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Is A Corrugated Metal Roof Right For Me? When To Use Exposed Fastener Roofs
Lauren Risotto

By: Lauren Risotto on May 6th, 2020

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Is A Corrugated Metal Roof Right For Me? When To Use Exposed Fastener Roofs

Metal | Roofing | Homeowner Education | Corrugated Roofing


At Western States Metal Roofing, we have been manufacturing corrugated metal roofing for over 20 years and it’s our most requested panel type. While we think it’s a great choice for your roof, we realize it’s not the right panel for every roof.

In this article, we will teach you when to use corrugated metal and also some cases when you should consider a different choice.

When To Use Corrugated Metal Roofing

We’ve come up with five considerations that would make corrugated metal roofing the right choice for your home. If one or more of these is true for you, then corrugated metal roofing could be the right choice.

  • Project has a budget: looking for an affordable panel
  • When doing the installation yourself
  • When looking to reduce the appearance of oil canning
  • For use on an agricultural or commercial building
  • When you need material quickly

Corrugated Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Homeowners Guide


Corrugated Is An Affordable Metal Panel

One of the biggest benefits of corrugated metal is that it’s an affordable type of metal roofing and the perfect material when cost is a primary concern.

Corrugated panels range between $.90 up to $1.75 per square foot. Installation cost for corrugated metal roofing normally will cost roughly $4.50 to $5.50 per square foot.

Your total cost including material and installation is $5.00 up to $8.00 per square foot.


To learn more about the factors that go into pricing, we suggest reading:

How Much Does Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost? Includes Pricing & Factors

Corrugated Panels Are Good For Do It Yourself Roofing

If you’re really looking to cut down cost, you can save on installation costs by doing the installation yourself. The process of installing corrugated metal is simpler and faster than other types of metal roofing like standing seam. If you’re up for the task, a corrugated metal roof is a great DIY opportunity.

7/8" Corrugated in Matte Black

⅞” Corrugated Metal Panels in Matte Black


Corrugated Panels Reduce The Appearance Of Oil Canning

Oil canning is a downfall of standing seam metal roofing. It’s a cosmetic deformation, observed as waves. Although it doesn’t affect the functionality of the roof, it can give off an undesired, wrinkled appearance.

Inherent in the product itself, there is no way to prevent oil canning from occurring. However, corrugated panels make any oil canning less noticeable.

Since corrugated panels don’t have any flat areas, oil canning can’t be seen as the design of the panels is already wavy.


To learn more about oil canning, we suggest reading:

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


Corrugated Panels Are Common On Agricultural Or Commercial Buildings

The original purpose of corrugated metal was to provide roofing for barns and industrial buildings. While it’s now become popular in the residential market also, the informal look from it’s waviness makes it perfect for an agricultural or commercial setting.


Corrugated Panels Are Readily Available

Corrugated panels are the most popular type of metal panels which also means they are the most readily available.

Corrugated panels are also sold at most large home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowes. If you’re in the market for a wider color selection and custom sizing, buying from a metal roofing manufacturer would be a better option.

If you’re in a situation where you need materials immediately, this can be a convenient option.


When You Should Not Use Corrugated Metal Roofing

Here are some of the reasons that choosing an alternative to corrugated metal roofing may be a preferred option for your home.

  • You Want Less Maintenance
  • You Live In A Climate With Extreme Weather Conditions
  • You Want A Roof With A Modern Design

Corrugated Panels Need More Maintenance Than Other Metal Roofs

A big perk of a metal roof is that it’s low maintenance. However, corrugated roofs need a little more TLC than a standing seam metal roof.

Corrugated panels have exposed fasteners. This means that the screw will penetrate the panel. After the course of many years with expansion and contraction the screws can back themselves out some. Periodically, they need to be retightened. Sealing washers also deteriorate after many years.

Fasteners need to be checked during routine inspections to avoid leaks. Loose fasteners lead to leaks, and leaks result in costly repairs. Preventative maintenance is important so that a small problem does not become a big problem.

Understanding the differences between corrugated roofing and a standing seam panel is the most important thing that you should learn prior to choosing which panel to use.

Corrugated Metal Roofing v. Standing Seam (Advantages & Disadvantages)


Corrugated Panels Are Not Suitable For Extreme Weather Conditions

Metal is a very durable material that can handle harsh weather, but there are two factors with corrugated panels that can become an issue:

  • Thin gauges from big box stores
  • Poor installation of exposed fasteners can result in leaks

Thin Gauges From Big Box Stores

Climates that often have weather conditions, such as high winds, hail, and heavy rain, need roofs with a heavy gauge (thick) steel for extra protection from damage.

If you purchase the corrugated metal roofing at a Home Depot or Lowe’s it will likely be in a light (thin) gauge such 29 gauge. 29-gauge metal is too thin for heavy winds or snow loads.

If you need a heavier gauge, most metal roofing manufacturer’s can supply 24 gauge or 26 gauge material. It will just take longer to manufacture the material. Typically heavier gauge corrugated metal roofing will take two to three weeks to manufacture.


If you have further interest in comparing 26 v 29 gauge we recommend:

What Gauge Metal Roofing Should I Use? (26 Gauge v. 29 Gauge)

7/8" Corrugated Metal Roof in Bonderized

⅞” Corrugated Metal Roof in Bonderized


Poor Installation Of Exposed Fasteners Can Result In Leaks

Corrugated metal roofing will have hundreds or thousands of screws that will penetrate the material. The screws will have sealing washers that make them weathertight.

However, fasteners have to be installed correctly for that to occur. Incorrect screw installation is the greatest cause of corrugated metal roofing leaks.



It’s just the law of averages that some of them will be over-tightened or under-tightened. When this happens it’s possible for the water to get between the screw and the panel. Moisture getting in will result in leaks and other water damage.

If using a panel with exposed fasteners concerns you, using roofing panels with concealed fasteners would be a better choice. A panel that doesn’t have penetrations on the roof’s surface is more weathertight.

Standing Seam metal roof in Black Ore Matte®

Standing seam metal roof in Black Ore Matte®


Standing Seam Is Metal Roofing With A Modern Design

As we mentioned earlier, corrugated panels have an informal look that can really complement a project in the right environment.

However, if you’re looking for a contemporary or modern design, it would be better to go with a metal panel like standing seam. These panels have a flat appearance that is more formal looking.

Is a Corrugated Metal Roof Right For Me?

Corrugated metal is a convenient roofing choice because of cost, availability, and ease of installation. As long as it fits in with your design style and climate, a corrugated roof can bring a lot of value over its lifespan.


Corrugated Roofing Is Best For Those Who:

  • Want to spend less money
  • Want a roof that is wavy looking and not flat
  • Want to do the installation themselves and are looking for the easier panel to work with
  • Have a roof pitch that’s at least 3” in 12”

If you’re now thinking corrugated might not be the right choice for your roof because of style or exposed fastener issues, consider a more expensive roof that has less maintenance like standing seam.


Standing Seam Roofing Is Best For Those Who:

  • Want most weather-tight panel
  • Want a panel that requires less maintenance
  • Have a low roof slope condition
  • Live in an area prone to severe weather
  • Want a modern design.
  • Will spend more money for quality and weather tightness

At Western States Metal Roofing, we manufacture and offer both types of panels and are very knowledgeable on each panel’s advantages and disadvantages. 


Metal Roofing Learning Cener


Click here to watch metal roofing videos on our YouTube channel!


About Lauren Risotto

Lauren is the Content Manager at Western States Metal Roofing and provides insight on content creation and product promotions.