Design Definitions: Understanding the Basics of Metal Roofing Styles

Metal roofing comes in a wide variety of styles, colors and designs. When choosing, it can be difficult for homeowners to decipher the meaning behind the industry terminology that gets tossed around.

That’s especially true given that quality metal roofs are designed to last 50-plus years. Since it’s a decision that often gets made just once in a lifetime, homeowners may not be as familiar with the array of choices potentially available to them.

“There are so many great metal roofing styles available to homeowners,” said Renee Ramey, Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) Executive Director. “By offering excellent curb appeal options combined with performance advantages, it’s no wonder residential metal roofing has boomed in popularity in recent years.”

To help shed light on the most popular categories of residential metal roofing styles, the MRA offers four basic design category definitions:

Standing seam metal roofs

Standing seam is typically what comes to mind for most homeowners when they think metal roofs. With smooth panels connected by raised seams, this design offers a clean, sleek look. Standing seam metal roofs are installed with smooth interlocking panels connected either using concealed fasteners or are snap-locked into place and then mechanically seamed, making them watertight and virtually impervious. Standing seam roofs can be left natural or painted with high performance coatings that come in a huge array of colors and hues. They also can be installed over old asphalt shingles, which offers better sustainability and savings to homeowners.

Modular panel metal roofs

Modular metal roofing panels are masters of mimicry: they are stamped, formed or patterned to look like other roofing materials but they offer all the longevity, strong performance and low maintenance benefits of metal. Modular panels can mimic traditional shake, clay tiles, slate and shingles. They are a great solution for homeowners who want a particular look or style, but don’t want the drawbacks and disadvantages that come with other types of roofing materials.

Stone coated metal roofs

Stone coated metal roofs are a particular type of modular metal roofs. Starting with a base layer of metal (typically steel), the specially-primed roofing panels are first coated with an acrylic polymer adhesive and then the granular stone coating is applied, bonding the two. Finally, a clear coat sealer is applied over the top for extra protection.

Stone coated metal roofs mimic traditional shingles so closely, they can fit within certain neighborhood design requirements while offering far better protection and performance as compared to asphalt.

Exposed fastener metal roofs

Exposed fastener metal roofs often have a corrugated profile and are usually made from steel, using a simple overlap to connect the panels. As the name suggests, the screws or fasteners that connect the panels are visible to the eye.