When it comes to specifying standing seam roofs, one type doesn’t fit all. While a standing seam metal roof system can be one of the most durable and weather-tight roof systems available in the industry, its benefits can be negated if you fail to understand the details in application parameters of the specific system. Do your research, though, and for your next design that requires an aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound metal roofing system, you can choose with confidence the standing seam metal roof system that suits your project to a tee.
How to identify a good standing seam roof system
A good standing seam roof system is one that can satisfy both the project’s specific design criteria and adhere to building code standards. Standing seam profiles can include those that are utilitarian or architectural in nature, are of numerous widths and profiles and have varying seam joinery (e.g., snap or field seamed).
Why specify a standing seam metal roof system
When properly installed, standing seam metal roof systems are an extremely effective and long-lasting material choice. Key advantages include:
- Weather-tight roofing system
- Can be engineered to withstand high winds (150 mph and higher)
- Class A Fire-resistance rating from UL
- Class 4 Impact-resistance rating from UL
- Long service life—up to 60 years
- Special clips designed to accommodate thermal roof expansion and contraction and various thicknesses of fiberglass insulation
Matching the roof system to the project
In basic terms, there are four unique styles of metal standing seam panels: Double lock seam, symmetrical seam, one-piece snap-lock interlock and two-piece snap-lock interlock. These styles can be further delineated by seam shape or profile, i.e. trapezoidal rib, vertical rib, square rib and tee rib. The choice of the rib profile, as well as the rib spacing is generally an aesthetic preference of the designer. Knowing which style will best suit a given situation will help ensure a successful installation.
Some criteria to consider are roof slope, roof run (distance from eave to ridge), weather conditions (such as ice or snow) and architectural features, i.e. hips, valleys, dormers, parapet walls, etc.
For instance, if your project has a roof slope of 1/2:12 you will need to ensure the product being installed is approved for this low pitch. In this case, you would likely use a “double lock” or mechanically “field-seamed” panel. You also want to ensure that all details are able to provide for a weather-tight seal even if temporarily submerged during a heavy rain. Field-seamed panels are also the best choice in areas that experience heavy ice and snow.
Additionally, it is imperative to recognize complicated design details that should be carefully specified and reviewed regardless of the roof slope. Design conditions that require special attention include: roof transitions, dead valleys, dormers, eave offsets, ridge offsets and offsets in parapet walls.
It cannot be overstated that you should always consult a metal roofing manufacturer about the capabilities of the standing seam metal roof system, including what warranties are available, prior to specifying it.
Browse the standing seam product manual for more information.
Design and testing
Familiarize yourself with wind uplift testing as prescribed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL-90 – 580 Test) and ASTM E-1592.