Standing Seam vs. Corrugated Metal Roofing – Understanding the Key Differences

Skywalker Roofing Company
Standing Seam vs. Corrugated Metal Roofing – Understanding the Key Differences
January 13
By Luke Wilson | Metal Roofing

The Current Attraction to Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has become increasingly popular across the country in recent years, and for good reason. There are, of course, all sorts of different roofing materials you can choose for your roofing project these days, but metal offers a unique slate of benefits. Metal roofs look great, but it’s about much more than just looks. Metal is also a very strong, very rugged, and long-lasting roofing material. But there’s more than one style and design of metal roofing system available, and it’s important to understand the difference. In this blog, we’ll look closer at what standing seam metal roofing and corrugated metal roofing systems actually are, and highlight some of the pros and cons of each. Keep scrolling down to learn more!

The Two Main Metal Roofing Contenders – Corrugated Metal and Standing Seam

When the phrase metal roofing is mentioned in common conversation, what often comes to mind for many folks is a roof that’s been covered with corrugated metal. But while corrugated metal was a standard style for many applications at one point in time, it’s no longer the only – or even the best – metal roofing style. Standing seam metal delivers some additional features which add more value to your roof, improving both its performance and its longevity. While there are certainly things to like about both types of metal roofing, the differences boil down to a few key areas:

  • Material thickness and design
  • Fastening system
  • Performance and durability

There’s a great video comparing corrugated metal panels to standing seam metal roofing on Skywalker Roofing’s YouTube channel which has actually gone viral (well over 1 million views!); it would certainly be worth your time to click over and take a look at that. But if you’d like to see some of the pros & cons of both standing seam metal and corrugated metal listed and explained on one single page, you’ve absolutely come to the right place!

What Makes Metal a Good Choice for Roofing in the First Place?

Before we get any further into the details of corrugated metal and standing seam metal, let’s take a step back and answer an even more basic question first. Why should you be considering a metal roof in the first place? There’s really a lot to like about metal as a roofing material, and this is a subject we’ve addressed before in other blogs. Shingles may still be the most popular roofing material in America, but metal is really a better choice for quite a few reasons. Metal is incredibly durable, requires less maintenance, is naturally fire-resistant & pest-resistant, sheds precipitation & debris very well, and comes in a variety of color and profile options. While a metal roof does cost more on the front end, it also pays many more dividends over time than a shingle roof can.

All that being said, which is the best metal roofing approach to take? Let’s now take a closer look at each of the two most popular metal roofing styles.

Corrugated Metal Roofing Explained

Corrugated Metal Roofing

Corrugated metal has been used to cover roofs around the world for decades. Corrugated literally means “shaped into alternating ridges and grooves.” Just as corrugated cardboard can be used to construct some pretty sturdy boxes, corrugated metal also offers some impressive structural strength for many roof applications, thanks to its ridged design. The corrugated metal is produced by taking a sheet of metal coil and putting it through a roll-forming machine, which shapes the metal panels into a preset corrugated pattern.

PROS: Corrugated metal continues to be a popular metal roofing method, especially for many commercial, barn, and other non-residential applications. It’s a lower-cost option than some other metal roofing approaches, it’s effective at reflecting away a lot of sunlight and heat, and is more durable and longer-lasting than an asphalt roof.

Corrugated Metal Roofing

CONS: One key liability with corrugated metal roofing is the fact that it presents multiple exposed fasteners. While there are treatments available to help protect and preserve these fasteners, regular inspections are still required every few years to ensure that the washers are still intact, and that the fasteners haven’t loosened. In addition, each exposed fastener presents a potential source of leak development over time. Another con where corrugated metal is concerned is simply a matter of aesthetics. While the colors are fairly customizable, the corrugated pattern itself doesn’t carry a reputation of being nearly as eye-appealing as the smoother look of a standing seam finish.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Explained

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

Like corrugated metal roofs, standing seam roofs are also designed with metal panels that are fabricated by roll forming. The key difference is in the design and application – standing seam roofs take full advantage of having concealed fasteners. A standing seam system consists of wide, relatively flat metal panels that have vertical legs (or ribs) on each end. The metal panels are designed to lock together, and are mounted to the roof by being fastened to the sheathing underneath through a series of hidden clips. All the roof attachments and seams are literally hidden beneath the vertical legs of the standing seam panels.

PROS: When it comes to the pros of a standing seam metal roof, there are many. For starters, the panels are fabricated with a stronger gauge of metal than is used for corrugated metal. No exposed fasteners or seams mean there are essentially no opportunities for leaks to develop, and a standing seam system also requires much less in the way of maintenance. It’s also highly customizable in terms of colors and profile options, and a standing seam metal roof is even more efficient at reflecting away light and heat. Aesthetically speaking, many homeowners prefer the visual appeal of a standing seam roof with its flat panels and sleek lines. And in terms of longevity, a standing seam roof can easily last you 75 years, or more!

CONS: There really aren’t many. The main caveat with a standing seam roof is its initial cost. A standing seam roof isn’t cheap, and will cost a fair bit more than a corrugated metal roof. One other potential issue with standing seam is that the larger, flatter metal panels are also somewhat more prone to being dented in the event of severe hail or falling debris. But even so, there are some standing seam panel design strategies available that can help to further minimize the potential for any oil canning or denting.

What Makes Standing Seam Metal Roofing a Truly Superior Choice

Metal Roofing

There are things to like about both corrugated metal and standing seam metal as roofing options. Which is right for you? That will really depend upon several factors, including your unique situation, your personal preferences, and your available budget for a roof replacement. If it’s just about finding the cheapest metal roofing option, then corrugated is the most affordable way to go. However, if you want a roof with much greater longevity, much less maintenance, much more reliable performance, and some truly beautiful aesthetics, then you really can’t beat a properly installed standing seam metal roof.

Standing Seam Metal Roof Install - High Point, NC

In addition to the benefits listed above, there are other features worth noting where a standing seam metal roof is concerned. Want to add a snow retention system, some solar panels, or other external roof features? With standing seam, these items can be mounted without any need to penetrate the metal or to put any holes in your roof’s surface. And fewer holes mean fewer opportunities for moisture to infiltrate. Standing seam metal roofs are also incredibly wind-resistant, and have been demonstrated to withstand up to Category 4 hurricane-force winds. Another issue to be mindful of with a metal roof is the fact that metal naturally expands and contracts with temperature changes. With other metal roofing styles that could be a problem, but standing seam roofs are designed to take all those expansions and contractions in stride. The raised metal seams will remain interlocked, while the whole system has the ability to “float” on its clip mounts as the metal expands and contracts. This level of flexibility and adaptability is something you simply won’t find in a metal roof that’s mounted with exposed fasteners.

Corrugated Metal Panels vs. Standing Seam Metal Roofing

So What to Do Now? Start by Choosing the Right Metal Roofing Provider!

Choosing the right roofing material and roofing style is certainly important, but choosing a local, professional roofing contractor you can trust is even more important. The pros at Skywalker Roofing have been fabricating and installing high-quality custom metal roofs for years. No local provider is more respected or more highly rated in both NC and VA than Skywalker!

We’re the premier roofing contractor serving the entire North Carolina Piedmont Triad, Piedmont Triangle, Lake Norman area, and southern Virginia region. Plus, we’re proud to say that our customers consistently give us an average rating of over 4.9 (out of 5) stars!

Got questions? Ready to get started? You can reach out to one of our friendly roofing experts by simply calling +1 (336) 627-5596. We’d be glad to answer any questions you may have, and we’re also ready to schedule your FREE home or business inspection and personal consultation!

Ready to get the last roof you’ll ever need? That’s what Skywalker Roofing is here to deliver! Connect with us today, and experience the Skywalker difference for yourself!

Luke Wilson

Luke Wilson

Owner - Skywalker Roofing

Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.

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