Are you ready for a roof replacement? Are you thinking about getting a metal roof over the widely used asphalt? If so, you’re probably looking at getting a standing seam metal roof system. 

But what is a standing seam roof, and what are the roofing materials that make it up? Luckily,  we’re here to give you a breakdown.

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has installed metal roof systems in the Nashville area since 1990. Our workmanship ensures you get the maximum life out of your new metal roof investment. That’s why we offer a lifetime warranty

So, what are the materials that make up a standing seam roof? Always eager to educate on the art of roofing, I’m going to answer that question. 

Continue reading to learn what a standing seam roof is and the 7 materials that make it up. 

What is a standing seam metal roof?

Before we get to the materials that make up a standing seam metal roof, you need to know what a standing seam roof is. A standing seam metal roof system is a series of panels that are locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. 

standing seam metal roof

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. 

This allows the roof to expand and contract freely when it goes through thermal expansion. To go more in-depth about standing seam roofs, read this article on metal roofs: standing seam vs. screw down panels

7 materials that make up your standing seam metal roof

Now that you know what a standing seam metal roof is, you’re ready to learn what roofing materials make up this roof system. Continue reading to learn the 7 materials that make up your standing seam metal roof. 

1. Roof decking

Roof decking is the wooden boards that make up the framing of your roof. These boards are the foundation that your metal roof and the other components are installed on. Be aware, you might have to replace your roof’s decking when getting a new roof. Your roofing contractor won’t know if it needs to be replaced until after they finish tearing off your old roof.

If they find rotten boards, then your roofing contractor will definitely have to replace it before they can begin installing your standing seam metal roof. However, if your contractor finds your decking’s integrity to be sound, then it can handle your new metal roof.

2. 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. They’ll 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. Most of the time, this will be a 24 gauge pre-finished steel with a Kynar 500 finish. This painted finish protects your lock strips and standing seam metal panels from the elements and keeps the color you choose from fading. 

3. High heat ice and water shield as underlayment 

Underlayment is usually a felt (15 lb, 30 lb, or synthetic) material used over your decking to provide additional protection. That makes it a crucial component to your metal roof.

For your standing seam metal roof, your underlayment will be a self-adhering, high heat ice and water shield. Your metal roof’s high heat ice and water shield is your roof system’s last line of defense for your decking. 

Be aware, 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 and leave streaks on the fascia and eventually rot it. 

This will leave lines down the fascia board when the water starts running behind the lock strip. It’s absolutely crucial that the underlayment is installed over the lock strip on your standing seam metal roof. 

4. Metal panels 

The metal panels are what you see and what makes up the bulk of your standing seam metal roof. Because these metal panels are attached to the roof deck by lock strips and with clips at the ribs, they're free of any holes from nails or other fasteners which could allow moisture or water to get through.

The ribs (standing seams) you see on the metal panels are usually 12 to 24 inches apart depending on how long the panel is. Since the ribs are locked together at the seam, it allows your metal panels to glide back and forth so your roof can expand and contract freely. 

Usually, the panels are made of 24 gauge pre-finished steel with a Kynar 500 finish. However, you can get a different size gauge and multiple colors to choose from. 

5. Clips 

The clips on your standing seam metal roof are used to lock (clip) your metal panels together. Every 12 to 24 inches, these clips are installed on the male part of the seam. 

These clips are screwed to the male part of the panel using 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. 

These clips let the panels ride up and down your underlayment (high heat ice and water shield) without wearing it out.

6. 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. Once the panels are installed, this piece of metal flashing needs to be installed to fill in the spots between the ribs and the ridge of your roof. 

This protects your metal panels from water coming through the rib gaps at the top of your roof. Once the z bars are installed, your standing seam metal roof will be ready to lock in into the ridge capping. 

7. 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 is a standing seam metal roof installed?

Now you know what a standing seam metal roof is and the 7 materials that make up this roof system. Knowing these materials gives you a better understanding of the individual components coming together to give you a new metal roof. 

The day these materials are installed is the most important day in the life of your roof. That's why it's important to know what the installation process will look like. 

To help you further understand your standing seam metal roof replacement, we broke it down for you. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality metal roof replacements since 1990. Our workmanship ensures your new standing seam metal roof lasts for decades. When you work with us, you’ll never worry about your roof again. 

Check out this article on How is Your Standing Seam Metal Roof Installed? (6-Step Process) to learn what happens on the day of your metal roof replacement. 

checklist of questions to ask a roofing contractor