Shingle Roofing vs. Metal Roofing A Guide for Toronto Homeowners

A photo of a two-storey home with tan siding and grey roof shingles. The home is surrounded by mature trees.

In recent years, metal roofing has become increasingly popular. Once reserved for industrial buildings and commercial properties, metal roofs are becoming more prominent on residential homes in the Greater Toronto Area, and understandably so — metal roofs offer a wealth of benefits for Toronto homeowners.

That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the traditional shingle, of course; it’s served us well for decades. In fact, both types offer different benefits!

If the time has come to replace your roof, or you’re considering updating your roof in the near future, you’re probably wondering if installing metal roofing over shingles is a possibility. You might also be unsure about pricing or the cost of a metal roof vs shingles. This post will help you determine which is better for your situation and your Toronto home.

That said, we’re always happy to help you with any queries. So, if you still have questions, or if you’d like to get a roofing estimate, please reach out — our team is more than happy to help.

Metal Roof vs Shingles – A Brief Breakdown of Their Installation Processes

Metal Roof

Metal roofing components are usually made of copper, aluminum, or steel. We make our metal roofing in-house using 24-gauge galvanized metal sheets. Our metal shingle machine creates perfectly shaped metal roofing tiles.

The first step is assessing the plywood on your roof deck, though in some cases, we can discuss installing a metal roof over shingles. We begin by laying a synthetic underlay which acts as a protective barrier against ice and water over the roof as a base. We then install one-by-three-by-eight beams of lumber as vertical and horizontal strapping. This system provides a solid structure to attach the metal sheets while providing ventilation below the metal. Ventilation is essential — it reduces the potential for trapped moisture, ensuring your metal roof lasts as long as possible. Custom metal sheets are then laid atop the strapping.

We add snow guards and metal capping, which are also manufactured in our warehouse. The timeframe for installing a metal roof is approximately three days. However, the period will vary depending on the installation process and if installing metal roofing over shingles is possible.

Shingle Roof

You may come across two types of asphalt shingles: organic and fibreglass.

Organic. These are made using compressed recycled paper and asphalt. The perks of organic shingles? They’re durable, resistant, and heavy but flexible.

Fibreglass. As opposed to organic shingles, which use paper, fibreglass shingles are made using a layer of glass. They’re lighter than organic shingles and provide higher resistance to heat. They’re also less expensive. You’ll soon see that when considering shingles vs metal roof options, the cost difference can become a factor, but remember that things aren't always as they seem. We'll get to the costs soon!

During shingle roofing installation, we add the starter strip to the lip of the roof — this allows ice and water to flow into the eaves and not under the shingles, which would consequently rot the edge of the plywood. We also lay three feet of a rubberized ice and water shield (and sometimes drip edge).

We may also install an asphalt felt underlay over the rest of the roof. This depends on the type of asphalt shingle used; fibreglass shingles call for this step. Lastly, we add a synthetic layer atop the roof before laying the shingles. This helps prevent rain from travelling beneath the shingles, causing damage to the plywood below.

The Pros of a Metal Roof vs Shingles

There are several pros for metal roofing solutions compared to asphalt shingles.


We’re deeply familiar with how geographic location can affect the longevity of asphalt shingles. As a roofing company in Toronto — with over 25 years of experience serving the Greater Toronto Area — we see the firsthand effects of the whipping winds from Lake Ontario in the fall, the heavy and compact snowfall in the winter, and the intense baking heat of the summer.

Metal roofs are considered the Ferrari of the roofing industry. They can offer homeowners protection for over 50 years. On the other hand, asphalt shingles last between 25 and 50 years, though it’s most likely shingles will need to be replaced at around the 20-to-25-year mark (50 years is an absolute maximum).

While homeowners with shingle roofs occasionally need to seek roof maintenance tips, metal roofs won’t pose as much concern. Metal won’t bend, crack or peel in the same way asphalt shingles do. This is a huge pro when you’re weighing up the metal roofs vs shingles argument — you won’t need to pay for routine maintenance, and it will be many years before you need to pay for a complete roof replacement.

Environmentally Friendly

Interestingly, metal roofs are often made of recycled materials; approximately 25% of the materials used come from upcycled sources. Further, metal roofing can be recycled when the time comes to replace it. This is a massive thumbs-up for metal roofing when you consider that, in 2018 in the USA, over 600 million tonnes of construction and demolition debris ended up in landfill — this heavy total includes old asphalt shingles.

Another advantage of investing in metal roofs is that they can reduce energy bills, even in the Toronto heat. An Oak Ridge National Laboratory study found “a 45% decrease in the flow of heat with the metal roof, mostly attributable to the ventilation above the sheathing. Researchers also found up to 25% reduction in cooling costs.”

Lastly, if you collect rainwater for your garden using rain barrels, a metal roof offers cleaner, uncontaminated run-off, which is safe for you and your veggies.

Animal Protection

Metal roofs offer extra protection from animal intruders in Toronto like racoons, squirrels, and other critters — another lesser-considered perk to metal if the metal roof vs shingles cost dispute is on your mind. Paying for humane wildlife removal can be pretty costly.

Fire Protection

A perk to metal in the metal roof vs shingles trade-off is that metal roofing is fire-resistant and non-combustible. While this is — fortunately — something that most homeowners don't need to deal with, it's undoubtedly an extra perk that can outweigh concerns over the cost of metal roof vs shingles installation.

The Shingles vs Metal Roof Debate: Pros of Shingles

The most considerable merit of asphalt shingles, when compared to metal roofing, is the cost factor. The initial cost of shingles vs metal roof installation is lower. However, as discussed above, due to the durability of a metal roof, you’ll see a return on investment over the coming years as roofing maintenance and repair costs will be significantly lower. In some cases, we can even install a metal roof over shingles.

In addition, the potential savings you'll see on your energy and water bills from a metal roof make the cost of metal roof vs shingles conversation somewhat easier in Toronto.

And lastly, since we make our metal roofing in-house, we can keep costs lower as we’ve cut out the middleman, so the actual price of our metal roofing solutions might pleasantly surprise you!


Aesthetics are very personal when it comes to metal roofs vs shingles. Some Torontonians prefer a metal roof's sleek, minimal stylings, while other local homeowners opt for the traditional, quaint feel that asphalt shingles offer. Both styles come in various colours, so you can ensure your new roof matches your home’s exterior.

Asphalt shingles come in several colours. At Professional Roofers —we offer metal roofing solutions in Bright Red, Anchor Grey, Medium Green, and Copper!


If you’re considering shingles vs metal roof solutions this year for your commercial or residential property, or if you have questions about installing metal roofing over shingles — connect with us! We are always happy to wade into the ‘cost of shingles vs metal roof’ debate, help you get a free roofing estimate, and discuss your queries further.

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