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Are Metal Roofs Noisy When it Rains? How Loud is a Metal Roof?

Metal roofs are a fantastic combination of aesthetic appeal and durability. But one worry may be holding you back: How noisy is a metal roof when it rains? Even if you love the sound of falling rain, you don't want to feel like you live inside a snare drum every time it sprinkles outside. If noise is your only remaining concern, we have great news. A properly-installed metal roof is no noisier than one made with asphalt shingles, ceramic barrel tiles, or any other material.

Why Do People Think that Metal Roofs Are Loud?

If you thought a metal roof would be louder than standard roofing material, you aren't alone. Some of the misconception is due to the average American's experience with metal roofs on barns, sheds, and other agricultural buildings. Or, perhaps you've been in an old building with a metal roof, one installed with outdated methods. In these instances, metal roofs are noisy when it rains. That's because the sheets of metal were installed directly over the rafters or roofing surface.

Today's metal roofs include a layer of sheathing between the metal and the roofing surface. Rain, hail, blowing debris - whatever strikes a metal roof sounds no louder than it would striking asphalt shingles.

Proper Installation Is the Key

Following best practices is the key to enjoying a low-noise metal roof. Proper fasteners, underlayment, and type of metal all play a role.

  • Roof fasteners: Inclement weather often causes roofing materials to shift and move, especially if they weren't fastened properly. Proper installation requires using the right number of fasteners as well as correct placement and spacing.
  • Roof underlayment: Also known as sheathing, the underlayment lies between the roofing surface and the metal sheets or tiles. Common underlayment materials include asphalt-infused felt, nylon filament mats, rubberized asphalt sheets, and foam insulating panels. Without the underlayment, your roof will likely be as loud as you feared.
  • Metal type: Generally, this refers to corrugated versus flat metals and how stiff the material is. Flat or standing seam metals are much quieter than corrugated options are. Also, as a general rule, higher gauge metals are better at reducing noise. This becomes especially important with a high profile roof.

Finally, you can help deaden the sound from any type of roof with increased ceiling insulation. The two most popular options are spray foam insulation and rigid foam insulation. This creates a physical barrier between the living space and the roof, absorbing much of the sound.

The Benefits of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has been a popular option for centuries thanks in large part to life expectancy. With proper installation and minimal maintenance, your metal roof should last as long as your house does. That's because metal resists mildew, insects, rot, and fire.

It's also a greener choice, both in terms of being recyclable and in savings on utility bills. This is because metal roofs reflect radiant heat, reducing heat gain during the day, lowering your AC costs.

Warranties on metal roofs typically range between 20 and 50 years (the higher the gauge, the longer the warranty). If you choose a paint finish, the standard warranty is 30 years.

The Drawbacks of Metal Roofing

There are, of course, a few drawbacks to installing a metal roof, with the biggest being initial costs. While you likely won't need to replace it for 30 years or more, metal roofs are priced similar to other premium roofing materials. Of course, if you plan to be in the home for a long time, a metal roof is worth the cost.

Another worry is damage to softer metals, such as copper and aluminum, which may dent in severe hail. You also have to be very careful about installation, since most issues occur due to improper installation techniques. Make sure the contractor you choose is experienced in metal roof installation.

Cost of a New Metal Roof

Metal roof costs vary according to the type of metal, its gauge or thickness, whether you choose standing seam or shingles, installation or labor costs in your area, and more. For example, metal shingles cost less than a standing seam metal roof. In addition, labor rates vary from state to state and even town to town.

  • The average cost of an installed metal roof ranges between $5.50 and $12.00 per square foot
  • The average cost of installed metal roof shingles is between $7 and $10 per square foot
  • The average cost to install a standing seam metal roof ranges between $9 and $12 per square foot
  • Corrugated or ribbed steel roofs cost between $3 and $6 per square foot, installed
  • Labor rates range between $50 and $200 per hour, with rates typically rising along with population levels
  • Installing steel shingles over an existing 1,700 square foot roof has an average cost between $14,000 and $20,000, depending on metal quality

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