Posted by Sheri Koones, Contributor on Forbes.com
Years ago, standing seam metal roofs were most often seen on commercial and agricultural buildings. However, in the last several years, they have become increasingly popular on homes. There are multiple reasons for this increase in popularity. Many people are not only more concerned about the environment, many homeowners want to reduce maintenance on their home and care about the longevity of their roof.
This New England Farmhouse, in Concord, MA, has the beautiful traditional lines of a farmhouse but all the modern technology and materials available today. The standing seam roof adds a striking look to this stately house. PHOTO COURTESY OF ERIC ROTH FOR PREFABULOUS + ALMOST OFF THE GRID, PUBLISHED BY ABRAMS
Standing-seam panels run vertically, from the roof ridge to the eaves, and are interlocked with raised, overlapping seams or “legs” raised above the flat surfaces. These legs are interlocked in a variety of different configurations. One of the advantages of these systems is that the locking systems are hidden and protected from the infiltration of moisture, and wind and other harsh elements.
This Freeport, Maine house was designed/built by Go Logic using structural insulated panels (SIPs). The standing seam metal roof is just one of the many green features in this very energy efficient house. PHOTO COURTESY OF TRENT BELL FOR PREFABULOUS SMALL HOUSES, PUBLISHED BY TAUNTON PRESS
Standing seam roofs come in a variety of colors, materials, widths, shapes, thicknesses and connection types. Panels can be pre-formed in the factory or cut on-site.
The most commonly used materials for standing metal roofs are steel, (particularly because it is the most cost efficient) and aluminum, which is best in coastal areas, with high concentrations of salt in the environment. Aluminum is less likely to rust or corrode in this type location. Copper and zinc are other metal options which can last for hundreds of years, however they are also much more costly. Metal is one of the most environmentally friendly materials used for roofing. A significant proportion of the raw materials have recycled content, varying from 35% to 95%. This is unlike asphalt, which generally ends up in a landfill.
This highly efficient modular home was designed by New World Homes and manufactured by Signature Building Systems. This house with very classic design has many energy saving features and other green features including a standing seam roof. PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILIP JENSEN-CARTER FOR PREFABULOUS AND ALMOST OFF THE GRID
Unlike asphalt roofing which generally ends up in the landfill, metal is recyclable over and over again. It is one of the most recyclable and durable materials in the world. Metal also requires minimal maintenance and can last for over 50 years.
Standing seam roofs are not only low-maintenance and long-lasting, they are also fire-resistant and cost-effective. They can be installed over existing roofing, reducing the amount of debris going into landfills. If effectively coated with a zinc- aluminum alloy, metal roofs resist corrosion and last nearly indefinitely. Galvalume, for example has a 55 percent aluminum and 45 percent zinc alloy bonded to its steel base. Highly reflective paints, factory-applied to the surface, reflect sunlight and reduces heat transmission into the house in summer. The benefit of metal roofing is the heat-reflective coatings that reflect radiant heat away in the summer, reducing the attic temperature, which in turn reduces the air conditioning load inside the living space.
The Morris Island House is a timber frame/panelized house designed by architect Jeff Armstrong/DAC International on Morris Island in Ontario. This house was also built with the most efficient technology including a standing seam roof and photovoltaic. PHOTO COURTESY OF MATHIEU GIRARD/STUDIO VERSA FOR PREFABULOUS WORLD, PUBLISHED BY ABRAMS
And though it may seem strange, steel roofs weigh less than half as much as asphalt shingles, though they provide greater protection against snow, wind, ice, fire, and hail. Metal roofing will not crack, warp or rot.
Many recent homeowners are choosing this option, not only for the practicality and many advantages but also the modern look it gives to the house.
For additional information on standing seam roofs check the site of the Metal Roofing Alliance.