There are many benefits to standing seam metal roofs. These are one of the metal roof options found when looking into a different type of roof system. We normally recommend these due to many reasons, but just like any other material, there are drawbacks too. In this article, we look at what makes standing seam metal roofs, pros and cons, and how to install them.

What Is a Standing Seam Metal Roof?

These are a type of outward roof panels that have concealed fasteners attached between them. The vertical “legs” with flat spaces are what separates each fastener from each other. These type of roofs provide a distinct, modern appearance. Typically manufactured from high quality steel or aluminum, these are extremely durable and appropriate for any type of weather condition its presented to.

Each standing seam metal roof(or rib as they are also known) require between 12-24 inches apart per installation. This can vary of course on the length of metal panel, structure of the building, etc.


standing seam metal roof

Installation of Standing Seam Metal Roof

While you may think that installing this type of metal roof is simply removing your current one, there is more than meets the eye. When preparing to install any type of new roof, you have to keep in mind that everything underneath needs to be in good condition or problems can arise from within.

Typically, a standing seam metal roof system installation follows these steps:

1. Removing the current shingles, metal roof layer and clean the deck

Your chosen roofing contractor will tear off everything that is currently on your roof. They will go section by section with tear-off forks at hand. One half of the roofing crew works diligently in sections, removing the shingles, while the other half throws these away. This usually takes a couple of hours to make sure the removal is thorough. If this is a new construction, then there’s nothing to remove.

2. Check to make sure the decking is in good condition

The installers check the roof decking to make sure that the wooden boards are in good standing. Some trouble signs to look for includes broken or rotten plywoods. Repairs consists of removal and replacement with brand new ones, eliminating any future moisture issues down the road.

3. Installation of started strips

The lock strips are what holds the standing metal panels in place along the edges of the roof. In any type of roof installation, installers work from the outside in to make sure there is good foundation. Starter strips are the same color as the metal panels, so it all matches thoroughly.

These are installer at the edges of your roof(also known as eaves) and also at any edges that are slanting or standing(called the rakes).

4. Installation of underlayments

This is the second line of defense to make sure moisture build up doesn’t occur under the first layer. Synthetic paper is the best type of underlayment. This material doesn’t rip, wrinkle or let water seep through. Also called the ice and water shield, the Owens Corning product is a great underlayment we work with.

5. Metal panel installs

The first step your contractor does is make sure the number of panels that they are installing is accurate and parallel. Before the installation, the bottom parts are cut off in order to make an opening and lock along the lock strips.

Made of 24 gauge steel(pre-finished) along with a Kynar 500 finish, the metal panels are what makes the standing seam metal roof. The 500 finish is a painted finish that helps to protect the steel, while keeping the color from fading). The metal panels come in different colors and you can even get a different style, like the trapezoid-ones, if you wish.

After the first metal panel is in place, the other panels attach to each other at the ribs. Leaving space(around 12 to 24 inches), they are held with 2 gimlet screws. Then the next panel snaps on top and is fastened with the next panel. This pattern continues until the installation is complete.

6. Install panels between the gaps

Special metal flashing installs go along the spots between the panels. The special type of flashing is known as a Z bar. These z bars are bent in the shape of a z and its safe to assume that’s where they got their names from. They are 1/8th of an inch taller than the metal panels, because they protect these panels from water that slips through the rib gaps.

7. Last but not least, install the ridge capping

Like a regular ridge cap on an asphalt roof, the ridge cap on a standing seam goes last and at the peak of the roof, right where the slopes meet. The ridge caps are the same type and color as the panels.

Now that you know the basics of installing a standing seam roof, let’s talk about the positives and negatives.

mechanically seamed standing seam roof dutch seam


Types of Roofs


Often compares to how siding installations are done on a home. One side has a nail strip of holes with enough room to allow the expansion and contraction of the metal. The panels are also layered, with one overlapping the other, the same way as a siding install. This interlocking system works with stainless steel and aluminum materials.

Mechanically Seamed

The style we typically recommend as it provides more benefits and is more manageable for installations. Once the materials are on the roof, a specifically designed machinery is able to seam these together. Along with clippers and fasteners that are not visible, this type of installation provides a very clean look to your roof.

Exposed Fasteners

The most economically friendly of all the installations, these use screws in order to lock the panels to each other. These screws do expose themselves to the outside weather conditions, therefore, a replacement is necessary every 10 to 15 years. Regular maintenance is also a must for this type of installation.


While exposed fasteners are the cheapest, snap-locked installs are one of the, if not, the easiest installation on this list. Ideal for southern areas of the country, where its warmer year round, the snap-lock system uses clips on the roof deck. This hold the panels in place and you can use aluminum, steel and galvanized iron of your choosing.

Advantages of Standing Seam Roofs

Weather Tight Systems

The concealed fasteners used during installation are not exposed to the outside weather conditions, therefore, no screws are exposed and there are bound to be less issues where water seeps through the screws.

Additionally, metal roofing has a higher resistance to water, snow and ice dams. Strong winds do not shake metal roofs. Adding a standing seam metal roof is one way to ensure you won’t have further roof weather issues down the road.

Enhanced Durability

Unlike asphalt shingles, over the years metal roofs will not be susceptible to rot, warp or crack. The average lifespan of a metal roof is 30-50 years. In case of fires, metal roofs are fire resistant.

Additionally, metal roofs require less upkeep than other roofing systems. In fact, metal roofs are the most low-maintenance roofing material in the market thanks to their coating. The zinc-aluminum alloy coat makes standing seam corrosion resistant. Its true, these types of roofs are the type you can set and forget about. So there’s less of getting your ladder out.

Energy Saver

While you do spend a lot more for this type of material, over time, you reap some benefits. For example, metal roofs are energy efficient. The application of reflective paints on the surface helps reflect solar rays during summer. In fact, metal roofs can help reduce electricity costs by as much as 10-25%. The materials also come in different colors.

Testing For Perfection

Before standing seam panels go on the market, they are subjected to many testing factors. These include water impact, which is a test method for water penetration. Air penetration for static air pressure, fire resistance tests and paint testing.

Other testing includes:

  • Humidity Testing
  • Gloss testing
  • Abrasion Resistance
  • Acid Resistance
  • Accelerate Weathering
  • Pencil Hardness



Perhaps the biggest drawback is the fact that a standing metal roof is more expensive than any other material. On average, this material is three to four times more expensive than other common roof materials.

Let’s compare some numbers. On average, an asphalt roof costs between $10,000-$15,000 on average or $4.50-$6.00 per square. In turn, standing metal roofs costs between $16.00-$22.00 per square. The average cost is around $1,24- per square. So, its safe to say, a 2,000 square foot home costs around $25,000- $36,000. These averages vary of course, on different factors. Some of these factors include: location, type of metal, cost of snap lock vs. mechanical lock,  custom colors or regular colors and labor.

Oil canning could occur

Oil canning is a distortion of the metal on your roof. This occurs when the roofing installers fasten the metal panels way too tightly than they should have been. While we know that this occurs because metal expands and they want to leave some room, these vertical panels are able to expand vertically but not sideways. This causes the metal to look wavy or not straight. While oil canning does not disturb the quality function of the roof, it doesn’t help its aesthetics.

Make sure that the installation is properly done and by efficient contractors with plenty of experience with the materials. Also, make sure the storage of materials was properly done prior to installation.

Fixing is typically very costly

As you can tell from the cost of installation, handling this type of material can be expensive. If any potential issues are found, the cost of repair will not be pretty. Additionally, not all roofing contractors are able to repair and work with standing seams roofs due to lack of expertise. Therefore, the price of repairs inflates to higher amounts. In fact, the repairs could even require an installation do-over if there is substantial damage or the roof installation was done incorrectly.

Only Works for Some Types of Roofs

Low pitch and flat roofs do not work with this type of roof system.

nail hemmed standing metal roof


Frequently Asked Questions

Are standing steam and corrugated metal roofs the same?

While these two types of metal roofs are similar, the answer is: No. Standing seam panels use a fastener system that is not visible from the outside. These fasteners do not penetrate the outer face of the panel. Corrugated panels on the other side have exposed panels. This indicates that screw holes drill through the outside of the panel during installation.

Can I install standing seam metal over my current roof?

It depends. If you have an asphalt shingle, then the answer is yes, you can. This can actually save you some costs in general, since you won’t have to remove the shingles or other materials below. However, its a good idea to ask your chosen roofing contractor this question. If there are any leaks or soft spots on your roof, installing an additional layer will not help.

What gauge do you recommend for my standing seam metal roof?

Typically, we recommend 24 gauge steel. Due to its durability, protection and lifespan of 30-40 years.

Are Standing Seam Metal Roofs for you?

We hope this guide has helped you clarify some details about standing seam roofs. Do remember, all type of roofing materials have their benefits and drawbacks, if the benefits of this material do not outweigh the costs, then its not a bad idea to find a better fit.

Head over to our other article if you would like to explore other additional roof material options.

However, if you think standing seam metal is the correct alternative, then do not hesitate to contact the team at Oscar Roofing. We have the experience, knowledge and expertise to install the best high-quality installations around Indiana. Fill out our online form or give us a call today!