease of roof installation. 

  • R-Panel – These roofing systems are popular in both residential and commercial settings due to their ease of installation, cutting labor, time, and disposal costs. Although, as with all metal roofs, R-Panels are prone to rusting, which can be mitigated by painting. 
  • Corrugated – The classic roofing systems which have stood the test of time, corrugated metal panels are often galvanized fit well with structural designs and fiberglass skylight panels. Corrugated metal roofing also tends to be cheaper than other types of metal roofing.
  • Architectural Standing Seam Metal Roof – The way in which the metal roofing panels interlock provides superior structural strength to the seam roof, allowing for greater protection from wind uplift and water. For this roofing option, a sealant is applied during installation, ensuring that the roof is watertight and maintains its structural integrity even when temperatures vary. 

The Average Cost of Installing a Metal Roofing System vs Asphalt Roofing

Metal roof panels tend to be more expensive to install than shingle roofs due to the fact that they require a higher degree of expertise and the materials are heavier, therefore require more labor to cut into shape. Labor to install metal roof panels by a roofer typically costs from $5.50 to $14 per square foot, which as an average cost of metal roof on 1600 square foot homes comes to between $8,800 to $22,400. 

In contrast, the labor cost for an asphalt shingle roofing would come to between $3.50 to $7 per square foot installed, so $5,600 to $11,200 per 1600 square foot home. The cost of labor is usually 3 to 5 times the cost of roofing products and materials alone. Contact your local roofing specialist for a roof repair quote based on the specifications of your type of roof. 

Pitch, Slope, and Underlayment 

The specific dimensions of your type of roof, including the angle of the slope and its pitch, are significant factors to consider when asking what is the cost of a metal roof installation. Metal roofing panels are screwed on top of a synthetic underlayer which enables breathability. This underlayment adds $30 to $50 to the total cost. Added to this are roofing products and materials such as screws, rivets, clamps, pipe boots and sealants—all essential to make sure your roof is installed correctly. 

A Lasting Investment

The initial expense of installing a metal roof on your home may seem a lot at first glance, but the advantages of your investment are felt almost immediately. Those who invest in metal roofing will typically recoup most of the initial costs through insurance premiums and energy savings alone.

  • In states prone to wildfires such as California and Texas, a metal roof can lower your home’s insurance premium by up to 35% due to their fire-resistant qualities. 
  • Through the use of ‘cool metal roofing’, energy costs can be reduced by up to 40%, according to a study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This means that metal roofs not only save money but can help save the planet too! 

Is the Average Cost of a Metal Roof Worth It?

So, factoring in all of the above, it is easy to see the long-term advantages of choosing metal roofing panels for your roof replacement or new roof installation. They provide a roof you can rely on: one that is low-maintenance, fire-resistant, yet also able to maintain an optimum temperature in your home. Strong, durable metal roofing materials such as steel, copper and aluminum will last a lifetime while maintaining their resale value. 

While the average cost of a metal roof installation and roofing products are initially greater, the savings made through their durability, sustainability and efficiency make metal roof panels well worth it. It is important to see it as an investment when choosing a metal roofing material and roofing system. Our guess is that the wisest Little Piggy would agree.



ORNL. Cool Roof Calculator.

Bob Vila. What’s the Difference? Metal Roofs vs. Asphalt Shingles.