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Standing Seam Metal Roof Cost

Standing Seam Metal Roof Costs 2021 (Installation, Replacement, Pricing)

Are you looking to install a standing seam metal roof? You're in luck. I've built hundreds of roofs over my lifetime, and I'm ready to help you navigate the wild and wonderful world of roofing. From fair pricing to DIY instructions, this is everything a homeowner would ever need to know about installing a metal roof.

In this guide, I'll teach you:

  • The average cost of a metal roof
  • Why metal roofs are more expensive than other roofing materials
  • What preparation is necessary for a metal roofing installation
  • How to DIY a standing seam metal roof or fastener metal roof
  • The tools you need to approach a metal roofing installation project
  • What types of materials you'll need to install a metal roof
  • How to save some cash on your metal roofing installation

Let's dive in!

What Is The Average Cost Of Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation?

The average cost of a standing seam metal roof — including installation — is anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. You can expect to pay roughly $8 - $15 per square foot, but the type of metal, style, slope, and pitch of your roof all influence the overall cost. As an example, steel roofs and zinc roofs will generally cost less than high-grade aluminum or copper roofs. There are also some "hidden" costs that can sneak up on you. These include things like coloring, replacing the roof deck, warranties, or replacing the underlays.

Expect to pay around $2 extra per sq. ft to replace the decking and another potential $1 per sq. ft to replace the underlay if it isn't bundled into your contractor costs. I generally recommend lighter-colored metal roofs, since they reflect heat better. In fact, a darker roof can run over 50-degrees hotter in the dead of summer, so take that into consideration.

Now, if you already have a metal roof and you're looking to get it repaired, you'll pay less than a full installation. A metal roof repair (depending on the damage) will run you anywhere from $500 to $5,000. But most repairs cost around $1,200. I generally recommend having routine maintenance done to your roof around every two-year mark. But your roofing contractor will give you a more accurate estimate based on your material, gauge thickness, and overall roof construction.

Why Are Metal Roofs More Expensive Than Asphalt or Shingles?

Installing an asphalt roof will run you around $1.50 to $4 per square foot. Shingle roofs will cost a little more at around $2 to $5.50 per square foot. So, metal is significantly more expensive than other roofing systems. I go into this in a little more detail in my metal roofing post, but I want to touch on it here. Metal roofing requires more labor, skill, and time to install, and it's also a more costly material all-around. But it's usually worth it. Metal roofs made out of zinc or copper can last for over a century, and even aluminum roofs last for around 50 years on average. These roofs are resistant to high winds and they have an unparalleled lifespan.

So, if you're planning on staying in the same home for the next couple of decades, the upfront cost of metal is often worth it. It prevents you from having to install a few roofs over the lifetime of your home. Of course, properly maintained asphalt can last a long time. The problem is, most people don't properly maintain their asphalt. Check out my project guide on asphalt shingle repairs if you're looking to replace your asphalt with metal. It may help you fix your problem without having to splurge on a new roof. Metal roofing requires less maintenance and care, so it generally lasts longer.

What Preparation Is Needed for Installing Standing Seam or Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing?

As always, I'm a huge fan of DIY projects. Now, I want to give a clear warning: installing roofing is not for everyone. It's dangerous on your roof, and you need to take the proper safety precautions and have a good handle on power tools. But, if you want to save a little cash, DIY can help you cut costs.

To prepare for a metal roofing installation, you'll need the following:

  • You absolutely need a full-body harness with a fall protection system. This includes the harness, roof anchors, a shock-absorption lanyard, and a lifeline. You can see how this works via these OSHA guidelinesopens PDF file .
  • Before you purchase materials, you need an accurate and detailed measurement of your roof. To get this, you'll need to measure every single nook and cranny of your roof (e.g., flanges, gables, ridge caps, etc.). Then, you'll measure the slope of your roof (you'll need a carpenter's level). Multiply the total area measured by the slope. That's your square footage. Purchase around 10% more than you need, and make sure the roof panels are around 2 inches longer than you need — since they get bent and will also protrude a little.
  • You'll also need a hammer and some roofing insulation. When you rip off your shingles, you may need to repair some damage or pound in some nails. If your damage is extensive, you may even have to go in and completely replace the decking.
  • Finally, you'll likely have to invest in an underlay. I highly recommend a waterproof underlay. Personally, I prefer Grace Ice and Water Shield. It's extra peace-of-mind.

Check out the video below where I cover more information on the Grace Ice and Water Shield:

These three steps are required for both types of metal roofing (i.e., exposed fastener and seamless). However, the rest of the project after these three steps is a little different depending now on which type of roofing you're installing. Let's look at how you install each type. For the following guides below, I've assumed that you have measured your roof, repaired any decking damage, and laid down your underlay. I'm also going to post videos from some of my favorite builders. I think most builders are visual learners, so I'm hoping these videos will help.

How Do You Install Exposed Fastener Roofing?

1. Square Your Roof

Before you lay a single panel down, you need to square your roof. Every vertical line of your panels should run square to your eave. I recommend leaving a gap at the peak of the roof. That way, you can make any adjustments you need during the roofing process. When you walk over the metal sheets or drill them down, they often fan-out/fan-in. If you don't square your roof, you may find it difficult to put all your panels in the right spot. The easiest way to "start square" is to use chalk or a carpenter's pencil to draw squares across your inlay.

Cut Panel to Length and Add Eave Trim

Time to bust out your panels. You'll want to add roughly 1.5 to 2 inches to the end of each panel. So, if your roof calls for a 25-inch panel, you'll want to cut it to 27 inches. You want to leave some room to overhang the eave, which you'll also want to start cutting at this point. 

I recommend cutting the eaves first, putting them in place, and then measuring the metal roof panels flush to the eave. Next, add two inches to the total panel length, and cut the panels. To do this, you can draw a line on the bottom of the panel, and use a square or tape measure to draw a perfect line across the entire panel. Finally, take a circular saw to your eave panels. Here’s a handy video to break down the process to get you ready to apply sealant tape: 

Apply Sealant Tape

You should apply your sealant tape to adhere the panel to the eave. You want your tape across the entire eave. This should secure your panel to the eave. This will help it stay in place for the actual panel installation process.

Install with Exposed Fasteners

The last step is to install your panel using your fasteners. Always make sure that your panels are flush to the eave before you start drilling. I recommend drilling into the fastener strip first, which will keep the panel straight as you drill fasteners directly into the face. Try to keep your drill as vertical as possible. You want clean drills. I will say this: don't install your fasteners too tightly. You left that extra inch of space, but if you install too many tight fasteners, your metal panels will fan, which can make the entire process a pain. 

How Do Your Install Hidden Fastener (Standing Seam) Roofing?

1. Install Offset Cleat

I love standing seam metal roofing. The clean look of a flush metal roof is (in my opinion) ideal for residential homes. It looks beautiful, and it has excellent durability. Better yet, standing seam roofs don't rely on little neoprene washers to prevent leakage. Exposed fasteners are a liability. If the little washers on those fasteners fail, water has a direct entry path into your underlying structure — which is a recipe for damage and corrosion. Since standing seam roofs clip into an offset cleat instead of hanging over an eave, they're far less likely to leak.

It all begins and ends with the offset cleat (some people use the term drip edge interchangeable with offset cleat). Instead of having your panel jut out an inch past the eave — like you would on an exposed fastener roof — offset cleats keep your roof flush by fastening the panel directly into the cleat. 

2. Bend the Panel Edge

To get your metal roofing panels clipped to the offset cleat, you need to cut along the spine on both sides of the panel, bend the standing seam panel under the offset cleat, and then close the rib. 

3. Install with Hidden Fasteners

Finally, you simply need to fasten the roof along the fastener line. It's really that simple. You can take a hammer to the cleat bend if it's not straight. But you only need to do this if you bent the fastener manually.

What Are The Tools Needed to Install Metal Roofing?

Let's quickly look at some of the tools you'll need to DIY a metal roofing installation.

Remember, tools are only one part of the puzzle. You need to know how to use them correctly. Believe it or not, something as simple as drilling a hole can actually get a little complicated. If you're new to any of this, check out some guides on my YouTube channel. Don't go into this blind. I have plenty of free advice in those videos, and I give you some insights into my decades of building experience.

What Additional Materials Will You Need For Metal Roofing Installation?

Before you start measuring, buckling up your harness, or busting out your handy tape measure, you need a few must-have materials. The biggest one is underlayment. You absolutely must put down new underlayment before you put down your metal roof. Failing to lay down underlayment is like driving a new Porsche on bald tires. It doesn't make any sense.

I also strongly suggest a good pair of work boots. KEEN boots seem to be the best fit for my foot, but everyone is different. So, you should try some on at your local store if possible. Also, grab a pair of work gloves and some safety sunglasses. Laying down roofing is tedious and can rip up your palms. Plus, you don't want any sparks or debris flying into your eyeballs. In general, try to dress safely. Don't underestimate the danger and roughness of roofing.

How To Save Money On Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation?

There are two ways to save money on metal roof installations.

  1. DIY your installation
  2. Get installers to compete on your project

The guide above should help you with DIY. Remember, DIY isn't always cheaper. If you have no existing tools, it may cost you more to complete this project solo. However, you get to keep the tools, so that's always a win. For those of you who want to have a roofing professional install your roof, I highly recommend posting your job online and having them bid for it. Contacting your local roofer is great. But how do you know if they're giving you a fair price? When you make roofers compete, they'll often give you a better overall deal.



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