3 min read

Difference Between Metal Roofing Types (Standing Seam vs Screw-Down)

Featured Image

If you’re looking into metal roofing in Raleigh, chances are you’ve come across a couple of different terms regarding the roofing material itself.

The main kinds of metal roofing that you may see are: Standing seam, Screw-down panel, and metal shingles, with standing seam and screw-down panel being the most common of those.

You may be unfamiliar with all of those terms, and still be intrigued by metal roofing, and that’s okay! This is a great place to start learning.

In this blog we are going to discuss the two major types of metal roofing (Standing seam and Screw-down panel), the pros and cons of both, and the differences between them.

Let’s get started!

Standing Seam vs Screw-Down Panel Metal Roofing

What is a Standing Seam Metal Roof?

standing seam metal roof_WebP

A standing seam metal roof is composed of multiple, vertical metal panels that are locked at the seams, with the fasteners hidden underneath the metal. These roofs typically use a high-quality steel substrate, which is a raw steel panel coated with another metal, usually zinc, or in the case of Galvalume®, a zinc and aluminum alloy.

Generally, standing seams are considered the higher end metal roof, and are used in both residential and commercial settings. Standing seam metal roofs are highly weather resistant, making them an especially popular option for homes in coastal and rural markets, while their clean, modern look is increasing its foothold in suburban areas.

What is a Screw-Down Panel Roof?

Red screw down panel metal roof_WebP

A screw-down panel roof, also known as an exposed-fastener roof, is a little simpler. For this roofing system, metal panels are screwed down on a roof in an overlapping fashion, similar to the way asphalt shingles are installed. For screw-down panels, many of the same materials are used, except these panels are more widely available than those used for standing seam roofs. In fact, if you wanted to purchase the metal yourself, you can find the panels at stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

This style of metal roof is more frequently used over uninhabited, unheated spaces, like barns, sheds, or carports. Why not on heated spaces or homes? Well, as metal heats up and cools, it expands and contracts accordingly, which, on a screw-down roof, can create some tricky situations that we’ll talk about in the next section.

Which metal roof will require more maintenance?

The screw-down, hands-down.

As we mentioned earlier, metal expands and contracts as it heats and cools. Standing-seam metal roofs are designed to allow this process to happen naturally, without restricting the roof and causing damage. Screw-down roofs, however, greatly restrict the metal’s movement. As the metal tries to do its thing, it will fight the screws tying it down, eventually working the screws out of their holes. That means as time goes on, you’ll have to replace the screws that come free with the next size up, throughout the lifetime of the roof.

An additional factor that brings down the lifetime of these exposed fasteners is that they are just that, exposed. The primary thing keeping water from penetrating the roof in each screw is a gasket, which like all things, will wear down with time, and sun exposure.

Each of these parts will need to be replaced, potentially as frequently as every 5-10 years, before those loose screws and degraded gaskets cause much bigger problems, like a leak.

Standing seam roofs will still require some maintenance, but not nearly as much, or as frequently, due to the fasteners being covered. You’ll still need to have it inspected routinely, especially at any penetrations in the roof, but for the most part you’ll be just fine by keeping it clean.

Which metal roof will cost less?

When it comes to price, screw-down roofs are much cheaper than their standing seam counterparts.

A main reason for the lower price up front is that screw-down panels are wider than standing seam panels, allowing them to cover more space on the roof with less material. They are also thinner, so the panel requires less metal to cover that area. The sacrifice you make for that price, however, is durability. In the long run, keeping a screw-down roof in good condition can be a headache, and might get costly.

Another factor is the difficulty of the standing seam installation process. Performing one of these installations is much more complicated than a screw-down or asphalt shingle roof, so it requires a specialized, highly trained crew to complete the job correctly.

Always make sure your contractor has experience installing whichever system you’ve chosen for your roof, as an improper installation can leave you looking for another new roof in a hurry.

Which metal roof will last longer?

As with the maintenance category, the durability of the standing seam roof wins out in longevity. The thicker, generally higher quality material, and hidden fasteners allow for this roof to last several decades when installed properly, easily outliving a screw-down roof, and beating out some asphalt shingle roofs.

That being said, no roof is infallible. Standing seam roofs may face an issue known as “oil canning.” Oil canning is a visual phenomenon that makes a metal panel look distorted or wavy. It can happen as a result of several different factors, but it is only cosmetic, and doesn’t mean that something is structurally wrong with your roof.

Looking for info about Metal Roofing in Raleigh?

Now that you’ve gotten started learning about the different kinds of metal roofing, check out our blog on the Most Common Roofing Material in Raleigh, NC.

If you are feeling ready to start on your metal roofing project, reach out to us using the button below! We’ve been roofing the greater Raleigh area for over 30 years, so whatever your project will require, we are On Top of it!

Contact Us

Do Repairs Help Your Roof Last Longer?

Trying to decide between getting a roof repair or a roof replacement can get pretty tricky, especially if you’re close to needing a full roof...

Read More

How Much Does it Cost to Repair a Roof Leak?

One time or another, most people have had to deal with one of home ownership’s most annoying problems: a roof leak.

Read More

How Long Do Roof Repairs Take?

If you’re considering starting a roof repair project, there are a few things that you need to take into account before you really get going. Among...

Read More