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Metal Roof vs. Asphalt Shingle Roof for Outbuildings: Pros and Cons

metal vs shingle roof
Metal vs Asphalt Shingle - Which should you choose?

When it comes to choosing the right roof for your outbuilding, whether it's a shed, barn, or workshop, you'll likely encounter two popular options: metal roofs and asphalt shingle roofs. Each roofing material has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, making the decision an important one.

Let's walk through both to compare and contrast metal roofs and asphalt shingle roofs for outbuildings to help you understand a bit more about both so you can confidently make the right decision on which would be best for your structure.

Metal Roofs for Outbuildings

metal roof sheet
Metal roofs can be recycled and used to make new metal products.


1. Durability: Metal roofs are renowned for their longevity. They can last 40 years or more, outlasting asphalt shingle roofs by a significant margin.

2. Low Maintenance: Metal roofs are low-maintenance and require little upkeep over the years. They are resistant to rot, mold, and pests.

3. Weather Resistance: Metal roofs excel at withstanding harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, and high winds. They are also fire-resistant.

4. Energy Efficiency: Some metal roofs are designed with reflective coatings that can help reduce energy costs by keeping the building cooler in hot weather.

5. Environmentally Friendly: Metal roofing materials are often recyclable, making them an eco-friendly choice. 🌍


1. Higher Initial Cost: Metal roofs tend to have a higher upfront cost compared to asphalt shingles, which can be a significant consideration for budget-conscious projects.

2. Noise: Rain or hail can create noise on a metal roof, which may be bothersome if the outbuilding is used for quiet activities.

For livestock shelters or sheds, the noise produced on a metal roof from precipitation isn't really an issue. But for cabins or workshops, it can be. However, some people like the sound of rain on a metal roof, so much so that some actually install metal roofs on their homes. So, ultimately it's a matter of personal preference and the use case of the structure.

custom livestock shelter built by rustic ranch usa

Asphalt Shingle Roofs for Outbuildings

Asphalt shingle roofing
Asphalt shingles require plywood decking, which can drive up the cost of your project!


1. Lower Initial Cost: Asphalt shingle roofs are generally more budget-friendly initially, making them an attractive choice for cost-sensitive projects.

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you can find some marked down at home improvement centers like Home Depot or Menards if a contractor never picked them up or if they are simply trying to get rid of old stock. Excess tiles that were never opened at a project site are sometimes returned and sold at a discount as well. So, just keep and eye out and make some friends in the supply yard.

2. Variety of Styles: Asphalt shingles come in a wide range of styles and colors, allowing for customization to match the building's aesthetics. While you do have some control over the appearance of a metal roof, it's typically limited to color of the finish.

3. Ease of Installation: They are relatively easy to install, and repairs or replacements can be straightforward. The do tend to take a bit more time as you're nailing individual shingles, row by row, whereas the ribbed metal sheets used for roofs are large and cover more area. Effectively making them faster to install.

4. Noise Reduction: Asphalt shingle roofs tend to be quieter during rain or hail compared to metal roofs.


1. Shorter Lifespan: Asphalt shingle roofs typically have a shorter lifespan, often lasting 20 to 30 years. Some may last longer, depending on the manufacturer. But typically, they require more frequent replacement.

2. Maintenance: They can require more maintenance over time, including periodic inspections, repairs, and replacement.

3. Weather Vulnerability: Asphalt shingle roofs are more susceptible to damage from severe weather, such as high winds and hail. Over time, the constant heating up by the sun and cooling down of the shingles will weaken them, causing them to become more easily damaged as time goes on.

4. Environmental Impact: Asphalt shingles are less environmentally friendly as they are not easily recyclable since they are made from petroleum based chemicals. But there are some technologies being developed using soy to reduce the need for petrochemicals in shingle production.

Which Is Best For Your Outbuilding?

Choosing between a metal roof and an asphalt shingle roof for your outbuilding involves a careful consideration of your budget, climate, and long-term goals. If durability, low maintenance, and weather resistance are top priorities, a metal roof may be the better choice despite the higher initial cost. On the other hand, if budget constraints, customization options, and ease of installation are key factors, asphalt shingle roofs can be a practical option, keeping in mind the need for more frequent maintenance and replacement.

Ultimately, the best roofing material for your outbuilding depends on your specific requirements and priorities, and both metal and asphalt shingle roofs have their place in the world of outbuilding construction.

And, if you're in the greater Kentucky area and are looking for a fully customized outbuilding, be sure to get in touch with Rustic Ranch USA today. We will work with you to design the custom outbuilding you need. We even have financing available! Don't hesitate! Contact us now!


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