Corrugated Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

Everything That You Need To Know About Corrugated Metal Roofing

If You’re Thinking About Purchasing A Corrugated Metal Roof, Then You Have Lots Of Questions.

We have the answers…...

  • What is corrugated metal roofing?
  • Types of corrugated metal roofing
  • Benefits of corrugated metal roofing plus pros and cons.
  • When should you use it?
  • Corrugated roofing vs standing seam.
  • Exposed vs concealed fastener panels
  • Is corrugated metal roofing better than R Panel?
  • Which corrugated panel is best?
  • How to choose the right metal roofing panel for my home
  • Is metal roofing worth it?
  • Return on investment and resale value
  • Corrugated metal roofing cost?
  • How and where to purchase corrugated metal roofing.

Every day at Western States Metal Roofing we are asked the same questions from homeowners just like you that are looking to purchase a metal roof. We love to educate our customers and help them determine which metal roofing panel is best for their home. However, we thought there had to be a better way to get this information to the public and do so without any pressure to purchase.

We looked online to see if there was a guide to corrugated metal roofing. All we found was a jumbled assortment of incomplete information. Nothing existed that had all of the information homeowners would need in one place. Finally, we decided it’s time to write an extensive guide to corrugated metal roofing. This guide will answer all of the questions that you have, and even some that you would have never thought of.

This definitive guide will teach you about every aspect of corrugated metal roofing. You’ll have a very good idea if this is the right roof panel for your home, or if you should consider other panels. If corrugated metal roofing sounds like it could be an option for your home, you’re in the right place.


Corrugated Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Homeowners Guide

You have lots of questions about corrugated metal roofing. Instead of going through several different articles, we’ve created a comprehensive guide with all the answers in one spot.

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Chapter 1

What Is Corrugated Metal Roofing?

To start at the beginning, corrugated metal roofing is an exposed fastener panel. This means that the screws will penetrate the roof panel when attaching to the plywood or metal substrate of your home. A substrate is the surface upon which the metal roofing or roofing underlayment is applied.

Visually, the appearance of a corrugated metal roof panel is wavy with “S” shaped curves. The term “corrugated metal panel” would not include a panel that is square or has a boxy appearance. In addition, the term typically refers to the two most common types of corrugated metal roofing: ⅞” Corrugated and ½” Corrugated.

7/8 Corrugated Metal Roofing Panel in Streaked Copper

⅞” Corrugated Metal Roofing Panel in Streaked Copper

Here’s the funny thing about corrugated metal roofing though: If you were to ask two people to describe it, you may get two completely different answers. It’s one of those terms that has been around for hundreds of years and the meaning has changed as the product evolved.

The old school definition of a corrugated metal roof is any metal roofing panel that is not a standing seam panel. This could mean anything including wavy corrugated, R Panel or 7.2 Panel

We will be referring to standing seam a lot in this article so we should define it. Standing seam is a concealed fastener metal panel system that has vertical legs with flat area located between the two legs. 

Although there is a difference of opinion of what the term “corrugated metal roofing“ means, there are some common characteristics that embody both the modern and traditional definition of the term.

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable, lightweight, and long-lasting
  • Easy to install
  • A great option in lieu of asphalt shingles or clay tile roofs
  • Commercial or residential applications
  • Metal roofing and metal siding applications

How Do You Manufacture Corrugated Roofing?

Corrugated metal roofing starts as a large round coil of steel. The coil is put on a machine that will roll-form the corrugated roofing sheets. The metal starts as a flat piece of steel and then it passes through a series of rolling dies. Each of these rollers bends the steel until it comes out the end of the machine as a piece of corrugated metal.

Corrugated Metal Roofing Sizes: What Panel Lengths Are Available?

The length of corrugated roof panels can vary depending on where you are sourcing material. There are two ways to purchase roofing:

  1. Home improvement stores
    Companies such as Home Depot, Lowes, or lumber yards typically stock thin 29 gauge steel in only a galvanized or galvalume finish. If you decide to purchase corrugated metal roofing at Lowes, you’ll only find 10 or 12 foot lengths at the big box hardware stores.
    If you only need a few sheets and need them quickly, this is a more efficient way to purchase corrugated sheet metal.
  2. Manufacturer direct or metal roofing distributor
    When ordering through a manufacturer or roofing distributor, corrugated metal roofing will be made to whatever gauge, colors, and panel lengths that your order requires. Typically, you will submit a materials list that will display the number of pieces needed and the sheet length for each piece. The metal roofing manufacturer will then produce your order per the cut list provided.

For more information on how to purchase corrugated metal, head to Chapter 7.

Types of Corrugated Metal Roofing

Corrugated metal roofing typically refers to round and wavy sheet metal. However, it can also be used as a catch-all term for any type of exposed fastener panel. For an in-depth comparison of the types of exposed fastener panels, head to Chapter 4.

The different types of corrugated metal roofing panels are:

  • ⅞” Corrugated
  • ½” Corrugated
  • All other metal roofing panels excluding standing seam


⅞” Corrugated Metal Roofing

7/8 Corrugated in Zinc Metallic

⅞” Corrugated in Zinc Metallic

⅞” corrugated metal roofing is the most common wavy corrugated roofing panel.
It’s name originates from the rib height of the panel which is ⅞” inch. The deep round corrugations make a great looking panel that is also durable. In addition, this panel is wider and costs less than ½” Corrugated metal roofing

Why you would prefer a ⅞” Corrugated metal roof:

  • Significant cost savings versus ½” Corrugated
  • You like the look of the deep and distinct corrugations
  • You want a stronger and more durable panel
  • Faster installation as it’s wider

corrugated metal roof


½” Corrugated Metal Roofing

Corrugated Metal Roofing Panel in Weathering Steel

½” Corrugated Metal Roofing Panel in Weathering Steel

½” Corrugated is the classic and old school metal roofing panel. Nowadays, you see it used less often on construction projects. Some of the reasons we don’t recommend using this panel are: 

  • It costs significantly more
  • Less strength and durability
  • Less color and gauge options
  • Takes longer to install

Here is when you should use ½” Corrugated:

  • To match an existing roof with the same panel profile
  • You prefer the look of ½” corrugated
  • You have clearance requirements and need a shallower panel



Other Metal Roofing Panels

These panels that fit in this category are more of the traditional definition of a corrugated metal roofing panel. From a manufacturer's perspective, we would not call a square or boxy panel a corrugated panel. However, the product has been around for so long that it’s kind of a catch-all name for metal roofing. 

Any panel that is an exposed fastener panel could technically be referred to as corrugated metal. Any standing seam panel would not be considered corrugated metal. There are many types of ribbed metal panels, but the most common are R-Panel or PBR Panel.


Chapter 2

When Should I Use Corrugated Metal Roofing?

Corrugated metal is a great fit for a lot of different homes. 

Before we get into when to use corrugated roofing, let’s talk about why you’d want to use corrugated metal in the first place. This type of roofing has a lot of valuable benefits. After that, you’ll learn when a corrugated metal roof would be a great option for you, and when it may not be. 

What Are The Benefits Of Corrugated Metal Roofing?

  • Affordable
  • Low Maintenance
  • Resistance To Fires And Rotting
  • Longevity And Cost Savings
  • Durability
  • Energy Efficiency 
  • The Most Variety of Design Choices



⅞” Corrugated Metal Roof in Bonderized


Corrugated Is An Affordable Metal Panel

One of the biggest benefits of corrugated metal is that it’s one of the most affordable types of metal roofing. This makes it the perfect material when the cost is a primary concern.

Cost of corrugated metal panels: 

  • Materials: Range between $.90 to $1.75 per square foot.
  • Installation: Averages $4.50 to $5.50 per square foot. 

You can expect your total cost including material and installation to be in the range of $5.00 to $8.00 per square foot.


| Learn More: How Much Does Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost? Includes Pricing & Factors

Corrugated Metal Roofing Is Low Maintenance

There is not much to worry about in terms of maintenance besides inspections, basic cleaning, and checking the fasteners.

You’ll need to have regular inspections and also a quick inspection after any major storm to make sure the roof doesn’t have any problems forming such as leaks that can lead to water damage. Inspections are recommended to prevent minor issues from becoming major issues.

You’ll also want to clean off any dirt, debris, or leaves to keep the roof from being scratched and the gutters from getting clogged. Clogged gutters prevent proper drainage during rainstorms, which can ultimately damage your metal roofing system.

Corrugated metal roofing will have thousands of screw penetrations. Because of weather changes, your roof expands, and contracts. As a result, over the course of many years, these screws might back themselves out. Sealing washers can also deteriorate after many years. It's recommended that you inspect the fasteners every couple of years so that it prevents leaking.


| Learn More: Maintaining Your Metal Roof: 6 Steps You Need To Be Taking

Corrugated Metal Roofing Is Resistant To Fires And Rot 

Metal does not rot or support any microorganisms such as mold or mildew unlike asphalt shingles. It also isn’t susceptible to termite or rodent infestation. Damage caused by all these factors are both inconvenient and expensive. Having a metal roof eliminates any worries of having to deal with those issues that are both expensive to fix and could cause health issues. 

Another big advantage to metal is that it’s one of the few fire-resistant roofing materials. It has the best fire rating available, making it ideal for areas that are prone to wildfires. A fire-resistant roof protects your home and your family from the danger of a fire.

The Longevity And Cost-Savings In The Long Term

A metal roof can last an average of 50 years, and longer in many instances.

The initial upfront cost of a corrugated metal roof will be slightly higher than a material like asphalt shingles. But metal roofing also lasts for 2-4 times longer than alternatives like asphalt shingles. 

In the long run, you are getting a greater value with metal. 

Durability Of Corrugated Metal Roofing

Metal roofing can be designed to sustain wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour. The product durability makes it an excellent roofing choice in areas that are affected by hurricanes or other extreme weather conditions. Metal roofs are designed to not crack, chip, or warp.

Corrugated Metal Roofing Is Energy-Efficient

Metal is one of the most energy-efficient roofing materials. Besides being made of 100% recyclable material, it also helps homeowners reduce monthly energy bills by reflecting solar radiation back into the atmosphere.

A metal roof can result in homeowners having a general energy savings of 7% up to 15%. One study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy showed an annual savings of 25% on cooling costs.

Corrugated Metal Colors

Metal offers the most variety of design choices for roofing. Besides having different profiles to choose from, corrugated metal roofing panels come in a wide range of different colors and finishes. 

More color options gives you more flexibility to create the home of your dreams. Homeowners aren't limited to a few boring options, but can truly make their roof, and as a byproduct their home, unique and special.

There are hundreds of corrugated metal roofing colors to choose from.

View the color cards below to see which color and paint finish is best for your house:



⅞” Corrugated panels in Matte Black

When You Should Consider Corrugated Metal Roofing

  • Working on a smaller budget
  • Doing the installation yourself 
  • Worried about cosmetic deformations known as oil canning
  • Agricultural or commercial settings 
  • When on a tight timeline

Perfect For Smaller Budgets 

As we mentioned earlier, corrugated panels are affordable when compared to standing seam metal roofing. This makes them a great roofing solution when you want a metal roof, but are working on a smaller budget.

When Doing The Installation Yourself

If you’re really looking to cut down costs, you can save on your installation cost by taking the DIY route. 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, read more on how to install corrugated metal roofing

Reduce Cosmetic Deformations: Avoid The Wrinkled Appearance Of Oil Canning


Oil canning is a cosmetic deformation, observed as waves. There is no way to prevent oil canning because it’s inherent to the product itself. Oil canning doesn’t affect the functionality of the roof, but can give off an undesired, wrinkled appearance. 

The shape of corrugated panels helps hide oil canning to make it less noticeable. Since corrugated panels don’t have any flat areas, oil canning is harder to see as the design of the panels is already wavy. Oil canning is most prevalent on standing seam panels.


| Learn More: What is Oil Canning? Causes + Solutions for a Common Metal Roof Problem 


For Use On An Agricultural Or Commercial Buildings

While corrugated is now popular in the residential market, its original purpose was to be used on barns and industrial structures. 

The cost-effectiveness along with being a material that is quick and easy to install makes it a convenient roofing panel that’s used in agricultural and commercial settings. In these types of situations, time and money are generally more important factors than appearance.

On A Tight Schedule And Need Material Fast?

Corrugated panels are the most readily available type of panel. 

If you’re in a situation where you need materials fast, corrugated roofing panels are available for purchase at most home improvement stores.

A metal roofing manufacturer can provide a wider selection of colors and custom panel lengths, however, there can be a wait time of up to two weeks to receive your shipment.


⅞” Corrugated Metal Panels in Matte Black

Corrugated metal is a great roofing solution in many cases, but it’s not for everyone. Let’s go over when you should consider choosing a different type of roof. 

When You Should Not Use Corrugated Metal Roofing

  • You don’t want an exposed fastener panel
  • You live in a climate with extreme weather conditions
  • You want a roof with a modern design

You Want To Avoid Exposed Fasteners

While metal roofing is low maintenance, corrugated is a type of metal roofing that requires a little more attention because of the exposed fasteners. Because the screws that keep the panels in place penetrate the roofing panels and are visible.

As we mentioned above, screw penetrations are the main disadvantage of a corrugated metal roof. Since they’re exposed, the fasteners can become loose over time. Loose fasteners can lead to leaks as it creates room for water to penetrate between the screw and sealing washer. 

The fasteners need to be checked and possibly tightened during inspection to prevent leaks. 

If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of regular inspections, you may want to reconsider using a corrugated roofing panel. Standing seam might be a better fit.

Main Problems With Exposed Fastener Roofing Systems

  • Expansion and contraction
  • Incorrect fastener installation
  • Washers wear out

Expansion And Contraction

As the weather goes from hot to cold and vice versa the sheets will expand and contract. However, corrugated panels are pinned in place by the screws. The movement of the panels over many years can cause the screws to back out a bit. This means periodically, you will have to go up there and re-tighten or replace them. This is less of a problem with shorter sheets versus longer sheets.

Incorrect Fastener Installation

A screw has a sealing washer that is designed to keep the water from leaking between the screw and the panel. However, there are thousands of them on your roof. Any screw that is installed at an angle, over-tightened, or under-tightened is a potential leak point.

Washers Wear Out

The washers on your screws are not designed to last as long as the roof itself. After many years they will break down and the screws will need to be replaced with larger ones.

When you purchase a metal roof, the most important decision is to determine whether an exposed fastener panel or a standing seam panel is best for you. We highly recommend that you read this article as it covers this subject in much more depth.


| Learn More: Corrugated Metal Roofing v. Standing Seam (Advantages & Disadvantages)

You Live In A Climate With Extreme Weather Conditions

Metal is a very durable material that can handle harsh weather, but there are two components of corrugated panels that can be an issue:

  • Thickness of material
  • Exposed fasteners 

Thickness Of Material

Climates that often have weather conditions such as high winds, hail, and heavy rain, need a roof with a heavy gauge steel. Corrugated can still be appropriate in these elements, but you don’t want the lighter gauge panels that you find at Home Depot. You want panels with a heavier gauge, such as a 22, 24, or 26 gauge, that will provide extra protection from weather damage.

Exposed Fasteners

You’ve seen us bring up the point about how exposed fasteners can create opportunities for leaks to occur. We want to stress how important it is to consider the amount of fastener penetrations and how they leave the roof vulnerable to leaks and water damage. The more precipitation your climate has, the greater the chances are of a leak occurring.

Standing seam metal roof in Black Ore Matte®

You Want A Roof With A Modern Design

As we mentioned earlier, corrugated panels have an informal look that can complement your home in the right environment. However, its waviness may not look modern or contemporary.

If you’re looking for a modern design, it would be better to go with a metal panel like standing seam. These panels have a flat appearance that’s more modern looking. 

Should You Use Corrugated Metal For Your Roof?

Corrugated metal brings a lot of value to your roof when used in the right situation.

There are a ton of benefits to corrugated metal roofs, and metal roofs in general. But in order to make the right decision for your home, you need to know your other roofing options.

Let’s compare corrugated metal to different roofing alternatives.

Chapter 3

What Are The Alternative Roofing Systems To Corrugated Panels?

There are more panel options for your roof besides corrugated metal. As we’ve mentioned several times now, the most popular alternative metal panel to corrugated is standing seam. Outside of metal roofing, the two most popular roofing panels are asphalt shingles and clay tiles.

It’s important to consider the style and performance differences when comparing these panel types. 

We’re going to highlight the advantages of each of these alternate types of roofing options. 

Alternatives To Corrugated Metal Roofing Panels

  • Standing Seam
  • Asphalt Shingles
  • Clay Tiles

Here at WSMR we specialize in metal roofs and manufacture both corrugated and standing seam panels. However, we realize you have other choices for roofing. 

Asphalt shingles and clay tiles are two other common types of roofing. While we are not experts in those roofing materials, we do want to discuss them. We want to make sure you’re aware of the other options you may come across while searching for the perfect roof.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

A standing seam roof features panels consisting of a formed metal sheet with vertical ribs at the panel edges, installed by lapping and interlocking edges of adjacent panels. The panels are attached to substrates using concealed clips and fasteners. We understand that sounds like a lot of confusing roofing talk. Simply said, the panel is smooth and does not have any fasteners showing.

Standing seam roofs bring homeowners the combined advantage of performance and appearance over corrugated. That’s what you are paying for when you purchase a standing seam metal roof. It’s the most modern-looking panel, it’s the longest lasting, and it’s the least likely to leak.

While both corrugated and standing seam are exceptional products with similarities, there are a few key differences.  

Advantages of standing seam metal roofs 

  • Concealed fasteners make this the most weather-tight metal roofing panel
  • Less maintenance
  • Aesthetics
  • Can Be Installed On A Low Slope Roof
  • Easy Use With Solar Panels
  • Heavier Gauge Panels


Standing Seam roof in Copper Penny®

Standing Seam Is The Most Weather Tight Metal Roofing Panel

This type of roofing system has fasteners that are not exposed. Since they are not exposed to the weather there is not an opportunity for the fasteners to leak. 

A corrugated roof has an exposed fastener metal roofing system where the screw heads are left visible, or “exposed”. Corrugated metal panels are fastened directly onto the roof deck with screws that penetrate the panels. 

Standing Seam Requires Less Maintenance

When you have a concealed fastener system you don’t have to worry about the fasteners loosening or backing themselves out. You won’t have to routinely inspect and re-tighten the fasteners.


The look that is desired for your roof is a personal preference. However, the clean lines and modern look make it widely considered to be the most attractive metal roofing option. Standing seam roofs give off a more streamlined look than a corrugated metal roof.

Roof Slope

Roof slope refers to how steep your roof is. Roofs can be categorized based on their slopes.

Slope can be expressed in degrees or as a percentage but is often seen in ratio form, such as 3:12 or 6:12. This number indicates how many inches the slope rises for every 12 inches it runs horizontally.  For example, a 6:12 roof pitch means that the roof rises 6” for every 12” moving inward.

Corrugated is best for roofs with a slope of 3:12 or greater.

If you have a roof with a lower slope than 3:12, a standing seam roof will be the better option for your home. Mechanically fastened standing seam panels are suitable for roof pitches of 1” in 12” or greater, or 1:12. 

Minimum Required Roof Slope


| Learn More: How To Determine The Pitch Of Your Roof

Convenient For Solar Panels

The composition of a standing seam roof makes it convenient when installing solar panels. The legs on the panel allow a clamp to easily attach the solar panels to the roofing panels. Drilling into the roof is not required, which allows you to avoid those penetrations that can lead to leaks. 

Other rooftop additions, such as snow retention systems, are easily installed in a similar way.

Available in Thicker Gauges  

Gauges on standing seam panels are thicker than most corrugated panels. As the gauge number gets lower, the metal gets thicker. 

Standing seam panels are usually between 22 and 24-gauge, while corrugated panels are usually 26 or 29-gauge. Corrugated can be made to order in 24 gauge but is rarely found in heavy gauges with immediate availability. 

Why does this matter to you? 

The added bulkiness heavier gauges more equipped to handle severe weather and less likely to fail when exposed to high winds.


Standing Seam roof in Zinc Patina®

The Main Disadvantage Of Standing Seam Panels

If we give you the good news, we also have to give you the bad news. One of the biggest reasons why people choose not to get a standing seam roof is because of its price tag. 

A standing seam will cost $8 to $14 per square foot including materials and installation.

They are the most expensive metal roofing panels, and can cost more than double the price of corrugated. A contributing factor to its higher price is labor cost. The installation of a standing seam roof is more complex than a corrugated roof, and is therefore also more expensive.


Asphalt Shingle Roofing



If you drive around your neighborhood, you are very likely to see asphalt shingle roofs. This is because asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material

Its popularity has a lot to do with affordability and ease of installation

There is a wide range of quality and costs within the asphalt shingle roofing category. The national average cost for architectural asphalt shingles is $6 per square foot. The installation process is relatively quick and can usually be completed in 1-2 days. An asphalt shingle roof takes less time, tools, and skills to install compared to a metal roof.



While the price and quick installation might be appealing, this roofing material also has some drawbacks.

An asphalt shingle roof does not last as long as other types of roofing. Generally, this type of roof can go an average of 10-20 years before needing to be replaced. By comparison, a metal roof can last 40-60+ years.

That doesn’t mean that your asphalt shingle roof will look nice and brand new during it’s 10-20 year lifespan. Shingles have a functional life and an aesthetic life. The functional life of an asphalt shingle roof is about 17 years. That’s way different than the aesthetic life, which is about 5 to 7 years. 

The aesthetic life is when the shingles are stained and streaked. The elements have weathered the shingles so that it looks like an old roof. Even though the roof is functioning and performing against the weather, the roof looks like it’s on its last leg. It begins to lessen the home’s curb appeal and property value.

As an asphalt shingle roof ages, repairs will also become more frequent. This type of roofing isn’t known for durability, and high winds can blow the shingles right off. Replacing shingles that are missing, broken, or buckled from age or weather will be necessary.

As we mentioned earlier, this type of roofing is very popular. Whether or not you want your roof to stand out in your neighborhood is a personal preference. Sometimes it might also be a decision that is out of your hands. If you are a part of a Homeowners Association (HOA), you might be required to have a certain style roof. 

If you are looking for your roof to be unique, that is a harder task to accomplish with asphalt shingles. In addition to being a commonly used roofing material, the color selection for asphalt shingles is also very limited, especially when compared to metal roofing.

If you are really interested in the comparison between metal roofing and asphalt shingles in terms of return on your investment, we suggest skipping ahead to Chapter 7. We provide a  full breakdown of the numbers to see which roof will give you more long term value.



Clay Tile Roofing

A clay tile roof is a premium roofing material that shares some of the primary benefits of metal roofing.

  • Longevity- A clay tile roof can last over 50 years.
  • Low Maintenance- Very little upkeep is needed.
  • Durability- A clay tiles roof can handle extreme weather and high winds without damage.

Clay tile roofs also have their downsides. 

One of the biggest drawbacks to clay tiles is that they are fragile and easily break. 

Also, unlike metal, these types of roofs are incredibly heavy. These types of roofs are roughly 850 pounds per square foot. 

You need to make sure your home can support the roof so that the extra weight doesn’t cause expensive structural damage to your home. If it’s determined that your home won’t be able to support the weight, you’ll have to pay to have additional structural reinforcement done before your home can have a clay tile roof installed. 

Additional structural reinforcement alone can be an additional $6,000 to $15,000 expense depending on how much work needs to be done. That expense does not include the material and labor for your actual roof.

A clay tile roof will cost roughly $10 to $12 per square foot. Like with other roofing materials, there is a price difference depending on the quality of the material used. For example, the very popular Terracotta roof tile can be 20 to 30% more expensive than regular clay.  

OK, I’m Interested In Metal Panels. Which Is Best For Me?

Let’s assume you have now decided against clay tiles and asphalt shingles for your new roof. After reviewing the pros and cons of both types of metal panels, you can make an informed decision about which panel works best for you. 

Standing Seam Is Best For Those Who: 

  • Want the most weather-tight panel
  • Want the least amount of 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

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

Take factors such as your design preference, budget, roof slope, and climate into consideration when deciding between all of your panel options.

If you’re going with a corrugated panel, or an exposed fastener panel, there are several options within this category to choose from. We will help you learn the different types in the next chapter.

Chapter 4

What Corrugated Metal Roofing Panels Are Available?

Within the corrugated metal panel type roofing, there are multiple options to choose from. Choosing the correct roofing panel for your home is a balancing act between visual appearance, strength of the panel, and cost. 

In this chapter we will briefly touch on the pros and cons for each panel, but we have also included links to comparison articles that cover panel comparisons in great detail. Let’s dive into the most common ones to see what their differences are. 

⅞” Corrugated Vs. ½” Corrugated Metal Panels 

As their names might suggest, the main difference between ⅞” corrugated and ½” corrugated panels is the height of the corrugations: ½” deep versus ⅞” deep. The difference in height may seem minimal, but it changes everything from the panel sidelap, cost, overall appearance of the panel, and the durability of the corrugated sheet metal.


Panel Side Lap: ⅞” Corrugated v. ½” Corrugated



With either of these panels, you will have to purchase additional square footage because of the panel side lap. Panel side lap refers to the overlapping of panels during installation. You overlap the panels to lessen the chances of the panels leaking. On a roofing application you lap the panels two corrugations and on a wall application they get lapped one corrugation.

½” corrugated: The panel is 26” wide, but must be lapped back two corrugations for weather tightness. Because of this, each panel will only yield 21.33” of roofing coverage in roofing applications. This means that you will have to purchase about 24% of additional material due to the panel sidelap. 

⅞” corrugated: The panel is 39” wide, but must be lapped back two corrugations for weather tightness. Because of the side lap, each panel will only yield 34.67” of roofing coverage in roofing applications. This means that you will have to purchase about 10% of additional material due to the panel sidelap. 

Simply because of the panel sidelap, you will need to purchase 14% less material by choosing ⅞” corrugated instead of ½” corrugated metal roofing. 


Cost Differences: ⅞” Corrugated Vs. ½” Corrugated


⅞” Corrugated in Medium Bronze

⅞” corrugated costs significantly less when compared to ½” corrugated metal roofing. 

  • ⅞” corrugated cost: $.90 per square ft to $1.50 per square foot. 
  • ½” corrugated cost: $1.00 per square ft to $1.75 per square foot.

⅞” corrugated will save you around 10% to 15% when compared to  ½” corrugated. Keep in mind that going with the ½” corrugated route requires you to purchase 14% more material due to the panel sidelap. 

When combining the panel cost and panel side lap, the total savings when using ⅞” corrugated versus ½” corrugated is a whopping 25%-30%.


Strength Of Panel: ⅞” Corrugated Vs. ½” Corrugated

7/8" Corrugated - Streaked Blackened Rust®

⅞” Corrugated in Streaked Blackened Rust®

The general rule is that as the height of the panel increases, so does the strength of the panel. The depth of ⅞” corrugated is ⅜” of an inch deeper than ½” corrugated. That’s a 38% difference in the height of the panel.

Since ⅞” corrugated has deeper corrugations, it’s a stronger and more durable panel compared to ½” corrugated.

Installation: ⅞” Corrugated Vs ½” Corrugated

The method of installation is the same for both panel types. However, ⅞” corrugated is a much wider panel profile, so there will be less sheets to install. 

Each sheet of ½” corrugated (after the overlap) will cover your roof 21”. While each sheet of ⅞” corrugated (after the overlap) will cover your roof 34.67”. The ⅞” corrugated provides 65% more coverage. This means that you will have to less sheeting to purchase and install when using  ⅞” corrugated metal roofing panel. This will save you time and labor costs.


When To Choose ⅞” Corrugated And ½” Corrugated Panels


⅞” Corrugated in Matte Dark Bronze

You Should Use ⅞” Corrugated When:

  • You are looking to save money.
  • You need a stronger panel.
  • You think it looks nicer. Deeper and more distinct corrugations.

You Should Use ½” Corrugated When:

  • You prefer the look of shallower corrugations.
  • Your project has height tolerance issues. If you have less than ⅞” of height   clearance than ⅞” corrugated will not work.
  • Matching the panel profile of an existing job


| Learn More: ⅞” Corrugated vs ½” Corrugated: Which Metal Roofing Panel Is Best?


Even though the corrugation sizes are different, both ⅞” corrugated and ½” corrugated have a similar wavy appearance. If you want a roof with a boxy appearance, consider R-Panel.


⅞” Corrugated v. R-Panel

Corrugated and R-Panel are metal panels that were both originally designed to be a readily available, low-cost option for agricultural applications. Over time, their uses have become more versatile. It’s not uncommon to see both panels used in residential and commercial projects as roofing and siding. 

R Panel is the cost common type of metal roofing that’s not a wavy panel or standing seam. ⅞” Corrugated is the most common wavy corrugated panel. Since these are the two most common exposed fastener roofing panels it makes the most sense to compare their differences.


| Learn More: Corrugated Metal Roofing v. R-Panel (PBR): The Key Differences


Panel Appearance: ⅞” Corrugated Vs. R-Panel


“Corrugated” refers to any type of metal that is formed into grooves or ridges. However, corrugated metal roofing panels are traditionally round and wavy while R-Panel is boxy. R-Panel is generally considered to be a more modern look than corrugated. The appearance of R-Panel is sometimes compared to standing seam.


Panel Strength: Corrugated Vs. R-Panel

As mentioned earlier, the strength of a panel is determined by the height of the panel and the corrugations of the panel. This can become a very technical question concerning stress, deflection, number of spans, and gauge. To keep things simple, both 7/8” corrugated metal panels and R-panel are similar in strength.


Applications of R-Panel and Corrugated Metal Panels

Both R-Panel and corrugated are used in residential and commercial environments as roofing and siding. However, each panel has a more common way of being used.

Common Applications For Corrugated Metal Panels

Corrugated metal panels are utilized for both roofing and siding. They are seen more often in residential applications versus commercial applications.


⅞” Corrugated in Streaked Rust®

Common Applications For R-Panel

R-Panels are used in both roofing and siding applications. However, it’s more common to see it used as siding. In fact, it is the most popular metal siding panel. R-Panel is generally more popular in commercial projects versus residential homes.


PBR Panel in Country Red®

Product Cost: ⅞” Corrugated Vs. R-Panel 

Both panels are considered to be affordable metal panels. However, R-Panels generally cost about 10% to 15% less than corrugated panels. 

Less material needs to be purchased with R-Panel because of panel sidelap, which we will discuss in the next section. 

When you combine the lower price and less required material, R-panel ends up being 20% to 25% less than corrugated metal on a roofing application, and 15% to 20% less on a siding application. 

Panel Sidelap: ⅞” Corrugated Vs. R-Panel 

When it comes to ordering material, you will have to buy more corrugated panels than R-Panels for the same roof because of how each panel is installed.

R-Panels are 36” and provide a full 36” of coverage, there is no panel sidelap like with ½” or ⅞” corrugated panels. With R-panels, you pay for what you get. However, corrugated panels will incur that loss of square footage due to the panel sidelap.

You will need to overlap the panels two corrugations for roofing and one corrugation for siding. While this seems minor, it can add up depending on the size of the project. 

For roofing, you will have to purchase 10% to 12% additional corrugated. 

For siding, you will need about 6% additional corrugated material.


Corrugated Vs. R-Panel: Which Panel Is Better?

Because of the similar panel strength and availability of each of these roofing types, there are the two main factors to consider: 

  • Panel Appearance
  • Panel Cost
Panel Appearance

If you want a round and wavy looking panel, then corrugated metal is the only choice. However, if you want something that is square or boxy, then you will have lots of choices including R-Panel. 

Panel Cost

If you are on a budget with saving money as your top priority, R-Panel would be the better choice as it is 10%-20% less than corrugated.

They are both great products at a good price point. You’ll have to decide which panel has the look and panel features that matches best with your project.

When contemplating corrugated panels, also take into consideration that corrugated comes in different profile sizes. 


| Learn More: What Is R-Panel Roofing? Definition, Alternatives, Cost, and Colors


Corrugated v. 7.2 Panel

A 7.2 Panel or Western Rib is another kind of ribbed panel with a boxy appearance. These panels feature symmetrical ribs that are spaced 7.2” on center, with each rib measuring 1.5” high.



Panel Strength: Corrugated Vs. 7.2 Panel

As we mentioned earlier, the deeper a panel is, the stronger it is. 

7.2 panel is 1.5” inches deep which is considerably deeper than the other corrugated options such as ⅞” or ½” corrugated. This means 7.2 is also a much stronger panel. 


Panel Sidelap: Corrugated Vs. 7.2 Panel

While these both are in the same price range, you will spend less by using 7.2 Panel because you will have to order less material due to panel sidelap.

Similar to R-Panel, 7.2 Panels are 36” and provide a full 36” of coverage. You do not incur the square footage loss that you do from panel sidelap with corrugated panels. 

When using corrugated panels for roofing, you will have to purchase 10% to 12% additional corrugated. 

When using corrugated panels for siding, you will need about 6% additional corrugated material.


Corrugated v. 7.2 Panel: Which Panel Is Better?

Similar to R-Panel, the choice between corrugated and 7.2 Panel comes down to cost, preference in design, and panel strength. 

Factors To Consider:

  • There is not a loss of coverage due to the panel sidelap with the 7.2 panel so that will save you about 10%. 
  • Corrugated is round and wavy, while 7.2 Panel is boxy and square. 
  • Since 7.2 Panel is deeper, it’s also stronger metal roofing panel when compared to corrugated. 
  • 7.2 panel may also be more appropriate if your project is spanning from one metal purlin to the next as it has great span capabilities.

7.2 Panel is more often used in fencing and siding, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used as roofing. It just comes down to which look you prefer and what panel strength you need. 

Chapter 5

Choosing the Right Corrugated Metal Roofing Panel

If you like making decisions, then you’re going to love this chapter! 

Choosing a metal roof involves making a lot of choices, more than just whether or not you’re going to use corrugated metal roofing panels. By the end of this chapter, you’ll have everything you need to know to pick out the right panel for your new roof.


To help keep you from feeling overwhelmed, we’ve broken up each decision into sections: 

  • Paint System
  • Colors Of Corrugated Metal Roofing
  • Underlayment
  • Gauge

Paint System: PVDF Or SMP?

The paint system is probably a factor you haven’t really considered. As long as the roof is the color you want, what difference does the paint system make? 

We understand why this factor can be overlooked, but the truth is the paint system plays a part in the performance and appearance of your roof. You want to make sure you choose a color in the paint system that will leave you satisfied with your roof for years to come.

The two main paint systems you’ll find are PVDF and Silicone Modified Polyester aka SMP. PVDF, which stands for 'polyvinylidene fluoride', is considered to be the more premium of the two systems. However, that doesn’t mean you should disqualify using SMP panels.

Let’s talk about how the two types of paint systems compare in these areas: 

  • Chemical Structure
  • Performance
  • Warranty
  • Cost

But we won’t just leave you with information on the differences among the two. We will also clearly lay out what situations would make each of these paint systems right for you.



Chemical Structure: SMP Vs. PVDF Paint

Chemistry may not have been your favorite subject in school, but we have to quickly go over chemical structure to explain the differences in product performance. How well each product performs is directly associated with the quality of its components. 

SMP Chemical Structure

SMP systems consist of polyester and silicone intermediates. Silicone aids in improving the gloss retention and weather resistance of the paint coatings. The amount of silicone in the coating varies depending on the product. 

There is a wide range in quality when it comes to SMP paint. You want to look for a SMP with the greater amount of silicone. The higher the silica content, the better the performance of the paint.

PVDF Chemical Structure

PVDF coatings consist of one of the strongest bonds known, called the carbon-fluorine bond. This chemical structure gives it the ability to resist strong acids, solvents and reducing agents. 


Performance: Fading And Chalking

When it comes down to it, you want the roofing panel that is going to do the job it’s supposed to do and look the way it’s supposed to look. That’s what we mean by performance.


There are two big factors that come into play with metal roofing that impact the appearance of panels:

  • Fading- refers to the visible loss of color overtime. 
  • Chalking-  when the appearance of a powdery substance forms on the surface of a coating.

Both of these issues result directly from the chemical breakdown of a coating’s base resins and pigments. These are two unavoidable components of a painted metal panel that keeps it from looking fresh and new, yet the paint systems handle them slightly differently.


SMP Performance

While the silicone in SMP paint helps with resistance to fading and chalking, the exposure to UV rays will cause colors to fade overtime. You will notice some vibrant colors, such as red, tend to fade faster than others. 

As for chalking, choosing a lighter colored panel will make the appearance of chalking less apparent.  

A benefit of SMP paint is that its resins are harder than those of PVDF. This adds a level of abrasion and scratch resistance to SMP paint. 

PVDF Performance

The strong chemical foundation of PVDF paint makes it more suitable to provide long-term durability. It is less susceptible to losing its vibrancy from UV rays and having its color fade.

A downside with PVDF is that since it's softer than SMP, it can be scratched easier from branches or other debris. 


Warranty: SMP Vs. PVDF Paints

Warranties vary greatly in the metal roofing industry, and they are not always what they seem to be. Make sure you read the fine print and pay attention to what the warranty covers beyond just the length of the warranty.

Paint warranties for metal panels cover 3 areas:  

  • Film Adhesion/Integrity - Ability of the paint to stay on the metal substrate.
  • Chalk - Appearance of a white, powdery substance. 
  • Fade/Color Change- The color losing its vibrancy.

Upon closer inspection of panel warranties, you’ll notice that not all of these areas are covered for an equal amount of time.

Warranty For SMP Paint System

At first glance, it will look like SMP panels have a longer warranty than PVDF panels. 

You’ll see many SMP painted panels come with a 40-year warranty. While that sounds great at first, you’ll then notice that the 40-years only covers film adhesion.

The coverage for fade/color change and chalk varies for SMP painted panels. However, it is usually always covered for less time than a PVDF panel warranty.

Warranty For PVDF Paint System

PVDF warranties for color change will vary on the time given depending on which color you choose.

In terms of the other warranties, you can expect to see a range of:

  • Film adhesion: 20 to 40 years 
  • Chalking and fade coverage: 10 to 30 years

Cost Of SMP And PVDF Paint Systems

The biggest advantage of SMP paint systems over PVDF is the price. Cost is a bit tricky because sometimes your panel options limit your color options. For instance, if you want a 26 gauge panel then a PVDF paint finish isn’t an option. If you’re considering a 26 gauge panel you must compare a 26 gauge SMP versus a 24 gauge PVDF, which makes SMP substantially less. 

So if you’re able to compare the cost of each paint system for the same type of roof, the cost difference could be minimal. For example, the difference between a 24 gauge SMP and 24 gauge PVDF is minimal. But when you consider the cost of a heavier gauge panel paired with a more expensive paint system can cost you between 10% to 35% more than SMP. 

Which Paint System Should I Choose?

We can only provide different aspects to consider as you determine which panel type is best for your situation. 

SMP Paint Panels Typically Fit Those Who Are: 

  • Interested in the most economical choice.
  • Will be using a lighter (thinner) gauge metal roofing panel.
  • Working on an industrial project where aesthetics are not a top priority.
  • Using lighter colors, such as white or tan, that can help disguise fading and chalking.

PVDF Paint Panels Typically Fit Those Who:

  • Have aesthetics as a main concern and/or you want a larger selection of colors.
  • You want the best paint system that will maintain the original color longer.
  • Will be choosing a bright and vibrant color such as red or green.
  • Want to match the longevity of the paint to the longevity of the metal roofing panel.
  • Are buying an expensive metal roofing panel such as standing seam.

Picking the correct paint system is a critical step in purchasing a metal roof. If you would like a deeper dive into the subject we recommend:

| Learn More: Best Paint For My Metal Roof Panels: SMP Paint v PVDF

How To Pick Your Corrugated Metal Roofing Color

This is the part where the decisions get harder. While there are only a few different gauges and paint systems to choose from, there are over a hundred different colors of metal roofing on the market for metal roofing. How do you choose? 

While personal preference should definitely be a main consideration in your decision, there are also some factors regarding your home that should be looked at.


Complement All Of Your Surrounding Features

Your metal roof color should blend in with the other features of your home. Think of how the roof will look against the color of the rest of your home.

You’ll want to consider how your corrugated metal roof color will look blend with: 

  • Siding
  • Stucco
  • Brick
  • Fencing
  • Gates
  • Landscaping
  • Railings 
  • Columns
  • Other nearby features

Also consider the colors of features that will be closer to the roof including:

  • Fascia
  • Trims
  • Gutters
  • Downspout

You can choose a color that matches these features, or contrasts them for a pop of color.


Dark Colors vs Light Colors

Color can help highlight or disguise certain features of your roof depending on the look you want.

Lighter color roofs make your roof look taller. If you have a low roof, this could benefit your home by making it seem taller than it actually is.

Darker colors will have the opposite effect and can make a tall roof look less profound. If you have a roof with a very high slope, you may want to choose a darker color to make the roof look less steep.

Homeowners Associations

Are you subject to the rules of a Homeowners Association(HOA)? If so, you first need to make sure that your HOA allows metal roofs. 

Make sure they also do not have any color restrictions. If they do, you want to adhere to the list of approved colors while making your color selection. Once you know what color you want, submit a color chip to the HOA for approval.

Geographical Location

The color of your roof can also be influenced by the colors of the surrounding nature. Below are some examples of geographical locations and the roofing colors that are often used in the areas.

  • Mountains and forest locations- roofing in these types of locations are often in earth tones.


Standing Seam Metal Roof in Corten

  • Deserts and the Plains- often use warm with earthy tones. You’ll usually see colors in these regions that match the desert sands and terracotta roof tiles.


Fascia in Black Ore Matte

  • Tropical locations- Colors in these areas are often bright and vibrant. 


Standing Seam Metal Roof in Green Copper

The Style Of Architecture

You also want to look at the style of your home. Each style usually leans towards certain roofing colors such as the examples below.

  • Modern Architecture- The latest trend for modern style is to use roofing in dark colors, usually black.


Standing Seam Metal Roof in Dark Bronze

  • Spanish Style Architecture- Plays off the look of a clay tile roof or an old and rusted look. Terra Cotta or rusted paint prints are great choices for this style.
  • Barns and Farmhouse Architecture- Often are in whites, reds, or dark grays.


For more information on choosing a metal roof color, we suggest reading: 

| Learn More: Metal Roofing Colors: 5 Tips To Pick The Best Metal Roofing Color


Tools To Help You Pick A Corrugated Metal Roofing Color

We understand that picking a color for your roof can be a hard decision. Utilizing color selection tools will help make your roofing color choice easier. 

We will be discussing 5 main selection tools in the chronological order that they should be used:

  • Color Cards
  • Photo Galleries
  • Product Visualizers
  • Color Chips
  • Panel Samples


PVDF Color Card - Standard Colors

Color Cards

The first step is to look at color cards. Color cards group options together based on color or paint finish. For example, if you are looking for a green roof, this is where you’ll be able to see all the shades of green at once.

Here are some examples of color cards grouped together by paint finish:

Photo Galleries

Photo galleries are where you can see your favorite choices from the color cards being used. Photos from past projects are a great way to see if you like the color in a roofing application. 

Photos are generally grouped together by paint color and panel type to make it easier to search for your desired design.

Color Visualizers

Color visualizers give you a virtual view of how your roof will look with different panels or colors. You can choose a style of home or upload a photograph of your actual building or home. These programs allow you to create a digital mock-up of different versions of your design. 

Each visualizer has different features, but often you are able to customize features such as:

  • Type and color of metal panel
  • Stucco or brick colors
  • Trim colors
  • Wall type and colors

Metal Color Chips

Metal color chips are when you can see a sample of the actual color in person. You want to make sure you look at the sample both up close and at a distance as the color will look slightly distant from different views. 


Request a Free Color Sample

Also, be sure to bring your color chip outside to see it in natural daylight, which is the lighting your roof will be viewed in. Compare the color chips at different times of the day as it will look different in the middle of the day than it will at sunset.



Corrugated Panel Samples

Corrugated panel samples give you the best idea of what your roof will look like as you’ll be receiving a real roofing panel in your desired color.

Sometimes these samples have to be made specifically for you. Because they are larger and heavier than the color chips, they take longer to be delivered. 

Panel samples are generally available from all manufacturers, but not necessarily in your chosen color. Every manufacturer has different policies as it’s just not practical to provide a specific color in a specific panel type. Check with the manufacturer for sample availability.

At Western States Metal Roofing our policy is:

  • If you need a sample in a solid color such as Colonial Red you will receive a corrugated sample in galvalume or white and then a matching color chip in your specified color. 
  • If the color is a specialty color such as Aged Copper then we will provide a panel sample in the specific color.


| Learn More: Metal Roof Colors: 5 Tools To Pick The Best Color For A Metal Roof

Roofing Underlayment

So far in this chapter, we’ve talked about choosing the right panel for your roof. There is also another part of your roofing system that you have to choose called roofing underlayment

While underlayment is often overlooked because it isn’t visible once it’s installed, it is very important to the lifespan of your roof.

What Is Roofing Underlayment?

Roofing underlayment is a water-resistant barrier that serves as an extra layer of protection from the elements. It is installed directly onto the plywood roof deck, underneath all of the other roofing materials.

Roofing Underlayment Benefits

  • Adds a layer of protection for your home from water.
  • Added insulation for your home.
  • Sound barrier from outside noises.
  • It provides an even surface to lay roofing material on.
  • Keeps you in compliance with your roofing material warranty (if applicable).
  • Keeps you in compliance with your local building codes (if applicable).


| Learn More: Does Metal Roofing Need Underlayment? A Guide For Homeowners


There are two types of underlayment to consider: 

  • Felt
  • Synthetic

Felt Roofing Underlayment 

Felt underlayment is made from recycled corrugated paper mixed with sawdust. When compared to synthetic underlayment, felt is more resistant to leaking at staple or nail penetrations. This is because the paper it's made from is mixed with asphalt that increases its water resistance. 

You can generally expect felt underlayment to last anywhere from 12 to 20 years.

Cost Of Felt Roofing Underlayment

Felt roofing underlayment is more affordable than synthetic roofing underlayment. 

  • #15 felt (15 pounds per square): 5 cents per square foot
  • #30 felt (30 pounds per square): 10 cents per square foot


Sharkskin® Ultra Synthetic Underlayment


Synthetic Roofing Underlayment

Synthetic material is made from sheet products made of laminated polypropylene or polyethylene plastic. Its composition helps it have a longer lifespan than felt. It can last anywhere from 25 to 50 years

Synthetic underlayment products are strong and will not tear and break from screws and nails penetrating it. While felt is more resistant to leaking at staple and nails penetrations, synthetic is the more durable product. It can handle exposure to weather conditions and will not be damaged by rain. If your roofing is not going to be installed right away, using synthetic underlayment will protect the structure during construction from any water damage.

Depending on which type of synthetic underlayment you use, it can be exposed anywhere from 2 to 30 months and still remain watertight.

It’s also a safer product to work with. Synthetic underlayment provides better traction for roofers to walk on than felt underlayment during installation. This decreases the chances of anyone slipping and getting injured on the job.

Cost Of Synthetic Roofing Underlayment

There are different manufacturers of synthetic underlayment and different qualities. For our purposes, we are going to show how much Sharkskin® underlayment costs:

  • Sharkskin® Comp: 11 cents per square foot, Good
    • Non adhesive roofing underlayment with a 25 year warranty.
  • Sharkskin® Ultra: 16 cents per square foot, Better
    • Non adhesive roofing underlayment with a 50 year warranty.
  • Sharkskin® Ultra SA: 22 cents per square foot, Best
    • Self adhesive roofing underlayment with a 50 year warranty.


For a more in-depth look at the differences between felt and synthetic underlayment, we suggest reading:

| Learn More: What Roofing Underlayment Should I Use? (Felt v. Synthetic)

Should I Use Felt Or Synthetic Underlayment?

You have to consider the specifics of your home or project. There are situations when one underlayment type is more suitable than the other.

Felt underlayment is recommended when: 

  • You are looking for a more affordable underlayment solution.
  • You are using a light gauge and inexpensive metal roofing.
  • Building code requires the use of felt underlayment.
  • Synthetic underlayment is prohibited per the manufacturer’s warranty for the intended roofing material and will make the warranty void. In this case, you will have to use felt as an alternative.

Synthetic underlayment is recommended for:

  • You prefer a longer lasting underlayment.
  • You are using a more expensive metal roofing panel.
  • You want to match the longevity of the metal roofing panel to the longevity of the roofing underlayment.
  • Easy installation. This material is lightweight and safer to walk on than felt.
  • Smoother appearance from laying flatter on the roof decking. 
  • Durability. If your roof is going to be installed slowly, synthetic underlayment is best to use as it can withstand exposure to the elements for weeks or even months.
  • You live in a climate that often experiences stormy conditions such as heavy rain and high winds.

What's The Best Gauge For My Corrugated Metal Roof?

Determining the correct gauge for your corrugated metal roofing sheets can be a bit confusing at first, but don’t worry as it’s actually the easiest part. 

First, as a reminder let’s give you a cliff notes version of panel gauges. The thickness of the steel is called the “gauge” and as the number gets higher the thickness actually lessens. For example, 26 gauge is lighter than 24 gauge.

If you decide to use a corrugated roofing panel, you will have the most gauge options of any metal roofing panel. This is one of the few panels that is made as light as 29 gauge and as heavy as 20 gauge. Don’t let this intimidate you because a lot of these choices will actually be made for you based upon the paint system and color that you choose. 

We actually recommend you decide upon the panel type, color, and paint system before worrying about the gauge for this reason.

The gauge that you need for your home will be determined by the type of installation.

There are different requirements for these two types of installations:

  1. Installation on a plywood substrate
  2. Panels that span from one support to the next support

Installation Of Corrugated Panels On A Wood Substrate


If you’re looking for a roof for your home, then the vast majority of times you will fall under this category. This is when the structure of the roof is a plywood deck and there is a roofing underlayment that’s installed between the plywood and the corrugated metal roofing panel. The strength of the roofing panel isn’t as important in this application. Most metal roofing that attaches to a wood substrate is 29, 26, or 24 gauge.

There are two articles, linked below, that talk about this in great detail so we are only going to briefly discuss why the lightest and heaviest gauges should be eliminated.

If you decide on using a light 29 gauge steel, your roof will be more susceptible to wind damage, more likely to dent during a hail storm, and will have lower snow load capabilities. The result for you is many more problems. You will see a $500 to $1,000 savings on the total installed cost of the roof, but it’s just not well-spent money.

The opposite side of the spectrum is a heavy gauge steel in 20 or 22 gauge. The only downside to a heavier gauge is the cost, but realistically for most homeowners it will not make much of a difference unless you have possible hail concerns. Purchasing a heavier gauge than you need is usually an unnecessary investment.

That really leaves most homeowners with the choice of whether you should use 26 or 24 gauge steel.

Should I Use 24 Or 26 Gauge Metal Roofing?

Either of these thicknesses offer you with a quality panel at a fair price point. 

Some circumstances and climates would make 24 gauge your best option 

  • High winds.
  • Heavy snow loads.
  • Hail concerns.
  • PVDF paint finishes are not available in 26 gauge.

In other instances, a 26 gauge material might be the best choice

  • Cost savings of about 30 to 40%.
  • Patio cover application and not a roof structure.
  • Your climate doesn’t typically have high winds, hail, and snow.

Both gauges of steel are a solid and high-quality product. In the end, it comes down to budget, paint finish, and climate. If you want a much more detailed analysis of determining the best gauge for your project we recommend these two articles.

What Gauge Metal Roofing Should I Use For My Corrugated Roof?

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

What If My Metal Roofing Is Spanning From Support To Support?


When corrugated metal roofing panels are installed over metal purlins or wood, the strength of the panel becomes critical. The roofing panel has to span the distance between the metal purlins and also handle the load and wind uplift. As the supports are spaced further apart, the gauge of the roofing material will have to increase to accommodate. 

We suggest you hire an engineer or look at the online load charts and wind uplifts to determine which gauge is best for your home.

The Ultimate Guide


We give you our expert opinion about the factors you should consider before making your final decision on a color for your metal roofing project. Learn about the following factors:

  • Geographical Location
  • Neighborhood Trends
  • Architectural Style
  • Surrounding Features
  • Darker vs. Light Colors
  • Energy Savings
  • Natural Lighting
  • plus more...

Download now

Chapter 6

Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost: Materials And Installation

The main benefit of corrugated metal roofing is it’s an inexpensive metal roofing panel that’s easy to install. It’s about half the price of standing seam and it’s something that you could install without hiring a roofing contractor. Even if you had to hire a roofing installer, the labor costs are very reasonable. 

Determining the cost of corrugated metal roofing is not a simple and straightforward answer. There are a lot of factors that will increase or lower the cost of the panels. Our goal in this chapter is to explain all of your options from the cheapest panel to the most expensive panel. 

By the time you’re done reading this, you will understand the differences and how to spend your money.

Cost Of Corrugated Metal Roofing: 3 Factors That Affect The Price

  • Total Price Including Materials and Installation
  • Thickness/Gauge of the steel
  • Type of Paint Finish


Price For Corrugated Metal Roofing: Materials And Installation Cost

There are lots of factors that go into the cost of a corrugated metal roof. Here is a range of pricing that you can expect to pay.

  • Corrugated panels will range between $1 and $2 per square foot
  • Installation of corrugated metal roofing is $3 to $6 per square foot
  • This means that your total price for installation and corrugated panels is between $4 to $8 per square foot

If you would like an in-depth article that gives more specific price ranges we suggest the eight-minute video above or the article that is linked below.

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

Factors That Affect Metal Roofing Installation Costs

Not all metal roofing installations are the same. Some metal roofs are simple, while others are difficult installations that require more time and labor. As a rule of thumb, the installation cost for a metal roof will range between $3 and $6 per square foot excluding the cost of the panels. This is why it’s important to get more than one bid. 

Wondering if your cost will be on the high or low side of the installation cost range? 

Here are the factors that will affect the installation cost of your metal roof:

  • Pitch or slope of the roof

As the roof gets steeper the cost to install it goes up. This occurs when the roof is not “walkable”; this is a roof with a pitch that’s too steep to safely walk on it. It’s a loose definition, but when the roof reaches a pitch of somewhere near 8” in 12”, you will not have a walkable roof. This requires a more experienced crew and the panels take longer to install.

  • The difficulty of the metal roofing installation

The most time-consuming part of the install is the corrugated metal roofing flashing. The easiest kind of roof installation is one that only requires eave, gable, and ridge cap. The most difficult installation is a job with numerous peaks and valleys. This is where two planes come together and it’s the most likely leak point on the roof. It takes more time to install these areas correctly.

  • Removing Existing Shingle Roof

If you have an existing shingle roof that will need to be removed before installation, it will cost you more money. However, you are also eliminating any future problems by removing it versus installing it over the top of it.

  • Size of the job

Small jobs cost more to install versus large jobs. If your job is under 1,000 square feet, it could cost at least 50% more per square foot when compared to a job that is 2,500 square feet or larger. It’s hard to make any money on a small job. Therefore, contractors charge more to make it worthwhile.

How The Gauge Affects The Price For  Corrugated Metal Roofing


⅞” Corrugated in Dark Bronze

As mentioned earlier, the right panel thickness for your metal roof will be dependent upon the type of installation, environment, and your budget. When you buy a corrugated metal roof you have more gauge options than any other type of roofing panel. 

As discussed, corrugated sheet metal is available as light as 29 gauge and as heavy as 20 gauge.

How gauge impacts the price for corrugated metal roofing panels:

  • 29 gauge costs 10 cents to 15 cents less per square foot when compared to 26 gauge.
  • 24 gauge costs 25% to 30% more than 26 gauge.
  • 22 gauge costs 20% more than 24 gauge.

In our opinion, 26 gauge is the best mix of strength and price. It costs 10 cents to 15 cents more per square foot when compared to 29 gauge, but provides you with much more strength.

Price Of Different Paint Finish Types

Both SMP and PVDF paint systems are high-quality products, but depending upon your specific needs one might be a better fit than the other. 

PVDF panels are known as the best metal roofing paint finish. The main disadvantage of PVDF is they cost more. The biggest advantage is the color fades at a less rapid pace.

Cost Of Galvalume Or Galvanized Corrugated Metal Roofing Sheets

If you just want the least expensive metal roofing and don’t care about the way it looks,  then galvalume is the best fit for you. You can buy a 29 gauge panel at Lowes for $1.25 per square foot and it will cost even less from a manufacturer. 

These panels aren’t painted and will be bright and shiny. You will see them used on a commercial application more often than a residential application. Most residential roofs need to be painted so that they blend in with the overall look of the house.

Should I Consider Light Gauge Metal Roofing From a Big Box Store?

Corrugated metal roofing at Home Depot will be a light gauge steel. Typically, they have ten-foot sheets in stock. These corrugated sheets are usually galvalume and 29 to 30 gauge thickness. This is perfect for an inexpensive fence or patio cover, but not an expensive roof that should last fifty years or more.

Purchasing 29 gauge material will only save you 10 to 15 cents per square foot versus 26 gauge. If you had a two thousand square foot house your installed price with 29 gauge material would be $10,000 to $16,000. 

Using 29 gauge material is only going to save you a couple of hundred dollars on the bottom line price of your roof. This type of material is a bad investment as a light gauge roof because it’s not long-lasting, durable, or designed for high winds or heavy snow loads.

If you are considering using light gauge corrugated metal roofing then you should understand the applications in which it will and will not make sense. 

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

In this section of the article, we only briefly touch upon what gauge is best for your project. It’s an important decision and should be researched further.

What Gauge Metal Roofing Should I Use For My Corrugated Roof?

Which Corrugated Roofing Panel Is Best For My Roof?

When you are determining which corrugated metal roofing product is right for your roof there are tons of options, but these are your most likely scenarios:

  1. I want the cheapest possible panel and nothing else matters. Solution: 29 Gauge in a galvanized or galvalume finish
  2. I want a painted panel that is not a bright color and want the best overall value. Solution: 26 Gauge in a SMP paint finish
  3. I want the nicest panel, more color options, and don’t mind spending a little extra. Solution: 24 Gauge in a PVDF paint finish
Chapter 7

Metal Roof Resale Value + Return On Investment

Purchasing a corrugated metal roof is a large investment that could easily cost you $10,000 to $30,000. Spending that kind of money on your home gets you thinking, “Is buying a metal roof a good idea?” 

Yes, a metal roof adds more resale value than doing an upscale to mid-range kitchen or bathroom remodel according to a 2020 study done by Remodeling Magazine

Is A Metal Roof Worth It?

Yes, there is research that clearly shows that a metal roof increases the resale value of a home. A study that was done by Remodeling magazine and published by the Metal Roofing Alliance determined that there is a high rate of return for the metal roofs cost. 

The recouped resale value comes in around 85.9% according to national averages, with homes in the Eastern states recouping up to 95.5%. Houses that have metal roofs gain up to 6% more resale value on average over homes with asphalt shingles.


What’s The ROI Of A Corrugated Metal Roofing?

When you are trying to determine if a metal roof will pay for itself ask yourself this simple question. Do I plan on living in my house for 15 years or longer? If the answer to this question is “Yes”, then it’s a no brainer and a metal roof will be a better investment than an asphalt shingle roof. If the answer is “No”, then maybe it’s not a good investment. 

If you are going to purchase a new metal roof, it will cost you $15,000 to $40,000. You want to make sure you’re spending your money wisely. 

If you would like a much deeper dive into metal roofing ROI and if it increases property value we recommend:

So, you may have asked yourself, why is it important that I plan on living at my house for 15 years or longer. According to the Metal Roofing Alliance, a metal roof will last 30 to 50 plus years and an asphalt roof will last 12 to 20 years. 

Let’s take the average of both of these numbers and see how that works out. Assuming the lifespan of the asphalt roof is right in the middle at 15 years and the metal roof is at 40 years. With an asphalt shingle roof, you buy the first roof and then 15 years later it’s time to install a replacement roof. That’s two roofs within 15 years.

How Do I Save Money With A Corrugated Metal Roof?

I am sure you are skeptical when you read an article written by a metal roofing manufacturer that says a metal roof will save you money when compared to an asphalt shingle roof. I would be too, so I am going to lay out the numbers and clearly demonstrate that metal roofing is a remarkably better deal. 

It’s important to note the rising cost of roofing panels over time as well. What an asphalt shingle roof cost today isn’t what it will cost 15 or 30 years from now. Pay close attention to the comparison below. 

The average cost and lifespan for a 2,500 square foot house in corrugated metal roofing.

  • Corrugated Metal Roof Cost = 2,500 Sq. FT. @ $8/Sq. Ft. = $20,000
    • Lifespan 40 years = $500/Year
    • Cost After 40 Years = $20,000
  • Asphalt Shingle Cost = 2,500 Sq. FT. @ $6/Sq. Ft. = $15,000
    • Lifespan 15 years = $1,000/Year
    • Cost Before 15 Years = $15,000
    • Cost After 15 Years = $15,000 + $15,000 = $30,000
    • Cost After 30 Years = $15,000 + $15,000 + $15,000 = $45,000
  • What will a new roof cost in the future? The cost of a new roof seems to double about every 15 years. Let’s look at these numbers based upon this happening and an escalated replacement cost..
    • Cost Before 15 Years = $15,000
    • Cost After 15 Years = $15,000 + $30,000 = $45,000
    • Cost After 30 Years = $15,000 + $30,000 + $60,000 = $105,000

When you look at the numbers above it’s clear as day. If you plan on living in your house for more than 15 years a metal roof will be a great long term investment. 

Additional Cost Saving Benefits Of A Metal Roof

Just in case, you need more convincing, here are some additional cost-saving benefits from a metal roof:

  • Energy Efficiency
    • When you look online the savings based upon the energy efficiency of a metal roof are 25% to 40%.
    • A data-driven study from the Green Building Alliance and shows that energy savings will range from 7% - 15% of total cooling costs. 
  • Insurance Savings

If you would like a much deeper dive into metal roofing ROI and if it increases property value we recommend reading: 

| Learn More: Comparing The Resale Value Of Metal Roofs Vs Shingle Roofs

Chapter 8

How To Buy A Corrugated Metal Roof

Purchasing corrugated metal roofing sheets or panels is typically not a simple transaction like buying something from Amazon. It’s too complicated to price online because each job is made custom to your order. Your specific order is customized by panel type, color, gauge, sheet lengths, trim, and accessories. 

In this chapter, we will explain how to buy a metal roofing job from start to finish including:

  • Where to buy metal roofing
  • Buying directly from the manufacturer
  • How long does it take?
  • Delivery requirements

Where Can You Buy Corrugated Metal Roofing?

You cannot go down to your local hardware store and pick up all of the corrugated roofing sheets and trim pieces that you need for a metal roof. There are plenty of creative ways to use corrugated metal panels where it would be possible to buy your needed material for a smaller project, such as a bar or shed, at the local hardware store. However, a larger project like a roof requires placing an order with a metal roofing manufacturer, a metal roofing distributor, supplier, or through your roofing contractor.

It’s time to talk about the four main purchasing channels.

Metal Roofing Manufacturers

Finding a metal roofing manufacturer that sells directly to the public is your best option to save money on your metal roof. Buying directly from the manufacturer will save you 15% to 50%. 

Most metal roofing manufacturers do not sell directly to homeowners. If you spend some time researching you can find a few, but it’s the exception to the rule. Just keep in mind that the manufacturer does not figure out what you need. It’s your responsibility to provide a materials list.

At Western States Metal Roofing we are a manufacturer that sells directly to homeowners, roofing contractors, and general contractors. When you purchase directly from a manufacturer like us, it will save you money. Just make sure that you check their google reviews to verify you are dealing with a reputable company. 

Metal Roofing Suppliers Or Distributors

If you aren’t capable of supplying a materials list, then purchasing the material through a distributor is your next best bet. They act as a middle man and offer their expertise and guidance. In most instances, they will help you determine the necessary materials and will then order the material for you. Typically, there will be a markup on the metal roofing that’s normally in the range of 15% to 50% depending upon the size of the job.

This is the best option for you if you’re not working with a roofing contractor and want someone else to provide the materials list, figure out the trim, and do the leg work. A distributor or supplier offers a great service at a fair price.

Roofing Contractor

When you get a quote for your metal roof, the roofing contractor will give you a complete price including materials and labor. Normally, the roofing contractor will have a 10% to 20% mark up on the metal roofing panels.

When purchasing material from roofing contractors, there are two things to consider:

  1. The roofing contractor will add a mark-up to the metal roofing that is typically 10% to 20%. Even though that’s included in your overall final bid it’s still an added cost.
  2. Do they have the color or finish that you want? If you have a specific color in mind, then it’s best to instruct the contractor to buy from the manufacturer that sells the color that you want.

At Western States Metal Roofing we have designer colors and finishes that other suppliers cannot duplicate. It’s common for a homeowner to find one of our colors online and then instruct the roofing contractor to purchase it from us. 

Quite often, the contractor will provide a labor only bid and the homeowner will purchase the roofing panels directly from us with a materials list that was provided by the contractor. If you’re not happy with your contractor’s color selection this can be a viable alternative. 

Hardware Store and Lumber Yards

If you need material quickly, then your local Home Depot or Lowe’s typically will have material in stock. As mentioned in Chapter 6, you will not have any options though as they only carry 29 gauge galvanized corrugated.

The Process of Purchasing Metal Roofing From A Manufacturer

The process of purchasing metal roofing is different depending upon the type of vendor that you will use. Purchasing metal roofing through a distributor, supplier, or roofing contractor is simple. Basically, you pay them a premium to help you figure out what exactly you need. But what does the process look like for you if you purchase metal roofing directly from the manufacturer?

The main disadvantage when purchasing directly from the manufacturer is that you need to know exactly what you need. It’s the homeowners responsibility to provide the manufacturer with a take-off or materials list. 

This is a list that contains the materials needed for your job such as: how many panels, sheet lengths for each panel, list of trim and flashing pieces, the pitch of your roof, metal roofing underlayment, and accessories.

If you generally know what you need, but require a little help and guidance, then a manufacturer will typically provide enough help to bridge the gap. At Western States Metal Roofing, we are always happy to answer basic questions and steer our customers in the right direction. However, if you have no clue of what’s required and you cannot provide a materials list or take off than you have four choices:

  1. Ask the manufacturer if they can do the take-off for you. Some manufacturers offer this service and some don’t. The smaller the job, the less likely you are to have a company provide a take-off for you. If the job is less than a couple thousand square feet, it will not typically be an option. In addition, it will delay your job by 2 to 6 weeks so plan ahead. Here is the take-off policy at Western States Metal Roofing.
  2. Have the roofing contractor that you hire provide you with a materials list and then purchase the material directly from the manufacturer. This method works best if your contractor knows that you’re planning on purchasing material directly yourself or if you want a color or finish that’s hard to find.
  3. Have your roofing contractor supply the metal roofing panels and accessories.
  4. Contact a supplier or distributor and let them figure it out for you.


How Long Does It Take To Make The Corrugated Metal Roofing Sheets?

Metal roofing will require a 2 to 3 week lead time plus transit time. Every job is different, so there is no way to keep material in stock except for possibly light gauge and galvanized. If you are building a house that will have a painted metal roof then you need to plan ahead.


Delivery Of Corrugated Roofing

The delivery of your corrugated metal roofing panels is often an overlooked part of the buying process. It’s also something that often does not get discussed or priced into the initial quote. When you are pricing your metal roof we recommend that you let the seller know where the project is located and to discuss the delivery access. 

Always verify that your pricing includes delivery. Freight charges vary from as low as a couple of hundred dollars to as high as thousands of dollars. Some manufacturers will include the freight in the total price, list the freight as a separate line item, add it after the fact, or assume you will pick up the material yourself. This can make it difficult to compare bids and it leaves you vulnerable to a big sticker shock when you pay for the roofing panels. 

Metal roofing does not always need to be delivered. It can also be picked up at the supplier’s facility. You will need a truck that is appropriate to haul the material, but if you have a smaller order and a truck you can avoid that expense. In most instances, the panels will need to be delivered to your residence.

The delivery of the metal roofing is the responsibility of the supplier up until the point that it arrives on the job site, aka your house. The offloading of panels is the responsibility of the purchaser. Any damage that is incurred after the material arrives on-site and during offloading is also the responsibility of the buyer.

Here are some important factors you should consider regarding the delivery of metal roofing panels

  • Equipment To Offload

The truck does not come with a forklift. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to have the equipment and people onsite to offload their purchased material

  • Jobsite Access

Delivery to residential job sites is difficult. Most times the roofing panels are delivered on a full-size big rig. These trucks require a lot of space and need to be able to turn around. In most instances, they will not fit or are not allowed in a residential neighborhood. Sometimes the material can be shipped on a smaller truck, but that’s not always possible and could cost more money.

The buyer and seller should discuss this early in the process so that the appropriate freight rate is quoted. Sometimes the material will need to be shipped to an alternative location on a larger truck and then transferred to a smaller truck for delivery to a residence. Alternate delivery locations include your roofing contractors facility or local lumber yard. 

Delivery is the last part of the buying process, but it’s the one that causes the most problems. Both parties need to work together to ensure the delivery truck has access, equipment, and contact information.

Deciding On A Corrugated Metal Roof

We’ve discussed every detail of corrugated metal roofing throughout this guide. You’ve learned the ins and outs of this exposed fastening metal roofing system. But is it the right roof for you? 

Since a corrugated metal roof can last for 40-60 years, choosing this type of roofing is a decision that will be with you for a long time. 

We recommend going back over the benefits of corrugated metal to help decide if these are the factors that are most important to you in a roofing system.

Some additional questions to ask yourself during the decision-making process: 

  1. Is a corrugated roof within my budget?
  2. How long do I plan on living in my house?
  3. Do I want an exposed fastener panel or a more expensive standing seam panel?
  4. Will a corrugated roof blend in with the rest of my home?
  5. Does corrugated metal come in the color I want? 
  6. Am I installing the metal roofing myself or hiring a contractor?
  7. What’s the pitch of my roof?

If you decide that a corrugated metal roof is in alignment with your expectations and finances, you’ll be enjoying your new roof for many years to come. 

Download our free Corrugated Roofing Guide to access all of the information we’ve talked about anytime!

To move forward on purchasing a corrugated metal roof, the first step is to request a quote. Click on the button below to get started.

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