Are Aluminum Shingles The Same As Metal Roof? (Pros, Cons & Costs)

Paying for a new roof is a real hit to your budget. If you’re going to spend thousands on a new roof, it’s best to make sure you’re investing into something that will last. Although they can be expensive, aluminum shingle roofs are worth considering because of their enormous lifespan and durability.

Aluminum shingles are a specific type of metal roof. When most people talk about metal roofs, they’re referring to standing seam roofs made from galvanized steel or corrugated metal. As a premium metal roof type, aluminum shingle roofs can last for longer and hold up to even more wear and tear than most other types of metal roofs.

What sets aluminum shingles apart? Why are they considered premium? And most importantly, would an aluminum shingle roof make sense for your home? Here’s everything you need to know about the aluminum shingle roofing versus metal roofs debate. 

What Are Aluminum Shingles? 

Although aluminum shingles are made of metal, they are only one of many types of metal roofs. When people refer to metal roofing, they’re usually talking about metal sheet roofing, not shingles. Aluminum shingles are similar to normal asphalt roofing shingles in how they’re designed and installed, but they’re far more durable and require less maintenance over their lifespan.

Aluminum shingles are small rectangular or square aluminum sheets that overlap from the top of the roof down to the edges. They’re installed from the bottom up, with each shingle overlapping the ones underneath it. The shingles are installed over a felt underlayment, which helps to insulate the roof. Shingles are nailed down or clipped to hold them in place, resulting in a very strong, durable roof that lasts for decades.

Unlike asphalt shingles, aluminum shingles don’t shed material as they age. The are also less prone to cracking or slipping. While you might have to repair or maintain your asphalt shingles regularly, aluminum shingles can last much longer without any significant maintenance.

People often choose aluminum shingles because of their long lifespan and low maintenance. Although these shingles are more expensive than most other metal roofs, they can work out to be far cheaper in the long-term. 

What’s the Difference Between Aluminum Shingles and Metal Roofing?

Metal roofs are popular because of their durability and low maintenance. They’ve been around for centuries and are still in use today with modern materials. Aluminum shingles are a specific type of metal roofing. It’s distinct from most metal roofs that use large sheets of metal to cover your roof, using small overlapping shingles instead.

Metal Roofing

The main difference between aluminum shingles and other metal roof types is the material. Metal sheeting is made from other types of metals, including:

  • Galvanized steel
  • Galvalume
  • Stainless steel
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Tin (uncommon)
Aluminum Shingles

These materials all work well as large sheets, whereas aluminum is better in smaller shingle form. There are certain tradeoffs you make with each type of metal, the main one being price. Aluminum shingles are considered a premium metal shingle option, with the durability and other benefits to back up that claim. 

If you want the benefits of a metal roof with added eco-friendliness and light weight, aluminum shingles are one of the best choices. They’re more expensive than asphalt shingles and steel roofs upfront, but in the long-term you’ll save money by not having to maintain or replace your roof as regularly. 

Pros of Aluminum Shingles 

There are lots of benefits to using aluminum shingle roofing, but nothing is perfect. This roofing type has advantages along with disadvantages, including the higher installation cost and the noise a metal roof produces. Aluminum shingles are also not as strong against hail as other metal roofs.

Let’s go through some of the best benefits first, then look at the issues. From longevity to customization and energy savings, here are some of the best parts about using aluminum shingles. 


Just like all metal roofs, aluminum shingles are very durable. Even after years, they remain fire resistant, wind resistant, and impact resistant. Aluminum doesn’t rot, but it can corrode or rust over time. You can prevent rusting and corrosion by repainting your roof every 10 years. This simple maintenance keeps your roof strong over it’s entire lifespan.

If you live in a humid area, such as a coastal city or a tropical climate, aluminum shingles are also better equipped for the weather than steel roofs. They can hold up against moisture for longer without rusting, as long as you keep the shingles properly painted.

Aluminum shingles have similar durability to other types of metal roofs. The only area they’re less durable in is impact resistance, especially against hail or other large projectiles. Otherwise, your aluminum shingle roof can last for decades in the sun, wind, rain, and snow. 


Asphalt roofing shingles are not environmentally friendly in any way. Not only are they made using petroleum, but they also need more maintenance and they have to be heavily repaired or replaced every 15-25 years.

Metal roofs made from copper, steel, or zinc are better than asphalt shingles. However, they’re still not as eco-friendly as aluminum shingle roofs. Aluminum is 100% recyclable. The process of making new aluminum is actually more expensive than recycling old aluminum, making it one of the most eco-friendly roofing materials available.

Beyond the recyclability, aluminum shingles are also good at insulating your home. They are highly reflective. As the sun beats down on them, they are able to redirect a lot of the light and heat away from your home, keeping it much cooler in the summer and reducing the energy you’ll use on A/C.

When they’re installed properly with a thick underlayment and an air gap between the roof and the interior of your home, aluminum shingles slow down heat transfer into and out of your home. This keeps the sun’s heat out in the summer and reduces heat loss from inside during the winter, making them more eco-friendly by cutting your energy usage all year round. 

Increased Curb Appeal 

There are 2 ways that aluminum shingle roofs make your home more attractive. First, they look better than many other metal roofs. Instead of large sheets with visible seams or a very flat look, shingles come in many attractive designs and colors. You can customize them to fit the aesthetic of your home, and you’ll have a lot more options than you would with other metal roofs.

Aluminum shingles can be painted in any color. As long as you get a solid oil-based exterior paint, you have full control of the color and finish you want for your roof. You can also change the color of your roof at any time by repainting it in a different color.

Aluminum shingle roof can make your home more attractive is by increasing its value

The second way that an aluminum shingle roof can make your home more attractive is by increasing its value. If you were to list your home for sale, an aluminum roof will be a good selling point because of its durability and long lifespan. This lifespan is very attractive to buyers since they know they won’t have to worry about replacing a roof for decades, if at all. 

Lightweight Materials 

Aluminum is a lightweight material. It weighs far less than most other roofing materials, even other metals. A lightweight roof has a much lower risk of collapse and reduced heat transfer. It also doesn’t need as much structural support, allowing for more architectural freedom.

Roofs can collapse for a few reasons. The most common causes of roofs collapsing are gradual building aging and fires. As buildings age, normal wear and tear can make it harder for the house to support a heavy roof. If you’re not careful, a heavy roof can build up strain and collapse when there’s any type of extreme weather event like heavy snow or wind.

Fire is the other common cause for roof collapse. When support beams begin to break down, a heavy roof will collapse quickly. Lightweight roofs can hang on for longer and won’t cause as much damage if they do end up collapsing in. 

MaterialWeight per 100 square feet
Aluminum roof70-120 lbs.
Steel roof85-150 lbs.
Asphalt shingle roof200-350 lbs.
Wooden roof350-450 lbs.
Clay or concrete roof550+ lbs.

Excellent Longevity 

The average lifespan for aluminum shingles is at least 50 years, but they can last for 70+ years if they’re well maintained. An aluminum roof might be the only roof you ever have to buy for your home.

Aluminum is especially beneficial in coastal areas. High humidity and salty air can reduce the lifespan of metals like steel, but they won’t affect aluminum as strongly since it’s very resistant to rusting. You’ll still have to make sure it’s painted and maintained as usual, but you can expect your aluminum shingles to hold up way better in coastal environments.

Longevity is a big deal with a roof. Even with the minimum expected lifespan of 50 years, your aluminum shingle roof will still last around twice as long as an asphalt shingle roof.

Cons of Aluminum Roofing 

There are disadvantages that come with aluminum roofing shingles. The main problems are the upfront installation cost, the noise an aluminum roof can generate, and the low resistance to impact from hail. 

More Expensive Upfront 

All metal roofs are expensive to install. Aluminum shingle installations are far more expensive than asphalt shingles or wooden cedar shakes. The upfront installation cost for an aluminum shingle roof is expensive, and there’s no way around it, unfortunately.

The average cost to install aluminum shingles is between $6.50 – $10 per square foot. This means the average cost to install an aluminum shingle roof on a 1,700 square foot house is between $11,050 – $17,000.

While this is a lot more expensive than most other roofing types, aluminum is a premium metal material with a very long lifespan. The only materials that last longer are tile roofs, which are the most expensive type of roofs. 

Noisy during Rain 

Aluminum roofs are noisier in the rain than most other types of roofs. There are ways to reduce noise from an aluminum roof, but it’s around 50 decibels louder on average than rain on an asphalt roof.

The heavier the rain, the louder the noise will be. With a good underlayment and proper installation, that noise can be reduced, but it will always be present.

Another source of noise is creaking that can happen when the weather changes or the wind shakes the shingles. Temperature changes can make aluminum stretch and contract, causing some noise but also making the shingles looser. Loose shingles will creak and shake more when the wind is strong. 

Not Hail-Proof 

Although aluminum shingles are very strong, they have a weaker impact resistance rating compared to other metal roofs. While steel, copper, or zinc roofs can withstand hailstorms fairly easily, aluminum shingles can get damaged by heavy hailstorms.

Hail isn’t always a problem. Most hail is less than ¾” in diameter and won’t do a lot of damage to anything. When hail is 1” in diameter or larger is when it can start doing damage to aluminum roofs.

Hailstorms are most common in the Midwest. Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming have the most hailstorms every year, and some of the most severe storms each year. If you’re putting a roof on a home where hailstorms are a common issue, aluminum shingles may not be the best choice. 

Aluminum Shingle Installation Costs 

Aluminum shingles are more expensive than most types of roofing materials. However, if you want to get a real idea of the cost of a roof, you have to look at the installation cost in relation to the expected lifespan. This way, you can more accurately judge how much your roof will be worth in the long run.

Here’s a quick comparison of the cost of installing different types of roofs, plus the average lifespan for each type of roof.  

Roof TypeMaterials Per Square FootWith Installation CostsAverage LifespanCost for 1,7000 Square Feet
Aluminum shingles$4 – $9$9 – $1550-70 years$15,300 – $25,500
Aluminum sheets$5 – $10$10 – $1750+ years$17,000 – $28,900
Asphalt shingles$1 – $4.50$1.75 – $5.5015-30 years$2,975 – $9,350
Steel roofing$1.50 – $5.50$9 – $1330-50 years$15,300 – $22,100
Cedar shakes$10.50 – $15.50$20 – $2530 years$34,000 – $42,500
Clay/concrete tiles$5 – $15$10 – $2550+ years$17,000 – $42,500
Copper roofing$13 – $25$19 – $35100+ years$32,300 – $59,500
Zinc roofing$6 – $10$18 – $28100+ years$30,600 – $47,600

Should You Get Aluminum Roofing Shingles?

Aluminum roofing shingles are a good investment in the long-term. They last for decades without needing much maintenance and are some of the most durable roofs available.

Aluminum shingle roofs are a great investment in your home, particularly if you live in a humid, coastal environment.If you have the money to invest in a roof that will last a lifetime, an aluminum shingle roof can be very beneficial. If your budget is tight, consider a different roofing material, such as a cheaper metal roof or asphalt shingles.

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