Traditional vs. Metal Roofing: Which is Better for Me?

Do you want your roof to have a new, updated look? Maybe you’re curious about the roofs you’ve been looking at and wondering if they’re more environmentally friendly than the roof you currently have. You may be on a budget, and you require a new roof that looks amazing but isn’t going to break the bank.


Whether it’s time for an upgrade due to wear and tear on old shingles, or mold issues due to wet weather, there are many options to consider when it’s time to have some work done on your home.


We have over 30 years of experience in the construction industry and can help answer any questions you have about roofing. We pride ourselves on being knowledgeable about every material available, whether it be traditional asphalt shingles or the increasingly popular metal roofing!


Let’s discuss some pros and cons for both options, so you’re aware of any potential issues that could arise in the future.


The Pros of Traditional Asphalt Shingles

Here in Hawaii, traditional asphalt shingles are a popular choice among our state’s residents for various reasons, as you will read below.


Pro #1. Aesthetically Pleasing

Asphalt shingles are available in various colors, textures, and thicknesses. This means homeowners will have no issue finding ones to fit the look they want for their home.


Pro #2. Budget-Friendly

Asphalt shingles are one of the least expensive roofing options available on the market. However, premium and luxury asphalt shingles fetch a higher price, so you should remain aware of that when getting an estimate from a roofing contractor.


If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly asphalt shingles, traditional laminated asphalt are the way to go. There are various brands offered here in the islands to fit nearly every price point.


Pro #3. Durable

Though asphalt shingles are the cheapest available roofing material, you can purchase, their lifespan only averages between 15 to 20 years. However, luxury or premium asphalt shingles have an even longer lifespan of up to 40 years if properly maintained. As a result, some homeowners don’t mind replacing their roofs when needed because they are so budget-friendly.


Pro #4. Easy to Install and Repair

If you choose laminated asphalt shingles, your roofing project may get finished quicker because they are easier to install than other roofing options. In addition, because asphalt shingles are easier to install, it means you’ll end up spending less on labor and installation costs, which is a bonus for those with a smaller budget.


The Cons of Traditional Asphalt Shingles:

Along with the pros of traditional asphalt shingles come the cons that you don’t want to overlook when deciding what is best for your needs.


Con #1. Premium Asphalt Shingles Are Heavier

Not only are premium asphalt shingles thicker than 3-tab or architectural asphalt shingles, but they are also heavier. This can be an issue if the frame of your roof can’t withstand the additional weight. A roofing contractor will be able to evaluate your roof’s condition to see if it would be able to.


Con #2. Lifespan

Compared to other roofing options, asphalt shingles do not last as long. While some homeowners are okay with replacing their roof several times while living in their home, others aren’t. They don’t want to keep paying for a new roof and would rather have a roof that lasts almost the entire time they are in their home.


As mentioned above, if an asphalt roof is well-taken care of, it can last 15 to 20 years. Still, there’s no guarantee, especially if you live in an area where damage to your roof is likely to occur.


Con #3. High-Maintenance

Due to Hawaii’s sunlight, asphalt shingles dry out quicker, become more brittle, and break easier. However, roofing contractors can perform maintenance or soft washing services to help keep your roof maintained.


Con #4. Bad for the Environment

There are multiple reasons why asphalt shingles are bad for the environment. First, when incinerating asphalt shingles, harmful emissions are released into the air.


Second, if the shingles aren't burned, they are put into a landfill, and there they stay for 300 years since that is how long it takes for them to break down.


In fact, over 9 million tons of shingles end up in landfills every year. In other parts of the United States, asphalt shingle recycling is popular. However, Hawaii does not currently have an asphalt shingle recycling plant.


Con #5. Easily Damaged

Any type of impact to asphalt shingles, from hail, a fallen tree limb, etc., can cause damage that could lead to leaking.


The Pros of Metal Roofing

There are many different reasons to choose metal roofing over traditional asphalt shingles.


Pro #1. Durable and Low Maintenance

They last anywhere from 30-70 years, and they can withstand hurricane-force winds of up to 140 miles per hour.


Since metal roofing is more durable, they don’t need as many repairs as long as the roofing was correctly installed. However, you should have metal roofing inspected once in a while to ensure it’s in good condition and to catch any potential issues before they become bigger ones.


Pro #2. Energy-Efficient

In comparison to asphalt shingles, metal roofing is much more energy-efficient. Metal roofing provides insulation during the colder months, and during the warmer ones, it reflects heat away from your home, which can cut down on cooling costs. You could potentially save up to 40% on heating costs.


Pro #3. Flame-Resistant

Metal roofing is a much safer option for wildfires or lightning strikes because they are less likely to spark or ignite.


Pro #4. Better for the Environment

For environmentally-conscious homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint, metal roofing is an ideal choice because it can be recycled at the end of its lifespan. Other forms of roofing help make up the 20 billion pounds of building-related waste each year, whereas metal roofing doesn’t.


Pro #5. Available in Wide Range of Colors and Styles

There are over 100 different colors to choose from for a metal roof. Regarding styles, you can also choose metal roofing that has the appearance of other types of roofing materials, like wood shakes, slate or clay tiles, so you can benefit from the longevity of metal roofing while still achieving the stylish look you’ve dreamed of.


Pro #6. More Compatible with Solar Panels

Metal panels are easier to install to solar panel racking as the racks can be attached to the standing seams. Whereas with other types of roofs, installation involves drilling into the material.


The Cons of Metal Roofing:

There are a few things you want to consider regarding the cons of metal roofing.


Con #1. More Expensive

They are more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles, and this increase in cost is due to higher-end materials and higher installation costs. In addition, metal roofing requires different training, tools, and equipment, which adds to the overall price.


Con #2. Some Low-Grade Metals Damage Easier

Though metal roofing is more durable than other roofing materials, there are still some instances where metal roofing can be damaged. This is because the lower-grade metal roofing options are made of a thinner gauge metal and are less durable than their thicker counterparts. As a result, the lower-grade options can rust or even dent during hailstorms.


We Can Help You Decide Which Roof is Best for You

If you are still unsure about what roofing material to choose for your home or business, Kapili Roofing & Painting can help you with the decision-making process.


We have over 30 years of construction experience, and we are familiar with many roofing materials, including asphalt, metal, concrete, clay tiles, etc. We can help you figure out which roofing material is best for your unique situation if you’re unsure.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to schedule a free consultation, please feel free to reach out to us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. No strings attached.