Tag Archives: standing seam steel

Avoiding Oil Canning With Standing Seam Steel for Barndominiums

Avoiding Oil Canning With Standing Seam Steel for Barndominiums and Post Frame Buildings

As post frame construction grows by leaps and bounds into post frame homes (barndominiums and shouses), more clients look to them for upgraded features. Standing seam roofing may appeal to some who appreciate the aesthetics of no visible screw fasteners.

Standing seam roof, or SSR as it is commonly abbreviated, has a profile of flat panels intersected with evenly spaced vertical legs or seams. Fastenings are concealed on these panels – hence why this profile is commonly called “concealed fastener”. SSRs can be attached to 5/8” plywood roof decks with a fastening flange.

Fasteners are driven into roof deck without piercing metal panels. (In order to maintain a building’s structural integrity, a plywood roof deck is required: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/08/standing-seam-steel/). All fasteners are then hidden within standing seams. Thus, panels are locked together by snap-fit seam geometry. SSRs come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, single-folded, double-folded, T-Shaped, even Bulb-Shaped. Industry consensus favors standing seam, for its higher quality, ability to respond to “thermal cycling” and aesthetic design.

Sidebar – I am actually having our fourth generation family home outside of Spokane, Washington reroofed with SSR panels! Yes me, who has specified, sold and/or installed tens of millions of square feet of through screwed steel!

While material and finish warranties are generally equal, most standing seam systems are offered with better entire system warranties. Some manufacturers also offer extended assurance their roofs won’t leak (weather-tightness warranty) over some given period of time. Absence of exposed fastening lends itself to a much lower possibility of leakage as compared to exposed fastener systems where thousands of screw fasteners with EPDM washers are subject to installation error and because they penetrate weathering surfaces, and “pin” panels to roof purlins.

Exposed Fastener (EF) roofs involve driving screws through panels and directly into roof purlins, remaining visible. Keep in mind, properly installed these screws will never leak (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2019/01/solving-steel-roofing-leaks/).

EF roofs are less expensive than standing seam systems. Lower cost comes from these panels being able to be manufactured with thinner gauge and wider-dimensioned panels, reducing material handling aspects of installation. This generally means less roofing material is needed overall and thinner panels typically cost less. Additionally, EF roofs don’t require use of expensive plywood decking and 30# felt (or an ice and snow shield) further reducing costs (i.e. fewer components, and cheaper to install so overall total cost of roof is less).

EF roofs do still offer substantial protection against harsh weather elements. But it is important to note industry standards for standing seam versus exposed fastener are not necessarily equal. So, for example, wind uplift testing may or may not have been performed on EF roof profiles. Also, don’t expect weather-tight warranties to be included. Holes are required to secure roof attachment to purlins – a process more prone to installation error. It’s not called an exposed fastener roof for nothing.

SSRs require more finesse during installation. Common exposed fastener roof panels DIY project-ready for weekend warriors.

I have always had an aesthetic complaint with SSR roofing – it oil cans. Oil canning is a perceived waviness in flat areas of steel panels. Generally “period” and “amplitude” (in layperson’s terms – frequency and size) of waves depends upon continuous width of flat portion of panel.

Mason from Metal Roofing University provides quick tips to avoid oil canning of SSRs:


As much as aesthetics are touted with standing seam roofs, this lack of hidden fasteners on roofs is still appealing to many for practical reasons. If cost, ease of installation, and a need to match it to surrounding buildings are aspects you are weighing in your decision, then EF might be a good choice.

 It is always advisable to perform routine maintenance on any roof (metal or other). One should still remove debris, clean gutters, remove stains, scan for scratches, and check for trouble-spots for potential corrosion. 

 Standing seam and exposed fastener are distinctly different concepts for metal roofing. Ultimately these two steel roofing options serve different purposes depending on location, weather, design, and more. Aesthetically-speaking and weather-wise, standing seam offers secure zero-panel-penetration as well as a long-lasting roofing solution. If cost is a big one for you, and you are also considering installing it yourself, exposed fastener may be a smart choice.

Attaching Solar Panels to Steel Roofing

Attaching Solar Panels to Exposed-Fastened Steel Roofing

Solar Panel Pole BarnI am simply amazed at the sheer number of solar system installers who convince their clients they have to use standing seam steel roofing in order to attach the solar panels to the steel roofs. First – they are doing a total disservice to their clients by causing them to spend thousands (seriously) of dollars to get a roofing system which adds no extra value to their building. And secondly, I know the Internet is a brand new thing to a few people, but seriously do so few of them actually understand how to use Google?

There is a not-so-little company called S-5!® (www.S-5.com) whose founder, Rob Haddock has it figured out. Now Rob didn’t fall off the turnip truck last week – he has more than a clue as to what he is doing.

From Rob’s bio:

“S-5!® founder Rob Haddock has thirty-five years in the industry.  Starting out as a metal building erector, today Rob is a well-known metal roof consultant, author, speaker and inventor.  Throughout it all, Rob has been unwavering in his belief that metal roofing is superior to other types of roofing, and believes  just as strongly today that his S-5!® clamp innovation is making metal the most user-friendly roof type on the market today. “There is simply no other roof to which things can be attached with such ease, economy and security,” he said.

Regarding the subject of metal roofing, Rob has authored numerous articles and has given countless educational talks for various trade groups.  Back in the 1980s and early ‘90s he was a faculty member of the Roofing Industry Educational Institute – and is now an adjunct faculty member at the University of Wisconsin School of Engineering. His presentations at METALCON rank as the most widely attended and highly rated year after year. 

Today, Rob serves as Director of the Metal Roof Advisory Group, Ltd., a consulting firm performing a variety of services for a worldwide clientele.  For fifteen years Rob operated one of the nation’s largest metal roofing companies with some 10 million square feet of successful installations nationwide.  He has authored a number of training and educational curricula for various trade groups, and, having studied metal roofing history and applications both domestically and abroad, he offers unique insight into this ancient but fascinating field. “

Pretty smart dude, eh?

Well S-5!® has developed a product called the VersaBracket™ which can be used to mount virtually anything to an exposed fastened roof system and is compatible with almost any trapezoidal, exposed fastened profile. No messy sealants to apply and no chance for leaks. It comes with factory applied butyl sealant already in the base for a water tight attachment.

The VersaBracket™ is so strong, it will even support heavy duty applications like snow retention (S-5!® happens to also manufacture ColorGard® snow retention systems).

Looking to add solar to a through screwed steel roof? If the potential provider doesn’t know about and use the VersaBracket™, maybe they aren’t the right folks to do the work.

Steel Shingles

Like the durability of steel roofing, but not the look of standing seam or through screwed steel? Look no further.

Steel ShinglesSteel shingles are manufactured to provide a unique look in a durable, energy-efficient, recyclable roofing product. Believe it or not, there are consumers out there who want all steel has to offer, but don’t want the standing seam look. A variety of steel shingle profiles provide pole building owners a myriad of options.

Steel shingles offer the look of other roofing products — everything from asphalt and composition shingles to clay and concrete tile to wood shakes. The big difference is the steel shingles are fireproof, durable, lightweight and attractive. Only metal can boast all of those attributes.

Because of the visual options steel shingles now offer, metal is becoming accepted in places metal roofing would never be considered before. Even many challenging HOAs (Home Owners Associations) are allowing steel shingles.

Steel roofing shingles offer long lasting protection against many weather conditions. During the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Government Resettlement Administration constructed the Cahaba Homestead Village or as it was locally called the “Slagheap Village” in the area directly west of downtown Cahaba, Alabama. Each of these homes was leased by the federal government until being sold to private landowners in 1947. Most still have those original, now 80-year-old, steel shingles!

They are environmentally friendly as they are mainly made from recycled material, and they can be recycled after use as well. Installed over an existing roof keeps old roofing material from going into a landfill. Besides this, many types of coated steel shingles afford energy savings as well since the coating will reflect the sun’s rays and help keep your post frame building cooler.

Steel shingles are available in a wide variety of styles and colors to suit nearly everyone’s needs and tastes. As the roofing color does not have to appear metallic, they will not obviously even look like they are steel.

While the cost of steel shingles is slightly more than asphalt, building owners are often surprised at how small the price difference actually is. Installed properly, steel shingles should be the last roof a pole building owner should ever have to consider.