Metal roof installation, materials, prices and manufacturers

Standing Seam Metal Roof Guide

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Standing seam is the most popular style of metal roofing – both in residential and commercial building industries. It has also been the longest installed type of metal roofs, dating back to when all metal roofing was hand-made from sheet metal – usually copper or tin.

Image of standing seam metal roof

Today, standing seam metal roofs are commercially manufactured by tens if not hundreds of big metal roofing manufacturers, and thousands of smaller roofing outfits with their own sheet metal shops and standing seam rolling machines. Here is how standing seam metal roof is manufactured.

We recently added a complete installation guide that walks you through preparing a roof deck and installing roofing underlayment, installing eave, first metal roof panel with gable / rake trim, field panels, sidewall flashing, valley flashing and installation of hip & ridge caps, and includes a hands on metal roof installation video.

Most standing seam metal roofs installed today are 24 gauge steel or .032 aluminum panels with high quality Kynar 500 paint coating, baked on in seven layers (including primer) in the controlled factory environment when the metal coil is manufactured. After the coil is slit to the right size, it is delivered to the “manufacturer” of metal roofs, and is roll-formed into pre-measured length panels, either on site or in the metal shop, and then delivered to the job site, where they are installed on the roof.

Most common profiles of standing seam roofs are 16″ panels – either snap-lock or mechanical lock profiles. Snap lock allows the metal roofing contractors to quickly install the roof by snapping one panel into receiving the lock of the previous panel.

Snap lock panels can be installed from left-to-right or vice versa, or even from a center starter panel in either direction.

Standing seam metal roof installation

Standing seam metal roofs should be installed over a properly prepared roof deck. The wooden substrate below should be even, dry, and be at least 1/2 inch thick. Standing seam roofs can also be installed over purlins (horizontally running 1×3 or 1×4 furring strips) or over boars. It is also recommended to install standing seam metal roofing over a roofing underlayment such as roofing felt (tar paper) or synthetic underlayment. It is recommended that synthetic underlayment is breathable, so it does not trap moisture, which can cause the roof deck to rot and mold / mildew can form, causing expensive repairs. Ice $ Water shield is also not recommended for use under a metal roof, as it is first – not serving it’s main purpose, since metal roofs inherently prevent ice dams, and Ice and Water will also trap moisture.

In Norther New England states (NH, VT and ME), it is a common practice to install a standing seam metal roof over asphalt shingles. This is done mainly for economical reasons, as roof tear off and disposal can be very costly. This practice should also be avoided however. Two reasons for this are:

  • Standing seam panels will expand and contract with temperature changes, while the under-pan will be rubbing against the stone-coated surface of asphalt shingles, which will strip off the paint and galvanizing layer of the metal roofing panels and cause rust.
  • When snow sits on a metal roof, it compresses the panels against the asphalt shingles, creates horizontal dents on the panels, which make your new roof look very unattractive or should I even say – ugly. This is also referred to as “telegraphing effect”, when rows of shingles show through the metal roof.

A standing seam metal roof is attached to the roof deck using fasteners (usually 1 inch wide head screws) and either clips or screws / nails installed through a nailing strip, which can be formed when the metal panels are produced.

Nailing strip panels are faster and cheaper to install, but should not be used on panel runs over 15 feet, as expansion and contraction will cause buckling and “oil-canning” in the panels. Oil canning is a term used to refer to ugly bubbles that you can sometimes see on a standing seam roof. To prevent oil canning, you can have your standing seam metal roof made with special low profile stiffening ribs that are indented into the pan of each panel, during manufacturing process.

Another way to avoid oil canning is to install the standing seam roof using clips (this reduces the tension on the panel) and to install panels in mild weather, so it’s not too expanded or contracted at the time of installation, and of-course you need a more or less even roof deck surface.

Pros and Cons of standing seam

While standing seam roofs are very popular, they are rather difficult to install on complicated roofs, with many dormers, skylights, valleys, etc. They can be very pricey compared to other metal roofing materials such as metal shingles, shakes and stone coated steel roofing profiles. The difference in cost is mainly due to the difficulty of installation, high waste factor, and higher material cost for quality metal roofing panels (not the 29 ga cheap steel, acrylic-coated metal roof normally installed by low-ball metal roofing companies).

Because of the design of architectural standing seam metal roof, it is also very difficult to install a roof penetration flashing for sky-lights and chimneys, as there is no one good flashing method, and you rely mainly on caulking, when it comes to water-tightness. All of these factors complicate the installation process of standing seam metal roofing and make the cost go up.

Standing seam on low slope roofs.

A standing seam metal roof can be installed on a low slope roof of no less than 1 in 12 pitch. It must be a mechanical lock standing seam system, and is usually a structural standing seam, installed on space metal buildings.

The mechanical lock profile used on low-sloped metal roofs ensures that water does not penetrate through the lock between panels, if it sits above the lock. Structural standing seam is often made of cheaper steel with low quality galvanic coating, and can begin to rust within 10-15 years, and will require a roof repair, as well as fastener re-tightening.

Metal roofs should never be installed on dead flat roofs as it is not designed to withstand ponding water and all joints on a metal roof are sealed using some type of caulking. Even the copper panels with soldered seams have proven to leak on dead zero slope roofs. Most interlocking shingles profiles can only be used on roofs with at least 3 pitch. As for standing seam, it can be used on very low slope roofs, but you must use the mechanical lock profile to prevent roof leaks.

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November 1st, 2012 at 9:45 pm

Metal Roofing – Vs. Shingles

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One of the biggest appeals that metal roofing has to offer to the homeowners today, is that more often than not, it can be a very long lasting roof that requires virtually no maintenance or repairs, and can last three times longer than a regular roof. Being made out of metal makes this roof is extremely lightweight, durable and sturdy, flexible, energy efficient, and good for the environment.

Metal roofs perform extremely well in all types of climates. In the hotter climates, metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which helps keeping the interior of the building cool, and saves money on air conditioning costs. Energy star rated metal roofs can save as much as 40 percent on cooling costs.

In northern climates, metal roofs coated with a special coating help shed snow and ice away from the roof, which prevents the accumulation of snow and eliminates the possibility of ice dam formation on your roof.

Many metal roofing systems available on the market today contain a minimum of 30% of post consumer metal content, which qualifies them for LEED certification by the U.S. green building council. Asphalt shingle roofs, on the other hand, contain petroleum that goes into the production of asphalt shingles, and end up in our landfills after their relatively short and energy inefficient service.

Standing Seam Metal Roof

Standing Seam Metal Roof

Metal roofs are available in many styles, the most popular being a standing-seam metal roof, which provides modern architectural and aesthetically pleasing look. Metal shingles roof offers a more traditional look of asphalt shingle, which is a good alternative for somebody who wants a reliable and energy efficient roof that resembles the looks of conventional roofs. Metal shingles can also work well for historic buildings, but so does standing-seam, which was installed on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. This roof was installed over a century ago, and has recently been renovated with a new standing-seam metal roof.

Homeowners who consider installing a metal roof for their home need to be aware of metal roofing costs, which are usually three times higher than the cost of an asphalt shingle roof. The reason for the price difference is that metal roofing requires special skills in order for it to be installed correctly. The installation of standing-seam metal roof is quite an involved process, and takes a long time to develop necessary skills to install it correctly. Asphalt shingle roofing, on the other hand, can be installed by regular laborers in a fraction of a time that it takes to install a standing-seam roof, or a metal shingle roof.

Thus, in spite of relatively high prices, residential metal roofing can still be a great exterior remodeling decision for somebody who does not want to re-roof their house again. Another advantage of installing a metal roof is that it provides a beautiful curb appeal to your home, and energy savings that add up over the years.

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November 1st, 2012 at 8:11 pm

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Metal Roof estimating “on the go”.

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The typical processes of estimating a metal roof can be very complicated and time consuming, especially for standing seam metal roofs. You need to consider all the flashing accessories, such as sidewall / head-wall flashing, valley pans, ridge caps, eave starter, gable trim, metal coil (also known as flat-stock), flashing for skylights / chimneys, snow guards, underlayment, etc. When pricing a standing seam metal roof, it is also very important to measure the exact length or roof panels, to avoid having short and unusable panels, which can only go to waste, as well as the number of standing seam roofing panels.

Don’t loose the sale – give a homeowner the roof price on the spot, and you will have the highest chance to sell the roof!

Until recently, we were using the old-school notepad and pencil method to estimate and price a metal roof. However, it is very important for a successful roofing contractor to sell more roofing jobs. Spending time calculating a roof in the truck, or even worse – going back to the office to do the math, can often cost you a sale, as you have a much higher chance of signing a contract with a homeowner right there and then, before they change their mind, or talk with their cousin who knows as guy, who knows a roofer …

Of course we could use an online calculator, which would give us some information, but first – it’s slow and inconvenient to do on a mobile phone, and also you still need to figure out many roof details on paper, and this may actually be more confusing than helpful, when you have limited time.

Phone App:

Now we started using a mobile Roofing Calculator for iPhone app (which is also available for Android phones). It helps us estimate roofs fast, saves time and increases our sales!

This roof calculator app allows us to enter roof roof ground dimensions, roof pitch, number of floors, number of chimneys / skylights, ridge-vent length, roof difficulty, and choose a previously saved roofing material (such as metal roofing shingles, standing seam, corrugated steel roof or asphalt shingles) and we just click the calculate button and get multitude of information.

Besides just getting the roof price, we also get a separate cost of roofing materials, labor cost, breakdown of all materials used for the job, including lengths / amounts, number of roofing squares, and breakdown prices. See the video below:

There is also a general settings tab, which allows us to specify additional cost, as well as other things specific to how we install our roofs and what we charge for it. One of the most important ones is the roof waste factor. While roofing materials waste when installing metal shingles can be rather small – around 3-5%, and cut pieces can often be used on the other side of the roof, waste on a standing seam can easily be 15% or more on a very cut up roof, so we have the ability to specify this in general settings.

Additionally we can add additional cost for 2 and 3-story homes / buildings, add more for medium difficulty and really cut up roofs, specify the underlayment coverage, use of ice and water shield, roof tear-off prices for each layer, and plywood / sheeting replacement prices both for labor and materials. All these settings apply on per roofing square basis, meaning that you set one price and it is automatically multiplied by a number of squares for each particular roof, and is added to the total roof price at the end. Very sophisticated mechanism to prevent / avoid errors when calculating roofing prices.

Roofing Calculator mobile app screenshots

Image of Roofing Calculator app main screen Image of Roofing Calculator app results screen


As mentioned above, when we enter roof information into the roof calculator, we choose a previously saved roofing material from a drop down menu. Roofing Calculator has separate tabs which contain all your materials, which you can add, delete and edit as you need, or as things change.

Roofing materials profiles contain multiple fields for you to enter information pertaining to each type of roof. You can specify labor / installation price per square, roofing cost per square, prices for underlayment, ice and water shield, drip edge, gable trim, ridge vent, ridge / hip cap, etc. Also you can adjust prices for miscellaneous items such as roofing nails / screws, flashing, caulk, pipe boot flashing, static vents, and starter shingle for asphalt shingles, slate and cedar shingles roofs.

Roofing Calculator app overview

Overall, the roofing calculator provides plenty of options and settings even for the most complicated roofs, and there will soon be an added option for multiple roof sections, as you can get different roof slope, or a roof can be of a non-rectangular shape. Most roofing contractors will find it very useful!

Roofing contractors can use it to calculate almost any roof, and it is very flexible as far as the types of roofing materials you are using. As mentioned in the beginning, with standing seam metal roof, you will still have to do much work by hand when it comes to the actual roofing panels, but you can still calculate the roofing price and most other materials / accessories, right then and there. Give your customer a roof quote and try to close the sale on the spot – this is how roof sales on the go should be – no trips to the office or calling suppliers because you forgot your roofing materials prices – everything is saved on your phone – in the roofing calculator app!

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

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November 1st, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation

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This installation guide is based on FABRAL nailing-strip standing seam metal roof, with 1″ ribs. Before you take steps to order materials and install the roof, we recommend that you thoroughly read this article and also check out other guides linked within, such as the roof deck preparation guide and roofing panels measuring guide.

When installing a standing seam metal roof, it is recommended that all asphalt shingles be removed from the roof to prevent / avoid the “telegraphing effect” where horizontally installed shingles punch through vertical metal roofing panels, creating ugly dents which cannot be fixed / removed. Also, since most standing seam metal roofs installed are steel, the granular surface of asphalt shingles will rub against underside of metal roofing panels and will scratch through the paint and galvanizing layer, which will cause metal panels to rust. Read the roof preparation guide to learn about roof tear-off, wood repair and installing roofing underlayment.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the metal roof itself. When ordering metal roofing materials, it is important to correctly measure the length of your panels, so that you don’t end up with panels that are too short and are unusable.

In a nutshell, measure the vertical run from the eave of the roof, all the way up to the ridge line, and order your panel at least 2 inches LONGER than the length of your gable / roof run. These two extra inches will be used for drip-edge hem. Not that typical standing seam metal roofing drip edge extends 1 inch beyond the eave, and then you need to make a reverse hem to lock the panel into the eave starter. There, go your two inches. You can use this standing seam metal roof panels calculator to estimate the number of panels you will need for your roof and the length of each panel. Note, that this calculator currently works of gable roofs ONLY. If you have a hip roof, DO NOT use the numbers from that calculator to order metal roof panels for HIP roofs.

Steel or aluminum?

In my opinion, aluminum is a much better choice of metal than steel, when it comes to standing seam metal roofs. Aluminum will not rust, and is the safest option to install in coastal areas. While most architectural steel standing seam roofs are made with high quality galvanized metal (usually Galvalume or G-90 steel), there is still that chance that you may place a few deep scratches onto the panels and it will eventually rust. While aluminum is more expensive than steel, I think the price difference is well worth it. Learn more about metal roofing prices for steel and aluminum standing seam roofs, as well as other types of metal roofing materials.

Installation Video:

Before you begin installing a standing seam metal roof, watch the video above a few times so that you have a very clear picture of what is involved in the metal roof installation process, and if you are able to tackle this big project.

Note to homeowners and first-time installers of standing seam metal roofing

For do-it-yourself homeowners, we recommend installing standing seam metal roofs ONLY on simple gable roofs, with minimum roof penetrations. If you have chimneys, skylights, dormers and/or valleys on your roof, we recommend you leave this task to professional metal roofing contractors, as the chance to improperly install roof flashing and other details is too high, and the cost of roof repair / installation of new roof will far outweigh the savings you will get by installing a metal roof yourself.

Installation Process:

image of standing seam metal roof installation
Read the rest of this entry »

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November 1st, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Environmental Benefits of Steel Metal Roofing

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Not only are steel roofs 100 percent recyclable, they are often made from recycled materials, unlike traditional roofing. Because metal roofs are so lightweight compared to other roofing materials, when a new steel roof is installed, it can be placed over the existing roof. This can provide the double advantage of insulation and eliminates the need to remove the old roof, minimizing waste taking up limited space in our landfills.

Metal roofs are included on the U.S. EPA’s Energy Star Roof Products Program because of their environmental benefits.

Metal roofing can reflect up to 70 percent of solar rays. High reflectivity allows the roof as well as the rest of the building to stay cooler. Cooler roofs translate directly to savings for homeowners. A study performed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that reflective roofs save up to 40 percent in heating and cooling energy costs.

Reducing energy consumption means less fossil fuel is required to power the heating and cooling needs of homeowners, and that fewer greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere.

According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory research, “Metal roofing retains solar reflectance over time better than other roofing products because it resists the growth of organic matter and sheds dirt more readily than other roofing materials”.

It was also found that metal roofs “maintain their energy efficiency better over time than any of the other roofing systems studied.” Metal and steel roofs are some of the most durable material available, making it also one of the longest lasting. Over its life, a steel roof continues to save energy – and money – paying for itself in as little as nine years.

Steel roofing is the sustainable option. A traditional built-up roof often must be replaced every nine to seventeen years, whereas a steel roof can last 30 years or longer. The waste from other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles or concrete, has nowhere else to go but the dump. There are millions of tons of roofing waste generated every year that ends up in the landfills, and this waste can be drastically reduced, if homeowners begin installing longer lasting cool metal roofs.

Note: Aluminum roofs can last over 100 years, as they are not subjected to rusting, which can dramatically shorten the lifespan of a steel roof. However, modern steel metal roofing uses high-grade galvanized steel (G-90 steel or Galvalume), which is much more resistant to corrosion and rust. Also the high quality Kynar 500 metal roofing paint provides additional protection for steel metal roofing panels. G-90 and Galvalume coated metal roofs can last as long as 50 years or more. Only the low grade / gauge steel roofing (26 ga) with acrylic paint are expected to last 20-30 years before they begin to rust. These panels are usually used in less expensive exposed fastener roofing.

Popular metal roofing styles:

  • Standing Seam Metal Roofing – vertical panels with concealed fasteners, made using steel, aluminum, zinc, copper and other metals. Architectural standing seam roofs offer an aesthetically pleasing look combined with lifetime roof performance, resistance to ice dams and reduced heating costs.
  • Metal Roofing Shingles provide lifetime roof performance combined with many styles – these can look like natural slate, cedar shakes and shingles, concrete tiles, etc. Metal shingles come in smaller form factor, and therefore can be made from thinner metal, while maintaining structural strength and rigidity of bigger standing seam panels. Thinner material allows metal shingles to be less expensive than standing seam roofing, and they are also easier to install, reducing the overall installation cost.

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November 1st, 2012 at 2:15 pm

How a Metal Roof Is Made

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When you see that sparkling new metal roof up on your house, or a home you drive by, do you ever think about how this metal roof was made and what goes into the manufacturing of metal roofing materials?

Image of standing seam metal roof

A standing seam metal roof is the most popular of metal roofing materials, in part because it can be manufactured by the roofing contractors on the job site, or in a sheet metal shop, to the exact specs provided by the contractor. You don’t need to “deal” with big manufacturers when getting a standing seam metal roof. But lets take a step back and actually explore the manufacturing process of a metal roof, from the iron ore mine to your roof.

Roll-forming Standing Seam Metal Roof

All standing seam metal roofs go through a roll-former – a machine that turns a metal roofing coil into actual metal roofing panels. The roll former machines can be outfitted with different panel profiles, mechanized or manual shears, computer controller unit, portable or stationary platform / trailer, uncoilers, built in 10000 watts generator, and other upgrades, depending on the purposes of it’s use and how much you want to spend.

Image of Standing seam metal roof roll-forming machine

The basic process of making a standing seam panel involves feeding the metal roofing coil into the roll-former, which then goes through a series of rolls, which make bends and curves. Each next roll makes more of a bend than a previous one. These rolls are made of hardened stainless steel for increased life span and durability. Some can bend a metal as thick as 22 gauge steel.

The rolls make up different standing seam profiles, such as Snap-Lock standing seam, Snap-Lock with a nailing strip (no clips required, when fastening the metal panels to the roof), Mechanical Lock Profile, R-Panel, V-5 Crimp panels, and many more exotic profiles of corrugated and standing seam metal roofing.

A panel width can be manually set on each roll-forming machine, but typical widths are 12, 16 and 20″ wide panels. Panel width is actually dictated by a metal coil that you use to make your metal roof. For a 12″ wide panels you need a 16″ coil. The “extra” 4 inches are not shaved off inside a machine – they actually go into making the locks on each side of the panel.

The computer control unit takes care of the machine operation / speed, panel length, etc. A smart control unit with automatic shear, can pretty much automate your manufacturing process, by running the panel at specified speed and cutting them at specified length. For example you program it to produce 10 panels at 28′ 3″ and 25 panels at 24′ 6″ and it will do just that – at required length, the machine stops, the automatic shear cuts off the panel, you pull it out and the next panel starts rolling out of the machine.

Sheet Metal Shop

Besides the actual metal roofing panels, there is also a lot to manufacturing a metal roof that escapes the eye – namely, making all the accessories for the metal roof: the drip edge, rake / gable trim, valley pans, ridge cap, z-bar flashing, sidewall and head-wall flashing for roof to wall connection, chimney and skylight curb flashing, etc. All of these items require precision manufacturing and are absolutely necessary for any type of vertical panel metal roof.

All these metal roof flashing is made in a sheet metal shop, on highly sophisticated, computerized sheet metal brakes, which can also be programmed to increase the speed of making the most popular profiles of metal roof flashing.

The way that a computerized brake is different from a manual or a hand brake is that when using a manual brake you have to manually measure, mark and set up the depth for each bend to happen, and you have to do it on each side of the metal strip to be bent. While this is a viable option, it is very slow, labor intensive and not very precise.

The computerized or automatic sheet metal brake, which is a necessary attribute of any good sheet metal shop, has special “fingers” or stops that will let you insert a strip of metal only so deep inside the brake, and the hydraulic bender, will make the bent. These computerized brakes are very heavy duty and can easily bend metal that is 22 gauge or thicker. Even a 3/16″ thick metal (aluminum and steel) can be bent in a heavy duty industrial brake, but for metal roofing it is an overkill, as typical thickness rarely exceeds 24 gauge metal in residential application and 22 GA. in commercial metal roofing.

Besides a sheet metal brake, a metal shop needs an automated hydraulic shear to cut strips of metal to the required width, so that the brake operator could quickly produce required components and not worry about having the pieces of metal cut.

Beside the shear, the break, and other smaller specialty tools, each sheet metal shop has heavy duty racks, where the metal coils, sheets of metal and already produced flashing accessories are stored, and a fork-lift to load and unload all the coils and other heavy stuff. Shop workers cannot lift a typical 2000-3000 lb. metal coil on their own.

Image of Sheet Metal Shop

The bottom line is that running a metal roofing panels manufacturing facility is quite costly, and all work must be coordinated between the guys that make the panels and the sheet metal shop. Most of the time, to simplify things, the roll-forming machine is located in the shop, on the transportable trailer, and is only taken to a job-site when the job is far from the shop, and panels are too long to be transported by conventional means.

Often,metal roofing contractors who own a roll-forming machine, and manufacture their own standing seam metal roofs, employ an independent sheet metal shop to produce their flashing and accessories, as running the fully equipped shop can be afforded only by bigger, commercial size roofing contractors.

Manufacturing Metal Roofing Coil

We will actually skip the process of converting iron ore into iron / steel, processing and purifying it, etc. We will start with manufacturers of metal roofing coils, and what they do.

First of all, metal roofs can be made not only from steel – aluminum, zinc, copper and even stainless steel are all used in metal roofing industry. However, galvanized steel and aluminum are the most popular metals, and we will concentrate on these two.

There are about four or five large suppliers of metal roofing coil in steel, and two or three in aluminum, with smaller players picking up the slack.

Image of Metal Roofing Coil

All of these guys basically take a thick metal coil, and run it through rolling machines, to reduce the thickness to a required grade – usually 29, 26, 24 and 22 gauge in galvanized steel, and .032″ / .040″ in aluminum. The steel coil also undergoes the hot-dip galvanization process, where the coil runs through a pool of boiling galvanic mix of molten zing (G-90 galvanization) or a mixture of zinc and aluminum (Galvalume). Once the coil is dipped in the hot galvanic metal, a thin galvanization layer is formed all around the otherwise highly corrosive steel.

Then the coil is run through an annealing machine, which is basically a hot furnace with cooling tubes and ammonia gas inside the chambers. Annealing softens the metal, which can then be easily rolled down to the required thickness. Aluminum coils do not require galvanization and just go through an annealer machines and then get rolled down.

Applying Metal Roofing Paint (Kynar 500) is done once the metal coil has been galvanized and cleaned. The coil is then fed into a special “painting machine”, which is a series of separate units, each responsible for it’s own operation. First, the coil is thoroughly cleaned and dried. Then it goes through a primer application chamber, where primer is applied to both sides of the coil. Then it goes through a baking chamber where the coil is dried at a high temperature, and primer is baked on. Then another primer and bake-on drying process happens for better, more even primer application.

Once the coil has been primed, and primer has cured in the “baking” chamber, it goes through the painting cycle, which is essentially the same as priming, only the main color is added to the coil in two layers on top. Usually a white coat is added to the underside of the coil, which once again goes through the baking / drying cycle.


Once the coil is painted, it is shipped to metal roofing manufacturers such as Englert, MBCI, ATAS, etc. These guys slit the coils to their standard widths and cut them into smaller coils – usually 1000-3000 lbs. instead of huge 10000 lb. coils, which come from coil manufacturers.

These smaller coils are then either formed into different types of metal roofing panels and sold off to smaller sheet metal shops / contractors with roll-forming machines, who either install them, or resell them to metal roofing contractors.

The bottom line here is that most standing seam metal roofs and other metal roof materials are virtually the same product, as most of them use standard Snap-Lock or Mechanical Lock profiles (under different names of course), and the coil usually comes from the same p3 or 4 places. The difference is in price, warranty and Manufacturer-specific custom panel profiles.

Other than that, as long as the coil comes from a household-name supplier, it does not matter who produced your metal roof. What really matters is the quality of installation.

And yet, I myself have seen aluminum metal shingles with chipping and peeling paint. On one roof made by a company out of Canada, each shingle had paint peeling off at exactly the same spot as others, which leads me to believe that the coil was not painted properly on one side. Another example is of another, smaller metal roofing shingles “manufacturer” out of Canada, whose aluminum metal shingles would also lose paint, and paint would easily come off when scratched with a finger nail. This manufacturer would not warranty the product, and stopped responding to the complaints of the homeowner.

These two examples indicate that warranty is still important and you want to have your metal roof come from a respectable company that will honor their warranty obligations. Just to give you peace of mind, these cases with paint defects are EXTREMELY rare, and most steel metal roofs (especially cheap 29 ga. steel with acrylic paint) will rust before the paint comes off. So it’s more important to buy a premium product, if you want a premium service out of your metal roof.

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

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November 1st, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Roofing Materials – How to Choose the Best System for Your Home

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Asphalt shingle roofing continues to be the most widely used residential roofing material, but it does have many disadvantages and drawbacks. To name a few, asphalt shingle roofs average less than 20 years of service life. When the asphalt shingle roof ages, the shingles begin to chip and crack, which causes the roof to lose its water resistant properties, and this ultimately causes roof leaks.

When it comes to replacing the asphalt shingle roof, the old roof has to be stripped and disposed off. Although asphalt shingles roofing is relatively cheap, it is not the most environmentally friendly type of roofing material. Unfortunately, the asphalt shingles are not recyclable. The end result of disposing of the old composition roof is that this petroleum based product ends up in our landfills to decompose. Clearly, this is detrimental to our environment. With its short lifespan, asphalt shingles are becoming obsolete, and it is highly likely that asphalt shingles will be phased out from production in just a few decades.

Cedar shakes are made of cedar wood, a natural building material. Cedar shakes can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years on the roof. The cost of installing cedar shakes is roughly double of what you would normally pay for asphalt shingles. The disadvantage of cedar shakes is that their lifespan is rather short for the price.

Metal roofing is available in metal shingles and standing-seam profiles. Both of these systems are highly energy efficient and long lasting. Metal roofs are considered green because they reduce the temperature of the building by reflecting solar radiant heat away from the roof, which helps keep interior spaces cool, as well as lessens the urban heat island affect.

Metal is a fully recyclable material, which makes it a green alternative to asphalt composition shingle roofs. Another advantage of standing-seam metal roof is that they can be easily integrated with solar roofing panels. From the financial stand point, roofs made with metal cost roughly double the cost of an asphalt roof, but their higher initial cost is well justified considering that metal-built roofs can last three times longer than asphalt. Factor in the energy savings, and appraised building value, and it becomes clear that it is a superior choice for sloped roofs.

Thus, asphalt shingle roofing is not the most lucrative option in terms of its poor performance, environmental unfriendliness, and being susceptible to thermal shocks, which is especially relevant in hotter climates.  On the flip side, relatively low asphalt shingle prices make it a viable alternative for somebody who needs a quick fix for a leaky roof, and couldn’t care less about the long-term consequences, or any environmental considerations.

Materials covered above pertain to sloped roofs. There are many houses and buildings that have flat roofs. The most widely used flat roofing membrane is EPDM rubber. EPDM roof replacement cost is moderate ranging anywhere from $300 to $500 per square installed. The biggest problem associated with EPDM roofing, is that EPDM roofs are prone to fail at their seams. This happens when the glue dries up, and the water gets in between the seams. Refreezing of the water further expands the gaps between the seams. Although, EPDM roofs are fairly easy to repairs, the repairs may be costly and are usually impermanent.

PVC cool flat roof membrane is a good alternative to EPDM roofs. PVC membranes are hot air welded to connect the seams. The advantage of using hot air welding process over glue is that the roof seams formed by hot air welding, create a permanent bond between the roof seams. Such seams, when properly welded together, will not come apart due to the water freezing and refreezing cycles.

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

Written by Roofing Wiz

November 1st, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Posted in roofing materials

Metal Roofing Installation DIY

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Note: We recently posted a complete standing seam metal roof installation guide that covers preparing a roof deck and installing roofing underlayment, installing starter strip, first metal roof panel, field panels, doing sidewall flashing, valley flashing and installing hip / ridge cap.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, metal roofing is far more difficult to install than most people think. Installing metal roofing is not the same as shingling an asphalt shingle roof. Metal roofing panels have to be measured, and cut with great precision to ensure water tightness and integrity of the metal roofing system. The installation of the roof chimney, skylights, valley and wall flashing requires special knowledge, tools, experience and training.

Some of the tools required for a simple metal roofing job include; tool belt, metal shears, metal crimps, chalk line, hammer, tape measure, carpenter’s pencil. As with any roofing installation, you will need to be knowledgeable in the safe operation of the ladder, and roof safety equipment.

In a typical metal roofing system, panels interlock together side by side, and sometimes metal roofing panels interlock on all four sides, as is the case with the metal shingles roof.

Although there are many different types of metal roofing systems, most metal roofs can be divided into two categories: standing-seam metal roof -a modern styled sheet metal roofing panels connected at the sides through a mechanism called a standing seam. Another kind of a metal roof resembles a conventional asphalt shingle roof and is comprised of metal shingles featuring a 4-way interlocking design.

Metal shingles panels are all the same size, which makes it easier to install them. They come prepackaged in a box, and you can easily handle them during the installation. Standing-seam metal roofing panels, on the other hand, vary in size, and are more difficult to install.

Regardless of which metal roofing system you choose to install, one thing is a given: it will be more difficult to install metal roofing than it would be to install an asphalt shingle roof, which generally can be installed by unskilled laborers. The reason for that is that many metal roofing systems feature intricate design that requires all the panels to be installed in a strict geometric relation to each other, in order for the system to work correctly.

Thus, installing metal roofing takes longer, and is quite a bit costlier than installing an asphalt shingle roof.

The first step in installing metal roofing is to prepare the surface. The roofing service has to be free of debris, and the roof deck needs to be inspected for damage, with any rotten boards being replaced.

After that, a breathable roofing underlayment needs to be installed. It’s important to take care and create sufficient tension when installing roofing underlayment. The reason is that we do not want to have a loosely installed roofing underlayment, which will make it more difficult to work on.

Once the roofing underlayment is in place, we can start installing metal trim, which will interlock with the metal roofing panels.

It’s a good idea to practice installing metal roofing on a small shed or garage before taking on the installation of a metal roof for your home. Remember that one of the keys to successful metal roofing installation is making sure that you have attained correct angles and straight lines for the interlocking shingles or vertical panels. Use a color string / snap line to lay out the guide-lines for the installation of metal roofing panels.

Another important point to keep in mind is that you need to know how to use the safety equipment including roof anchors, and safety harness. Finally, never work alone, it would be just plain dangerous, and we do not want that.

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

Written by Roofing Wiz

November 1st, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Metal Roofing Prices – Metal Shingles vs. Standing Seam

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Installing a beautiful metal roof for your home can drastically change the looks of your home and provide reliable protection. A Metal roof stand outs from its counterparts – asphalt shingle and cedar shake roofs. Metal roofs provide aesthetically pleasing lines, colors, and a wide variety of style options. They offer durability and longevity that far exceeds the durability and longevity of an asphalt shingle roof. Not to mention, metal roofing is a fully recyclable building product, while asphalt shingle roof, a petroleum based product pollutes the environment in all three phases of its existence; during its production, its service life and during its demise, which usually means decomposing in our landfills.

Essentially, metal roofing is a far superior, energy efficient and environmentally safe roofing alternative to conventional roofing materials. Naturally, most people who become exposed to the many great benefits that metal roofs have to offer, will consider installing metal roofing on their property. This brings up the question: how come not everybody has metal roofs on their homes? Aside from a lack of awareness about pros and cons of metal roofing and perpetuation of the old myths and untruths about metal roofing being noisy in the rain, not that good looking, and easily susceptible to corrosion, it is the fact that metal roofing costs more than asphalt shingle roofs.

Despite the higher initial cost of metal roofing, there are many factors that may influence a buying decision in favor of metal. Sure, the initial high cost may be one of the major hindrances to installing a metal roof, but overcoming this initial obstacle may have many long term benefits for the homeowners.

Metal roofs are notorious for their energy efficiency, which translates into average energy savings of 20% or more on cooling costs. Some homeowners report having the energy savings of up to 40 percent.

Metal roofing can last far longer than an asphalt shingle roof. In fact, metal roofs can outlast asphalt shingle roofs by as much as three times.

Metal roofs are fully recyclable at the end of their service life. This is good for the environment, and is one of the many reasons why metal roofs are gaining in popularity as a green building material.

Metal roofs increase the appraised value of your home, and they retain that value more so than any other remodeling project you could think of. As one of the arguments in defense of the higher price of metal roofing, the ability of metal roofs to enhance the curb appeal of your property and increase its upraised value is what makes a higher price justifiable. Retaining that higher appraised value while yielding monthly energy savings on cooling costs, and providing many decades of reliable and maintenance free protection makes metal roofs a smart investment in your home.

Now that we covered the basics of metal roofing pricing considerations, we can get down to the actual numbers you may expect to pay for metal roofing. Generally speaking, metal roofing costs approximately double of what you would normally pay for asphalt shingle roofing installation by a professional contractor, who has their licenses and insurance in check.

Steel shingle roofs cost around $800 per square for the materials and labor. Steel shingle roofs are protected by a layer of zinc and aluminum to prevent corrosion, which should give you about 50 years of service life under normal conditions.

If you live near coastal area where the air contains a higher concentration of salt, you should choose aluminum as a metal roofing material, rather than steel. Installing aluminum shingles metal roofing will cost you about $1000 per square for materials and labor.

On the higher end of metal roofing products for residential homes you may choose to install standing seam metal roofing, which will run you about $1100 per square for materials and labor.

Metal roofing installation prices provided here are meant as a general guideline only, and will vary depending on your location, contractor, and the difficulty of your roof.

Metal shingles, the basic kind of a metal roofing system, cost about $250 per square for galvanized steel shingles, $350 per square for aluminum shingles, and $1100 per square for copper shinglesStanding seam sheet roofing panels cost about $600 per square for the materials, plus trim. Prices provided here include all the necessary trim and metal flashing.  If you are planning to take on the installation of a new metal roof by yourself, then be sure you understand the fundamental principles of installing the particular system that you choose.

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

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November 1st, 2012 at 11:47 am

Corrugated Metal Roofing – Corrugated Steel Roofs

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Modern advances of coating steel sheets with a layer of zinc and aluminum, make corrugated metal roofs a viable economical alternative to conventional roofs, and premium metal roofs. Corrugated metal roofing systems available today offer high degree of corrosion resistance, energy efficiency, and economical sustainability.  Many corrugated steel roofing sheets contain over 30% of recycled steel post consumer content, which qualifies it for LEED credit awarded by green building council.

There are also high quality paint finishes available for corrugated metal roofs.  High quality Kynar 500 paint finishes applied over corrugated metal roofs will make this type of system cooler temperature-vise, more energy efficient, and long lasting.  Energy savings of over 30% can be attained with the use of ultra cool metal roofing systems.

Corrugated metal roofs are usually made out of  G-24, or G-26, galvanized steel sheet roofing panels with exposed fasteners.  Corrugated steel roofs are energy efficient, environmentally friendly, green and most importantly affordable.  Made out of a relatively thin sheet metal, corrugated metal roofs costs less than metal shingles, and standing-seam metal roofs.  They can be a practical alternative solution for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and sometimes residential buildings.

Corrugated metal roofs are comprised out of corrugated sheet roofing panels that are 32 to 36 inches wide.  The panels are connected in a side by side overlapping fashion.  To attain water-tightness, the caulk has to be used at the points of overlap in between the metal panels.  Corrugated steel panels are secured in place by exposed fasteners.  The disadvantage of using exposed fasteners is that the water may leak through if the fasteners become loose.  To keep corrugated metal roofing watertight, the exposed fasteners have to be re-tightened every 10 years.  Therefore, this is not a maintenance free roof.

The main advantage of a corrugated metal roofing system is that it is relatively cheap compared to the price of metal shingles and standing-seam roofs.  You can cover a large roof area with corrugated metal roofing.

As with most metal roofs, there are premium material choices available for corrugated roofs.  For instance, you can get aluminum corrugated sheet roofing panels, which will last longer than steel. There are also stainless steel corrugated panels available to you. Of course, this will cost slightly more, but the higher price may be justified by the fact that you will have a longer lasting roof.

corrugated steel metal roofing

Although, corrugated sheet roofing systems are primarily used for agricultural, industrial, and commercial uses, they can also be used for some residential homes.  If you are planning to save money on the installation of a new metal roof, then consider installing a corrugated metal roofing system made out of galvalume steel, or aluminum.  Be sure to select a system coated with a premium cool roof rated color finishto ensure a long lasting and reliable service of your new roof.

As a last word of advice, I would like to remind you that corrugated metal roofing systems are very competitively priced, and the cost of labor to install it will be your biggest expense.  Therefore, it makes a lot of financial sense for you to pick a longer lasting corrugated metal roofing system for your home, garage, or shed. Be sure to choose galvalume steel or aluminum in favor of a less expensive galvanized steel.  Also, be sure to select a system that has a premium paint finish.

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

Written by Roofing Wiz

November 1st, 2012 at 11:06 am