Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingles in North Carolina

Which roofing option stands supreme in the battle of metal roof vs. asphalt shingles? Asphalt roofing shingles are the most common roofing material used in North America. Unfortunately installing asphalt shingles is a short-term roofing solution. Due to the downward spiral of the quality of asphalt roofing materials over the last two decades, homeowners are repairing and replacing their roofs more often than ever before. Although the price may seem attractive to many North Carolina homeowners, asphalt roofing quickly loses value and is a poor investment over the long-term. 

Roof shingles today have fallen in quality due to the reduction of the oil (asphalt) content that roofing manufacturers are using. To save money, these companies are replacing petroleum products with fillers and binders. Simply stated, the lower the asphalt content, the poorer the quality of the shingles. Modern day asphalt shingles are susceptible to premature deterioration and may often cup, curl, and shed granules in as little as a year after installation.

Why Asphalt Roofs Fail

Today’s asphalt roofs are more vulnerable to damage from harsh weather and they don’t last long in areas where temperatures range from cold to hot or wet to dry.

There is more grim news for homeowners with asphalt shingles. Manufacturers have also changed the content of the base mat. Standard shingles consist of small granules glued to a base mat. Moisture seeps into the base mat when adhesive agents break down or dry out, causing the base mat to deteriorate. Leaks begin to occur when the base mat is exposed to moisture, and shingles start to crack, curl, and become loose. This is why even a moderate storm can cause significant damage to an asphalt shingle roof.

The binders and fillers added in asphalt shingles also encourage biological growth. As algae grows, it spreads. Algae growth results in staining and streaking. A once beautiful roof now appears worn and old-looking. As your roof starts to age, the value quickly diminishes.

Weight is also a factor. Due to their heavier weight, shingle roofs absorb and hold heat. This means in warmer weather, your house stays hotter, your air conditioner works harder, and your energy bills literally go through the roof.

Misleading warranties and the premature decline of the roofs has homeowners battling asphalt shingle companies. It is no surprise that many of these companies are involved in class action lawsuits due to the growing number of outraged consumers.

The fact is, the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof is 10-15 years, no matter what the warranty tells you, and it can be far less in areas with harsher weather. We regularly replace roofs that are less than twenty years old and sometimes fewer than ten! This is a major advantage of metal roofing in the metal roof vs. asphalt shingles debate.

When it comes to shingles, the drawbacks center on service life. While asphalt shingles come with warranties ranging from 20 to as long as 45 years, roofers and builders remain skeptical of those warranties. Since warranties are a marketing device, they are not a reliable predictor of lifespan. In the past decade, there have been many complaints of asphalt shingle failure long before warranties expired. Many homeowners have been dissatisfied with warranty payouts that didn’t cover all the costs of repair or replacement as wells``.
- Bob Vila
The pressures placed on large, public companies to maintain profitability brought forward good old American ingenuity, reduce fiberglass mat weight (fibers were expensive) and increase filler content (asphalt was also expensive)...
- Dwain Bouton, President, Certified Roofing Consultant
Failed shingles that we have tested contain approximately 30% asphalt by weight. New shingles contain less than 25%. This asphalt is mixed with sand and fine mineral matter and then has granules embedded in it. There is no separate asphalt binder for the filler. What coating exists on the back of the shingle appears to have bled through the mat from the top side during manufacturing. No wonder shingles ``weep`` water after only a few years.
- Richard Tippet, Applied Roofing Technology, Laboratory Testing Facility

Other Roofing Materials

asphalt shingle roof

Asphalt shingles are not the only inexpensive roofing materials that quickly lose their appeal as they begin to deteriorate soon after installation. Temporary roofs are less expensive than installing a permanent metal roofing system, but they are certainly not the best investment. The risk of weather damage, loss of energy efficiency and cost of periodic roof repair or replacement, all add up to astronomical expenses and headaches over the long-term.

For these reasons, informed consumers are steering clear of asphalt, wood shake, clay, slate, concrete, and other inferior roofing materials.

Wood Shake

For centuries wood shake shingles adorned roofs throughout the United States. Wood, being readily available and inexpensive became a good option as a roofing material. The downside was the short life span, fire dangers and intense maintenance required.

The organic nature of wood is what makes it susceptible to the unsightly growth of algae and mold. The water retained in these growths leads to shingle rot, resulting in leaking. Eventually the damage to the battens and decking requires the roof to be torn off and replaced.

Clay and Concrete Tile and Slate

Clay tiles and slate are popular roofing materials in many parts of the country due to their beauty. Unfortunately, the heavy weight of these materials causes excessive strain on the structure of homes. Clay and concrete tiles have additional problems. Their highly porous nature allows water to seep in, often causing them to crack and break. The issue is exacerbated during freeze-thaw weather cycles. 

High winds may leave holes in the roof, posing a more dangerous risk to the interior of the home. The sheer weight of these roofs also makes them prone to structural collapse in the event of seismic activity or fire. 

Slate may be more indestructible than man-made tile, but the nails that attach them are not. These nails often rust away leaving only gravity to keep them from falling. Falling slate can be extremely dangerous and may cause costly property damage.

Other Temporary Roofing Materials

There are several other roofing materials such as rubber and composite materials being tested in the market, but many do not have a proven track record. These materials are expensive and susceptible to fade and chalk in the heat of the sun. Investing in an untested material is risky at bestthis is another reason why metal roofs are the superior option in the metal roof vs. asphalt shingles debate.

Permanent Metal Roofing

Investment grade metal roofing, on the other hand, is impervious to the elements that often destroy asphalt and many other roofing materials. Homeowners, who make an investment in a permanent metal roofing system, enjoy the benefits of long-lasting durability, energy savings and eye-catching beauty.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of having a metal roof installed, please contact McCarthy Metal Roofing. Our consultants will answer all your questions and provide you with several options to protect and beautify your home. 

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