Installing a metal shingle roof on a residential home will cost, on average, between $8.00 and $10.00 per sq. ft. There are a number of factors that determine that cost, and we’ll explore them in this article. It’s perhaps most important to realize that of the three primary options for metal roofing (the others being Standing Seam and Corrugated Panels), Metal Shingle is in the middle of pack in terms of cost.
Understanding the Enormous Options of a Metal Shingle Roof
At first mention, metal shingles sound bland, or perhaps too risky of an option in an area where they would clearly be outside the norm (i.e. all your neighbors have asphalt shingle roofing). Yet, when researching metal shingles styles and options for residential homes, you might be surprised to pull up some images that look a lot like asphalt shingles. 😉 Why would that be? Because the reality of metal shingles in 2017, or in the last few years, is that these are really metal tiles that are intended to mimic just about all other possible roofing styles designed for sloped roofs.
Slate tiles, ceramic tiles, asphalt shingles, cedar shake and say redwood shingle are all materials that metal shingles can mimic. From the curbside view, it would be hard to tell the difference between the metal material and its usual counterpart. That’s how diverse the metal roofing industry has gotten. Add to this the idea that metal itself can have a pleasing appearance, as is the case with copper, zinc and painted aluminum and steel tiles. Gone are the days when metal shingles only have a silver/gray, metallic appearance.
Key Fact: There are really two basic types of metal shingles, or tiles: metal coated with metallic finish, often second coated with factory finished paint, and the second type which is often referred to as stone-coated metal tiles.
It’s the stone-coated variation that opens the door to having metal shingles that look nearly identical to asphalt shingles, because like asphalt shingles, they are coated with granules. So, it’s not just color, but texture that allows metal shingles to obtain a great diversity in product options. With texture as an additional option, slate, wood and ceramic are all possible appearances for metal roofing.
Then there is shape, which varies a bit by manufacturer, but for the most part are rectangular, or diamond shaped. Usually, installation relies on an interlocking system that makes for quicker installation and ability to hide fasteners. Some manufacturers still go the route of having panels of say 4 tiles (per panel) that are adhered to the roof deck. Panels are usually 4 feet long and are often installed over existing roofing (i.e. metal shingles can be installed on top of asphalt shingles).
Did you know? Interlocking tiles are now the 2nd most popular type of metal roofing for residential homes after standing seam.
The other consideration for shingle options is the material, or type of metal itself, but we’ll cover that in the next section.
Cost and Values of a Metal Shingle Roof
Metal shingles cost about $3.00 to $4.00 per sq. ft. not including labor. That’s just for the material. This is a good 2 to 3 times more expensive than material costs for asphalt shingles. When labor is added, the cost is in range we noted at the beginning, or $8.00 to $10.00 per sq. ft. That is closer to twice the cost of installing asphalt shingles. Yet, the value far exceeds that of asphalt shingles, as our “Advantages” section notes below.
The caveat with the price range is that this is for the two most popular materials used in metal shingles, aluminum and steel. If going with zinc or copper, the cost goes up significantly, but so does the value. For Copper, it is about $12.00 to $16.00 per sq. ft. just for the material, and for Zinc the material cost is around $6.00 to $8.00 per sq. ft. Aluminum and Steel are both in the range of $3.00 to $4.00 for the material cost.
According to RoofingCalc.com, using their cost calculator, a steel shingle roof covering 1,600 sq. ft. will cost between $12,000 and $16,000, installed. There are a number of factors, even with just this specific material, that can impact the price range; These include location – as in plug in another zip code at the RoofingCalc.com calculator and watch the rates change. Availability of professional contractors will affect the rates you will get, and whether or not the existing roof needs to be torn off and disposed of, which is generally not the case with metal shingles, but could be. Usually, metal shingle roofs need what is called a “breathable layer” or underlayment that is just below the metal, and helps act as added water barrier, though this will only add around $40 per square (equals to 100 sq. ft.) to the cost.
Important Consideration – the greater the square footage of your roof, the less you can plan to pay for the material on a per square foot basis.
Technically, steel is less expensive than aluminum, but by the time metal shingles are sold to the end consumer, they end up being the same. Both are likely to be coated, or finished with paint. It’s important that you go with Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000, factory finish paints, as these will offer the best protection and usually carry a minimum 20 year warranty. Colors are in essence unlimited, but wholesalers tend to stock about a dozen popular options which is usually what most homeowners choose. Texture adds a whole other level to the available options.
Steel though needs an extra layer so that it can be readily painted. This layer will be referenced (routinely) as galvanized. Think of this as a metallic primer that greatly protects the steel base material. Without it, steel is prone to corrosion, commonly referenced as rust. Even aluminum can corrode, but tends to chalk up, or get a whitish film to it, when it’s protective (painted) layer has faded. The coating on steel is actually 100% zinc, which is one of the most durable metals around, or it’s a mixture of zinc and aluminum. The all zinc coating is “galvanized steel” and the combination one is referenced as “galvalume”.
Zinc and copper tiles don’t need special coating, nor painting as they are non-corrosive metals. Really, these materials deserve their own article.
ROI and Investment Considerations
As you can imagine, metal and stone roofs will last longer than all other roof types. This is huge advantage, and is what makes them a great investment. By the time a home has gone through 3 quality life cycles of asphalt shingles, a metal roof might need replacement for its first time. While the initial costs are significantly higher for metal compared to asphalt shingles, the lasting value actually favors metal. Again, see the Advantages section below to help with perspective.
The Return on Investment (or ROI) for metal roofs supersede all other roofing materials. Most metal roof manufacturers, especially for tile products, carry a 50 year, non-prorated and fully transferable warranty. Asphalt shingles would be lucky to last that long, and their warranty usually is around half that, plus is often prorated. Cedar shake roofs certainly have natural beauty, but metal shakes can come fairly close to matching their appearance and will easily outlast their wood counterpart.
Metal roofs continue to grow in popularity which only increases their resale value. The national average is about 86% recouped value for what you put in, and what you can expect to get at time of sale. This number varies by region and the east cost tends to see the highest ROI for metal roofing.
Stylistic Fact A classic colonial or brick home will benefit perhaps the most from metal shingle roofing as far as preserving the traditional look, while obtaining all the advantages of a metal roof.
Note: The asterisk after the items below are unique to metal shingles. Most of the advantages, and disadvantages, hold true for all types of metal roofs.
- Can be applied over an existing roof*
- Special coating of material resists dirt and environmental aging
- Very wide range of variation in terms of shape, texture and color*
- Durability factor 1 – will last a long time – 100 years on average
- Durability factor 2 – will withstand 110 mph winds
- Durability factor 3 – can withstand hail (check manufacturer information for exact impact resistance)
- Excellent ROI
- Made up usually of recycled material, thus green friendly, and is 100% recyclable
- Will not burn, insects will not eat away at it, will not mildew
- adding solar paneling down the road can be expensive and expose weaknesses of metal shingles*
- significantly higher installation cost than asphalt shingles
- can dent from large hail or if walked on without care
- the material will outlast the coated finishes, so re-coating is part of maintenance (though usually 30 years minimum after installation)
- Repairing individual shingles can be challenging and/or costly*