Are you ready for a new roof? Did you decide that you want a metal roof over the standard asphalt roof? 

If so, you need to know the process it takes for your roofing contractor to install your new standing seam metal roof. But what does that process look like? 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided the residents of Nashville with high-quality metal roofs since 1990. We know what it takes to make your standing seam metal roof last for decades. When you work with us, you’ll never worry about your roof again. 

So, how is a standing seam metal roof installed? Always eager to educate, I’m going to answer that question. 

By the end of this article, you'll know the the 6 steps to install a standing seam metal roof. Before we get to how it's installed, you need to know a little bit about this type metal roof system. 

What materials make up a standing seam metal roof system?

A standing seam metal roof system is a series of metal panels that are locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. The ribs (standing seams) are usually between 12 and 24 inches apart, depending on the length of the metal panel and aesthetics of the structure. 

Standing seam panels are fastened under each of these ribs to allow the panels to glide back and forth when your roof expands and contracts. But your standing seam metal roof system is made up of more than just the metal panels you see.

Your standing seam metal roof system is made up of the following components:

  • Roof decking: The wooden boards that make up the framing of your roof.
  • Starter lock strip: Lock strips are what hold (lock) your standing seam metal panels to your roof edges and keep them from flapping in the wind or strong storms.
  • Underlayment: Underlayment is usually a felt (15 lb, 30 lb, or synthetic) material used over your decking to provide additional protection. For your standing seam metal roof, your underlayment will be a self-adhering, high heat ice and water shield.
  • Metal panels: The metal panels are what you see and what makes up the bulk of your standing seam metal roof. Usually, the panels are made of 24 gauge pre-finished steel with a Kynar 500 finish (painted finish that protects the steel panels and keeps the color from fading). However, you can get a different size gauge and multiple colors to choose from.
  • Clips: Unseen fasteners that hold each panel to the roof deck.
  • Z bar: A piece of metal flashing bent in the shape of a Z that is 1/8th of an inch taller than the ribs on your metal panels.
  • Ridge capping: The trim installed at the peak where the two slopes of a roof meet.

To go more in-depth into these crucial components, read this article on what materials make up a standing seam metal roof.

6-step process to install your standing seam metal roof

Now that you know what materials make up your new metal roof, you’re ready to learn how these materials come together to form a standing seam metal roof. Continue reading to learn the 6-step process to install your standing seam metal roof system 

1. Tear off your old roof

Before your new metal roof can be installed, your old roofing materials need to be torn off to get to a clean deck. What this means is that your roofing contractor will go section by section removing old roofing materials and tearing off your old shingles from the roof’s decking.

Starting on the end furthest away from the dump trailer, they’ll start using special tear-off forks to tear-off your old roof by sections. While one crew is going from section to section tearing off, another crew is making sure the torn off materials end up in the dump trailer or the tarped landing zone in your yard.

The tear-off process is crucial to the replacement process. To learn more about what this looks like, read this article on what a roof tear off is and how a contractor does it.

2. Install lock strips at the rakes and eaves 

After your old roof is torn off, the starter lock strips are ready to be installed. Lock strips are what hold (lock) your standing seam metal panels to your roof edges and keep them from flapping in the wind or strong storms. 

The lock strips will be installed at the eaves (bottom edge of your roof) and rakes (the slanting edge of your roof). Your lock strips will be made out of the same color and gauge as your metal panels. 

3. Put down high heat ice and water shield 

Once the lock strips are put on the rakes and eaves, your underlayment will be installed. Underlayment is usually a felt (15 lb, 30 lb, or synthetic) material used over your decking to provide additional protection.

However, for your standing seam metal roof, your underlayment will be a self-adhering, high heat ice and water shield. The ice and water shield must be installed over the top of the lock strip at the eaves.

If the lock strip is installed over the underlayment, the condensation under the ribs will run down the fascia board behind the lock strip. This will leave lines down the fascia board when the water starts running behind the lock strip and eventually causes it rot.

It’s absolutely crucial that the underlayment is installed over the lock strip on your standing seam metal roof. 

4. Install your standing seam metal panels 

After your roof is planned out to ensure that all the panels will be parallel, your new standing seam metal roof is ready to be installed. Before installing the panels, the bottom of them will be cut off at the rib so they can be locked to the lock strips at the eaves. 

The ribs (standing seams) you see on the metal panels are usually 12 to 24 inches apart depending on how long the panel is. To begin installing the metal panels, the rib of the first panel will be cut off and hooked onto the lock strip at the rakes. 

Once the first metal panel is locked to the lock strips, the rest of the metal panels are attached to each other with clips at the ribs. Every 12 to 24 inches, these clips will be installed on the male (pointing upwards) part of the seam with 2 gimlet screws. 

Once the clip is installed over the top of the male part, the next panel comes in and snaps in on top of the clip fastening it to the other panel. This will continue until all the panels are fastened together.

5. Fill in the gap between the standing seam metal panels and the top of your roof

After your panels are installed, a piece of metal flashing needs to be installed to fill in the spots between the ribs of your metal panels and the ridge of your roof. This piece of flashing is called a z bar. 

A Z bar is a piece of metal bent in the shape of a Z that is 1/8th of an inch taller than the ribs on your metal panels. This protects your metal panels from water coming through the rib gaps at the top of your roof. 

Installing Z bars is crucial to the life of your standing seam metal roof. To learn more about what affects the life of your new metal roof, read this article on how long your metal roof should last

6. Lock the ridge capping into the Z bar

Once the Z bars are installed, your standing seam metal roof will be ready to lock in into the ridge capping or transition metal. Ridge capping is the trim installed at the peak where the two slopes of a roof meet. On your standing seam metal roof, it will be the same type and color as your metal panels. 

If your panels are coming from a low slope roof to a steeper slope, you’ll need transition metal instead of ridge capping. The transition metal should come down the roof and out 6 inches to ensure there's a straight plane all the way across and then lock onto the Z bar. (It is also the same color as your metal roof panels.)

Once your ridge capping or transition metal is installed, your metal panels will be completely locked in, and you’ll have your new standing seam metal roof.

How long will your standing seam metal roof last after it's installed?

Now you know the process to install your new standing seam metal roof. Knowing these 6 steps helps you understand what your roofing contractor will do when it’s time for your new metal roof to be put on. 

As long as your new standing seam metal roof is installed properly, you can sit back and enjoy it for many years to come. But how many years of peace of mind do you get out of your new standing seam metal roof? 

Because the lifespan of your new metal roof is something every homeowner needs to know, we broke it down for you. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has been installing standing seam metal roofs in the Nashville area since 1990. Our workmanship ensures you get the most out of your new metal roof. That's why we're proud to offer you a lifetime warranty

To learn how much life you get out your new metal roof, check out this article on How Long Your Metal Roof Should Last.

checklist of questions to ask a roofing contractor