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How to Install Standing Seam Metal Roof: Step by Step Guide (2023)

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Are you considering a standing seam metal roof for your home or commercial building? You've come to the right place! This comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to install standing seam metal roof will walk you through everything you need to know about standing seam metal roof installation. From understanding the benefits and materials used to maintenance and care, we'll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Let's get started on your journey to a durable, energy-efficient, and visually appealing roofing solution!


Short Summary

  • Standing seam metal roofs offer superior durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal.

  • Professional roofing contractors provide expertise and experience for an accurate installation of a standing seam metal roof.

  • Weigh the benefits of hiring a professional against cost savings to determine the best approach for installing your standing seam metal roof.


A standing seam metal roof on a residential building

Understanding Standing Seam Metal Roofs


A standing seam metal roof is a modern and sleek roofing system that features metal panels with raised seams running vertically from the ridge of the roof to the eaves. This innovative design provides a streamlined finish, with dramatic shadow lines that accentuate the architectural style of both residential and commercial buildings. The durability and energy efficiency of standing seam metal roofs make them an increasingly popular choice for homeowners and business owners alike.


When it comes to cost, the national average for a standing seam metal roof is approximately $14 per square foot, with the price varying depending on factors such as the type of metal, its thickness, and its durability. With a lifespan of 50-80 years, a standing seam metal roof is a long-term investment that offers long-term cost savings, making it well worth considering for your next roofing project.


Types of Standing Seam Systems


Snap lock and mechanical lock are two types of standing seam systems. They are the primary systems used in the industry. Snap lock panels are designed to be easily secured together by hand, using joints that "snap" into place, and are attached to the roof deck using clips. This type of panel offers a faster installation process and lower labor costs due to the ease of connection.


Mechanical lock panels, on the other hand, require more time and effort for installation, using specialized tools to join the panels together. The Western Lock® Standing Seam system is an example of a mechanical lock system, featuring clips and screws that securely fasten the panels to prevent leaks, and concealed fasteners for a smooth and modern finish.


Materials Used


Standing seam metal roofs can be constructed from various materials, including aluminum, steel, and zinc. Galvalume, a corrosion-resistant coating made of zinc, aluminum, and silicon, is commonly applied to steel to protect it from rust. The cost of these materials varies, with steel standing seam roofs generally costing between $3 and $4.50 per square foot, while aluminum and zinc standing seam roofs range from $9 to $20 per square foot.


GAF DeckArmor breathable underlayment is the recommended underlayment for standing seam metal roofs, offering resilience, slip resistance, and watertight protection.


Advantages of Standing Seam Roofs


The advantages of standing seam metal roofs are numerous. One of the most notable benefits is their durability, with hidden fasteners that allow them to withstand extreme weather conditions without loosening, corroding, or allowing water to penetrate.


Additionally, the energy efficiency of standing seam metal roofs is exceptional, as they reflect heat and reduce cooling costs, making them an environmentally friendly option.


Lastly, the aesthetic appeal of standing seam metal roofs is undeniable, with their sleek and modern design increasing the value of a property and enhancing its overall appearance.


A roofer inspecting a roof deck for installation of a standing seam metal roof

Preparing for Installation


Before beginning the installation process for your standing seam metal roof, it's essential to ensure that the roof deck is adequately prepared. This involves inspecting the roof deck for any signs of damage or rot and repairing any issues before the panels are installed. Additionally, it's crucial to select the appropriate materials for your project, taking into account factors such as budget, location, and desired aesthetic.


Gathering the necessary tools and equipment is another vital step in preparing for installation. From measuring and cutting tools to specialized equipment for securing and seaming panels, having the right tools on hand will make the installation process smoother and more efficient. Refer to Section 2.3 for a comprehensive list of tools and equipment needed for standing seam metal roof installation.


Roof Inspection


A thorough roof inspection is a critical first step in preparing for a standing seam metal roof installation. Assessing the current condition of your roof will help you identify any necessary repairs or replacements that may be required before installing your new metal roof.


Damaged or rotting roof decking should be repaired or replaced before panel installation, ensuring a solid and secure foundation for your standing seam metal roof.


Selecting Materials


Choosing the right materials for your standing seam metal roof is essential for achieving the desired appearance and performance. Factors such as budget, location, and aesthetic preferences will play a role in determining the most suitable material for your project.


As mentioned earlier, common materials for standing seam metal roofs include aluminum, steel, and zinc, each with their own unique characteristics and cost considerations.


Gathering Tools and Equipment


Having the appropriate tools and equipment on hand is crucial for a successful standing seam metal roof installation. Some essential tools and equipment include mechanical lock seamers, metal roofing tongs, roofing seaming anvils, shrinker and stretcher, Stubai tools, tape measure, framing square, speed square, drill and various drivers, utility blade, rubber mallet, chalk box, hammer, and caulk gun.


Not only will these tools facilitate a smoother installation process, but they will also ensure the longevity and performance of your new metal roof.


A roofer installing roofing underlayment for a standing seam metal roof


Installing Underlayment and Flashing


The foundation for your standing seam metal roof begins with the installation of underlayment and flashing. Roofing underlayment is an important layer that safeguards the roof deck. It provides thermal protection and waterproofing, which helps prevent any water from infiltrating the roof system.



Flashing is a metal layer designed to protect the roof by directing water and other natural elements away from vulnerable areas.

Applying Roofing Underlayment


Properly installing roofing underlayment is crucial for ensuring your standing seam metal roof is protected against weather elements and functions optimally in terms of energy efficiency. GAF DeckArmor breathable underlayment is recommended for standing seam metal roofs, as it provides resilience, slip resistance, and watertight protection.


The underlayment should be securely affixed to the roof deck using 1 1/2" plastic cap nails before the installation of the metal panels.


Installing Flashing


Correctly placing flashing on your standing seam metal roof is essential for preventing water infiltration and ensuring a watertight seal. Flashing should be installed in areas of the roof that are prone to leakage, particularly where the roof plane meets a vertical surface, such as vents, chimneys, and skylights.


Once the flashing is cut to fit the required areas, it should be securely attached to the roof using nails or screws to provide maximum protection against water intrusion.


Step-by-step guide on how to install standing seam metal roof shown in an image of panel installation process.

Panel Installation Process


With the foundation in place, it's time to move on to the actual panel installation process. Installing standing seam metal roof panels involves laying the panels, securing them with clips, and connecting adjacent panels using either snap lock or mechanical lock systems.


The type of panel and seaming method you choose will depend on your project requirements and preferences, as discussed in Section 1.1.


Measuring and Cutting Panels


Accurate measurements and precise cuts are crucial for ensuring a perfect fit between panels and the roof structure. The panel length from the eave to ridge should be calculated for each different eave-to-ridge distance, taking into account any overlaps between panels.


Once the panel dimensions have been determined, use a metal shear or circular saw to cut the panels to size.


Securing Panels


Attaching panels to the roof is an important step in the installation process. Standing seam metal roof panels are typically secured to the roof deck using hidden fasteners, which provide both a sleek appearance and improved durability against weather elements.


Ensure that the panels are aligned correctly and that the seams are firmly sealed to prevent water infiltration and maintain the structural integrity of the roof.


Seaming Panels


Connecting adjacent panels is the final step in the panel installation process. Depending on the type of panel system you've chosen, you'll either use a snap lock or mechanical lock system to join the panels together. Snap lock panels are easily connected by hand, while mechanical lock panels require specialized tools and more effort for installation.


Regardless of the method used, it's essential to ensure that the panels are securely connected and that the seams are properly sealed to maintain the roof's integrity and watertightness.


A roofer installing ridge caps on a standing seam metal roof

Finishing Touches


With the panels in place, it's time to add the finishing touches to your standing seam metal roof. This involves installing ridge caps, trimming any excess material, and conducting a final inspection to ensure proper installation and sealing.


These final steps will ensure that your new metal roof not only looks great, but also provides lasting protection against the elements.


Installing Ridge Caps


Ridge caps are an essential component of standing seam metal roofs, as they cover the seams where panels meet at the roof's ridge and protect against weather elements.


Installing ridge caps involves cutting them to size and securely nailing them in place along the ridge of the roof.


Proper installation of ridge caps is crucial for maintaining the watertight seal and overall performance of your standing seam metal roof.


Trimming Excess Material


Once the ridge caps are in place, it's time to trim any excess material for a clean finish. This can be done using a metal shear or circular saw to remove any surplus material from the edges of the panels.


Trimming excess material ensures a professional appearance and helps maintain the integrity of your standing seam metal roof.


Inspecting and Sealing


The final step in the installation process is conducting a thorough inspection to ensure proper installation and sealing. This involves checking for any gaps, misaligned panels, or other potential issues that could compromise the performance of your standing seam metal roof.


If any gaps are identified, apply the appropriate sealant to ensure a watertight seal and protect your roof against weather elements.


A roofer inspecting and sealing a standing seam metal roof

Maintenance and Care


A standing seam metal roof is a long-lasting and durable roofing solution, but proper maintenance and care are essential to ensure its longevity and optimal performance. By scheduling regular inspections, keeping the roof clean and free of debris, and promptly addressing any damages, you can safeguard your investment and enjoy the many benefits of a standing seam metal roof for years to come.


Regular Inspections


Scheduling routine inspections is crucial for identifying potential issues early and preventing further damage to your standing seam metal roof. It is recommended to conduct a regular inspection at least once a year, with up to two inspections annually for optimal performance.


During these inspections, examine your roof for drainage issues, moisture problems, stains, scratches, abrasions, grease, dirt, debris, and loose fasteners, and address any issues promptly to maintain the integrity and appearance of your roof.


Cleaning and Debris Removal


Keeping your standing seam metal roof clean and free of debris is essential for preventing damage and maintaining its aesthetic appeal. Regularly remove any leaves, branches, or other debris that may accumulate on the roof, and trim back any nearby trees that could pose a risk of falling branches or leaves.


Additionally, clean your roof with a mild detergent and water solution to remove dirt, grease, and other contaminants that could impact the performance and appearance of your metal roof.


Repairing Damages


Promptly addressing any damages to your standing seam metal roof is crucial for maintaining its integrity and performance. If you identify any scratches, abrasions, or other damage during your regular inspections, take the necessary steps to repair or replace the affected area as soon as possible.


By staying proactive with repairs, you can ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your standing seam metal roof.


A roofer cleaning and removing debris from a standing seam metal roof

Hiring a Professional vs. DIY Installation


While it may be tempting to try and install a standing seam metal roof yourself, there are several factors to consider before deciding whether to hire a professional roofing contractor or attempt a DIY installation. The expertise and experience of a professional, as well as the potential cost savings and time commitment required for a DIY project, should all be taken into account when making your decision.


It is important to remember that a professional roofing contractor will have the necessary tools and experience to ensure that the job is done correctly and safely. They will also be able to provide advice and guidance on the best materials and techniques to use for your particular roofing project. Additionally, additional information is provided below.


Expertise and Experience


One of the main advantages of hiring a professional roofing contractor for standing seam metal roof installation is the expertise and experience they bring to the project. Installing a standing seam metal roof requires specialized tools, knowledge of local building codes and safety standards, and the ability to identify and address potential issues before they become expensive repairs.


By working with a professional, you can ensure that your new metal roof is installed accurately and efficiently, ultimately saving you time and effort in the long run.


Cost Considerations


While hiring a professional roofing contractor to install your standing seam metal roof may initially be more expensive than a DIY project, it's important to consider the long-term cost savings that can result from working with an experienced professional. Proper installation by a professional can minimize the risk of costly mistakes or damage, and their familiarity with local building codes and safety standards can ensure that your roof is compliant and protected against future issues.


Weighing the costs of hiring a professional against the potential savings from a DIY project is an important consideration when choosing the best approach for your standing seam metal roof installation.


Time and Effort


Attempting a DIY installation of a standing seam metal roof can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process, particularly for those without prior experience in roofing projects. In addition to the time required for measuring, cutting, and installing panels, there is also the effort involved in sourcing materials, tools, and equipment for the job.


By hiring a professional roofing contractor, you can save yourself the time and effort required for a DIY project and ensure that your new metal roof is installed efficiently and accurately, providing you with peace of mind and a high-quality result.


Summary


In conclusion, a standing seam metal roof is an excellent choice for those seeking a durable, energy-efficient, and visually appealing roofing solution. This comprehensive guide has provided you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your roofing project, from understanding the benefits and materials used to the installation process and ongoing maintenance. Whether you choose to hire a professional roofing contractor or attempt a DIY installation, a standing seam metal roof is a long-term investment that will provide you with lasting protection and beauty for years to come.


Frequently Asked Questions


How is standing seam metal roof attached?


Standing seam metal roofing is securely attached without the use of visible screws or nails by utilizing a clip that fits over the male leg of the standing seam panel. This clip is then screwed down to the roof, providing a strong and reliable hold for the metal roofing system.


How far apart should screws be on a standing seam metal roof?


Screws for standing seam metal roof should be spaced 24 inches apart. According to professional guidelines, the screws should be driven in from bottom up at a 45-degree angle from the edge of the panel (if installing metal shingles).


It is important to adhere to this pattern for optimal performance.



How far apart should purlins be on a standing seam metal roof?


For a standing seam metal roof, purlins should be placed up to 24” on-center for optimal performance and stability, though if the site is subject to heavy snow or strong winds, this spacing should be decreased to ensure maximum strength.


Purlins are an important part of a standing seam metal roof, as they provide the necessary support and stability. The spacing of the purlins should be adjusted depending on the conditions of the site, as heavy snow or strong winds can cause the roof to become unstable if the purlins are too far apart.

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