Knowing the different types of Metal Roofs - "Exposed" vs "Hidden" Fasteners

Residential metal roofs come in a wide variety of styles and colors. The two main panel styles are:

  • Panels with glued granules
  • Painted panels

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Metal roof panels with glued granules

The granules glued to the metal panels may also be commonly referred to as ‘stone coated steel.’

These extremely common systems are pre-formed panels that are 4 feet long and 2 feet wide. They are commonly attached to a horizontal wood grid system placed on the roof. The two stone coated steel roof manufactures are Decra and Boral Steel.

Painted Metal Panel Roof

The painted metal panel systems are typically installed vertically, running up the entire slope of the roof—from the eve/gutter to the peak of the roof.

Metal Roof Installation

There are two main ways to install painted metal panels—with exposed fasteners or with concealed fasteners.

Wondering how your roof was installed?   

To determine which method has been used during installation, you should look to see if the metal panels have exposed screws to hold the metal panels to the roof deck. If there are no exposed screws, then the panel utilizes a hidden fastener.

Metal Roofs with Exposed Fasteners - Pros and Cons

Exposed fasteners are better suited for larger industrial and commercial buildings but can also be used for residential roofs.

A bigger advantage of using exposed fasteners to install the metal panels is that they are more economical, which can reduce your overall roof investment.   

The downside to using the exposed fasteners is that they require more maintenance. Over time the screws holding down the fastener will work themselves up. It is recommended that exposed fasteners be tightened every three to five years and keep in mind that there may be thousands of fasteners used in a single roof, so plan time accordingly.   

In addition to needed maintenance, exposed fastener are more susceptible to general wear and tear or weathering. You may need to replace some exposed fasteners over time.   

This may happen over a period of several years due to expansion and contraction of the materials. Tightening these screws down should generally need to take place about every years and there may thousands of fasteners used in a single roof.

Metal Roofs with Hidden Fasteners - Pros and Cons

The hidden fastener panel systems tend to be more expensive. However, in most cases they do not require as much maintenance as exposed fasteners. For example, they do not need to be screwed back down over time, because there is almost no room for expansion or contraction, which improves the overall roof durability.   

They are also a more aesthetically pleasing option to go with. These types of systems can be expected to last between 15 to 20 years and come with a more robust warranty.

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Things to Consider Before Installing a Metal Roof

When considering a metal roof for your home it is important to take into account the type of weather the roof will be exposed to.   

If you live in an area with snow and/or freezing conditions, such as Colorado and Wyoming, then it is critical to consider the roof design.   

If the roof’s slope is facing in a way that allows for ice and snow to shed on top a walkway or in front of a garage door, then metal roof panels are not the best choice. Ice and snow sliding off a roof is a considerable hazard.   

To find out more about other options visit our materials page.

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