Skip to content
Home > Blog > What is a standing seam metal roof?

What is a standing seam metal roof?

top down view of a standing seam metal roof

If you’ve ever glanced at a metal roof on a newer model, farmhouse-style home, you’ve likely seen a standing seam metal roof. This type of roof features metal sheets, or panels, that run vertically along the roof’s plane. Each panel has a raised “rib” on either end, and they’re designed to lock tightly together. The main difference between a standing seam metal roof and other types of metal roofs is in the way the panels are fastened. 

A standing seam style roof is fastened to your roof’s underlayment from the underside, using hidden clips, rather than being screwed down from the outside. All attachments on this type of roof are hidden beneath the seams of each panel for a secure fit that locks out moisture and helps prevent damage from the elements.

Standing Seam Metal Roof Cost

The average cost to install a standing seam roof in the United States is about $17,000. Of course, the price is highly dependent on where you live, the size of your roof, which roofing professional you choose and other factors as well. That’s why it might be easier to break the cost down by average price per square foot. An approximate range of $5 to $26 per square foot for a standing seam roof. 

Wondering how much a standing seam metal roof might cost on your home? Our handy metal roof cost calculator will take the guesswork out of the process. Once you get an idea of how much a metal roof will cost on your home, or if you think you might want to consider a different roofing material, try a general instant roof estimate. This tool uses AI-powered technology to determine a price range for your exact roof. 

roofer installing a standing seam metal roof

Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation

Your standing seam metal roof installation will begin with the removal and disposal of your existing roofing material. You can expect your roofing professionals to strip your roof down to the decking. If the decking is in good condition without signs of damage, mold, mildew or structural issues, it will be left intact. If it needs to be replaced, that will be the first step in the installation process. 

A unique element of a standing seam roof is what’s called a locking strip, and a series of these will be applied to your roof decking at the beginning of the installation process. These strips allow the sheets of metal to adhere securely to your roof. Once the locking strips are in place, an underlayment will be laid down. This is typically made of a felt-like fabric, and helps to seal out moisture and protect your roof decking from mold and mildew. 

Finally, the metal strips that form the outermost layer of your standing seam metal roof will be installed. These sheets are typically made of 24 gauge pre-finished steel which is then covered with a protective coating. 

Standing Seam Metal Roof Advantages

The advantages of a standing seam metal roof are many: as far as metal roofs are concerned, this is by and large the best type of roof to consider. Below, we’ll outline a few of the main advantages of a standing seam metal roof. 

  • It’s attached underneath the panels to prevent leaks 
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Provides a sleek, modern aesthetic without visible fasteners
  • Typically available in a variety of color finishes
  • Strong and durable, can withstand most harsh weather conditions 
  • Designed to withstand natural expansion and contraction due to temperature variations
  • Can last 40 to 70 years

Standing Seam Metal Roof Disadvantages

Aside from the cost of a standing seam metal roof, there are few to no disadvantages. Most estimates indicate that a standing seam roof is two to three times pricier than other metal roofing options. But it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely only have to bear this expense once in your lifetime. 

And if you live in an area that sees a lot of hailstorms, you’ll face another minor disadvantage: a standing seam metal roof tends to show hail damage more readily than other roof types. 

Sizing & Options For Standing Seam Panels

Most standing seam metal roof panels range in width between 12 and 18 inches, with 16 inches being the most popular choice. When selecting this type of roofing, you also need to consider the height of the seam, another variable. Most seam heights are between one and three inches, with 1.5 to 2 inches the most commonly used. 

Standing Seam Roofing Systems 

A standing seam roofing system is a type of roofing construction that features metal panels with raised seams that stand vertically along the length of the panels. These seams are typically formed by folding or crimping adjacent panels together, creating a watertight connection.

The key characteristic of a standing seam roofing system is the raised seam that joins adjacent panels. This design helps prevent water infiltration, making standing seam roofs particularly effective in areas with heavy rain or snow. The panels themselves can be made from various materials, including steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc, and they come in different profiles and finishes to suit different architectural styles and preferences.

Standing seam roofs are commonly used in both residential and commercial buildings, and they are often chosen for their longevity, low maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal. They can be installed on both low-slope and steep-slope roofs, making them a versatile option for a wide range of architectural designs.

example of structural standing seam metal roof


This type of system is often used on low-slope or flat roofs and can be made from various materials such as steel, aluminum, or copper. Structural standing seam roofs are known for their durability, weather resistance, and architectural appeal. They are commonly found in commercial, industrial, and residential buildings.

example of architectural standing seam metal roof


In architectural standing seam systems, the seams are typically narrower and more pronounced, creating a visually appealing linear pattern across the roof surface. These roofs are often used in commercial, institutional, and high-end residential buildings where aesthetics are a key consideration. While they still provide weather protection, their main function is to enhance the overall appearance of the structure. Unlike structural standing seam roofs, which serve a dual purpose of both structural support and weatherproofing, architectural standing seam roofs are primarily focused on aesthetic appeal.

Standing Seam Metal Roof VS Corrugated Metal Roofing

It’s true that standing seam and corrugated are both types of metal roofing that come in panels. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. A sheet of standing seam metal is smooth and flat, while a sheet of corrugated metal features a series of U-shaped ridges. As such, a standing seam roof lends a clean, modern vibe, while a corrugated roof will look more rustic. Because corrugated roofing panels are screwed down where they overlap one another, there is a slightly higher potential for leaks as a result of moisture seeping down into the overlap. 

Standing Seam Metal Roof VS Screw Down Roofing

A major difference in these two types of metal roofs is in the way they’re attached to your home’s roofing structure. As we mentioned above, a standing seam roof is always fastened underneath the metal panels, thus eliminating the need for visible fasteners. By contrast, screw-down roofing is screwed down from above, which can introduce the potential for leaks as a result of moisture seeping into the place where the screw is found. This causes the need for more regular maintenance. 

Find a Qualified Roofer 

Instant Roofer works hard to provide homeowners with the best options when it comes to roofers in your local area. Our professionals are rated based on customer feedback and suggested with an algorithm based on your location so that you can get quotes from the best roofers in your area. Use Instant Roofer’s Find a Roofer tool to locate a qualified professional in your area. 

Fact checked by Christin Perry – 3/15/2024