A New Metal Shingle Roof at the Cabin

The very first project we did at the cabin was not as glamorous as a new kitchen, but it was even more necessary. During inspection, we discovered that part of our cabin needed a new roof. It wasn’t actually a huge surprise, but it certainly wasn’t something we wanted to hear. It wasn’t leaking, luckily, but it was definitely in pretty bad shape, as you can see even in the original listing photo:

We had to get a few estimates (and renegotiate the price) before we could even continue with closing, but it was also mid-November, and six inches of snow came down on the exact day we needed to get the estimates, which made that process super difficult/stressful. Then we had to wait until that snow and the rest of the record snowfall* melted and then the spring rain stopped before they could actually start working on the roof. So the new roof was finished in June.

Our cabin is kind of two parts — the original log cabin part built in 1972 (on the right) — and then a sort of sideways a-frame built a couple years later (on the left). Both parts had cedar shingle roofs, and the log cabin’s was the one that needed to be replaced for now. As a matter of fact, the flat roof in the middle will also be replaced soon, as well as some of the siding, and some windows. Sigh, there’s always something…

The biggest decision with any roof is, obviously, what material to choose. We knew right away that your average asphalt roof was not the right choice for our cabin because it was important to us to attempt to maintain the original character as best we could. The way the cabin is situated slightly lower than the road, you actually see the roof before the rest of the house, so it’s an important aspect of the design. However, new cedar shingles were just not a good investment since they’re expensive and we’d likely have to replace them again in twenty years or so when the harsh winters took their toll once again.

Enter metal shingles! Who knew these were even a thing?! The cost was somewhere in between asphalt and cedar, but to us it was worth spending a little more to get the look we wanted. We chose Great American Steel Shakes from Green American Home in the color “aged cedar.” It’s amazing how much they look like the original roof — but way better — and they’ll last nearly a lifetime.

Below you can see the old shingles on the a-frame on the right versus the new metal shingles on the log cabin on the left. The new metal roof is a near perfect match! Obviously the cedar shingles have a little more character than metal since each one is different , but the new roof is much more reliable.

Aesthetically and financially the metal shingles were the obvious choice, but our biggest question was: what about the noise? We knew metal roofs are notoriously noisy in the rain. We figured since that part of the house is only the living room and kitchen, it wasn’t a big deal if the roof was noisy, but if we are eventually going to replace the other half of the roof, above the bedrooms, then we definitely don’t want it to keep everyone awake all night. We were very curious to hear it for ourselves. And you know what… the noise isn’t bad at all. I could hear the rain on the roof, but wasn’t nearly the loud “ping-ping-ping-y” as I thought it would be. In fact, I didn’t even notice it at all until Andy pointed out how not-bad it was. Now I like this roof even more!

* I heard there were 222 inches of snow in the area around the cabin this past winter — EEEEK! It was about 100 inches more than normal. By comparison, Cleveland had 30 inches through March, the latest number I could find, which is less than half of the normal 68 inches. What a weird, weird winter!!

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