Standing Seam Roofs

A standing seam metal roof is defined as a metal panel system with concealed fasteners, where the panels consist of a broad flat area between two vertical seams (or legs). Essentially, it is a system where you overlap and interlock the edges of the adjacent panel together. The biggest advantage to this method is that instead of having to drill a hole into the metal, it instead involves using an external clip to hold the panels down. In other words, though the fastener does penetrate the roofing deck, the penetration will always be shielded and concealed by the overlapping layers of metal that are snapped in place above it.

This ensures that the hardware used to secure the metal roof material to the roofing substrate is not exposed to the elements and will remain watertight which adds to the longevity of the roof. Simply put… no exposed screw hole penetrations in the metal equate to no leak points.

Standing seam roofs feature a raised interlocking seam, which allows for adjoining panels to be secured to one another by crimping and folding the edges at the seam. This allows for excellent protection while still giving a sleek, modern, seamless appearance. They also come in a variety of materials that include Aluminum, Copper, Steel, and Zinc.

  • Energy Efficient – insulates home while also reflecting solar radiant heat
  • Durability and Longevity – Very strong and non-corrosive material that can easily last 50+ years
  • Low Maintenance – Unlike the exposed fastener approach that needs frequent routine maintenance, this system is virtually a maintenance-free roofing solution
  • ROI and Aesthetics – Higher curb appeal and a more visually appealing look
  • Lightweight – adds the least amount of stress to your home’s structure
  • Allows for Expansion and Contraction – A standing seam roofing system by nature allows for the expansion and contraction of the metal. Unlike the exposed fastener method which fixes the panels in place, the standing seam system is designed so that the panels can move back and forth without causing any leaks or damage to the roof.
  • Allows for Solar Panels – A huge advantage of standing seam is that if you want to add solar panels to your roof, you can do so much more easily with this system. The reason being is that the photo voltaic solar panels can merely clip to the roof without the need of making any penetrations into the roofing deck. Likewise, if you need to install snow retention systems to prevent any avalanche-type conditions, they can clamp right onto the roof without having to pierce the panels as well.
  • Sleek Appearance – Standing seam roofs are typically universally considered to have the most modern and sleek look to them. They are also available in a much wider color combination than its counterpart. When finished, the end product looks amazing and it’s essentially the gold standard of metal roofing. It requires very little maintenance. It’s kind of like a set-it-and-forget-it type of roof.

There are a few different types of metal roof panels and profiles to choose from when considering to replace your roof with a standing seam system. Panel profiles refer to the shape or way two or more panels are seamed together. These types include:

  • Mechanical Lock – roll formed with specific edges that line up and are joined together by a mechanical seamer that bends the edges and locks them together. There are two different types of mechanical lock profiles:
    • Single Lock (90-degree seam) – performs well in milder environments, requires less labor, and is easier to replace
    • Double Lock (180-degree seam) – low-slope applications needing extra weather-tightness
  • Snap Lock – roll formed with specific edges that have a male and female leg that snap together and do not require crimping. Attached to the roof deck using a clip that joins with the seam and fastens underneath the panel. Can be used in any environment as long as they’re installed correctly.
  • Batten Panel – legs of the panels are first roll-formed, then butted up next to one another. After this is done a metal cap is put over the legs to create a seam, which either snaps on or mechanically seams into place. The metal cap generally comes in two common types:
    • Tee Seam – mechanically seam into place, perform better under harsh weather conditions
    • Snap Cap – snap over legs, require no mechanical sealing
  • Nail Flange or Fastener Flange – relies on the head fastener to keep panels attached to the deck and is a popular choice for residential applications due to the cost.

One of the disadvantages of this roofing style is that more difficult and costly to install. First off, one of the main reasons for the increased cost comes down to labor. For example, since the standing seam panels are typically about half the width of the panels used with an exposed fastener, the labor for roof installation essentially doubles for this aspect. The concealed fastener approach also requires more parts and materials.

Another reason for the higher price is that the concealed fastener typically uses a heavier and more expensive gauge of metal. Likewise, by design, the system also requires the use of more parts and pieces of material and which significantly drives up the material costs. As an example, when installing the roof’s ridge cap with this system, it takes three pieces of trim versus just one with the exposed fastening method.

Panel widths can vary depending on manufacturer, but most standing seam panels are between 12” and 18” in width (with 16” being the most common). Some roll forming machines can be adjusted to make the panels wider than 18”, but doing so could impact the performance of your roofing system.

Most standing seam systems will have seams that range anywhere from 1” to 3” in height (with 1 ½” and 2” being the most common). The height can also affect performance. For example, the 1.5” snap lock performs better in uplift situations when compared to the 1.75” snap lock due to the way the cap is designed for the shorter option.

The thickness of standing seam panels is usually somewhere between 22 and 26 gauge, with the most common being 24 gauge for steel. Aluminum standing seam panels generally have a thickness of anywhere between .032 and .040 inches.

There are different “patterns” to choose from when looking at standing seam metal roof panels. These patterns are called striations, and help with not only the installation process of metal roofing but also add to the curb appeal of your home. Some different striation options include:

  • Flat – broad flat area between the seams; no indentations, no pattern
  • Striated – small consistent lines in the panel
  • Ribbed – patterned indentations between the seams
    • Pencil – Circular pattern
    • V-Ribs – “V” shaped pattern
    • Bead – Long rectangular pattern
  • Clip Relief – raised rib adjacent to the seam that allows space for clip underneath

When it comes to standing seam metal roofing, it is important to know that the roofing company you choose has the skill and knowledge to work with whatever type and style will best suit your needs. Here at Reimagine Roofing, we have a team of experts who are experienced in all aspects of standing seam metal roofing and will be able to help no matter what type of system you pick. When you hire us as your roofing company of choice, you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to make the process as easy and painless as possible. Contact us today for a free no-obligation, comprehensive roofing inspection, and estimate.

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