It’s been raining like a mad bastard here, on and off, for the last day or so. I’m not talking about a bit of a drizzle – while the rain has petered off at times it’s been rather steady for the past few hours and, as I’m writing this in the small hours of the morning, it’s seriously dark outside. The only sound to be heard is the pattering of the rain on our roof.
Living in a house with a tin roof takes some getting used to. Even the slightest rainfall sounds like faint hissing above you, and when it really gets going it sounds like you’re caught under an umbrella during a hailstorm – it can be truly deafening. It’s no surprise that our daughter absolutely loves the sound, as she quite easily drifts off as the white noise of the rain drumming against the roof lulls her to sleep.
I can see why it’s so appealing. Even in heavy downpours the steady, rhythmic drumming is emotionally soothing, like organic Xanax. Tin roofs are quite common on homes in the Adirondacks, as they’re more durable than shingles when it comes to our region’s heavy snowfalls. They’re also more sustainable, considering that you can recycle them at the end of their life-cycle, and I’ve seen plenty of tin-roof houses with impressive photovoltaic solar cell arrays around here as well. There are some downsides, though – even if you don’t mind the volume of a heavy rainfall hitting a tin roof, you’re likely going to end up having to be much more careful about your insulation as a metal roof just absorbs heat in the summer and radiates it like mad in the winter and you’ve also got to worry about rust, but most tin roofs around here are coated with a specialized ceramic-infused paint in order to cut down on some of these problems.
For someone who grew up in a house with a traditional shingle roof, the hardest part might just be the visual dissonance that you get when you look at a tin roof. It’s disconcerting to look up at a roof and not see what you consider “normal” – i.e. a rough textured roof covered in countless black overlapping shingles. Instead you’re looking, puzzled, at only a few sheets of matte, smooth, and often colored metal, like someone decided to use aluminum siding on the top of their house instead of the sides. Like looking up at night and actually seeing the Milky Way, it definitely takes some getting used to if you’re a former suburbanite like me.
Still, just as I wouldn’t trade the night sky for anything, I wouldn’t give up my new tin roof even if you paid me. Just like the signpost at the end of our driveway, for me it signifies home.