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Key Information About Vertical and Horizontal Seam Metal Roofs

Dec 25, 2020

Metal roofing is becoming more popular across the country, and there are many styles from which to choose if you are interested in replacing your current roof with a new metal roof. Perhaps the most cost-effective and popular choice for metal roofing is the standing seam metal roof, which comes in two varieties: horizontal seam and vertical seam.

If you are interested in a standing seam metal roof, you should know the differences between the two, aside from the obvious difference in appearance. Both horizontal and vertical standing seam metal roofs can look fantastic on many different types of residential architecture, but there are clear advantages and drawbacks with either choice. It’s vital to look beyond aesthetics and consider the differences in performance between these two styles of standing seam metal roofs.

Pros and Cons of Horizontal Seaming

Horizontal standing seam metal roofing requires placing long metal planks along the surface of the roof, very similar to the way asphalt shingles are attached in rows overlapping one another. Metal roof installation for a horizontal standing seam metal roof begins with the placement of a starter strip that will guide the metal roof panels into their proper positions. Each panel of metal roofing material is attached to the roof deck below using planks and specialized fasteners.

With a horizontal seam metal roof, water will have a very hard time getting under the strips of metal running along the surfaces of your roof. Horizontal standing seam is also often called a nail hem panel roof due to the fact that the strips of metal roofing interlock with one another much the same way vinyl siding panels interlock. However, horizontally seamed metal roofs can eventually become more susceptible to water intrusion due to their vulnerability to wind damage.

While this style of roof offers an aesthetically pleasing visual appearance by keeping the metal panel fasteners hidden, it is ultimately less effective at protecting against wind damage. When wind creates an upward force against the lower edges of the horizontal panels, it will eventually cause the panels to buckle against the fasteners. Additionally, if fasteners are driven too deeply into a panel, the next panel may not interlock flush as it should, and this can create an “oil-canning” effect for the completed roof.

Pros and Cons of Vertical Seaming

Many homeowners enjoy the look of horizontal standing seam roofing, but ultimately vertical standing seam metal roofs offer better performance overall. These systems involve metal roofing panels aligned and connected vertically, arranged evenly across the roof’s surfaces. Aesthetically, vertical standing seams tend to play more nicely with sharply angled roofs and houses with variable exterior roof heights.

Vertical standing seam metal roofs are also some of the easiest metal roofs to install, sometimes taking far less time to complete than some homeowners expect. There are many ways to attach a vertical standing seam to a roof, such as by using exposed fastener panels or mechanical panel seaming. Exposed fastener panel metal roofs are also referred to as having a “corrugated” look, as each panel is attached vertically to the panel next to it, beginning with a starter strip to guide the first panel into position. Mechanical seaming for vertical standing seam metal roofing is typically best for very low-sloping roofs or metal roofing for commercial or industrial buildings.

One major drawback to most vertical standing seam metal roofs is the difficulty of repairing individual panels as they become damaged. Each vertical panel is securely fitted into the next, so if one of the metal panels toward the center of your roof’s surface is damaged, replacing it could potentially require removal of all the adjacent panels.

Important Considerations for All Types of Metal Roofs

Whether you prefer the look of vertical or horizontal standing seam metal roofing, it’s vital to consider various factors for either choice that will have a significant impact on the overall performance and value of your new roof.

First, consider the type of metal you think would look best for your home’s exterior, and then consult your roofer about which roof seaming configuration would work best with your choice. Your roofer may point out local environmental factors that make one choice preferable to another, so pay close attention to their recommendations. For example, if you live near the water, it is probably best to avoid copper for your metal roof material as the moisture in the air will eventually create a discolored patina on the surface of your copper roof.

It is also necessary to determine whether a horizontal or vertical standing seam would be better for the wind and precipitation your area receives each year. Ask your roofer about the metal roofs they have installed in your area that have held up the best against the area’s weather. If your area receives a lot of rain in the warm months and snow in the winter, it’s probably best to choose a vertical standing seam metal roof that will allow water and snowmelt to slide off your roof more easily.

How to Choose the Metal Roof That Is Best for Your Home

If you are torn between horizontal and vertical standing seam for your new metal roof, your best option for deciding is to consult an experienced metal roof installation team. The right team can help you narrow down your options to the few that will provide the best overall value based on your location, the size of your home, and your plans for remaining in the home or eventually selling it.

Go over these details with your roofer and think carefully about the metal roof that would work best for your property. Remember, one of the most popular selling points of modern metal roofs is their incredible functional longevity, so whatever metal roof you choose will likely remain in place for several decades to come. Consult a professional roofer so you can make your decision with greater confidence and choose the standing seam metal roof that will work best for the years to come and provide you with the best cost of ownership.

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