A question we get often is if a Hy-Grade Steel Roofing System will be noisier in rain and hail than an asphalt shingle roof. It’s likely this worry stems from the memory of old barn steel and tin roofs of the past. Metal roofing has since come a long way, especially residential steel roofing. Aspects of our system, installation process as well as our roofing materials actually help absorb more sound in most cases. Many customers are surprised to learn that their Hy-Grade Steel Roof is either the same, or less noisy than their asphalt shingle roof was.
Noise-Cancelling System Design
To start, the design of our system and our unique shakes vastly improve the quietness when compared to other types of metal roofing. Since our roof is a multi-panel system in much smaller, 3 dimensional pieces, it’s takes the drum effect out of the steel. When you think about rain or hail hitting a long panel of steel, it would create plenty of movement of the metal and echo the noise. Since our shakes are smaller and more rigid, the echo is nearly eliminated to begin with.
Each additional layer of materials helps absorb sound as it travels into your home. The first layer the rain or hail hits is the coating on our steel shakes. This coating, among many other advantages, acts as a sound barrier to the rain. Rather than a straight galvanized steel, painted metal or tin roof of the past, it’s one additional layer of sound-absorbing material.
Our steel system is installed over top of a double-strapped wooden frame. This wooden frame is installed directly on top of your existing asphalt shingles in most cases. Both the wood strapping and your existing asphalt shingles absorb some more of the sound as it travels inward. In addition to important ventilation, the small air space between your existing roof and the Hy-Grade Steel Roofing System created by the wood strapping, traps sound waves. This affords your roofing system sound attenuation; the loss of energy in sound waves as they travel through barriers.
Sound-Attenuating Air Space
This small gap between your existing roof and our steel roofing system is a unique installation process. Many metal roofs are installed direct-to-deck, meaning the metal is installed right up against your existing roof. Without a strapping system installed, there is no noise-cancelling air pocket for sound to get trapped in. Many barn steel style metal roofs are installed direct-to-deck, which is another reason metal roofs have gained a reputation as noisy. With a shake-style and double strapped system like our Hy-Grade Steel Roofing System, noise is confined and diminished in the small air pocket before it enters your home.
One common phenomenon that helps explain sound absorption and attenuation is a fresh snow fall. It seems quieter after a fresh snowfall because it is! One inch of rain is the equivalent amount of precipitation as about 10 inches of snow. Snow is not as dense as rain and that extra space between snowflakes traps and absorbs sound waves.
Materials that are insulating but porous, with small holes, also trap and dissipate sound waves. Foam-like materials are used on the walls of sound-proof rooms for this reason. If your attic is properly insulated, the insulation will act as another sound-breaking barrier between your roof and inside your home. By the time noise from rain or hail makes its way through all of these sound-absorbing layers into your home it should be no louder than it was with your existing roof and likely, even quieter than before.
“It was one of my main concerns with this type of roof, whether it would make more noise during rainfall… but in actual fact I would say it makes less noise.”
-Father Martin Valley (formerly of) Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church – Hy-Grade Steel Roofing System installed in May 1996 in Kitchener, Ontario