26 April 2021

Common Uses of Steel Roofs

Steel roofs have the reputation of being used only on large industrial or commercial structures. While it is true that steel is a good choice for this application, steel roofing goes far beyond this with its use in homes, architectural buildings, and agricultural structures. Let's go over the more common uses and structures to look for the next time you're in your city.

Commercial Building

One of the biggest reasons steel roofing is generally chosen in commercial building applications is because of its superior weather resistance to wind and water, especially in areas where hurricanes or other tropical weather are a concern. Even when the structure isn't in a tropical location, steel roofs give business and building owners the peace of mind that their roof will last a long time and won't need constant maintenance. General Use: Hospital, School and University, Church, Government Building, Military Building, Restaurant, Shop, Office, Hotel, Building, Transportation, Residential


Since a steel roof started out as a coil or sheet metal, it has the ability to be shaped and cut into a wide variety of shapes, sizes and lengths. This variety, along with its durability, variety of colors, and eco-friendly qualities, provides architects with many benefits to use metal roofing to create aesthetically pleasing structures.


Have you ever been in a warehouse, factory, or other industrial building where you looked and saw a steel roof from the inside? This is a good example of a structural steel roof, where metal panels are mounted on top of an open framing or to a long structure attached directly to the frame or purlins (additional support beams are added to the roof frame).


Types of Steel Roofing Materials

Steel is a very broad term for roofing, especially since there are nearly 100 metals on the periodic table of elements. Some of the most commonly used steel roofing materials in industry are: Galvalume coated steel, Galvanized steel, stainless steel, Aluminum, Zincalume steel, Copper. All of these metals are good choices, but there are distinct drawbacks and advantages associated with each. Make sure you read the metal roofing material options to determine what is best for your location, style and needs.

Steel Roof Panel Style

1. Standing Seam

Standing seam metaling refers to metal panels that are intertwined at the edges to form a seam, which stands vertically. A true Standing Seam system uses a hidden fastening method of fixing, which means clips and fasteners are hidden under the surface and out of sight of the naked eye. This is what sets it apart from all other metal roofing. Steel roofs of this type are considered to be the superior and better protected option when compared to exposed bonding metal roofs.

2. Exposed Fastener

Steel roof exposed fasteners, considered a cheaper and more economical option, are installed with the fastening heads visible at the top of the panels. When the exposed roof straps are installed, the straps will directly penetrate the metal and enter the roof deck. Classically exposed fasteners have been used in agricultural or industrial applications.

3. Profile Stamped

If you like the look of tile or a more textured surface but still want the longevity, cost and durability of steel offering, it's possible with profiled metal tile. There are many shape options to choose from, including: Corrugated, Shingle roof, Tile, Steel Roof Panel Joint Type

4. Snap-lock

Metal roof panels that have been carefully rollformed with the edges of specific panel profiles that stick together and require no hand or mechanical stitching during installation. Lock seam seams tend to be a little more popular in the roofing industry because they are engineered to defend against the elements while making installation a little easier on contractors.

5. Mechanical Seam

Mechanical seam panels are also rollformed with specific edges parallel to each other in the roof. After the two edges are joined, a hand or mechanical seamer is used to bend the edges and lock the panels together. The joints that are locked resemble the shape of a paper clip. There are two types of mechanical seaming:

- Single Lock / 90 degree connection-One fold connection

- Double lock / 180 degree joint.-Two fold joint

6. Tee panel

A type of standing joint in which the two edges of the panels are joined and connected at the top with a cap, which are then mechanically fixed in place to lock the panels together. After the seaming is complete, the top of the joint stands in a “T” shape.

7. Exposed Fastener Lap Seam

Exposure lap seam is when the overlapping edges of the lap panel are fastened to the deck from the top of the panel.

8. Steel Roof Panel Rib Panels

Rib rollers are "pattern" or striations rollformed into steel roof panels between the layers. It can be used to aid in mounting a steel roof or simply for curb appeal. Common rib rollers include:

- Flat - No indentation between joints

- Ribbed - Multiple shapes or grooves between joints

- V-Ribs - indented "V" shaped panels

- Bead - Indents longer rectangular panels

- Pencil - Curved circular panels

- Striated - Consistent small indent lines on the panels (can help reduce oil canning)

- Wavy - Waves a larger and more constant metal panel

- Clip relief - Rigid ribs adjacent to the joint that allow room for clips

Steel roof thickness

Metal coils rolled into panels for steel roofing come in a variety of thicknesses. Standing seam metal roofs come in a variety of thicknesses (usually between 22 and 26 gauge) with the most common steel thickness being 24 gauge and aluminum between 0.032 and 0.040 inch. For facial fixing systems, 26 or 29 gauge materials are usually used.

Color and Steel Roof Coverings

Having control over the color and overall appearance of your structure is one of the most attractive parts of choosing a steel roof. Due to the growing demand for bright and earthy colors in roofing systems, paint companies, such as ColorBond, are creating tested and proven paint systems that add style to home exteriors while still reducing chalk, fading, chipping, and other colors. In addition to each color in the rainbow being a steel roofing option, you can even custom order the finish of your choice. If you want a blue roof with a matte finish, that's possible. Or if you want a red roof with a glossy finish, that's also possible.