How noisy are metal roofs?
May 21, 2009 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Just how noisy is rain on a metal roof if you're not underneath it?

We're thinking about putting a metal roof on our small barn, but I've heard that they can be very noisy in the rain. It's at the bottom of our property and we don't spend a lot of time in there, so that's not really a problem for us. My concern, however, is that the sound may be annoying to our neighbor. There's about half an acre between the barn and her house with a hedgerow between. There are two large trees that hang over the barn--I'm not sure if that would help or hurt the noise level.

Do you live near a house/barn/shed with a metal roof? If so, just how bad is the noise? Would we be crappy neighbors to go with metal instead of shingles? Any advice or opinions on metal vs. shingles would also be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by jrossi4r to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Anecdotally, some people really like the sound. Have you discussed this with them?
posted by thebrokedown at 6:18 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

No, they are not anywhere near that loud. I lived in a house with a metal roof which also had a barn with a metal roof. Rain itself is pretty loud, so you only notice the loudness of the rain on a metal roof when you are inside and it is raining on your personal roof. There is no chance your neighbors will notice the sound of rain on your metal roof.
posted by jessamyn at 6:30 PM on May 21, 2009

You notice rain on a roof when you're very close to the source of the sound and you can distinguish individual drops. As you move further away from the roof the sound of each drop merges together and you only perceive a sort of hiss - or nothing at all. Furthermore, I presume your neighbour would have to hear this sound through walls or windows and over the sound of the rain on his/her own roof. I can't believe that this would be annoying, or even possible.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:35 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Your neighbours won't be able to here the rain on the roof. I don't think I've ever heard rain beating on a roof over an enclosed building from the outside and it's really only a problem inside if the roof is over purlins rather than a sheathed deck.
posted by Mitheral at 6:39 PM on May 21, 2009

It's not that loud. We had a porch with a metal roof attached to our house, and we could really only hear the amplified rain in the room nearest to the porch--we couldn't hear it from other areas of the house. Incidentally, we all loved the sound of the rain on the metal roof. Very comforting.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 6:50 PM on May 21, 2009

I'm in the "very much enjoy rain on a metal roof sound" camp, but it's definitely not loud enough that it would cause even a remote disturbance for anyone who's not actually inside the building in question.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:52 PM on May 21, 2009

FYI, metal roofs are non-toxic and can easily last 40+ years. Asphalt shingle roofs are toxic, high maintenance, and last 15-20 years if you are lucky (despite what the shingles claim to be rated).

Would you rather drink the water that ran off a metal roof or an asphalt roof?
posted by bengarland at 7:03 PM on May 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Awesome. Thanks so much for all your help. Metal roof it is.
posted by jrossi4r at 7:35 PM on May 21, 2009

Even though you have already decided, just in case you need confirmation - I live in a shed (=barn) with a metal roof and metal walls. There is only a thin insulation blanket under the roof and the sound is deafening inside when it rains heavily, but you can't hear it from outside unless you are very close. From inside the house we are building (about 20 metres from the shed), which also has a metal roof, you can't hear the rain on the shed roof over the general rain noise and the (much quieter) rain noise on the house roof.

Your neighbour won't hear a thing and neither will you, unless you piss your partner off enough that you end up sleeping in the barn.
posted by dg at 3:54 AM on May 22, 2009

Just one more, we just put a metal roof over our deck that sits adjacent to our bedroom and its not any louder in the bedroom at all. You literally have to be under the metal to hear it.
posted by stormygrey at 6:09 AM on May 22, 2009

It depends on how the roof is sheathed and how the metal decking is secured to the sheathing. The really loud roofs have fewer fasteners and relatively few boards to fasten to. Do you know if you're going for a standing seam metal roof or the standard corrugated steel with exposed fasteners?

Also, there's metal shingles that might be a nice compromise between the durability of metal and the look of shingles.
posted by electroboy at 6:46 AM on May 22, 2009

« Older I want to shut down.   |   Books that are a tease. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.