All roofing materials basically perform the same function: Keep the elements out of the home; but that’s where the similarity ends. Material composition, warranty, tile design, color options, curb-appeal, durability, and availability, will all play a part in the final decision of choosing which roofing tile to use on your home.
Of all the factors mentioned above, the principal material used in the manufacture of any roof tile or shingle will control how beneficial each of those other factors might be. Metal and synthetic roofing both have their advantages, but is one better than the other?
The History Of Metal And Composite Synthetic Roof Tiles
Many would guess that synthetic roof tiles are a relatively new invention and haven’t been in use as long as metal roofing, but the truth is that both types of tile began to be used commercially in the mid 1800s. Composite, or synthetic slate roof tiles were manufactured in Europe in the 1800s and then in the U.S. at the start of the twentieth century. The earliest roof tiles were made from Portland cement and asbestos, and they performed well, provided a high resistance to heat and moisture, and they were fireproof. Eventually needing to remove asbestos from the material makeup, manufacturers experimented with different plastics until they developed the synthetic roof tile that is available in today’s market. The use of metal for roofing began in Europe in 1857, when the process of galvanizing metal with zinc produced metal roofing that was resistant to rust. It was first used in the U.S. in the mid 1800s, on the U.S. Mint in New Orleans. The initial base metal used was iron and the product was called tin roofing. The development of rolling mills made tin roofing affordable and readily available.
How Do Metal Roof Tile Designs Compare To Composite Roof Tiles?
Since tin was easy to form, some of the early metal shingles were manufactured with many different designs which helped fuel their popularity in the beginning. Metal roof tiles are still easy to produce, and due to the advances in metal fabrication, there are many design options available.
However, stamped metal cannot replicate the most popular natural roofing products as well as molded composite tiles.
Cedar shakes, slate, and clay barrel tiles are the most sought-after choice for homes of distinction and though metal roof tiles are made to mimic nature’s most alluring roofing material, they cannot simulate their weight and feel. Metal is thin and there is nothing that can be done to change it.
Composite roof tiles, made from recycled plastics, are molded to mimic their natural counterparts in every way. The surface texture and the depth of the tile combine to make the synthetic tile almost indistinguishable from the natural.
Advantages Of Composite Roofing Tiles Over Metal
Durability And Maintenance
Metal roof tiles can last 50 years or more, retain their original shape, do not fade, and can withstand foot traffic if maintenance is required. Metal will bend and dent more easily than a solid composite roof tile. Composite tiles are made with colors that permeate the tile and will not fade and weather poorly as will metal shingles with only surface paint. Synthetic roof tiles can be walked on for maintenance, without fear of damage.
The predominant material used in metal roofing is steel and it is widely available. However, the more attractive metal roofs are made from copper, zinc and aluminum. These are much more expensive materials and they are not as easily sourced as the standard steel panels, and not available in as many colors.
Composite roofing tiles are available throughout the U.S. and Canada, and since the base material is the same for most of the designs, there are no issues obtaining the raw product to produce the tiles. Many synthetic tiles are available in an almost unlimited number of colors and blends.
Depending upon the material used, a recent 2021 survey shows that the average price for installing metal roofing is $850 - $1650 per square (100 sq ft). A similar survey shows the average price to install a composite tile roof at $770 -$1150 per square. Of course, these are averages and it will depend upon the availability of materials and labor in your area.
Composite Roof Tiles Are The Better Material
When you consider price, availability, durability and curb appeal, Brava’s composite roof tiles are the best choice for a long-lasting, beautiful roof. We have been manufacturing custom colored synthetic Cedar shake, Spanish barrel tile, and Old World Slate for years, and our products can be found on homes and businesses all over the U.S. and Canada.
In addition to a 50-year limited warranty, we also offer a selection of “cool” technology roof products that meet California’s Title 24 requirements. These roof tiles keep your home or business cooler in the summer, reducing the wear and tear on your air conditioning equipment and saving money year after year on utility bills.
Contact us today for free samples of our roofing shingles, and check out the resources we’ve provided in order to help make your roofing project a success.