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11Mar 2020Metal Buildings

Comparing Standing Seam vs. Screw Down Panel for Metal Building Roofs


Do you want to design and install a metal building with metal roofing that will last up to 50 years? When you design a building with metal roofs, you have to consider the site of your building, create or buy designs, and get approval. Of course, you can then put the finishing touches on your purchase by choosing between a standing seam metal roof and screw down metal roofing. The screw down and standing seam roofs are important because they are each designed to offer different strengths and advantages.

Comparing Metal Roof Systems: Standing Seam vs. Screw Down Panel

Both standing seam and screw down panel metal roofing systems have a place in the industry. You'll see in the following sections that standing seam and screw down panel roofs have differences in their installment, function, and format. This makes some customers choose standing seam roofs for some spaces, and others pick screw down paneling.

  • Standing Seam Roof:A standing seam roof system includes panels with a broad, flat area between two ribs or fasteners. The mechanical connection between these seams stays hidden and sits between 12 and 24 inches apart on the structure. This system grows in popularity because of its weather-strong qualities, sleek look, and lifespan.
  • Screw Down Panel:A screw down panel roof system has similar panels that are screwed in through the face of the metal to fabricate the roof. These connections are not hidden or sealed with another mechanical seam structure. Customers use this system to cover carports, garages, porches, barns, and anywhere that might not be a living or workspace that requires more advanced roofing.

Comparing Standing Seam vs. Screw Down Panel for Metal Building Roofs

Standing Seam Panel Roof System Benefits

The standing seam panel roof system immediately offers hidden fasteners that sit outside the building envelope, providing better weather and wind resistance under various roof and loading conditions. In addition, the seaming method of this system ensure that your roof will function properly at the lowest possible cost. The system remains one of the easiest to install and depend on for cost-efficient projects because it's designed to work in a variety of complex building situations. Comparing Standing Seam vs. Screw Down Panel for Metal Building Roofs

Screw Down Panel Roof System Benefits

Screw down panel roofing can be useful for short-term and non-living or -working spaces that require a quick solution. This means that for barns, sheds, covers, and others, you can install a roof easily by simply screwing in panels directly through the metal. While this solution may not be as permanent as a standing seam, it does offer the convenience and simplicity of an effective roofing system to the customer who only wants the most basic cover.

Standing Seam vs. Screw Down Panel Smackdown

Standing seam panel roof systems and screw down roofing offer different advantages and disadvantages to any metal building project. Here, let's consider the expansion capability, maintenance, oil canning, and cost of the systems. Get a better idea of our standing seam vs. screw down panel comparison and choose the right roof for your metal building project.

Expansion Capability

Every roof expands and contracts with the temperature and weather conditions. For the most part, roofs concern thermal expansion, and standing seam panels allow such expansion freely. On the other hand, the screw down method does not factor in expansion and leads to screw holes widening for repair within 10 years. In short, only through standing seam roofing can you allow natural expansion and durability in your metal roofing.


As a result of superior construction, standing seam roofing systems require almost no maintenance. Despite cleaning and replacing boots and collars, these mechanically locked panels will ask little of the designer or builder. Unfortunately, the same does not support the screw down roof, which will eventually lead to screw holes, leaks, and the need for regular roof maintenance. In general, you would need a contractor every five to 10 years to replace and repair screws causing holes or tears in the roof.

Oil Canning

Since roofs expand, oil canning forms from tightly held standing seam panels, not being able to expand sideways, causing bubbling in your roof. While bubbling is a purely aesthetic problem for some that have little to do with functionality. If you ensure your panels are not seamed too closely together, you can avoid oil canning, which doesn't appear for screwed down roofs.


A standing seam metal roof requires a thicker gauge of metal and a skilled craftsman for installation. This makes the labor cost and the material cost go up, which makes a standing seam metal roof cost more than a screw down metal roof. Yes, upfront you're going to pay more. What you need to ask yourself is if almost zero maintenance and peace of mind for the next 50 years is worth the extra money.

Bottom Line: Choose Standing Seam Roof System

By looking at the costs, risks, benefits, and disadvantages of these roofing systems, you'll quickly see that standing seam roof systems are the better option for living and working spaces. If you don't mind expensive maintenance every five years from screw down holes and leaks, you might choose the quickest, cheapest option for your barn or shed. But, if you want a roof that will last years while minimizing the cost of building maintenance, you will likely choose the standing seam.

The Best Metal Roofing System for You!

You now know how these two common roofing systems for metal buildings work, how they compare, what they might cost, and which you should choose for a lasting metal building. Coast to Coast Carports manufactures the highest-quality steel buildings with great customer satisfaction and free, fast delivery. They offer 20-year warranties and massive metal building expertise to help you choose the perfect plans and materials. Contact qualified and trained design consultants from Coast to Coast Carports today at (866) 681-7846.

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