In the United States, asphalt shingles are the preferred way to protect a home's roof. They're durable, water-resistant, and easy to replace if one goes awry. But metal roofs are an increasingly popular option for those looking to combine strength with energy savings, particularly in hot climes like North Texas.
Wait, Metal Roofs Make it Cooler?
While it may sound backwards ‒‒ especially to anyone who's ever been unlucky enough to put bare skin on a piece of metal that's been sitting out in the sun ‒‒ a properly built, properly installed metal roof could actually save you significant money on your cooling bills. Asphalt shingles soak up and hold onto a lot of heat. Soon enough, this heat migrates throughout the structure and the temperature inside a house can rise more than 20 degrees. Not bad in winter, but without air conditioning, this could be suffocating when July rolls around over DFW.
Metal roofs, by contrast, reflect sunlight and don't absorb heat. Less trapped heat, therefore, bleeds into the structure, meaning you can save as much as half on your cooling bills because you're not heating what is essentially a multi-room oven.
Metal Against the Elements
While asphalt shingles are generally easy to replace, they are also more susceptible to weather conditions than metal roofs. Year after year of harsh, 100-degree-plus sunlight can warp asphalt tiles or cause them to curl. And if there are tears in a shingle or gaps in a roof, rain, ice, and snow will most certainly find their way in. Metal roofs have far fewer parts (a few sheets or a couple dozen, depending on the size of the house, compared to hundreds of asphalt tiles) and, so, can typically withstand extremes better.
Get a Good Roofer
The key to a sturdy, lasting metal roof is its installation. If metal sheets are not fastened properly, high wind could tear them right off, and instead of a relatively small, light piece of asphalt blowing around, your house will have just unleashed a giant, dangerous slab of metal upon the neighborhood. Also, if metal roofing sheets are improperly angled, they could at best create an annoying sun glare and at worst deflect heat toward something that would catch fire. (Don't laugh, the whole reason small boys throughout the ages have been able to set ants on fire with a magnifying glass is because they've used a polished surface to deflect light and heat onto the unfortunate bugs.)
It's best to hire a qualified specialist who knows how to install a metal roof the right way.
Metal Does Cost More … a Lot MoreThe reason more people don't replace their asphalt roofs is that metal roofs are more expensive (not to mention replacing asphalt tiles would mean a complete replacement). Metal roofs can be as much as three times the cost of an asphalt roof, which can often cost $8,000 to $10,000 to replace. But if you can swing it, and if you're patient (because your energy savings will take time to match up to your investment), a metal roof could be for you