Metal Roofing Cost vs. Asphalt Shingles: What to Expect in 2016-2017

If you are a homeowner considering installing a new metal roof on your house, then undoubtedly, one of the burning questions on your mind is how much will it cost?

On average, you can expect to pay between $5.50 and $12.00 per square foot of metal roofing installed. Granted, this is a pretty wide pricing range, therefore, expect a metal shingle roof to average between $7.00 to $10.00 per square foot installed, while a standing seam metal roof will cost between $9.00 to $12.00 per square foot installed.

Assuming the average cost of $10.00 per square foot of metal roofing installed and applying it to an average-sized roof, it will cost about $17,000 to install approximately 17 squares or 1,700 square feet of metal roofing on a typical house. The low-end cost for steel shingles installed over-top of the existing roof would be around $14,500 for the same roof, while the high-end cost of aluminum standing seam would be about $19,500 for a comparable roof.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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If you opt for a less-costly option such as corrugated or ribbed steel roof, your cost will likely fall within $3.00 to $6.00 per square foot installed, depending on the metal thickness (gauges for steel or mils for aluminum) and the quality of paint finish (acrylic vs. Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000) for the system being installed, as well as your home’s geographic location.

a-rugged-standing-seam-metal-roof

Important Points to Keep in Mind:

When it comes to residential metal roofing, you are not only paying more for a higher quality material than asphalt shingle, but you are also paying for a more costly, professional installation that requires specialized skills, expertise, and equipment. Keep in mind that there are a number of factors that may influence your final price for a new metal roof. These include the type of metal and the roof style you choose, your geographic location, and the overall complexity of your particular roof.

Pricing breakdown by System and What to Expect:

1. Introduction to our Pricing Guide
2. Understanding the High Cost of Labor to Install Metal Roofing
3. Steel Shingles, Standing Seam, and Stone-Coated Steel Roofs
4. Aluminum Shingles and Standing Seam
5. Copper and Zinc
6. Paint Finish Quality
7. Metal Roof Colors
8. Effects of Location on Price
9. Why a Metal Roof is a Smart Investment

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1. What to Expect From This Guide

Our pricing guide will walk you through all the main factors determining the cost of a metal roof. You will learn how much you can expect to pay for most popular types of metal roofing materials and how much it will cost to install the system of your choice. Once you understand how the pricing work and decide on the type of system you want to install, you can then confidently negotiate with any contractor, as well as shop around to get the best deal possible in your area, without sacrificing on quality.

Did you know? The Total Amount of Labor Required to Install a Metal Roof is the most Significant Cost Factor!

A beautiful cabin with combination roof


As a general rule of thumb, the greater the square footage of your roof, the less you can expect to pay on a per square foot basis for your choice of metal roofing material, especially if you opt for standing seam panels. Did you know? Small-size orders requiring less than 300 sq. ft. or three squares of custom-sized sheet metal panels can be surprisingly expensive!

If you have a complex roof with multiple cut-up angles, dormers, sidewalls, chimneys and/or skylights requiring metal flashing, then your total installation cost will be proportionally higher.

2. Why The cost of Labor to Install Metal Roofing is Inherently High Compared to Asphalt

One of the main reasons for the high cost of residential metal roofing is the high cost of labor required for professional installation. That’s right, installing a metal roof is a technically involved process requiring special skills, training, experience and equipment. Unlike conventional asphalt shingle roofing, the installation of a metal roof must be carried out in a very accurately-measured and precise manner. A metal roof is not simply nailed to the roof deck like its “ugly” cousin, asphalt shingles. 😉 To install a typical metal roof, it can take up to two to three times longer than installing a comparable asphalt shingles roof. To ensure the longevity of a new metal roof, the entire installation process must be carried out with proper technical know-how, precision, care and patience.

Standing Seam and Shingles Combo


The base price includes installation of premium breathable synthetic roof underlayment, along with basic, necessary pipe boots and roof vents. A breathable underlayment will add an extra $30 to $40 to the cost of materials on a per square (100 square feet) basis. All the necessary trim and per-fabricated roof flashing is included in the cost of materials. One square equals to 100 square feet of the actual roof surface.

For instance, If you plan to install a standing seam roof, be prepared to pay more for the cost of labor, because standing seam installation can be quite technical and tedious compared to other types of metal roofing. A typical installation price for a residential standing seam metal roof starts at around $9.00 to $10.00 per square foot or $900.00 to $1,000.00 per square installed. This figure does not include the cost of removing and disposing of the old roof.

Now, let’s take a look at the prices you can expect to pay for various types of metals and profiles including standing seam, steel shingles, metal tiles, stone-coated steel shingles, and their installation costs.

3. Steel

G-90 – Galvanized Steel: Hot-dip galvanized steel is the most affordable (after G-60 steel, which is used primarily in low-grade/low-end corrugated sheet metal panels that are commonly used for low-end roofing coverage of sheds, garages, some homes in rural areas, and lower-end industrial and agricultural applications.) kind of residential metal roofing material. It’s steel coil or sheet steel coated with with a thin layer of zinc oxide, which provides a reasonable degree of corrosion resistance and protection from the elements.

The following systems are usually made with G-90 Steel:

Interlocking Steel Shingles:

Materials will cost around $3.00 to $3.50 per square foot or $300.00 to $350.00 per square (100 sq. ft.) of painted steel shingles including trim. The base total cost installed starts at about $7.50 per sq. ft. or $750.00 per square, not including the tear-off.

Stone-Coated Steel Shingles and Tiles:

Stone-Coated steel roofing products are available in a wide variety of styles and profiles including Tile, Slate, Shake, and Shingle. Materials costs for steel coated shingles and tiles range from $3.50 to $4.25 per square foot or $350.00 to $425.00 per square including trim (based on http://www.newenglandmetalroof.com/research-metal-roofing-prices.html). With a professional installation, you would be looking at a total base price of about $10.00 per square foot or $1,000.00 per square, not including the tear off and disposal of the old roof.

Galvalume Steel – A measurable improvement over G-90 steel, galvalume steel has a coating of corrosion resistant aluminum-zinc alloy applied by a continuous hot dip process. Galvalume steel offers longer-lasting protection against rusting and corrosion from exposure to elements. — It’s for this reason most higher-end, residential standing seam steel panels are manufactured from galvalume steel, not galvanized (G-90 steel).

Steel Standing Seam: Prices start at around $4.00 to $4.50 per square foot of standing seam steel panels fabricated and cut to order at a local sheet metal shop such as the ones available at Beacon Supply or ABC Supply. To have a standing seam steel roof installed on a residence, your would be looking at a total cost of $10.00 per square foot or $1,000.00 per square, not including the cost of removing the old roof.

curved-metal-roof-on-a-residence


4. Aluminum

Aluminum is a step up in quality and longevity from steel. Aluminum is a more appropriate metal for homes based in near coastal areas. Aluminum provides longer-lasting protection from corrosion compared to steel.

Aluminum Shingles: Materials range in price from $3.75 to $5.50 per square foot or $375.00 to $550.00 per square of aluminum shingles including the trim. The total cost installed for aluminum shingles starts at around $9.00 per square foot or $900.00 per square for a basic residential roof, without the tear-off.

Aluminum Standing Seam:

Prices start at around $5.00 per square foot or $500.00 per square of aluminum standing seam panels fabricated and cut to order at your local building supply warehouse. To have an aluminum standing seam roof installed on typical residence, you would be looking at a total starting base cost of about $11.00 per square foot or $1,100.00 per square, without the removal and disposal of the old roof.


5. Copper and Zinc

Copper is a premium quality metal and comes with a hefty price tag. You can expect to pay anywhere from $9.00 to $14.00 per square foot or $900.00 to $1,400.00 per square of copper shingles or standing seam materials, not including the cost of labor. The cost of materials will range depending on the thickness and weight of copper shingles or copper standing seam pans. The cost of installation will also be significant, especially if you choose to go with copper standing seam panels requiring soldering of 16oz. or 20oz. copper pans. The cost of a zinc roof would be roughly on par with copper.

6. Paint Finish Quality Considerations

Sheet Metal Roof on a Ranch House

Today, you can get your metal roof system in any color finish, with special paint coatings available in different grades ranging from low to premium quality. It is best to pay more and step up to a premium grade. If this is for a home you want to be proud of, then aim for a Kynar-500 paint finish. It will be a difference of only a few hundred dollars, but you will have a longer-lasting, high-quality paint that comes with a lifetime transferable warranty, instead of getting stuck with a low-end non-warrantied paint finish.


In order to make an informed decision, make sure your contractor discusses a full range of paint grades and metal gauges available, and suggests the one that would be the best option for your home.

7. Metal Roof Colors

Most modern residential metal roofs are available in a wide array of energy-efficient, CoolRoof rated colors. Generally speaking, the array of color choices is greater with standing seam, but metal shingles, tiles, and metal shake roofs do offer a wide selection of standard colors, as well.

Examples of Steel Shingle Colors

Examples of Standard Standing Seam Colors

Estimated Roof Costs (1620 s.f.)
Asphalt Shingles
Metal Roofing
Flat Roof
$7,500
$14,500
$8,225
See Roof Costs in Your Area

8. Did you know? Your Total Cost May Vary Greatly with Geographic Location

The actual price for a metal roof can vary quite a bit depending on your home’s geographic location. The cost of labor varies greatly in different states across the US. If you live in an expensive area such as New York City or San Francisco, the cost of labor for a roofing contractor will be a lot higher than in cities with a lower-cost of living, such as Memphis or Louisville. Knowing this, it is critical to try not to cut corners by saving on the cost of installation and trusting the job to an inexperienced roofing contractor who may be willing to give you a lower price.

Durability and longevity of a new metal roof is largely determined by its proper installation. So, it is best to hire the most-experienced installer in order to get it right the first time, rather than having to spend a lot of money on costly repairs down the road.

9. Why a Metal Roof is a Smart Investment in your Home and Environment

Energy Efficiency

Thanks to its superior durability, longevity, and energy efficiency, a metal roof can be a smart investment in your home. With an energy efficient metal roof, you can save a good chunk of “change” on you air conditioning costs over the summer. Electricity savings of 20% to 30% are common for CoolRoof rated metal roofs during the peak AC usage months. Over the years, these savings will add up.

Durability, Longevity, ROI and Recouped Value

Another benefit of metal roofing is its superior durability and longevity. Metal roofs are built to last. While an average lifespan of an asphalt roof is about 17 years, a properly installed metal roof will easily last 35 to 50 years.

Have you ever seen what a hurricane can do to an asphalt roof? It can literally rip off all the shingles from the roof deck! 😉 A properly installed metal roof will withstand most hurricane-grade winds, hail, snow and ice build-up.

In terms curb of appeal and beyond, a home protected by a metal roof not only looks beautiful, but its value increases and maintains for many decades to come. A recouped value of a metal roof at resale hovers at around 90%. Meanwhile, a homeowner gets to enjoy the classic beauty of metal, along with substantial energy savings and often reduced home insurance premiums.

Green, Fully-Recyclable Material

For environmentally-conscious homeowners, a metal roof will often contain over 30% of post-consumer, recycled metal content, and unlike its “ugly cousin” asphalt shingles, a metal roof is fully recyclable. Every year, billions of pounds of asphalt end-up in our landfills.

Standing Seam Means Solar!

A metal roof can help you save money in more than one way. For instance, a standing seam metal roof is ready for a seamless PV solar system integration. Thanks to its raised seams, PV solar panels can be mounted over the raised seams with the help of special S-5 holding brackets attached to the seams. In other words you don’t need to drill any holes in your shiny roof. Try doing that with asphalt! 😉

concave standing seam roof


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31 thoughts on “Metal Roofing Cost vs. Asphalt Shingles: What to Expect in 2016-2017

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  3. Lisa D.

    I am pretty impressed with your information. It is honest and realistic. It is not too often that there is someone that has the info and the knowledge that you have. We are a supplier of metal roofing and siding products and have a sister company that installs metal roofs (installation only). We just drove past a job that was being installed on a large fire company. The installation crew was pounding down the original standing seam and laying a new standing seam roof directly over top of the old one. I never saw this done and was amazed. I feel that this is a very poor application and nothing but a problem in the future. Your thoughts?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Lisa,

      This certainly sounds like the crew is trying to cut some corners, and this could potentially end up being a major problem in several ways:

      First of all, the metals could be incompatible; for instance, if the old roof was made of steel, while the new one is made of aluminum. — these metals should not be in contact as they will oxidize. There could also be some undiagnosed deck issues requiring repairs if the old roof has had any major leaks.

      Not sure how any storms or strong winds (uplift) will affect the new roof, as it may end up not being properly anchored to the roof deck, not to mention the issues with potential thermal expansion of the two metals being in contact, any resulting scratching of the metals from thermal expansion and contraction, and aesthetically uneven application of the panels, etc. – The building inspector may or may not approve the job if they learn about what’s underneath the new standing seam metal roof.

      Reply
  4. Martin Cygan

    Given that different regions and geographic areas will have different prices, what is the cost difference in metal vs. asphalt in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and San Diego markets?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hello Martin,

      A typical standing seam metal roof for your average house in Pasadena will cost around $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the size and shape of the roof, number of storeys, and whether or not the old roof requires a removal. For asphalt, it would be roughly half the cost of metal, or $7,500 to $10,000 for a fully-warrantied and insured job by a licensed contractor.

      For comparison, a similarly-sized clay tile roof would probably cost twice as much as metal in Southern California, where clay tile roofs, with their “Spanish Tile” look are very popular.

      Reply
  5. Don

    Considering a metal roof and the contractor indicated that he would just go over top of asphalt singles? He would lay down fabric, then the metal roofing? Does this application method seem reasonable?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Don,

      It could be reasonable depending on the type of metal roofing system being installed, the shape of your roof deck, and how many layers of shingles there are currently on the roof. Generally speaking, you can do it with metal shingles, if there is only one layer of asphalt (two at most, if it’s allowed by the local building code) and the roof deck is in good shape with no major gaps in between the boards. You would not want any screws or nails to end up in the gaps/space between the two boards comprising the roof deck. — The concern is that with the installation of metal shingles of the existing layer of asphalt, you could essentially end-up with a whole raw of metal shingles being “secured” by nails that ended up being driven into the empty space between the boards, rather than a solid substrate such as tightly-fitted wooden planks comprising your roof deck or plywood. If that’s a concern, you could always perform a tear off, and then install plywood over the boards/deck before installing underlayment and metal shingles.

      With standing seam, it may not be a bad idea to remove the asphalt shingles first, as the longer standing seam panels have a tendency to expand and contract with temperature changes, which could cause the underside of standing seam metal panels to start rubbing against the sand granules on asphalt shingles. Overtime, this could lead to corrosion, if you choose to install steel panels rather than aluminum. Thus, I would not advice it with standing seam due to the expansion and contraction of metal panels rubbing against sand particles, as well as the telegraphing of shingles underneath the metal panels.

      For underlayment, I would recommend using breathable synthetic underlayment such as DeckArmor by GAF, not the regular felt underlayment used with asphalt.

      What kind of a metal roof were you thinking to install?

      Reply
      1. Don

        I am looking at the Heavy Gauge G90 galvanized Steel coated with Kynar 500 PVDF flouropolymer finish metal roof.

        Reply
        1. The Roof Guy Post author

          You can go over the existing roof with coated steel shingles, but I would not recommend it with standing seam, once again due to thermal movement. Also, if you are in salt spray environment or right near the ocean’s shore, such as a beach house, then consider going with aluminum rather than steel.

          Reply
        2. doug107

          The Roof Guy is spot-on with his recommendations, although there are additional methods for roofing over shingles. The most common is to add battens to the roof, and constructing the new roof on the battens. This keeps the metal panels from contacting the old roof surface, and provides a small airspace which helps both with improved energy performance and reduced condensation. For a short read on the topic, go to: http://www.metalpanelsinc.com/Library/MPI-roof-over-shingles.pdf

          Reply
      2. doug107

        Completely agree here. Battens could solve the problem of contact between the surfaces, but totally support The Roof Guy’s emphasis that your substrate must be solid and in good repair, otherwise you’ll be vulnerable to early failure. We don’t even sell felt, as the current synthetic underlayments are so much better and long-lasting. Nails are never a good idea for metal products, though, and recommend specifying screws specifically for the task. They will hold tight longer, and resist uplift better giving you a more weather-tight, secure roofing system.

        Reply
        1. The Roof Guy Post author

          Thank you Doug, appreciate you mentioning the batten system as an option for constructing a metal roof in such a way that there is space/air pockets between the old surface and a newly installed metal roofing system.

          Reply
  6. chris

    Probably one of the best metal roofing articles with follow-up comments I’ve ever read. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  7. Carol

    I know this may sound dumb, but don’t you have to worry about hail damage on a metal roof? I can see the advantage of it lasting forever, but won’t it look terrible year after year that it endures hail damage?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Carol,

      Most modern metal roofs designed for residential uses are tested, rated, and warrantied to withstand hail. Most asphalt shingles roofs, on the other hand, would crack and fail when exposed to large hail.

      Metal is def. the way to go if you live in a hail prone area such as Oklahoma.

      Reply
      1. doug107

        Agreed. The key to hail resistance is the gauge of the metal. Hail-prone areas should be advised to purchase appropriate gauge and profiles for satisfactory performance.

        Reply
  8. Brad

    Cost range for aluminum roof in Friendswood TX- near Houston? Low grade roof single story 2200 sq foot home. Acrylic or Kynar better finish?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hey Brad,

      Thank you for your interest in getting a new aluminum roof installed neat Houston, Texas. The easiest way to go about getting a few actual quotes is to submit your request by filling out our easy form at the top of the page. Just enter your zip code and provide some basic info about your roof above. You will receive quality estimates in no time.

      Thanks and Good Luck!

      Reply
  9. doug107

    Nice article, a fairly neutral take on the cost factors of metal roofing. The elephant in the room that you ignored, was explaining the benefits of metal roofing, and why in many cases it ends up being the better value long-term — triple the lifespan of asphalt, energy savings, fire & impact resistance (which can lower insurance rates) and even weather-tight warranties that traditional roofing cannot offer. For the environment, traditional roofing is filling acres of landfill each year; metal is 100% recyclable, and therefore environmentally friendly. Metal roofs are about a third of the weight of traditional roofs. The benefits go on and on. It comes down to higher up-front costs, but much better cost-value across the life of the roof.

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      All great points, thank you Doug!

      Reply
  10. Jessica

    You mention metal roofing is more specialized to install. Would a union sheet metal Journeyman with 17 years experience be suffice?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Jessica,

      Yes, I believe that’s plenty of experience with sheet metal for the job. Just make sure the installer is willing to familiarize himself with standing seam manufacturer’s installation specs. including underlayment, chimney and skylight flashing if applicable. I recommend using manufacturer-approved supplies such as underlayment, fasteners, etc.

      Reply
  11. aphilley

    My husband and I are about to buy a house that needs a new roof. I want to install aluminum, he is worried that the sound of rain on the metal will be loud inside the house. The roof is gabled and the upstairs has two bedrooms with about 2 or 2 1/2 feet crawl space at the peek, but a portion of the downward slant has no space between the bedroom wall and roofing structure. We live in Austin, TX, so can get intermittent rain storms, not much hail, though. What is your experience of noise with metal vs. asphalt shingle?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Aphilley,

      When a metal roof is installed over the attic space or craw space, there should not be any noticeable noise. If there is no attic space, but a metal roof is still installed over solid sheathing such as plywood, or tightly-fitted boards, covered by underlayment, or better yet insulation over the solid sheathing, plus breathable synthetic underlayment, then the level of noise during rainfall should be minimal.

      The noise is only an issue if there is no solid sheathing underneath the metal roof, which was often the case with the “old school” shacks in the south, with their old tin roofs. Many old metal barns had similar issues.

      Hope this was helpful.

      Reply
  12. HL

    Will a metal roof really last forever?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Given proper installation methods were used including deck prep, ventilation, and fastening, your new metal roof should indeed last for a lifetime of the house. Of course, you need to do your own due-diligence when choosing the installer, so that your system is installed by the book. That also entails proper selection of the system to install, flashing elements, underlayment selection, etc. It’s the whole system, not just longevity of individual panel that should be taken into the account.

      Reply
  13. Michael Daniels

    What are the “tear off” costs?

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Michael,

      The “Tear off” stands for the removal of the old roof. Typically, it will cost $1.50 per square foot to remove and dispose of the old roof.

      Cheers

      Reply
  14. Delores J Griffith

    I have had damage to my existing asphalt roof from pests. I think the cause is raccoons. One hole in the roof is a half circle where the shingles and plywood are completely gone. The other hole may have been a broken limb, but could have been animals. My concern is if I replace the roof with the same type of roof, then I might have the same situation in a short period of time.

    Therefore, I am leaning toward a metal roof. I have a fairly good estimate for Galvalume Steel, 24 or 26 gauge standing seam material. I am almost ready to contract for this. My main concern is whether a metal roof, beyond the other advantages, will prevent raccoons and other pests, such as squirrels from destroying my roof again?

    No one I have spoken to seems to be able to actually state that a metal roof will be better in terms of animal damage. Additionally, will I be able to have a ridge vent with a metal roof? This system seems preferable. Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. The Roof Guy Post author

      Hi Delores,

      Raccoons and squires won’t be able to eat through or break through a metal roof into your attic. However, if raccoons have a way to get onto the roof and run freely, there is a chance they may scratch and damage the paint finish with their claws. If the roof is steep enough, then this should not be an issue.

      As far as making sure that raccoons and squirrels stay away from your attic, metal roof will pretty much guarantee that these animals are not able to enter your home through the roof.

      Yes, you can have the ridge vent installed with a metal roof, provided there are also soffit vents in place. Ridge vent is essentially an air exhaust designed to work with the soffit vents aka the air intake.

      Reply

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