This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from homeowners interested in metal roofing, so we’ll get right to the point–no, metal roofs are not loud in the rain.
But it’s important to note that metal roofing is a broad term that can be broken down into subcategories. Just as the aluminum foil you use at home is a far cry from gold in fine jewelry, the different types of metal roofing can vary drastically in appearance, quality, performance and noise levels in the rain.
An uncoated sheet of aluminum on top of a barn or shed is noisier in the rain than metal roofing products used on homes and commercial properties. For example, stone-coated metal roofing products are peacefully quiet in the rain due to their intricate textures and the sound-absorbing cushion of stone granules.
The structure of a roof plays an important role in noise reduction, as well.
A metal roof on a barn or shed lacks a complete roof assembly. The higher construction standards for residential and commercial properties require a roof deck, insulation and underlayment. This considerably dampens the sound of rainfall on the roof. With a complete roof assembly in place, the noise from rain on a metal roof is similar to any other roofing material.
If you’re in search of a metal roof that’s quiet in the rain, here’s what you need to know:
- What to look for in a metal roof that is quiet in the rain.
- How loud is a metal roof in the rain compared to asphalt shingles?
- The stone-coated secret for a quiet metal roof.
What to Look for in a Metal Roof That is Quiet in the Rain
Preventing sounds from hitting hard, flat surfaces is key to noise reduction from the rain.
A flat, uncoated sheet of metal–like the smooth surface of a drum–has no way to shorten the prolonged sound reflection, known as reverberation.
Reverberation is like an echo, but instead of hearing the sound again a split second later, the sound lasts a bit longer. Imagine being in a big empty room and clapping your hands. You'll hear the sound of your clap bouncing off the walls and the floor, and it will keep echoing for a moment before it fades away.
If a roof is made of a flat and uncoated sheet of metal, like that on a barn or shed, the noise from the rain will bounce and echo much longer.
On the other hand, a coated and textured metal roof, such as stone-coated metal roofing, will absorb the noise from the rain.
Simply put, reverberation makes the sound of rain louder and longer lasting when the roof reflects sound instead of absorbing it. The thicker the coating and the more irregular the surface texture, the more effective a roof is at disrupting and dampening the reverberation of sound waves.
How Loud is a Metal Roof Compared to Asphalt Shingles?
Decibels are the unit of measure used to describe sound levels.
The lowest decibel (dBA) level is 0, which is essentially total silence. A whisper is approximately 30 dBA, rainfall is about 50 dBA, normal conversation is 60 dBA and anything above 86 dBA could cause hearing damage.
According to the Acoustic Group at the University of Lulea, Sweden, rain on asphalt shingles is about 46 dBA compared to rain on a metal roof at 52 dBA. Asphalt shingles installed over a complete roof assembly are about 46 dBA in the rain. A metal roof installed over a complete roof assembly is about 52 dBA. A metal roof installed over open framing, such as on a barn or shed, is around 61 dBA in the rain.
Since most humans can’t tell the difference between sounds that are less than 8 decibels apart, the noise difference between a metal roof and an asphalt shingle roof is undetectable.
The Stone-Coated Secret for a Quieter Metal Roof
As mentioned above, the thicker and more irregular texture of a roof, the more it will disrupt, dampen and absorb sound from the rain.
Stone-coated metal roofing has several layers of natural stone granules which, besides being effective for corrosion resistance and increasing tensile strength, also act as an additional noise barrier. This means that the noise impact on the roof is significantly reduced.
In addition to being peacefully quiet in the rain, a stone-coated metal roof is one of the most durable roofs on the market. Stone-coated metal roofs are engineered to protect your home from nearly anything Mother Nature has to offer, including:
- Hurricanes and Tornadoes: DECRA stone-coated metal roofs meet the high-velocity hurricane zone requirements of Miami-Dade County, which has the strictest building codes in the country.
- Hail Impact: DECRA stone-coated metal roofing products achieve the highest possible Class 4 hail impact rating and are warrantied for hail up to 2.5” in diameter.
- Fire: DECRA stone-coated metal roofs carry the highest Class A Fire rating to protect from the threat of fire.
Stone-coated metal roofs also come with an extremely high ROI, thanks to their durability, longevity and energy efficiency.
- A stone-coated metal roof can protect your home from more than just the rain. A metal roof has a lifespan that is 2 to 3 times longer than traditional roofing materials like asphalt, tile and wood.
- Metal roofs are one of the most energy-efficient materials on the market and can reduce cooling costs by up to 25%.
- A modern metal roof can increase home value by up to 6%.
Quietly Protect Your Home from the Elements with DECRA Stone-Coated Metal Roofing
As the original manufacturer of stone-coated metal roofing products, DECRA metal roofs are engineered to withstand the elements–quietly.
Manufactured at our facility in Corona, California, all products are tested above and beyond the requirements to ensure the quality that DECRA is known for is present in each and every stone-coated metal roofing panel we produce.
See and feel the DECRA difference by requesting a complimentary sample today.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in January 2022, but has been updated with relevant information.