Are Metal Roofs Noisy?

bryan roofer explains sound from metal roofs

One of the most commonly asked questions in Bryan roofing is how noisy metal roofs can be.    Home owners vary in how much “noise” they will tolerate.   Many home owners prefer the typical raindrop sound, while other home owners would like to minimize sounds.  However, depending on how noisy a home owner would like their metal roof to be depends on the installation and construction quality of the roof.

Surprisingly Quiet

The human ear has a wide range of volumes that it can register.  Humans can hear as soft as 0dB and as loud as 175dB (pain threshold is 130dB).  General conversation is usually around 70dB.  Logical conclusions might lead a home owner to believe that metal roofs on average are nosier than other types of roofing materials, like composite shingles.  However, in a test by The Acoustic Group in Sweden, researchers found that metal roofs emit rain noise softer than normal conversation and only slightly louder than a soft whisper.

Metal roofing registered at 52dB from rainfall while asphalt shingles registered 46dB.  Because normal conversation occurs at 70dB, metal roofing does not provide a significant impact on sound levles or sound interruption.

Details in Roof Construction

Part of the reason why asphalt shingles appear to perform better at noise reduction than metal roofing is the components of the system that are layered together.  They act and serve as a sound dampener.  Metal roofs that are built on open frames will emit louder sound than roofs built on solid decks.

In Bryan, TX and surrounding areas regulations allow roof decks under metal roofs to serve as a sound dampener, similar to the way asphalt shingles dampen sound.  Today, there are only a few ways metal roofing does not come with a sound absorbing underlayment material.

Home owners with skylights can test this principle on a rainy day.  When listening closely for the sound, home owners will notice that the noise is being emitted from the skylight itself and not the roof.  Skylights usually open up to open air, allowing sound waves to transmit freely inside of the living space.  The roof on the other hand is backed by layers of materials that absorb the sound waves.

How Much Sound is Ideal?

Every home owner is different in their acceptable levels of sound.  Many light sleepers may not like much sound coming off of their roof.  Conversely, many people prefer the traditional sound of “rain on a tin roof”.  If a home owner prefers a roof with more sound, their local roofer should construct the roof on a framing system that will act as a minor amplifier, transmitting more sound to the open air in the living spaces.

For the home owners that wish to obtain the look and appearance of a metal roof, but to minimize the sound, the roof should be constructed with additional layers that will serve as sound dampeners.

Schulte Roofing is a Bryan roofing company with over 100 years of combined roofing experience.  Metal roofing in Bryan, TX is backed up by the Bulletproof Roof Gurantee™.  Contact Schulte Roofing to learn more about the acoustic qualities of a metal roof.