Before and After: Guest House Standing Seam Roof

After one leak became two, and two leaks became two large leaks, it became clear that our guesthouse roof was in need of some serious overhaul. We patched it. We patched it again. No dice. We called in the professionals, and it was clear it was time to peel off the who-knows-how-old orange asphalt shingles, replace the woodpecker-damaged rake boards and some rotting cedar siding, and install a new roof. So the question became what kind of roof we wanted …

Enter standing seam! I’ve loved these for a long time. The dairy near us has gorgeous standing seam roofs on their various buildings so we’d already seen them up close, and we ended up choosing a very similar color. This medium gray looks lovely with the cedar shingles on the side of the guesthouse (classic New England style) and red paint.

Best of all, this roof should last us 30 to 50(!) years. More perks are that it sounds amazing inside when it rains, and that this color should go well with future painting we’re considering doing. I think this guesthouse would look beautiful with the siding that is now reddish orange painted black. We did find a photo showing it was painted black circa 1970, and maybe still as recently is the ’90s. I’d love to go that direction again! While black seems modern and bold, all it takes is to walk around any older New England community and you’ll see plenty of 18th century, and even more 17th century, homes that are painted black.  There are even some famous ones!  I especially adore the inky black of the House of Seven Gables

Here is the guesthouse roof before:

And here it is now:

Here’s a back view – our biggest and most persistent leak was around the PVC bathroom vent that you can see on the left. So far, so good, no leaks detected (fingers crossed):

If you’re considering a standing seam roof, there’s one main drawback: price. You pay a premium for this type of roof. That said, right now cedar is heavily tariffed and just as expensive as a standing seam roof (our house, like most 18th century homes, has cedar shingles). Asphalt shingles would have been our cheapest option. They are very common here, were what was on the guesthouse before and they last about 20 years, which isn’t too shabby!  We got a quote for asphalt shingles that was half of the cost of standing seam.  For us, given that this little guesthouse is so tiny the standing seam cost wasn’t so bad.  So, for the sake of style and longevity, we decided to take the standing seam plunge. It’s pretty gorgeous, so far we’re very happy!