Stone-Coated Metal Shingles vs Asphalt Shingles

You need a new roof and you’re considering the longer-lasting, more durable stone-coated metal shingles over traditional asphalt shingles. Smart move. There are many advantages to asphalt shingles, cost and availability being two of them. However, there are a few advantages to stone-coated metal shingles you should seriously consider. When it comes to stone-coated metal shingles vs asphalt shingles, it’s important to keep longevity in mind.

Quick Answer: Stone-coated metal shingles are more durable and last longer than traditional asphalt shingles. As a result, although they cost more initially, they often cost less long-term. Metal shingles are also recyclable, unlike asphalt shingles.

Asphalt Shingles vs Metal Shingles at a Glance

Asphalt Shingles

  • Initial Low Cost
  • Quick to Install
  • More Colors Options
  • Multiple Manufacturers to Choose From
  • Flexible
  • Quick Access
  • Short Lifespan at Between 15-20 Years
  • Not as Durable
  • High Long-Term Cost
  • Not Recyclable in Our Area

Metal Shingles

  • Long Lifespan at 70+ Years
  • More Resistant/Durable to Fire, Wind, Hail, Mold
  • Low Cost Long-Term
  • Recyclable in Our Area
  • High Cost, Initially
  • Fewer Color Options
  • Limited Access
  • Takes Longer to Install

Advantages of Asphalt Shingles

new asphalt shingle roof

The big advantage to asphalt shingles over stone-coated metal shingles is cost. They cost less to purchase and install. Asphalt shingles are the least expensive steep slope roofing material, at around $3.40/sqft. for your average, mid-grade shingles. Stone-coated metal shingles, on the other hand, cost around $9.50/sf. Tear-off of previous roof costs extra.

Asphalt shingles are quicker to install. Professional installers use a nail gun to install asphalt shingles, and it literally takes about 1 second to nail one shingle down. Cutting an asphalt shingle requires nothing more than a common utility knife, which easily fits into one’s pocket and takes half a second to cut an asphalt shingle.

Asphalt shingles offer more colors to choose from, compared to stone-coated metal shingles. Although this is quickly changing. Owens Corning’s TruDefinition Duration shingles alone come in 13 different colors. CertainTeed’s XT™ 25 3-tab shingles are offered in 20 colors!

Today, there are multiple asphalt shingle manufacturers to choose from, including Owens Corning, Tamko, GAF, CertainTeed, Malarkey, and IKO, just to name a few.

Traditional roofing shingles are more flexible than metal roofing shingles. Our installers carry a utility knife with them that easily fits into their pocket to quickly cut asphalt shingles while on the roof. This helps to make installation quicker.

Easy access. You can walk into any Lowe’s or Home Depot, or just about any other hardware store, and purchase asphalt shingles. There are probably asphalt shingles at your local used building supply company, such as Uncle Benny’s Building Supplies or Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Asphalt shingles are solar-panel-friendly. Most solar panel installers prefer asphalt shingles over stone-coated metal shingles. If you have metal shingles, they can work with them, however.

Disadvantages of Asphalt Shingles

Although Owens Corning has a shingle recycling program, there is not an asphalt shingle recycling center anywhere in our area 🙁 The closest company we found that accepts old asphalt shingles for recycling is in Kansas. As a result, all torn-off shingles in Northern Colorado get buried in the local landfills. This is a big problem.

Another big problem is that asphalt shingles don’t last last as long as stone-coated metal shingles, or any metal roofing, for that matter. Your common, average architectural asphalt shingles last around 30 years. 3-tab shingles, 15-20 years. Stone-coated metal shingles, on the other hand, easily last more than twice this long – 50-70 years or more.

under side of stone-coated metal shingle close-up
close-up of the underside of a stone-coated metal shingle

Advantages of Stone-Coated Metal Shingles

They last longer. Although stone-coated metal shingles are often warrantied at only 50 years, they frequently last longer than this – about 70 years or more. This is key to most folks when they compare stone-coated metal shingles vs asphalt shingles.

Stone-coated metal shingles are more resistant to hail. In fact, Decra, one of our suppliers, shot their metal shingles with an ice cannon and it barely dented it 🙂

They are recycled in our area! We recently contacted Colorado Iron and Metal in Fort Collins, and they said they take all sorts of metal, including stone-coated metal shingles 🙂

Stone-coated metal shingles better imitate other roofing materials, such as shake and tile, and, oddly enough, asphalt shingles. Decra offers a barrel-style metal shingle, a scalloped Mediterranean tile metal shingle, a heavy-cut wood look-a-like metal shingle, a hand-split wood shake metal shingle, and a cedar shake metal shingle. Boral offers 5 metal shingle profiles including wood shake, traditional asphalt shingle, a high-profile asphalt shingle, a barrel shingle, and a Mediterranean tile metal shingle.

metal wood shake shingle
stone-coated metal shingle. Courtesy Boral Roofing

Disadvantages of Metal Shingles

Stone-coated metal shingles cost around 3 times as much as 30-year asphalt shingles due to the fact that metal shingles require the underlayment be upgraded, and it simply takes more time to install metal shingles. Installation time is another disadvantage of stone-coated metal shingles. As just mentioned, it takes longer to install the metal shingles, especially the detail work, such as trimming the metal shingles at the edges, ridges and valleys, and vents of a roof. To cut asphalt shingles, a common utility knife works fine. To cut stone-coated metal shingles, special tools, such as a stone-coat cutter, is required.

Unlike asphalt shingles, stone-coated metal shingles aren’t (yet) available at your local hardware store. If you want to purchase and install stone-coated metal shingles yourself, the closest location we’ve found is a Menards in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and they only have one color and style to choose from, and it’s not in stock. We’re noticing, as wood shake roofs are wearing-out, homeowners and office owners are requesting stone-coated metal shingles. As a result, metal shingles are gaining in popularity.

Metal shingles don’t have the color options, yet, of traditional asphalt shingles. Decra’s Tile metal shingles come in a whopping 8 colors, which isn’t bad but doesn’t quite compare to asphalt shingles much wider variety of color choices. Boral Steel’s Barrel-Vault also comes in 8 colors. Other profiles come in fewer colors.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to stone-coated metal shingles vs asphalt shingles, there are pros and cons to each. If you’re tired of replacing asphalt shingles every 15 to 30 years and throwing them into a landfill, want a roof that lasts longer, and don’t mind spending more for it initially, stone-coated metal shingles is the roof for you. What’s more, if your HOA requires your new roof to match your neighbors, that won’t be a problem since metal shingles come in a variety of profiles and popular colors.

an info-graphic comparing asphalt shingles to stone-coated metal shingles