Q: I remember lying in bed as a child at Grandma's house, hearing the rain on her tin roof, so I'm curious about the new metal roofs I'm seeing everywhere. How do their cost and durability compare to other roofing?
A: The renewed popularity of metal roofing taps a desire for an old-fashioned, Grandma's-house kind of appeal. But make no mistake; the roofs are thoroughly modern. They are typically no-maintenance, painted aluminum or steel rather than the rust-prone tin you might find on a lake cabin. Plus, they are laid on top of much more than the 1-inch slats and tar paper of yesteryear.
Expect to find a foot of insulation between the roof and the ceiling. When it rains on such a roof, the sound inside the house is much more muted.
The new metal roofing differs from Grandma's in another key area: They are expensive, costing about three times more than asphalt roofing. But they also hold up longer. Painted steel roofing will last 20-50 years or more, and copper roofing can last up to 100 years. Typical asphalt roofing, meanwhile, is good for 15-30 years.
There are other ways to enjoy the rattle of rain on the roof, as well. A bay window with copper roofing can bring the sound of rain inside. Or, a porch or overhang made of aluminum will echo with the pitter-patter of raindrops. In fact, the patter you heard at Grandma's house might have come from metal awnings that were popular 50 years ago.