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5 Common Problems With A Standing Seam Metal Roof
Paul Rubio

By: Paul Rubio on April 13th, 2020

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5 Common Problems With A Standing Seam Metal Roof

Metal | Roofing | Metal Roof Installation | Standing Seam

If you are researching metal roofing options, then you are surely aware of standing seam. It’s the gold standard for both residential and commercial metal roofing projects. If you want the most weather-tight and modern looking metal roofing panel then you should consider standing seam.

However, it’s not a perfect product. Although there are a tremendous amount of benefits, there are also some major problems with this panel. It might not be a good fit for your particular project or your home.

Standing seam roofs are all concealed fastener panel systems versus an exposed fastener panel system. If you’d like to learn more about these different roofing systems, watch this video:

Our team at Western States Metal Roofing has sold thousands of standing seam jobs. We are always asked about the benefits of standing seam, but rarely about the problems. We want you to be fully aware of the pros and cons of a standing seam roof to help you determine the correct metal roofing panel for your house.

The most common problems with standing seam are:

  1. Higher cost
  2. More difficult installation
  3. Oil canning
  4. Lack of availability
  5. Limited options

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Cost

What is the average cost of a standing seam metal roof? This is a tricky question as there are lots of factors that will determine the price of a standing seam roof. Two factors go into the cost: installation cost and material cost.

The short answer is that standing seam will cost $8 to $15 per square foot including materials and installation.

The Price Of Materials For Standing Seam Roofs

Standing seam metal roofing prices will range from $3 to $7 per square foot including trim and clips. The price you pay will be dependent on the gauge of the steel, finish, and the size of your job. Purchasing directly from a standing seam metal roofing manufacturer is a great way to lower your materials cost.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Gauge Or Thickness

Generally, you will have two options when purchasing a standing seam metal roofing. 24 gauge gauge standing seam metal roofing cost 25% to 30% more than

Both thicknesses would be considered a heavy gauge for a metal roof and therefore, it will be more expensive. If you compare standing seam cost versus exposed fastener panels it will be at least 50% more expensive.

Get a Free Quote for Metal Roof or Metal Wall Panels Today! Click Here

If you need more in depth information regarding choosing the correct thickness of steel we have detailed all of the important factors that you need to consider.


Download Our Guide For Choosing The Best Gauge For Metal Roofing And Siding


Standing Seam Metal Roofing Colors

Standing Seam in Galv-Ten Robust

Galvanized or galvalume standing seam will be the least expensive option, but most people don’t want an unpainted bright and shiny material. PVDF painted painted panels in a standard metal roofing color or matte paint finish is by far the most common standing seam roofing.

Standing seam in a PVDF paint finish will cost about $1 per square foot more versus a galvanized or galvalume standing seam panel. If you would like something a bit more trendy than you should check out designer colors. These are truly stunning colors that have been painted multiple times to give the panels more depth. Designer colors cost $1 to $1.50 per square foot more than standard PVDF colors.

Copper or aluminum roofing will substantially increase the cost of your metal roof.

Download Your How To Choose A Metal Roofing Color Guide

Size Of The Standing Seam Job

Smaller jobs will cost more than larger jobs. If the job is under 500 square feet it could easily cost double or triple what a larger job would cost. Otherwise the cost difference on any job in excess of 500 square feet will not exceed 25% to 35%.


Standing Seam Metal Roofing Installation

Standing seam panels are much more difficult to install than corrugated metal roofing panels. If you don’t install the trim correctly the roofing panel could leak. The cost of labor for standing seam metal roofing installation is between $5 and $10 per square foot.

Here are some of the issues with installing standing seam metal roofs:

  • Not a DIY friendly panel. It’s necessary to hire a professional installer.
  • When compared to an exposed fastener panel, there are more parts and pieces to the trim. For example, an eave trim will require eave trim, joggle cleat, and possibly trim cleat. Exposed fastener panels only require an eave trim.
  • It takes a professional that has lots of metal roofing experience to install the roofing panels and trim correctly.
  • Standing seam metal roofing is narrower, which means the installation process takes much longer than an exposed fastener panel.
  • Installation cost will be 30% to 50% higher when compared to an exposed fastener panel.
  • More difficult to find a highly qualified installer. Those qualified to install exposed fastener panels can be more easily found.
  • The difficulty of the installation will be reflected with a higher installation price.

Standing seam metal roofing trim details are much more complicated than corrugated metal roofing. It’s critically important to use an installer that specializes in metal roofing installation. The article below will help you find a qualified metal roofing contractor.

Choosing A Metal Roofing Contractor. 11 Questions To Ask Before Hiring


Standing Seam Roofs May Have Oil Canning

Oil canning

Oil canning is inherent in all metal roofs, but is only a cosmetic issue. It will not affect the weather tightness of the panel. When oil canning occurs the standing seam roof will have a wavy and wrinkled appearance as pictured above. In most instances, you will not have any recourse if your roof has oil canning.

If you decide to use an exposed fastener panel you will not have this problem. If you would like to learn about the steps you can take to help minimize the risk of oil canning and ways to hide its appearance.

What is Oil Canning? Causes + Solutions For a Common Metal Roof Problem


Availability Of Standing Seam Metal Roofing Panels

Standing seam metal roofing panels are made on an order by order basis. Nobody keeps this material in stock. If you need a small quantity of standing seam roofing it will be difficult to find a metal roofing manufacturer that is willing to make it.

In addition, there will be a two to three week lead time. If you have a small job or need the roofing quickly, standing seam will not be a great option. Your only option for either of these conditions is to use an exposed fastener panel instead.

Limited Standing Seam Metal Options

Standing seam is the most expensive metal roofing panel. Outside of color choices, there are few customizable options to choose from. It’s only available in heavy gauges and PVDF paint finishes. Because you have fewer options, you’re limited to certain standards. This is one of the reasons that it’s the most expensive metal roofing panel.

  • Primarily available in 24 gauge steel. Limited availability in 22 gauge. You cannot save money by purchasing a thinner steel in 26 gauge or 29 gauge.
  • PVDF paint finish only. If you are going to purchase an expensive and long lasting panel then you need a paint finish of the same quality. PVDF is considered the best paint system and standing seam is the best panel, so it’s a package deal. The disadvantage is that PVDF costs more than a SMP pant finish

If you want to learn the difference between a PVDF and SMP paint system the article below will be an excellent guide to when a PVDF color makes more sense than a SMP color.

Best Paint For My Metal Roof Panels: SMP vs. PVDF


Three Types Of Standing Seam


Advantages Of A Standing Seam Metal Roof

Our goal in this article was to be fully transparent about the disadvantages of standing seam. If you can get past the cost of standing seam and the difficulty of the installation, then it's an excellent product. If you're still considering standing seam after hearing about all of the cons, then we suggest you read this article or watch the video that discusses all of the advantages of a standing seam metal roof.

The Top 10 Benefits Of A Standing Seam Metal Roof

Take The Next Step. Choose The Perfect Metal Roofing Color

Making the choice between a standing seam panel and an exposed fastener panel is a difficult decision. Exposed fastener panels will cost significantly less, but they will be less weather tight and will require more maintenance. Standing seam panels are more expensive, have the best weather tightness, and are the highest quality metal roofing panel.

Now that you are getting close to figuring out the panel type it’s time to start researching color choices. We have made this easy with our extensive color design guide. It will walk you through all of the important steps and show you which color selection tools you have at your disposal. We even have written a detailed article on color selection.

Metal Roofing Colors: 5 Tips To Pick The Best Metal Roofing Color

Download Your How To Choose A Metal Roofing Color Guide

At Western States Metal Roofing our tagline is “Finishes You’ve Never Seen Before”. Sure we sell the same 10-20 colors that everyone else sells, but if you want stunning finishes that you will not see elsewhere check out our color cards. Take a look at our colors and let us mail you free samples.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Color Charts

  1. SMP Colors
  2. PVDF - Standard Colors
  3. PVDF - Special Order Colors
  4. PVDF - Matte Colors
  5. Specialty Paint Prints/Designer Colors
  6. Specialty Paint Print Catalog
  7. Real Rusted Roofing
  8. Vari-Cool Color Changing Paint System
  9. Metal That Looks Like Wood


Metal Roofing Learning Cener

Get a Free Quote for Metal Roof or Metal Wall Panels Today! Click Here


About Paul Rubio

Paul Rubio is the Vice President and one of the owners of Western States Metal Roofing. He has been in the metal roofing industry for 25 years. WSMR is a manufacturer of metal roofing, wall panels, and metal siding. We have colors and finishes that nobody else has with nearly 100 different colors in stock. Our selection of color options and finishes is likely the largest in the industry.