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Standing seam metal roofs: What to know before installing?

Metal roofing is a general term denoting a range of metals like zinc, copper, steel, and aluminum used for covering residential and commercial buildings. Standing seam metal roofs stand apart from other metal roofing options as they have a sleek modern look while meeting high industry standards. These roofs have a hidden fasteners system that makes them long-lasting and easy to upkeep. If you consider standing seam metal a roofing option for your home, this article will help you sort out its features and make an informed buying decision.

Standing seam metal roofs: What to know before installing?

Table of contents

1. What is a standing seam metal roof?
2. What are the main standing seam metal roof types?
3. Is it reasonable to invest in a standing seam metal roof? - Key merits and downsides to consider
4. What is the difference between standing seam and corrugated metal roofs?
5. Standing seam metal roof prices and factors influencing them

What is a standing seam metal roof?

Standing seam roofs are made of vertical flat panels interlocked with seams. They have a concealed fastener system with vertical legs that rise above the panel's flat area. This construction makes standing seam roofs resistant to moisture, wind, and other elements that lead to premature fastener deterioration like in exposed systems. 

The choice of the standing seam roofing options is virtually endless. This material comes in an abundance of different profiles, textures, and colors, so you can easily pick the one that will suit your home's exterior requirements. Particular attention should be paid to the standing seam metal panel profiles. They come in four main types: snap-lock, mechanical seam, batten panel, and nail/fastener flange. A roofing contractor can advise you on the right panel profile depending on your roof structure and the local climate pattern. 

The life cycle of a standing seam metal roof

Depending on the metal you select, standing seam roofing can protect your house from heavy rains, snowfall, winds, and fire for 20 to 65 years. Most lauded suppliers offer extensive warranties (up to 50 years) on this type of roofing which can be a great advantage for homeowners looking for a high return on investment. 

What are the main standing seam metal roof types?

Manufacturers use different types of materials for producing standing seam metal roofing. When choosing the right one, you need to consider your roofing budget and the climate conditions in the region. Below you’ll find the types of standing seam roofs by the materials used:

Aluminum standing seam metal roofs

Roofs of this type have gained extreme popularity thanks to their affordability and aesthetic appeal. Aluminum is lightweight but has toughness and durability intrinsic to heavier materials. This metal is more prone to dent than steel yet possesses good corrosion resistance and can be used in coastal regions. Aluminum can be painted in almost any color, making it a popular choice for standing seam metal roofing.

Galvanized steel standing seam metal roofs

Galvanized steel roofing, also called G-90 standing seam steel roofing, is manufactured through a chemical process when carbon is blended with molten zinc for better durability and corrosion resistance. While zinc-coated steel is one of the most common materials used for standing seam roofing, it has some drawbacks compared to galvalume. For instance, as zinc coating gets scratched, steel becomes prone to red rust.

Galvalume steel standing seam metal roofs

Galvalume roofing steel sheets are coated with zinc, aluminum, and silicon alloy. They are notable for their robustness and resistance to corrosion. Galvalume roofing has excellent metal characteristics, but it's the most expensive material of such type. Installing this roofing in coastal areas is not recommended as salt will damage the galvalume coating.

Copper and zinc standing seam metal roofs

Standing seam roofs are also built from highly durable metals like zinc and copper. These materials aren't prone to corrosion and weather impacts and can last decades without special maintenance. Besides, they change their color over time, developing a brown or light-green patina. The downside of copper and zinc standing seam metal roofs is the high spending associated with their installation. If your roofing budget is limited, you better opt for aluminum or galvalume roofs.

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Is it reasonable to invest in a standing seam metal roof? - Key merits and downsides to consider


  • Long service life

The hidden fasteners system makes standing seam metal roofing less prone to water damage and corrosion than most other roofing types. Besides, this material does not require much upkeep since the fasteners don't go through the metal's surface.

  • Up to 90% ROI

Thanks to its natural durability and long life expectancy, this roofing does not need to be replaced or repaired for decades. That means you can get a high return on your initial investment and even resell your house at a more lucrative price.

  • Crack and erosion resistance

Standing seam metal is a strong material that is hardly exposed to shrinking and cracking caused by hail storms, heavy rains, snow, and other weather calamities.

  • Modern look

Standing seam metal roofing has a sleek and modern look. This material comes in virtually all colors and can be matched with different sophisticated designs. These properties of standing seam metal make it a versatile material popular in architectural applications.

  • Hidden fasteners

Thanks to concealed mounting technology, fasteners are not vulnerable to UV rays, water, and winds that usually cause premature wear and tear. Besides, a hidden fasteners system helps to extend the roof's lifespan because no holes are made in the standing seam panels. In addition, since roofing is installed using clips, the chances of its corroding are minimized.

  • Environmental friendliness

If you take care of the environment, you can put a premium on standing seam metal panels as they are created from recycled metals and can be reused later.

  • Lightweight

Standing seam roofing is lightweight and can be quickly and easily carried and installed on the roof. On top of that, panels made of this material do not overload the roof structure, keeping it robust and stable.


  • Expensiveness

This type of roofing requires high initial investments for material and labor. Installation spending can be increased as standing seam metal panels should be installed by experienced contractors who know the nuance of working with these roofing materials.

  • Noise

Standing seam metal roofing can be noisy during heavy rains, but you may avoid this by installing proper insulation.

What is the difference between standing seam and corrugated metal roofs?

Both of these roofing systems are common in the US roofing market. However, they differ in the way of attaching panels. Standing seam metal panels use hidden fasteners for joining up, while corrugated ones require screw holes to get fastened.

Apart from the attachment differences, these metal roofs vary in performance. Below you’ll find the pros and cons of each roofing system to decide which one is better for your needs.

                                         Standing seam metal roofs                                                                          Corrugated metal roofs                                                                        
Pros Expensive Most affordable metal roofs on the market
Pros Suitable for low-slope roofs Allow fast installation
Cons Not exposed to leakage Vulnerable to leaks
Cons Require high installation costs Require regular maintenance

Standing seam metal roof prices and factors influencing them

Standing seam metal roofing is great for both residential and commercial properties as it provides multiple advantages and serves for years without any special upkeep procedures. At the same time, the costs of seamless metal roofs are 2-3 times higher than asphalt shingles and tile roofing. You can expect to pay from $800 to $1400 per square for standing seam metal roofing installation, including material and labor. To cover a roof of a standard-sized one-story house may cost you about $30.000 in total. 

Considering the roofing material when calculating the ballpark cost of standing seam roof installation is essential. For instance, aluminum and galvanized steel roofs are more affordable than their copper and zinc counterparts. Steel standing seam roofing is the most affordable choice, with the price per square being around $400. The cost of aluminum standing seam roofing is significantly higher and ranges from $800 to $1200 per square, depending on the robustness and protective coating. And finally, you can expect to pay from $600 to $1500 per square of copper and zinc standing seam roofing.

Are you looking to get a precise standing seam metal roof cost per square? Leverage our free roofing calculator to get a clear-cut price estimation and start off your remodel on the right foot.

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