Some people choose metal roofing because they love the sound of rain drops tapping on it during a storm. Others don't find that sound quite as endearing. If you fall into the latter category, you don't have to give up on the durability of this roofing material just to get some sleep during a summer shower. Try at least one of these four proven methods for controlling the sound of a noisy metal roof.
Solid Foam Insulation
The fastest way to make an existing metal roof quieter is to install solid foam insulation between the roofing and the attic or ceiling. The foam absorbs sound so it doesn't reach you in the rest of the house. This material works best when an entire layer is applied under the metal roofing, but this involves taking up the panels and re-attaching them with high labor costs. You can still get a lot of muffling with less work by cutting foam panels to fit in the rafter spaces or using spray foam for similar results.
If you haven't installed a metal roof yet, this is your best option for making sure it's quiet from the beginning. It's not much extra work to install a layer of foam before a new metal roof goes on, even when you're roofing over an existing asphalt shingle roof. The roofing installers simply need to use the right moisture barriers between the various layers to prevent damage in case a leak ever develops.
Do you hear booming or popping noises in the middle of a rainstorm or on hot days when there's no cloud in the sky? This is because your metal roof panels are moving, either due to the weight of water moving over them or because of thermal expansion as the metal heats and cools. It's commonly a sign that your panels were installed with too few fasteners or that the fasteners are becoming loose after years of dealing with wind and heat. Some fasteners fail early after installation due to a manufacturing fault, resulting in a roof that seems unusually loud from the beginning. An experienced roofer can quickly tighten up existing fasteners and add more as necessary to keep these loud noises from bothering you.
Homeowners often try to avoid installing new roofing over older materials because they're concerned that it will shorten the lifespan of the new layer. However, it's a great idea when you've covering asphalt or composite shingles with metal because the solid layer below the surface absorbs a lot of the sound transmitted through the metal on top. Metal roofing isn't damaged by being installed over an older roof, even if that roof was leaking or otherwise damaged. Just be sure to check that your local building codes allow for multiple layers of roof material before planning to try this kind of installation. Some areas are now limiting homes to a maximum of two layers, regardless of what kind of materials you're using.
Finally, sometimes it's better just to focus on keeping the noise from reaching you in the house rather than trying to prevent it in the first place. For example, insulating your attic space is usually easier than insulating the roof itself, and it still offers nearly as much muffling effect in the long run. Extra attic insulation also prevents other outdoor noises from interrupting your sleep or your peaceful afternoon. This can be added in the form of permanent layers or sound blocking blankets and curtains that can be removed with ease later. Many people experiment with inexpensive sound curtains before committing to permanent insulation to make sure they'll get the sound reduction they need.