Clyde Nettles Roofing & Consulting

The Great Roofing Debate: Metal or Shingles? What You Need to Know About Metal Roofs

At Clyde Nettles, we get a lot of customers inquiring about metal roofs. Years ago, metal roofs seemed to be the way to go for longevity and durability. But with the technological advancements of shingles over the last 25 years, metal roofs are not always the most cost-effective way to protect your home. And while we absolutely do install metal roofs (as well as shingles), we believe you should have all of the necessary information to determine if this is the best route for your next roof replacement.

If you are considering a metal roof, we outline all of the items you will need to consider below.

1. Metal Roofs: Different Types of Installation
Metal roofs basically fall into two different categories: installed with screws/neoprene washers/exposed fasteners or standing seam where clips/fasteners cover the next sheet of metal. The standing seam is more expensive, as it takes more labor to install. The exposed fastener system may eventually wear out or fail in as little as 20 years (possibly causing the roof to leak).

2. Metal Roofs: Gauge or Thickness of Metal
The thinner the metal, the greater chance of it showing ripples or imperfections in the roof deck. When buying (or being quoted on) a metal roof, you need to know if the thickness is measured before or after paint is applied. When reviewing quotes, keep in mind thinner metal has a higher number. For example, a 26 gauge panel is thicker than a 29 gauge panel. Also the thinner metal is more susceptible to hail/environmental damage.

metal roof with ripples
This photo shows the “rippling effect” that can affect metal roofs over time.

3. Metal Roofs: Paint Finish
Some of the most popular metal roofs are red, green or blue – which fade badly over time. Aging and sunlight fade any color (think of cars 15+ years old) and if you ever have damage to one section of the roof, to the extent it needs replacing, then you will have an off-color section of roofing. Paint finish warranties that come “standard” with most roofs do not cover the fading of panels.
**Please note: some insurance companies may choose to make an “appearance allowance” on a metal roof if it is damaged rather than replace it. This could mean replacing an old metal roof with new sections, which can sometimes be very difficult to match.

4. Metal Roofs Are Not Maintenance Free
Protrusions and flashings provide the same complexity and issues as shingle installed roofs. Not to mention the rusting that can and eventually will happen.

rusted metal roof

5. Bottom Line: Metal vs. Shingles
Shingles have come a long, long way in the last 25 years. In addition to different styles, colors and more, a lot of shingles now come standard with 50 year warranties and some are even rated to handle winds of up to 150 mph!

At Clyde Nettles, we offer a wide variety of shingles which not only come with great warranties, but also guarantee against weather damage, discoloration and more. If you are set on having a metal roof, ask yourself, are you okay with spending 2 – 2.5 times as much for a roof that may not last you the same amount of time? Not to mention shingle roofs are easier to repair.

Fifty years is a long time, especially considering most Americans only average 13 years in one home. It’s probably well worth it to shingle that roof versus paying way more for metal.

We are South Carolina’s most trusted roofing company since 1950. We love all roofs, metal and shingle. It’s been our life for 70 years now. We just want you to have as much information as possible when it comes to roofing and making financial decisions on your home.
Thanks for reading, as always feel free to contact us with any questions :).