Standing Seam Metal Roof vs Screw Down

Standing seam metal roofs and screw down panel roofs are two of the most popular roofing options for residential homes. They have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it can be hard to decide which one is the best option.

When it comes to standing seam metal roofs vs screw down panel roofs, standing seam metal roofs are more superior in terms of expansion capability, maintenance, oil canning and cost. They also look much cleaner than screw down panel roofs do.

However, screw down metal roofs provide better protection from moisture, because there are no seams that could let water in. They also require less maintenance than standing seam metal roofs do.

In this piece, we will break-down their differences one-by-one so that you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

Standing Seam Metal Roofs vs Screw Down Panels: The Showdown

Both provide a long-lasting and durable solution to protect your home from the elements, but they vary in their design, installation process and maintenance requirements.

Installation Process

Standing seam metal roofs are usually installed as a new roofing system, however they can also be used for accent purposes due to their sleek look. On the other hand, screw down metal roofs are typically used over carports, sheds or garages. In some cases, contractors may install them over existing roofs in order to cover up any damage or deterioration that has occurred.

Expansion Capability

One of the advantages of standing seam metal roofs is that they allow for natural thermal expansion and contraction of the roofing material. This is done through a clip system which keeps the standing seams fastened while allowing the panels to move freely in order to accommodate temperature shifts. On the other hand, screw down panel systems do not provide this same capability as they do not permit natural movement of the panels.

Maintenance Requirements

Since screw down panel systems do not allow for natural thermal expansion and contraction, frequent maintenance is needed in order to keep up with these changes and ensure that all components remain secure. This includes regularly checking all screws and fasteners for wear and tear as well as ensuring that no gaps or holes have formed between panels. Standing seam metal roofs on the other hand require much less maintenance due to their design.

Oil Canning

Oil canning refers to when a metal panel shows visible waves on its surface due to temperature changes. While both standing seam metal roofs and screw down panel systems are prone to oil canning, it is more common with screw down panels due to its lack of flexibility in comparison with standing seams. It’s important to consider this factor when making a decision since oil canning can impact a building’s aesthetic appeal.


The cost of installing either type of metal roof will depend on various factors such as size, material choice (copper vs aluminum), labor costs and geographic location. Generally speaking though, standing seam metal roofs tend to be more expensive than screw down panel systems due to their higher quality materials and construction methods.

Cost Break-Down of Standing Seam Metal Roof vs Screw Down

When considering which type of metal roof installation would best suit your unique needs, it’s important to consider the overall cost. While standing seam metal roofs can be more expensive than screw down metal roofs, they may provide superior protection and longevity.

Initial Cost Difference

Standing seam metal roofs cost more than screw down metal roofs due to the thicker gauge of metal and skilled craftsmanship required for installation. The up-front cost of a standing seam metal roof is typically much higher than that of a screw down panel, but it may be worth the added expense in terms of durability and longevity.

Maintenance Costs

The long-term maintenance costs of a screw down panel may offset the up-front cost of the standing seam. A standing seam metal roof requires little to no maintenance and should last up to 50 years. On the other hand, a screw down metal roof may require regular maintenance and repairs, depending on its location and climate conditions.

Functional Considerations

In addition to cost considerations, there are functional differences between these two types of roofing systems. A standing seam metal roof is ideal for areas prone to extreme weather as it offers increased durability and flexibility with expansion capabilities. A screw down metal roof should not be used over any heated living or workspace due to its lack of expansion capabilities.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Standing Seam Metal Roof compared to a Screw-Down Roof?

Pros of Standing Seam Metal Roof

One of the biggest pros of standing seam metal roofs is their durability. They are made to last for decades and can resist harsh weather conditions such as heavy snow, hail, rain, wind, and even fire. They can also withstand extreme temperatures, making them suitable for areas with hot summers and cold winters.

Another advantage of standing seam metal roofs is their energy efficiency. They reflect the sun’s rays and prevent heat from entering the building, which can reduce cooling costs in the summer. They also insulate the building and prevent heat loss in the winter, which can save on heating costs. Additionally, they are eco-friendly since they are made of recyclable materials and are energy-efficient.

Standing seam metal roofs are also low-maintenance. They do not crack, curl, or peel like asphalt shingles and do not require frequent repairs. They only require periodic cleaning to remove dirt and debris, which can be done easily with a hose or pressure washer.

Cons of Standing Seam Metal Roof

The main disadvantage of standing seam metal roofs is their cost. They are more expensive than traditional roofs such as asphalt shingles, which can be a significant investment. However, they can pay off in the long run due to their durability and energy efficiency, which can save on maintenance and utility costs.

Another downside of standing seam metal roofs is their installation. They require a professional installation since they have to be custom-fit and secured with concealed fasteners. This can add to the cost of the roof and may require more time and effort than a screw-down roof.

Pros of Screw-Down Roof

Screw-down roofs are more affordable than standing seam metal roofs. They are made of corrugated metal sheets that are attached to the roof deck with screws, which makes them easy and quick to install. They are also available in various colors and styles to match different architecture and design preferences.

Screw-down roofs are also low-maintenance. They are resistant to rust, decay, and insects, which makes them ideal for areas with high humidity and moisture. They are also fire-resistant and durable, which makes them suitable for areas with high risk of wildfires.

Cons of Screw-Down Roof

The major disadvantage of screw-down roofs is their longevity. They typically last for 10-15 years, which is much shorter than standing seam metal roofs. They are prone to rust and corrosion, which can weaken the sheets and cause leaks. They are also susceptible to wind and hail damage, which can cause dents and punctures.

Screw-down roofs are also not as energy-efficient as standing seam metal roofs. They can absorb heat and make the interior of the building warmer, which can increase cooling costs in the summer. They also lose heat in the winter, which can increase heating costs.

Finally, screw-down roofs are not as aesthetically pleasing as standing seam metal roofs. The exposed screws and fasteners can detract from the appearance of the roof and the building. They may also require more maintenance to keep them looking clean and attractive.

Is a Standing Seam Metal Roof Worth It?

Standing seam metal roofs are definitely a worthy investment. They boast durability that provides great protection against hail and wind damage. Plus, they have a unique design that allows them to shed rain, snow, and ice much better than ordinary metal roofs.

This makes them less susceptible to ice dam issues, which is a common problem with other roofing types. And since there are no exposed screw heads, they are also safer and more secure.

In summary, choosing a standing seam metal roof for your home or business is definitely worth it. Not only do they provide the best protection against harsh weather conditions, but they also have a sleek and modern look.

Plus, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they will last for many years without experiencing any significant damage or wear and tear.

How Long Does a Screw Down Metal Roof Last?

A screw down metal roof can be a durable and long-lasting option for your home. Generally, it can last 20 years without any maintenance. However, with occasional maintenance, you might be able to stretch its lifespan to 30 years.

It is worth noting that screw down roof systems screw the metal down, which prevents it from expanding and contracting naturally.

While screw down metal roofs are a great option, they require proper care and maintenance to keep them in good condition. Homeowners must make sure to keep up with periodic maintenance to extend its lifespan. Failing to do so can reduce its lifespan and cause the roof to deteriorate faster.

With proper care and maintenance, a screw down metal roof can provide lasting protection to your home for years to come.

Do Screw Down Metal Roofs Leak?

Screw down metal roofs have been known to leak, but it’s not always the case. It depends on a lot of factors like how well the roof was installed, the materials used, and how well it’s maintained. In some cases, screws and fasteners can become damaged or wear out over time, causing leaks.

This is especially true if the roof wasn’t installed properly or if it’s exposed to harsh weather conditions. However, if you take good care of your screw down metal roof and pay attention to any signs of damage, you can prevent leaks from occurring.

How Long Do Screw Down Metal Roofs Last?

Screw down metal roofs can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years depending on the installation and maintenance. If you neglect maintenance, you’ll get only 20 years, but periodic care can stretch it out to 30, which is a significant difference. The issue with screw down panels is that they don’t allow the roof to expand and contract naturally due to the screws holding the metal down.

Therefore, it’s essential to keep an eye on any warping or buckling during the lifespan of the roof, as these can indicate potential problems.

How Do I Make Sure My Metal Roof Doesn’t Leak?

To make sure your metal roof never leaks, you should seal the joints and overlaps using sealant or butyl tape. These materials work to prevent water from seeping into the roof’s seams and causing leaks. It’s also important to inspect these areas regularly to ensure that they remain secure, because metal roof panels can shift and move over time.

In addition, always be mindful of any potential causes of damage to your metal roof, such as falling debris or heavy storms.

If you’re not sure how to properly maintain your roof, consider hiring a professional who can provide expert advice and assistance. Taking preventative measures to protect your metal roof can save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.

What Is the Biggest Problem With Metal Roofs?

Water penetration and leaking are the biggest problems with metal roofs. Exposed fastener roofs, in particular, are prone to leaking because water can sneak through the openings and cause damage in no time. It’s no surprise that springing a leak is one of the most common issues with these types of roofs.

However, it’s not just the fasteners that can cause problems. Improper installation, damage to the roof, and poor maintenance can also lead to water penetration and leaking.

To avoid these issues, it’s essential to hire a professional installer who is experienced with metal roofs.

They can ensure that the roof is properly installed and maintained, reducing the risk of leaks. Additionally, regular inspections and maintenance can help identify and address any potential problems before they become more significant issues. While metal roofs do offer many benefits, it’s crucial to keep in mind that they require proper care and attention to avoid water penetration and leaking.

Do Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs Leak?

Exposed fastener metal roofs can potentially suffer from leaks if they are not installed correctly or maintained properly over time. These types of roofs rely on fasteners to secure the sheets of metal to the roof deck, and if these fasteners become loose or rusted, they can allow water to seep into the building. However, with appropriate care and attention, exposed fastener metal roofs can provide excellent waterproofing for many years, particularly in areas with moderate to low rainfall.

One of the main benefits of exposed fastener metal roofs is their affordability and ease of installation.

However, this also means that there is a greater chance of mistakes being made during the installation process, or of improper maintenance down the line. To keep an exposed fastener metal roof from leaking, it’s important to regularly inspect the fasteners for signs of corrosion or looseness, and to replace any that are damaged as soon as possible. With proper attention and care, a well-installed exposed fastener metal roof should remain watertight for many years to come.

Do Metal Roofs Leak at the Screws?

There is a common misconception that metal roofs always leak at the screws. While it’s true that screws can be a leading cause of leaks, this is often due to user error rather than a flaw in the roofing material itself. The screws typically feature rubber washers that compress against the metal panel to prevent water from seeping in.

When installed correctly, they provide a reliable seal. However, if the screws are poorly placed or overdriven, they can create gaps that allow water to sneak through. So, while screws are an important aspect of a metal roof, they are not automatically problematic.

What Are the Differences Between Screw Down Metal Roof and Standing Seam Metal Roof?

Screw down metal roofing is the most common type of metal roofing and is installed by screwing the metal panels to the roof deck. On the other hand, standing seam metal roofing involves interlocking panels that are fastened to the roof deck without any exposed fasteners. The latter offers better waterproofing and durability than screw down metal roofing. metal vs shingle roofing: pros & cons should be considered when choosing between the two.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Will an Exposed Fastener Roof Last?

Exposed fastener roofs have a lifespan of around 20 to 30 years, depending on their condition and maintenance. If maintained properly, it is possible to stretch the lifespan of the metal roof up to 30 years. However, neglecting any maintenance can lead to the roof only lasting 20 years.

It is important to periodically check your roof for any leaks or damage and to fix them promptly. Additionally, cleaning your roof and removing any debris can help prevent rust and other damages. While exposed fastener roofs may have a shorter lifespan than other roofing materials, they are still a durable and cost-effective option for many homeowners.

How Long Do the Screws Last on a Metal Roof?

Screws are an important component of metal roofs, holding everything together. If you’re curious about the durability of these screws, they can last up to 15-20 years on average, which is pretty impressive. But, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear, like discoloration and corrosion, so you can replace them if necessary.

It’s important to note that the lifespan of the screws may depend on a few factors, such as weather conditions, type of metal roof, and the quality of the screws.

So, while 15-20 years is a general estimate, it’s good to have a professional inspect your roof periodically to ensure that everything is holding up nicely.

How Often Do You Have to Change the Screws on a Metal Roof?

Changing screws on a metal roof is not something you’ll have to worry about that often. However, it’s still a good idea to get your roof checked by a professional on a regular basis. Generally, it is recommended that you get it checked every 10 years or earlier, depending on the condition of your roof.

If you have an exposed fastener metal roof, the screws can become loose over time due to normal wear and tear, or exposure to harsh weather conditions. If you neglect this issue, it can lead to leaks and other more serious problems that will end up costing you more money in the long run. So, it’s better to be proactive and get your roof checked before it’s too late.

In most cases, it’s advisable to re-screw an exposed fastener metal roof every 10 to 15 years.

Do Screws on Metal Roofs Leak?

Metal roof screws can leak if they are not placed correctly or if the rubber washer becomes damaged. If the screws are not positioned on the ridgeline, it can cause the water to run beneath the panel, leading to a leak. Moreover, if the screws are over-tightened or under-tightened, it can cause the rubber washer to become ineffective and water will enter inside the roof.

In short, screws on metal roofs do have the potential to leak, but it ultimately depends on their placement and condition of the rubber washer.

Do Screws on Metal Roofs Rust?

Screws on metal roofs can certainly rust, and it’s a common problem that can cause significant damage if left unchecked. This is because the screws are exposed to the elements, which means they’re vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Over time, the screws may weaken and break, which can compromise the structural integrity of your roof.

The good news is that there are ways to prevent screws on metal roofs from rusting. You can use screws that are made from materials that are resistant to rust, such as stainless steel or aluminum. Additionally, you can apply coatings to the screws that will help protect them from rust and corrosion.

If you’re not sure what type of screws to use or how to protect them from rust, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional roofing contractor.

Learn more about metal roofs:


After carefully examining the properties of standing seam metal roofs and screw down metal roofs, it is clear that both come with their respective advantages and disadvantages. Standing seam metal roofs are undoubtedly superior in terms of durability and style, but come with a higher price tag. Screw down metal roofs are cheaper and easier to install, but require more maintenance and have a shorter lifespan.

Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on your specific needs and budget. However, by implementing proper maintenance and ensuring proper installation, metal roofs can be a reliable and long-lasting option for any homeowner.


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