A metal roof that is not insulated can generate horrendous levels of noise for those living below it. Despite this, most people opt for a metal instead of other materials because of the durability and longevity metal provides. The maintenance needed for these kinds of roofs is also less compared to other materials.
Not only that, a metal roof is an environment-friendly option as it significantly reduces the energy bills of the house that it covers. But all of this does not apply to a simple tin roof or an aluminum barn roof without any decking underlayment.
Roof underlayment costs quite some money but it is easily one of the wisest investments you will do after the house. And the good news is that, with the underlayments, you can choose to offer some soundproofing solutions to the roof as well. This will keep out most types of noise.
8 Ways to Soundproof Metal Roof
Here are a few methods to make sure that the metal roof covering your home gives you as much silence and quiet as an asphalt roof does.
This is not a soundproofing method that you should consider getting but this is something needed for every metal roof.
Underlayments are inserted beneath the main surface so if you are familiar with floor underlayments then this will make more sense. A roofing underlayment is inserted between the roof deck and the metal roof to create a soundproof and waterproof.
This extra layer provides durability to the roof and makes it weather resistant. It also adds mass to the metal layer thus making it difficult for any outside sound to enter your home.
Felt in itself is a material that is popular in the world of soundproofing, but for a roof that is exposed to nature and its many kinds of weather, just any kind of felt won’t do the job. This is where the roofing felt comes in a material that is waterproof and is ideal for metal roof soundproofing.
There are a few types of roofing felt but the most effective is probably Torch-on Bitumen. It is a roof covering solution that involves three layers of modified bitumen felt. This melt-welded onto the metal surface with the help of a blowtorch to create an impenetrable and waterproof layer.
You can also use self-adhesive or shed felt but these are generally thinner and result in a lowered quality of sound dampening.
Choose the Correct Metal Roof Profile
There are two most popular options to choose from. One is the standard seam or flat panels and the other is getting corrugated metal roofing. Both of them have their pros and cons but in terms of sound insulation, the standard seam wins over the corrugated style of roofing panels.
Flat panels sit more securely on the roof deck and thus when rainy or windy weather hits, they rattle less as compared to a corrugated roof which rattles due to its structure and build.
However, the matter of corrugated v/s standard seam panels is not that simple as the quality of the metal used for the roofing also plays a vital role in determining whether or not the roof will rattle and create a resonating sound or not.
When it comes to noise reduction, the more complex and strong the metal roof quality is, the better will be its performance. Such a roof is usually very costly and you necessarily do not have to get that. So, if you are getting a roof within a lower price bracket then it is better to get a standard seam that will fit perfectly on the roof deck and rattle less.
Dampen the Roof
This can be done with sound-deadening paint. Rubber or latex-based paints can serve as a good dampener for your metal roof. Applying a thick coat of such paint will reduce the intensity of the clanging sounds generated on your roof when rainwater falls on it.
This obviously means that the paint you choose has to be waterproof. Applying three to four thick layers of the paint will prove most effective.
While this method will not be as effective as attaching roofing felt, it will still contribute a significant amount to reducing the infamous metal roof noises, especially when bad weather hits.
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Insulate the Attic
Soundproofing of a metal roof cannot be achieved if the focus is only aid to the roof itself. Its surroundings also need to be looked at for the best results.
One such important surrounding is the attic which is the closest to your roof. Not all houses have attics but if you do, you should consider insulating them. You can choose the type of insulation depending on how soundproof your existing metal roof already is.
The most basic and easily doable type of insulation is spray foam. It is a self-adhering product that will fill every corner, curve, and gap on any surface when properly applied. After that, it will solidify to form a solid seal that protects the surface completely.
Blanket insulations are also a popular choice in places where temperatures remain low throughout the year. However, blanket insulations use fiberglass as a material that can be toxic if inhaled. One needs to be careful while applying it.
Consult a professional if you are unsure about the material and process of insulation, as these projects cost quite some money and it is best not to try it yourself unless you are thoroughly familiar with it.
Soundproof the Ceiling
If you live in a house that has no attic then the closest surface to the metal roof in your house is the highest ceiling. And a tried and tested method to prevent outside sounds from entering your house from the ceiling is to soundproof it.
There are multiple ways in which one can offer soundproofing solutions to the ceiling of a house. The cheapest and most commonly done procedure is simply to cover the ceiling with acoustic panels. These panels are made from sound dampening or sound-absorbing material that prevents the easy moving of sound ways.
Another way to soundproof a ceiling is to decouple it by building a dropped ceiling or a false ceiling. In the decoupling method, an drywall is built over the main surface and then placed at a distance from each other so that the sound cannot transmit through structural transmission.
Dropped ceilings are a costlier option and if your metal roof is built from complex and strong steel then there is no reason for you to consider a dropped ceiling as other less intensive soundproofing methods will do the trick for your roof.
Make Sure the Metal Roof is Secure in its Place
Every metal roof has fasteners which are clamp-like structures to hold your roof in place securely. Sometimes, if the roof isn’t mounted with precision, it can lead to issues with fasteners – such as them being not tight enough or enough in number to hold the roof.
This isn’t usually much of a problem, as the roof doesn’t often come in contact with something that will move it. This is, however, until bad weather hits. As a result of rainy or windy weather, your roof can move in its place depending on how loose the fasteners have become.
This becomes a problem, both because of the horrendous levels of sound generated but also because of the hazard to safety it poses.
You shouldn’t delay getting your roof fixed. The repairer, in all probability, is going to suggest either replacing or getting more fasteners to rectify the situation.
Texture refers to the surface quality of the metal roof- whether it is smooth or has a textured surface. This should not be confused with roof profile which refers to the make and builds of the roofing panels.
Sound waves, by their nature, travel in straight lines and reflect off from hard smooth surfaces. But when this straight path is broken by uneven or textured surfaces, the sound waves get scattered in different directions. This reduces their intensity.
So, when rain falls on a textured roofing panel, the sound will be much less compared to if it falls on a smooth panel.
This is the very reason why builders go for textured roofing as it serves the dual purpose to dissipate both light and sound thus making the roof soundproof, as well as insulated.
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These were the most opted-for methods to get a soundproof metal roof. Strictly speaking, handling the roof should always be done by a professional. Dealing with roofs is always a risky business and should not be treated as a DIY task.
That said when getting a new roof or a replacement metal roof, always communicate with the professional about the specifications that you want.
Getting underlayments, decking or any other soundproofing solution is much easier when the ceiling is being installed. It will even cost you less compared to if you try to insulate the roof at a later date.