When the cold weather hits, you will want a reliable roof. We thought it would be a good idea to go over metal roofs vs. shingles in cold climates to help our readers and customers get a handle on this important subject. We’ll look at durability, energy efficiency, and even installation practices that play a part in the metal roof vs. shingles in cold climates discussion.

The Pacific Northwest in the winter brings a variety of weather — rain, snow and ice, and wind. That means your roof will need to be able to handle the elements to keep you warm and dry.
In this blog post, we look at the differences between asphalt shingle roofs and metal roofing panels, and the benefits that metal roofs have in holding up during the cold winter months.


No matter what roofing material you choose, installation in colder climates during the winter months will be a little trickier. Not to mention the difficulty of working on a roof during icy conditions–this presents a whole different set of safety standards. As far as the roofing material itself, colder temperatures will make a difference during installation.

Metal roofing installation in colder climates can be a bit more intricate due to the material’s characteristics. Metal contracts in colder temperatures, so installers need to account for potential size changes during installation. This is why expansion joints are needed during any installation, allowing for this movement.

Correct insulation and ventilation are also needed when installing metal roofing in cold regions. Adequate insulation helps regulate temperatures and cuts down on condensation or ice formation beneath the roof, which could lead to potential issues like water damage or mold.

On the other hand, cold temperatures can make shingles more brittle, potentially leading to breakage during installation. Installers might need to be extra cautious when handling shingles in colder weather to prevent damage. Sealants and adhesives used during shingle installation might take longer to cure or adhere properly in cold temperatures, impacting the overall installation process.

Ensuring a warm environment during installation or using specialized adhesives for cold weather can ease these challenges. Both metal roofing and shingle installation in cold climates demand attention to specific temperature-related nuances. Asphalt roof installations generally don’t happen during the winter months because sunlight and warmth help the shingle strips bond together and stick.

Because a winter snowstorm or windstorm can easily blow off shingles, homeowners may be left with roof damage after the first storm of the season. Metal roofing, on the other hand, can be installed year-round. Our crews at Mountaintop Metal Roofing can install metal roofing during the cool winter months easily!

Metal Roof vs. Shingles In Cold Climates: Durability

No matter the climate, weather, or location, metal roofing is hands down the most durable product you can put on your home. It does well in extreme weather conditions, including freezing temperatures, heavy snow, and ice. Metal roofs effectively shed snow, preventing excessive accumulation that could strain the roof’s structure.

This shedding capability minimizes the risk of ice dams forming, which can be detrimental to roof integrity. So not only is metal roofing more durable, it goes a long way to help protect the rest of your home as well.

Moreover, metal roofs are highly resistant to damage caused by temperature fluctuations. They can endure the contraction and expansion cycles induced by freezing and thawing. Additionally, they are less susceptible to issues like rotting or mold growth, which can be a problem in damp, cold environments.

Shingles can be impacted by temperature variations, leading to materials like asphalt contracting and expanding, potentially causing cracking or curling. Heavy snow loads can add stress, increasing the risk of damage over time. Shingles require more frequent inspections and maintenance to ensure their longevity in colder climates.

Metal roofing also allows for efficient clean-up after the first thunderstorm, windstorm, or snow event. Snow piles can easily be shoveled away, while shingles may be soaked with moisture, which could cause damage to leaky roofs.

The snow and rain will take over and you could be left with a potentially expensive repair situation. Metal will not only withstand all sorts of weather conditions, but it can also last up to 50 years and beyond. That kind of durability is something you can count on.

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy efficiency, metal roofing generally holds an advantage over traditional shingles. In most cases, this efficiency is seen during the sunnier months, reflecting solar radiant heat, and minimizing heat gain during hot weather. This leads to energy cost savings by keeping indoor spaces cooler and reducing the load on cooling systems.

In colder climates, metal roofs can also be optimized with insulation to prevent heat loss, thereby aiding in maintaining interior warmth and reducing heating expenses during winter. Shingles might provide some insulating properties, just not as efficiently as metal roofs. Certain types of shingles, like light-colored or reflective asphalt shingles, generally absorb more heat compared to metal roofing.

Overall, the reflective nature of metal roofing, along with its capacity to be insulated for both hot and cold climates, makes it a more energy-efficient option when compared to shingles. The ability to minimize heat absorption in warmer weather and retain warmth during colder seasons contributes significantly to reducing energy consumption and saving you money throughout the year.


Metal roofing tends to require less maintenance in colder climates compared to shingles overall (and in warmer climates as well). Its durability and resistance to temperature fluctuations make it less prone to weather-related stress. It can also be much easier to clean large amounts of snow to reduce stress on your home’s framing.

Metal roofs effectively “shed” snow, minimizing the risk of ice dams forming, a common issue in cold climates that can lead to water seepage and damage. Metal roofs also resist damage from freezing and thawing cycles, reducing the likelihood of cracks or warping. They’re highly resistant to issues like rotting or mold growth, which can be a concern in damp, cold environments.

Routine maintenance for metal roofing typically involves occasional inspections for any debris accumulation and ensuring proper sealing around roof penetrations, which can be easily managed.

On the other hand, shingles might require more attention in colder climates. They can be affected by temperature fluctuations, causing materials like asphalt to contract and expand, potentially leading to cracking or curling. Heavy snow loads can also pose challenges for shingles, increasing the risk of damage over time.

Regular inspections for loose, damaged, or missing shingles are essential, and repairs might be necessary to maintain their effectiveness in colder climates. While both roofing materials have their merits, metal roofing generally demands less maintenance in colder climates due to its durability, resistance to weather-related damage, and ability to effectively manage snow and ice accumulation.

Metal Roof vs. Shingles In Cold Climates: Work With The Experts

Metal roofing is a smart choice for the Pacific Northwest, even in winter. Its installation flexibility allows it to be put in place year-round, including during the colder months. Unlike some materials affected by temperature changes, metal roofing handles the Pacific Northwest’s winter conditions exceptionally well.

But no matter what types of roofing material you use, it’s only as good as the company that installs it. Expert installation is crucial for metal roofing because it’s not just about putting sheets of metal on your roof. Mountaintop Metal Roofing crews bring decades of experience to the job, ensuring your roof lasts.

Mountaintop Metal Roofing provides a lifetime, non-prorated, transferable warranty with all its offered products. While many brands define “lifetime” as 10 years, our installations ensure complete coverage for as long as you own your home. We firmly believe in doing your roof right the first time: our goal is for you to have peace of mind, knowing your roof is secure and reliable for as long as you own your home.

A well-installed metal roof protects your home for years. Ready to get your metal roof installed? Contact us today and we will answer any questions you have or get your appointment on the books.