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Standing Seam vs. Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing System

Posted on May 13, 2024

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Standing Seam vs. Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing System

The choice of roofing system plays a significant role in determining not only the appearance of a building but also its durability and maintenance requirements. With numerous options available on the market, it may be challenging to find a roofing system that fits your exact needs. Notably, however, metal roofing systems such as standing seam and exposed fasteners have caught the attention of many home and commercial building owners due to their distinct benefits. 

That said, you’re probably wondering—which one of these is best for me? If you want to install a metal roof but are confused between standing seam vs. exposed fastener, read this blog post until the end. This detailed standing seam vs. exposed fastener roofing guide will provide you with everything you need to know before making a final decision. 

Overview of Standing Seam and Exposed Fastener Roofs

Standing seam and exposed fastener roofs are both unique styles of metal roofs. However, they differ significantly in how they’re designed, installed, maintained, and priced.

Standing seam roofs can be identified by raised interlocking seams that join one panel to the next. Homeowners admire standing seam metal roofs for their neat and contemporary look coupled with their high resistance to elements like wind and water. The name ‘standing seam’ comes from this unique design feature where the hidden fasteners stand up in a line, forming distinctive parallel ridges or seams across the panels.

On the other hand, we have exposed fastener roofs, or corrugated metal roofs, arguably more traditional-looking than standing seam roofs. However, they offer various aesthetic options thanks to the available color choices and different finishes. 

The key difference lies in the installation, which involves securing the panels with screws that remain visible (hence “exposed”) once installed. Some might perceive this as less attractive, but on the brighter side, it substantially reduces initial installation costs, making them affordable for budget-constrained projects.

Also Read: The 5 Most Popular Metal Roof Styles (And Which One Is Right For You) 

Advantages of Standing Seam Metal Roofing Systems

Many factors contribute to the popularity of standing seam metal roofs, but let’s shed light on some specific advantages that are often associated with them. 

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

1. Enhanced Weather Resistance

This metal roofing system with hidden fasteners comes equipped to resist adverse conditions. From heavy snowfall to brutal hailstorms as well as severe storms and torrential rains, standing seam metal roofs ensure effective protection against varied weather conditions. The panels interlock together tightly, creating a barrier that prevents water infiltration, making your roof incredibly resistant to leaks even during forceful rainstorms.

2. Minimal Maintenance Needs Over Time

A minimal need for maintenance and upkeep is one area where standing seam roofs come at the front. They are resistant not only to weather but also to common issues like corrosion and rust, and they require less annual upkeep than conventional alternatives.

The unique design feature – concealed fasteners – provides an extra layer of durability. Hidden from the damaging effects of UV rays and harsh chemicals, these fasteners stay functional for longer.

This low-maintenance trait pays off over time by translating into fewer repair costs and longevity of your roof!

3. Seamless Integration with Renewable Energy Solutions 

Solar panels have gained significant traction in recent years as more homeowners lean towards more sustainable living solutions. Standing seam roofs offer exceptional compatibility with solar panel installations.

Their smooth, uninterrupted surface makes it easier for brackets to connect solar panels without needing penetrations through the roof material itself. Therefore, installation stays leak-free while allowing plenty of space for the panels. Not only does it offer environmental benefits, but it also promises a reduction in electricity bills over time.

4. Better Warranties

Given their durability and enduring performance, manufacturers offer extended warranties for this roof type. These extended protections reflect the trust instilled by manufacturers in the longevity of their standing seam roof system, offering homeowners peace of mind knowing that their investment is safeguarded for years to come.

Disadvantages of Standing Seam Metal Roofs

Despite the many advantages of a standing seam metal roofing system, it’s essential to recognize its potential drawbacks. 

1. Higher Initial Cost

The cost of a standing seam roofing system is relatively high compared to an exposed fastener metal roof or other traditional roofing materials. This is primarily due to the premium quality materials used and highly specialized design patterns incorporated into these roofs.

The price per square foot of standing seam can vary significantly due to factors like choice of material (copper, steel, aluminum), labor costs, or geographical location. While it offers immense long-term benefits in durability and less maintenance needs, it may initially put a strain on the homeowner’s budget. 

2. Complexity in Installation

Installing a standing seam roof requires professional help primarily due to its unique interlocking seams. This interlocking mechanism contributes immensely towards their strong structural integrity. This increases both the complexity and timeframe of the standing seam roof installation. Additionally, it necessitates hiring trained professionals who are well-versed in such techniques, further contributing towards overall costs.

Apart from the standing seam style, another option for homeowners is metal roofs that look like shingles. If a standing seam metal roof is not right for you, you can consider these metal roof types for your home. 

Advantages of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing Systems

When it comes to roofing materials, the ‘metal roof with exposed fasteners’ has various noteworthy advantages that make it an appealing choice for many homeowners

Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing

1. Cost-Effective Solution

One primary advantage of opting for a metal roof with exposed fasteners is its cost-effectiveness. Exposed fastener roofing systems are more affordable than standing seam due to their lower material and installation costs. This makes such roofs an attractive proposition, particularly for budget-conscious projects.

Moreover, this type of roof requires fewer accessories, such as clips and trim, which is another way homeowners can save money.

Additionally, the gauge or thickness of the metal panels used in this type of roofing system tends to be lighter, making them thinner and less expensive than those used in standing seam systems. These characteristics play a role in making this option more wallet-friendly while still offering many inherent qualities of metal roofs.

2. Simplified Installation Process

Ease of installation is an important factor when considering roof replacement or new construction projects. Fortunately, the installation process for metal roofs featuring exposed fasteners tends to be straightforward.

These roofs generally come pre-drilled, which eliminates some labor-intensive steps associated with aligning and puncturing holes onsite during the installation process. This not only means fewer chances of mistakes during the installation but also faster project completion, saving both time and labor costs.

3. Variety in Design Options

Resistance to the elements and durability are undoubtedly essential when it comes to roofing, but we can’t overlook aesthetics either. Metal roofs with exposed fasteners provide many design options, allowing homeowners to pick a look that complements their home’s architectural style.

Different types of panel profiles can be selected based on preference. Moreover, this type has been used traditionally for rustic or agricultural buildings and, as such, brings a classic appeal alongside its resilience.

Disadvantages of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs

Exposed fastener metal roofing systems, sometimes referred to as ‘metal roofs with screws showing’, might initially appear to be an appealing solution for their cost-effectiveness and easy installation process. However, it’s crucial that we also address the drawbacks associated with this type of roofing system. 

1. Increased Maintenance Due to Exposed Fasteners

Because of the exposed fasteners and screws, this type of metal roof requires more maintenance over its life. The fasteners need to be routinely inspected for rust, corrosion, or looseness. 

This means homeowners who opt for this type of roofing system will frequently find themselves searching for loosened screws and re-tightening them or run the risk of having water seep into their homes.

2. Lower Leak Resistance

Now, even if you are rigorous with maintaining these exposed fasteners, it doesn’t guarantee foolproof protection against moisture penetration. In fact, by nature alone, an exposed fastener roof falls short compared to its standing seam counterpart in terms of granting sturdy leak resistance.

An exposed fastener roof has weaker leak resistance than a standing seam roof due to the hundreds of fasteners required to keep the roof in place. 

Related: Your Guide To Metal Roof Costs In 2024

Detailed Comparison of Standing Seam vs. Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs

Let’s delve deep into the nitty-gritty details comparing standing seam and exposed fastener metal roofing systems, focusing on design aesthetics, durability, cost, maintenance requirements, and installation.

1. Design and Aesthetic Differences

When discussing standing seam vs. exposed fastener metal roofs, you cannot overlook their aesthetic implications.

A standing seam system offers clean lines and a modern edge to your roof’s look as they have concealed fasteners, giving it an uninterrupted flow. Moreover, these roofs can come in varying widths and heights for a customized fit — complementing both modernist architecture and classic styles.

In contrast, exposed fastener metal roofs show off the screws that hold them in place. They may not offer a seamless look, yet they still present charm — especially when paired with rustic or industrial building designs.

2. Durability and Lifespan Considerations

The longevity of a roof remains one of the most important aspects homeowners consider when choosing a system.

Given their concealed-fastening mechanism, standing seam roofs mitigate any risks related to weathering or rusting. This characteristic undoubtedly adds to their lifespan potential, which typically ranges around 40 to 60 years.

On the other hand, exposed fastener systems have screws susceptible to weather elements – risking faster wear or premature rusting. However, when installed correctly and maintained regularly, they provide you with a good service period of between two and three decades.

3. Cost Analysis: Initial Installation & Long-Term Savings

Financial consideration always plays an enormous role in the decision-making processes.

Standing seam panels often demand higher initial costs due to advanced manufacturing methods coupled with their complex installation process. But remember—this investment pays off in the long run through minimized maintenance expenses and better energy efficiency, which contributes to lower utility bills.

Meanwhile, exposed fastener roofs, the more budget-friendly alternative to start with, carry recurring costs. These include regular maintenance checks and possible weathering-related repairs over time. 

4. Maintenance Requirements: What Homeowners Need to Know

The frequency of upkeep for your roof will depend greatly on choosing between a standing seam or an exposed fastener system.

With standing seam roofs, that initial investment significantly cuts down future upkeep requirements because of its fortified structure and concealed screws.

Exposed fastener systems, however, require diligent attention due to their innate design — namely, screws calling for frequent check-ups to identify any problems caused by inclement weather conditions.

5. Installation Process: Complexity and Timeframe

Installing a roof is quite the project, regardless of whether it’s a standing seam or exposed fastener type.

Standing seam roof installation demands precision during overlaying panels and seaming stages, all of which require specialized tools. This complexity necessitates hiring skilled professionals to contribute to a longer timeframe.

Conversely, exposed fastener roofs offer quicker installations as they do not follow elaborate processes like concealed-fastening mechanisms, making them appealing for short-deadline projects. But they do require careful focus to ensure proper sealing around each screw.

Contact The Metal Roofing Experts In Tulsa, OK, For Your Roof Installation 

Now that you know the difference between standing seam and exposed fastener metal roofs, you can make an informed decision for your home. If you are considering installing a metal roof on your home or commercial building, contact our expert metal roofers. Our professionals at A. Fricker Roofing and Waterproofing in Tulsa, OK, can seamlessly install a metal roof on your property. Contact us today at (918) 402-7167 to talk with one of our experts.