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Roofing Resources

What is a Standing Seam Metal Roof? 

Choosing new roofing for your home can be a bit overwhelming. There are many excellent options for new roofing, and it’s important to choose the right type of roofing since premium roofing products usually last 50 years or more. If you are considering re-roofing your home, there are many reasons why you should consider using standing seam metal roofing.

Standing seam metal roofing is a roofing material that is enjoying greater popularity among a wide range of homeowners. Due to its cost premium, standing seam metal roofing is more commonly used on custom homes than tract housing projects. However, metal roofing materials are typically comparable in price to other premium roofing materials, such as slate or tile.

Modernize created this guide on standing seam metal roofing to help homeowners gain a better understanding of the material and its main uses and advantages. Read on to learn more about why this type of metal roofing could be the perfect choice for your new roof.

Table of Contents

What is a Standing Seam Metal Roof?

For many homeowners, re-roofing their residences with asphalt shingles is just fine. Discerning homeowners, however, often choose premium building products for their unmatched aesthetic appeal and longevity.

Metal roofing has been widely used in the U.S. since the mid-1850s and remains one of the most popular roofing choices for commercial properties. Everyone can visualize an old barn with corrugated metal roofing panels. Originally, metal roofing was made from corrugated sheet iron galvanized with zinc to prevent rust. Today, the base metal can be aluminum, steel, copper, tin, zinc and even titanium.

The variety of metal roofing styles rivals the variety in base metals. However, standing seam metal roofing is almost ubiquitous in the metal roofing industry. It is what most people think of when they envision metal roofing. Standing seam metal roofing consists of flat metal panels between 12 and 24 inches wide with lip or rib that overlaps the next panel to create a seam running from the roofline to the eaves.

Metal panels are either formed onsite or prefabricated at a factory. For panels that require fasteners into the roof sheathing, the fasteners are hidden within the seam to create uniform and uninterrupted visual appeal. This type of metal panel is best used for shorter runs, since there is less expansion and contraction to stress and wear the fasteners. For longer runs, panels are fabricated with a locking flange or clip system (slightly similar to tongue and groove in hardwood flooring) that allows the panels to “float” and avoid premature wear.

Standing seam metal roofing in residential applications typically has a smaller panel width of 12 inches, while wider panels are favored for larger commercial buildings. Residential roofing panels are usually made from galvanized (zinc) or galvalume (zinc and aluminum) steel. The thickness of the steel, or gauge, is usually 24 or 26 gauge for residential applications. Steel as thick as 18 gauge is used in certain commercial applications, especially when it’s part of the roof’s structural integrity.

5 Main Benefits of Standing Seam Metal Roofing

With their clean vertical lines, standing seam metal roofs are favored by many custom homeowners as a primary roofing material. These roofs can also provide an architectural accent on porches, verandas, dormers or bay windows.

Aesthetics aside, metal roofing offers a variety of benefits not found with other premium roofing products. Here are five primary advantages enjoyed by homeowners who have standing seam metal roofing on their residences.

1. Snow load

In many parts of the country, the weight from snow loading on the roof poses a significant problem during adverse weather conditions. Metal roofing systems that are properly designed using adequate slope will shed snow and ice before it piles and adds undue weight to the structure. If you live in an area with significant winter snowfall, be sure to consult with a qualified roofing contractor to determine if standing seam metal roofing is the best option for your roofing project.

2. Weight

Metal roofing, on average, weighs half that of asphalt shingles and about one-quarter the weight of tile or slate. Steel roofing weighs an average of 85 to 120 pounds per 100 square feet while aluminum roofing weighs between 70 and 100 pounds per 100 square feet. Tile and slate, meanwhile, can weigh more than 400 pounds per square feet.

3. Durability

Standing seam metal roofing, like other premium roofing products, can last between 40 to 70 years depending on the base metal and the environmental factors to which it is exposed.

4. Low maintenance

Metal roofing is one of the most hassle-free roofing products on the market. Regular surface maintenance includes cleaning to remove dirt, sticks and leaves or other debris. Routine maintenance includes checking the metal panels for rust, wear, scratches or other types of damage that could impact the roof’s performance.

5. Energy efficiency

Metal roofing can reduce your home’s cooling costs by 25 to 40 percent. The metal roofing can be coated with reflective paint that also contains “cool” pigments that reflect solar radiation and lower the overall surface temperature of the roof.

Standing seam metal roofing also is fire- and wind-resistant. Lastly, metal roofing is typically made with a percentage of recycled materials, and the scrap leftover from installation is fully recyclable as well.

Drawbacks of Standing Seam Metal Roofing

All roofing materials offer key benefits and some drawbacks. Potential issues with standing seam metal roofs include its high cost, loud noise during heavy rainstorms, susceptibility to denting from big hail storms or fallen branches, and lack of performance from inexperienced installers. Thin-gauge metal panels also are more prone to wear from expansion and contraction than thicker gauge panels.

How to Find a Metal Roofing Contractor

Standing seam metal roofing can be a good choice for both warm and cold climates. If you are considering installing this type of roof on your home, it’s important to hire a contractor that specializes in installing metal roofing. Use the Modernize Contractor Checklist to vet potential contractors in your area.

Standing seam metal roofing combines style and beauty with incredible durability and performance. Talk to a few trusted contractors in your region to determine your best options for installing this type of roofing material.

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