Metal Roof Vs Shingles Compared: Which Is Best In Wisconsin?

It’s hard to pick out a clear winner in a metal roof vs shingles comparison since both have advantages over the other in certain aspects.

For examples, shingles are more affordable, but metal roofs last longer.

With this in mind, we advise that you take the time to align these different types of roof options to your budget and needs.

If you’re in Wisconsin, you’re in luck, since we’re able to personally tailor a solution specific to your needs.

Otherwise, head on down through this detailed comparison to see if shingles or a metal roof is right for you.

What is the difference between a metal roof and shingles?

The main difference between shingles and a metal roof lies in aesthetics and composition. Shingles, typically made of asphalt, have a classic, textured look, while metal roofs are sleek, providing modern aesthetics and a wide range of color options that can mimic other roofing materials like wood and tile.

Since Wisconsin has cold winters with heavy snowfall, hail and strong winds and relatively mild summers, careful consideration needs to be taken into account when choosing between metal roofs and shingles.

Metal roof vs shingles comparison chart

Note that the purpose of this comparison is not necessarily to declare that one is better than the other, but to give you with the necessary information to make an educated decision based on your individual needs and circumstances.

ComparisonMetal RoofShingles
CostTypically higher initial costGenerally less expensive initially
Durability70+ years, depending on the type15-50 years, depending on the material
QualityHigh durability. Resistant to rot, mildew, fire; subject to corrosion, depending on the metal/finishHigh durability. Can degrade with mold, algae, but with 25-year algae guarantees
Energy EfficiencyReflects solar radiant heat, can reduce cooling costsTypically less efficient; ENERY STAR and California Title 24, though
Installation & MaintenanceCan be more challenging to install, less frequent maintenanceEasier installation, more regular maintenance needed
Climate SuitabilityGreat for heavy snow (snow slides off), resistant to hail and wind damageCan accumulate snow; 130mph wind resistance as standard
WarrantyOften 30-50 years or moreTypically 15-30 years

If you’re located in Wisconsin and have made up your mind about which roofing material suits your needs, feel free to get in touch with us. As a Wisconsin shingle roofing company but also being experts on Wisconsin metal roofing, we’re the go-to contractor in the Badger State for all your roofing needs.

Metal roof vs shingles cost

When it comes to the cost of metal roofs vs shingles, the upfront cost of metal roofing can be significantly higher than that of shingles. However, it’s essential to factor in long-term costs as well.

Metal roofs require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan, potentially exceeding 70 years (steel: 40-70 years; copper: 70+ years). In comparison, shingles tend to last a shorter duration; for example, asphalt shingles tend to last between 15 and 30 years.

Additional reading: how long does a roof last in Wisconsin

This means that while the initial investment is higher, a metal roof can prove to be more cost-effective over time.

In addition, we advise that you take the cost of installation into account. With the average roof replacement cost in Wisconsin being $4,345 to $11,401,the cost per square foot can vary considerably:

  • Metal: $2.15 to $21
  • Asphalt shingles: $3 to $6

We’ve found that many homeowners in Wisconsin opt for metal roofing due to its superior performance in extreme weather conditions, making it a worthy investment for those living in areas prone to heavy snowfall or hail.

However, some of our clients prefer the lower initial outlay of going with shingles.

Durability of metal vs shingle roofing

Metal roofs are incredibly robust and able to resist harsh weather conditions like heavy snowfall, hail, and high winds, which are common in Wisconsin. This strength contributes significantly to their longevity, with copper roofs lasting 70+ years with proper maintenance.

Just keep in mind that metal roofs are prone to denting, especially from hail. You can mitigate this by going for a thicker and stronger metal, though.

While shingles, particularly asphalt ones, are less resistant to extreme weather, they can still last between 15 and 50 years with proper care and maintenance.

Quality of metal roof vs shingles

Metal roofs, especially those made from high-quality materials like steel or aluminum, are resistant to rot, mold, and fire.

While shingles are more prone to mold, algae, and rot, the manufacturers tend to guarantee algae protection for 25 years and are wind-resistant up to 130mph.

Additional reading: GAF vs Owens Corning shingles

Energy efficiency of a metal roof vs shingle roof

In the shingle vs metal roof energy efficiency comparison, metal roofs, with their reflective surfaces, are inherently more energy-efficient. They effectively reflect sunlight, reducing the amount of heat that enters the home, thus lessening the cooling load during hot summers. This results in considerable energy savings.

Metal roofs can also be easily made into cool roofs, which reflect more sunlight and absorb less energy from the sun. By staying more than 50° cooler than a conventional roof, they help to:

  • Reduce air conditioning use
  • Reduce energy bills
  • Increase comfort in non-air-conditioned areas
  • Possibly extend the life of your roof

Shingles, particularly dark-colored ones, tend to absorb and retain heat, which may increase the home’s cooling needs, particularly in hot weather. In addition, high-quality shingles (such as GAF and Owens Corning) come with Class A fire ratings, are ENERGY STAR rated, and meet Miami 21 and California Title 24 approvals.

Which is easiest to install & maintain? Metal or shingle roof?

Comparing the installation of metal roofing vs shingles, for you as a consumer, largely comes down to cost, which is not only driven by material costs but also the installation process.

Metal roofs, while durable, demand a higher level of expertise for proper installation, making it a more complicated process and time-consuming. It can also be more time-consuming than shingle installation, which is relatively straightforward and can typically be completed faster.

In terms of maintenance, metal roofs require less frequent care, given their resistance to many elements that contribute to roof damage. However, if a metal roof does get damaged, fixing it can be more technical and costly.

There’s also the fact that metal roofs are completely recyclable. When your roof gets to the end of its life, it won’t go into a landfill. It will be sent to be recycled and will live again.

Conversely, shingles require more regular maintenance, but the process is usually less complicated and can often be performed by the homeowners themselves. Damaged shingles are also relatively easy and inexpensive to replace.

Asphalt shingle roofs are more energy-efficient than they used to be, and cool roof shingle options are available. That said, they are not usually as energy-efficient as metal roofs.

Climate suitability of metal roofs vs shingles

Wisconsin’s harsh winters and mild summer play a vital role when considering the climate suitability of a metal versus shingle roof.

Metal roofs, with their robust construction and high durability, are well-suited to withstand these extreme conditions. They can resist heavy snowfall due to their slick surface, which allows snow to slide off easily, preventing build-up. Moreover, metal roofs fare better in hot summers, as their reflective surfaces help keep homes cooler.

Shingles, especially asphalt shingles, can struggle in the face of Wisconsin’s severe weather. Cold temperatures can lead to shingle cracking, while heat can cause them to warp or blister. Snow accumulation on shingle roofs can also result in damage over time.

Even so, shingles are suitable for winds up to 130mph, which suit Wisconsin just fine.


Metal roofs, due to their durability and longevity, often come with manufacturer warranties up to 50 years. This long-term warranty is a testament to the confidence manufacturers have in the lifespan and durability of metal roofs.

In contrast, shingles typically come with a limited lifetime warranty, but have specific conditions that cover 15 to 30 years, reflecting their relatively shorter lifespan. Bear in mind, however, that these warranties usually only cover defects in the manufacturing process, not damage acquired over time or due to inclement weather conditions.

A comparison on aesthetics

Asphalt shingles are endlessly versatile. If you want a new roof installation that mimics terra cotta, slate, or wood, you can achieve this look with asphalt shingles. They also look attractive in their own right and come in a wide range of color options.

Metal roofs are limited in terms of their appeal due to their lack of versatility; however, that doesn’t mean they’re un-appealing, just that you’re more limited.

Elegant home with a metal roof

At Prairie Exteriors, we offer both options, and we can guide you through the next steps if you’re in Wisconsin. Get in touch with us today for a free quote and quality installation services. 

Different metal roofs compared to shingles

Since your metal choices are varied, use the below metal comparisons versus shingles for a more in-depth look.

Tin roof vs shingles

Tin roofs, also known as terneplate, are made from iron coated with tin. The tin coating makes them resistant to corrosion and weathering, granting them a lifespan of around 50-75 years. In comparison, shingles, specifically asphalt ones, average around 20 years.

In terms of aesthetics, tin roofs offer a unique, rustic charm that is particularly suited to farmhouses or vintage-inspired homes. They can also be painted to match the exterior of your home.

Shingles, on the other hand, come in a variety of colors and styles, offering homeowners plenty of options for customization.

The tin roof vs shingles cost often leans in favor of shingles, at least in the short term. Shingles are generally cheaper to install, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious homeowners.

However, tin roofs, with their longer lifespan and lower maintenance needs, often turn out to be more cost-effective in the long run. This makes them a worthwhile investment for homeowners who plan to stay in their homes for many years.

Steel roof vs shingles

Steel roofs are made from high-quality steel that is typically coated with zinc or a mixture of zinc and aluminum, enhancing their corrosion resistance. They are revered for their remarkable strength, durability, and energy efficiency, making them a popular choice for many homeowners. With a lifespan that often exceeds 50 years, steel roofs significantly outlast shingles.

From an aesthetic perspective, steel roofs have a sleek, modern look that complements a wide range of architectural styles. While they may not offer the same level of customization as shingles, they do come in a variety of colors and finishes to suit different tastes and requirements.

Steel roof vs shingles cost comparison: Initially, the cost of installing a steel roof is higher than that of shingles. However, the long-term cost-effectiveness of steel roofs cannot be overlooked. Given their extended lifespan and reduced maintenance requirements, steel roofs often prove to be a smarter investment over time.

Shingle roofs, while cheaper upfront, require regular maintenance and need to be replaced more frequently, which could add up to higher costs in the long run.

Architectural shingles vs metal roof

Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, are a high-end asphalt shingle variety. They are characterized by their multi-layered structure, which gives them a three-dimensional appearance and provides added durability.

Architectural shingles are thicker and heavier than standard asphalt shingles, often leading to an extended lifespan of up to 30-50 years. Their dimensional design offers a sophisticated aesthetic attribute that can mimic the look of traditional roofing materials like cedar shakes or slate, providing homeowners with a blend of luxury and affordability.

In a head-to-head metal roof vs architectural shingles comparison, metal roofs excel in terms of longevity, with a life expectancy often exceeding 50 years. They also offer superior fire resistance and energy efficiency compared to architectural shingles.

When it comes to cost, architectural shingles are generally more expensive than standard shingles but significantly cheaper than most metal roofs. Architectural shingles also provide a textured look that many homeowners find appealing, while metal roofs offer a modern, sleek aesthetic.

However, the longevity and low maintenance cost of metal roofs make them a more cost-effective solution in the long run. Homeowners who prioritize durability and energy efficiency may find that a metal roof is a better investment for their home.

Aluminum vs shingle roof

Aluminum roofs are lightweight and offer exceptional durability and resistance to rust and corrosion. Characterized by their longevity, aluminum roofs can last up to 50 years or more, significantly outlasting the lifespan of traditional asphalt shingles.

As for aesthetics, while aluminum roofs have a sleek, modern look, they may not offer the wide variety of styles and colors that shingles provide.

In terms of the cost of an aluminum roof vs shingles, aluminum roofs tend to be more expensive than shingles due to the material’s higher quality and durability. However, given their longer lifespan and lower maintenance requirements, aluminum roofs are a more cost-effective solution in the long run.

In Wisconsin and ready to make a decision?

Whether you choose asphalt shingles or a metal roof, you need to work with a contractor you can trust. Get your roof done right and it’ll provide great protection, keep energy costs down, and keep noise at reasonable levels indoors. By choosing Prairie Exteriors, you’re choosing a company with decades of experience in both shingle and metal roofs. Our on-site metal roof construction reduces waste and produces an outstanding end result.

Call us at 608.557.9148 or contact us online for home and commercial roofing quotes for the Greater Madison area.

Is a metal roof better than shingles? Our conclusion

Asphalt shingles and metal roofs are both excellent roofing options. Answer the following questions to decide which is right for you:

  • Which style suits my home best?
  • How long do I plan to stay in my home?
  • How much can I afford?

The style question is often a matter of personal taste. But if you plan to stay in your home for a long time, a metal roof is probably the best option. If you’re on a tight budget, asphalt shingles are usually the most affordable choice.

FAQs on shingle roof vs metal roof

Do metal roofs leak more than shingles?

No, metal roofs do not leak more than shingles. In fact, they often provide superior leakage protection due to their seamless design and durability. However, improper installation can lead to leaks, regardless of the roofing material used. Therefore, it’s crucial to hire a professional for installation.

Is a metal roof cheaper than shingles?

The initial costs of metal roofs can be higher than shingles. However, considering longevity and lower maintenance, metal roofs can be more cost-effective in the long run. Compared to upfront costs alone, shingles are cheaper. But for long-term investment, metal roofs can be a smarter choice.

Is a tin roof cheaper than shingles?

No, initially a tin roof is not cheaper than shingles. However, when considering factors like its impressive longevity, exceptional durability, and remarkably low maintenance costs, a tin roof becomes a cost-effective choice in the long run. It can withstand harsh weather, and minimize the need for frequent repairs or replacements.

Metal roof vs shingles in cold climate

Both metal and shingle roofs perform well in cold climates. However, metal roofs have an edge due to their ability to shed snow and ice more efficiently, reducing the risk of ice dams. They also offer superior durability and can withstand harsh weather conditions better than shingles.

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