4 of the Most Common Types of Standing Seam Metal Roofs


As a general contractor, you know that not every metal roof is the same. In fact, standing seam metal roofs have a more extensive installation process than other roofing systems. Ensuring that the panels are correctly aligned and hand-seaming them together can be exhausting. However, as they continue to increase in popularity, contractors should be certain that they are up to date on the different types of standing seam metal roofs. Before we look at the four different types, let’s refresh our knowledge on what makes it unique from other roofing systems. 

What Is a Standing Seam Metal Roof?

Standing seam metal roofs are low maintenance yet have high durability. Unlike exposed fastener systems, this style of metal roof has concealed fasteners that create a seamless look due to the hidden hardware. A few of the most appealing aspects of standing seam metal roofs are its weathertight build, 60-year lifespan and attractive design. As these roofs continue to grow in popularity, it is essential to understand the different types and how to install each.  

Four Different Types

There are numerous types of standing seam metal roofs that a general contractor should know how to install. Its wide range of choices can be appealing to customers who want a specific style. One of the major differences between each type is the way the panels fasten to one another. A panel profile refers to how the panels will be seamed together but also the shape the roof takes. The steepness and shape of the roof can affect which types would work best for a specific roof. 

1. Snap-Lock 

Snap-Lock is the most common type of standing seam metal roof due to its high-quality performance, cost and installation process. These panels are designed to withstand changes in temperature as it allows for panel movement. A standing seam roof expands and contracts with sharp shifts in weather conditions. As a result, it is also more resistant to oil canning than other types of standing seam roofing. Oil canning is an aesthetic problem that causes the panels to have a wavy or wrinkled appearance. It is not room for concern as it does not damage the roof or its structure. 

These panels are snapped together, therefore they do not require a seaming process during installation. This roofing system can be installed when a slope is 3” in 12” or greater. If a slope is lower than that, it can cause leaks. Since no hand or mechanical seaming is involved during the installation process, the cost to install this type of roof is cheaper than other options. This factor also makes the installation process go much faster and more efficiently than a mechanical seam roof. The materials can cost the buyer $3.00 to $5.50 Per Square Foot and $10 to $16 per square foot for the installation. 

2. Nail Strip 

The simplest type of standing seam metal roofs to install is the nail strip system. These panels have slots that are used to fasten directly into the roof deck. Once that panel is in place, another strip snaps over the slots to cover any trace of fasteners. While these roofing systems are the least expensive out of these options, they are not as durable or reliable. 

For nail strip roofing systems, materials will cost $3.00 to $4.50 per square foot and installation will cost around $7 to $16 per square foot. General contractors should be cautious when installing this type of roofing. Though it is an easy installation process overall, it is crucial that the screws are not fastened too tightly. When this happens, the panels are pinned down and cannot expand and contract like it needs to do when temperatures change. This creates stress on the slots and can cause the material to rip over time. As a result, nail strip standing seam metal roofs are most likely to show oil canning. 

3. Batten Panel 

This roofing system has two legs of the panel butted up and rolled into one another. A metal cap is then placed over the seam, then snaps into place or mechanically seams the two panels together. Once again, there are two different subcategories within the batten panel style roofing. The tee seam performs better in harsh conditions due to being mechanically seamed into place. They have an extra layer of sealant in the caps to prevent harsh weather from damaging the roof. 

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4. Mechanical Seam 

Mechanically seamed metal roofs are lined with clips on both sides of the panels to allow each one to be rolled into the other and locked together. To keep the roof in place and secure, the panels must be locked together by a hand or mechanical seamer along the clips. There are two different subcategories that fall under mechanical seam roofing: a single lock and a double lock. A single lock is when the seams are only folded over once at 90 degrees. Meanwhile, double-locked panels are folded twice at 180 degrees. For many low-sloping roofs, a general rule of thumb is to make sure you double-lock the panels. This helps the panels remain weathertight for many years to come. However, no matter which lock is used on the panels, these are the most weathertight metal roofing options available and offer a secure fit. 

Labor is more costly for mechanical seam metal roofs due to the heightened effort and skill needed to complete the installation. No matter which locks the owner chooses, they will need to be hand seamed at least once, and twice for double seamed panels. 

Locking your roofing into place is great for many reasons. It gives you the safety feel that nothing will come loose and have issues in areas that are prone to roofing and the elements of weather. Along with the idea of getting a watertight option that fits any roof, whether your roofing project entails small compact areas, or long, wide panels, it works to the best ability for all.

Builders Checklist for Contractors

Whether you wanted a simple refresher or have been researching to see if installing standing seam metal roofs is a practical way you can expand your business, we hope this guide has been helpful. Delta Metals wants to provide valuable resources for contractors and help eliminate some of the stress that comes with a new project. If you have a new installation coming up, be sure to download our Builder’s Material Checklist for Contractors to have an easy access list of all the supplies you will need for future projects. 

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