When you first hear the phrase “roofing materials,” you might immediately think about shingles, shakes, and tiles. But there is another popular option that often goes forgotten: metal roofing. As varied and flexible in application as other roofing materials, metal roofs can give your home’s exterior a total makeover. One of the roofing systems that homeowners commonly select is called “standing seam.”
If you are considering switching to metal roofing, then you should know more about standing seam metal roofing, including what it is, why it is a great choice, and more. Let’s get started.
What is Standing Seam Metal Roofing?
The basic definition of standing seam metal roofing is a metal panel system with concealed fasteners, vertical legs, and a flat area between those two legs. You may also hear such a roof being described as having raised seams and panels that rise above the flat sections of the panels.
The main feature to keep in mind is that the fastener is hidden behind the seam, thus giving it the characteristic look.
Elements of a Standing Seam Roof
There are three pieces of a standing seam roof: the seam fasteners, the roof panels, and the composition of said panels.
- Seam Fasteners: Fasteners are typically 0.5-1.5 inches high. When the standing seam is complete, the fasteners should be concealed and only visible as a smooth ridge running from the top to the bottom of the roof.
- Site-Formed vs. Pre-Formed Panels: The roof panels can be either site-formed or pre-formed. This means that pre-formed panels are made at an off-site factory and shipped in. Site-formed panels are made at the site from rolled metal that are processed with a mobile forming machine.
- Width and Composition of Panels: The panels can be anywhere between 12-19 inches wide. They are usually composed of aluminum or Galvalume-coated steel.
Types and Uses of Standing Seam Metal Roofing
One of the reasons homeowners love standing seam metal roofing is the flexibility. Here are many choices in color, profile, thickness, shape, and even the type of seam. The panel profile refers to the way two or more panels are connected—or seamed—together. Certain profiles work best with steep roofing while others may do well in a particular type of climate.
If you are unsure about which profile to choose, discuss your options with local reputable roofing companies. Someone should be able to answer your questions.
A snap-lock profile consists of roll-formed panels with shaped edges, or legs—male and female—that snap into place. Since the lock is secure, you do not need any mechanical seaming to complete the installation, reducing overall labor. Snap-locks are connected to the roof deck with a special clip that fastens to the underside of the panel.
Snap-lock profiles are best for roofs with pitches of 3/12 and above. You may have to consult with a top rated roofing contractor to receive approval. Snap-lock profiles work in any climate. It just needs to be installed properly.
Similar to snap-lock systems, a mechanically seamed roof also has roll-formed edges that connect to one another. When the two panels are attached, a mechanical seamer bends the edges even further to lock the legs together. There are two types of mechanical seams: 90-degree single lock seams and 180-degree double lock seams.
A single lock refers to the single fold, forming a 90 degree angle. Single locks do not perform as well as 180 degree double locks, but they do fairly well in more mild environments.
A double lock folds the seam twice, thus forming an 180 degree turnabout. Such a fold is known for working well in places with freeze and thaw cycles. One downside is that double lock seams are labor-intensive.
Also similar to snap-lock, a nail flange will use a clip to connect the roof deck to the panel through the male leg. Once the fasteners are lined up, the female side snaps over the male, thus hiding the fastener. Since nail flange systems are one of the cheapest types, it tends to be a popular choice for residential application. However, they are not the best in terms of performance and can be difficult to install and maintain.
Two legs get roll-formed then butted side-by-side. Afterwards, a metal cap slides over the conjoined legs, forming the seam. The metal cap is either snapped into place or mechanically sealed. There are two common cap types: snap cap and tee seam.
Snap cap works as you would assume—by snapping into place. It is best for curved panels. However, they are also more about aesthetics, less about function. Meanwhile, tee seams are mechanically seamed, making them the wiser option for harsh climates.
Advantages of Standing Seam
There are a number of reasons to consider getting a metal roof with standing seams. Many homeowners find that metal roofing is an excellent choice for going over existing roof materials. Standing seam roofing lasts twice as long as shingles, and they also have amazing aesthetic appeal. You can choose from a variety of metal and colors.
Additionally, metal roofing requires very little maintenance. Although they are prone to dings in some places, most metal roofs can withstand wind gusts of 140 mph. Metal roofing is also fire resistant and durable. It can tolerate heavy weight loads from downpours and snow. Standing seam metal roofing may also help with insulation and can reduce cooling costs by nearly 30 percent.
Disadvantages of Standing Seam
As with all good things, standing seam roofing does have some minuses. Metal roofing is more expensive than shingles, so if you are looking for a more affordable option, a standing seam metal roof may not be it.
Secondly, metal roofing is not ideal for very steep slopes. They can also be slippery, difficult to work on, and are challenging to install if the roof has skylights, chimneys, and vents.
Final Thoughts on Standing Seam Metal Roofing
You should now know that a standing seam metal roof has four main parts—vertical legs, panels between the legs, seams that stand, and concealed fasteners. When it all comes together, a standing seam metal roof gives your home tons of curb appeal and protection. Not only that, but metal roofing is durable, long-lasting, and a fantastic investment.
Considering metal roofing? Get in touch by filling out the contact form and learn more about it! We have plenty of options and can answer your questions.