What Is a Standing Seam Metal Roof?

Published August 13, 2014 by Whirlwind Team

standing seam metal roofingYou have probably seen standing seam roofs in commercial, residential, and industrial areas and the reason they are called standing seam is pretty obvious when you look at them. However, you may have wondered why they were used and how they were constructed.

Well, wonder no more because you are about to learn all about the standing seam metal roof.

How It’s Made

A standing seam roof is composed of aluminum or Galvalume-coated steel panels about 12 to 24 inches wide that run from the top of the roof to the eaves. On each side of the panel is a rib or lip which will overlap with the adjoining panel and fit ribs together to create a horizontal seam that rises above the level of the roof panel. Copper can also be used but is more expensive.

Fasteners, concealed within the seam, can be ½ to 2 inches high. The seam will run from the ridge to the eaves. These seams can also be sealed against moisture and other contaminants. Gutters can be easily incorporated if you want.

These panels can arrive preformed from the factory or they can be formed onsite from rolls of metal run through a machine that crimps them into rigid panels with the required ribs.

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Why Choose Metal or Standing Seam

Metal roofs, including standing seam, have a number of advantages over a traditional roof with composite shingles.

  • They are durable: metal is impervious to fire and wind damage. Typically only large hailstones can dent it. A large, heavy tree limb may make a hole. But, in general, metal makes a very sturdy roof.
  • They are reliable. Metal roofs often come with warranties for 30 to 50 years.
  • Steel is a sustainable material that is made from significant amounts of recycled material and is, itself, 100% recyclable.
  • Standing seam roofs have fewer, stronger seams and, due to the seam’s height above the panel, are less prone to leakage.
  • They are energy efficient. Also known as “cool roofs” by the EPA, metal roofs can be painted to reflect sunlight and limit heat absorption.
  • Metal roofs are low maintenance.
  • They are light-weight. A metal roof can installed over an existing traditional roof.
  • There is a wide range of colors and finishes, plus a standing seam roof is appropriate for barn-style, modern, and traditional homes.

Disadvantages, There are Few

Nothing is perfect, although a standing seam metal roof is close.

First of all, there are fewer roofers experienced at installing a metal roof and doing it well. This adds to the already higher initial cost of a metal roof over a traditional one. Although a steel or aluminum roof is less expensive than copper they are still more expensive than composite shingle roofs. But because metal roofs last so much longer, the extra expense is a wash since you won’t have to replace it as soon. In addition, the insurance is typically lower.

Also, standing seam isn’t necessarily the best for very shallow roofs. However, standing seam can go to a pitch of ½:12, which is pretty flat anyway. Besides, a flat standing seam roof defeats the purpose in snowy climes; you want the snow to easily shed from the panels.

It looks like the metal roof is a better buy than a traditional one. It is heavy on advantages and light on disadvantages.

This completes Standing Seam Metal Roof 101. Any questions?

Metal Roofing Guide



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