How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes

What are the pros and cons of a standing seam metal roof?

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Standing seam metal roofs are easily recognized by the rows of raised fins running up the roof slope, and they are becoming more popular lately. Here’s the good and not-so-good about them:

PROS
•• No exposed fasteners - The is the biggest advantage of a standing seam roof. Any penetration of a roof surface is a potential leak and this is especially true for metal, because the panels are usually steel with a rust-resistant alloy coating. Drilling the panels for screw attachment exposes the bare steel around edges and, when combined with the corrosion of the screw above it, and the deterioration of rubber seal ring under the screw head, these become the first spots where rust and spot leaks often appear on a metal roof.

•• Excellent Curb Appeal - The distinctive look of standing seam attracts most buyers as an impressive upgrade of the home.

•• Long Life - You can expect any residential metal roof to last 30 to 60 years in Florida. But the lack of exposed roof-penetrating fasteners means that a standing seam roof will likely survive closer to the high end of that range. For more about a metal roof life expectancy, and what you can do to prolong it, see What is the average lifespan of a metal (galvalume) roof? 

•• Reduces Oil-Canning - Oil-canning occurs on hot days when the expansion of the metal cannot be accommodated without flexing the material surface, which appears as a waviness when viewed from the ground. The flexibility at the raised seams, along with the shallow indentions in the metal sheet running parallet to them, virtually eliminates the problem of oil-canning.

    Here’s an example of one standing seam metal profile, from Gulfcoast Supply & Manufacturing. One side snaps into the other as the panels are laid down. The panel is also secured from underneath by metal clips secured to the roof sheathing.

    Another, older type of raised seam secures the panel sides together under pressue with a crimping tool.

Sustainability - Metal roofs are 100% recyclable, while millions of tons of old asphalt roofs end up in landfills each year.

CONS
Expensive - A standing seam metal roof is more expensive than other metal types, and metal roofs are more expensive than asphalt shingle. It’s a premium roof.

May be nixed by neighborhood association - In areas with deed restrictions that require a roof color and/or material approval before installation, a standing seam metal roof might not fit within the board's design, material, or color restrictions.

Negative Curb Appeal - Some, but not most, homebuyers think metal roofs look industrial and cheap.

    Overall, we think a standing seam metal roof is a great choice, as long as you can afford it. Also see our posts What is a 5V roof? and What is a PBR metal roof?

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to some of our other articles about METAL ROOFS:

What is the difference between galvanized and galvalume metal roofing?

Can metal roofing be used on a low slope/pitch roof? 

• What are roofing purlins and battens?

• What is a cool roof? 

• Why are there leaves in my attic? 

How do you flash skylight, chimney, and pipe vent roof penetrations on a metal roof? 

• Is a metal roof for a mobile home approved for HUD Wind Zone 3? 

• Can I install a new metal roof over an asphalt shingle roof? 

• Which are the male and female flanges of a metal roof panel?

What is the code required minimum pitch/slope for a metal roof? 

• What color metal roof is best? 

• What is a cool roof made of?  

• Why is my metal roof leaking?

    Visit our ROOF AND ATTIC page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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