Cost of Standing Seam Metal Roof (2022 Guide)

By Dan Simms

If you’re shopping for a new roof, you might have come across standing seam roofs and been shocked at the exorbitant prices. Before you disregard standing seam as too expensive, check out this guide. Below, we explain why standing seam roofs are more expensive than other kinds of roofs and break down the factors that determine the cost of a standing seam roof.

When you factor in longevity, durability, and ROI, standing seam roofs become competitive with other roofing systems and wind up being cheaper in the long run. Keep reading to learn why.

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Standing Seam Metal Roof Pros and Cons

Standing seam roofing has many advantages over more common roof types and a few glaring disadvantages. Whether or not standing seam is right for you depends on how you weigh its pros and cons and is heavily influenced by where you live and your financial situation.

Pros

  • The ROI on a standing seam roof is significantly higher than most other metal roofing systems. Homeowners routinely recoup between 70% and 90% of their investment when they sell.
  • Standing seam roofs outlast most other kinds of roofs, saving you money and the hassle of repairs and replacements. They can easily last 50 years in unforgiving environments and up to 75 years in an average climate.
  • Metal roofs are more energy efficient, especially in hot climates, where they can help reduce your cooling costs.
  • They offer better protection against leaks and water damage.
  • Installing solar panels is easier on standing seam roofs since the raised seams provide natural attachment points without the need for drilling holes in your roof.
  • Standing seam roofs come in a wider array of color options than other roof types.
  • Metal roofs are the most fire-resistant and have more corrosion resistance than most roofing options.
  • The high-end options usually come with generous roof warranties.

Cons

  • The biggest disadvantage of standing seam is the high upfront cost. The cost of metal roofing materials far outstrips the cost of a basic asphalt shingle roof.
  • Not all roofers are qualified to install a standing seam roof. This gives you fewer options when selecting a roofing company and generally drives the price up. Metal roof installation is also more expensive than regular roof installation.
  • On a similar note, you might discover that there aren’t any roofing companies in your area that install standing seam roofs. This is especially common in regions where standing seam roofs aren’t the norm.
  • They still need ongoing maintenance every 25–30 years, so you can’t install one and forget about it for 75 years.
  • Considerably more expensive than other metal options like metal shingles and corrugated metal roofing.
  • Impossible to DIY for the average person.
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Standing Seam Metal Roof Cost Guide

The biggest drawback to a standing seam roof is the upfront cost. However, they are often cheaper in the long run, offering substantial savings for people who can comfortably absorb the steep initial price. Here’s a look at the factors that determine how much it will cost to install a standing seam roof.

Standing Seam Roof Metal

The most obvious factor that affects the cost of standing seam is the type of metal used. Most residential standing seam roofs use steel or aluminum. These metals are much cheaper than alternatives like copper and zinc but require special coatings to protect them from the elements and prevent corrosion over time.

Steel roofs are often galvanized, which means they’re coated with a protective layer of zinc to protect them from wear and decay. Galvalume is a similar process that uses a mixture of aluminum and zinc instead of pure zinc. Galvalume and galvanized steel roofs are often similarly priced, but galvalume is usually the better deal because it lasts longer.

Thickness or Gauge

In general, thicker metal roofs are more expensive but offer more protection and last longer than thinner roofs. When assessing roof thickness in terms of gauge numbers, lower is thicker, so 22-gauge steel is thicker than 24-gauge steel, for example. Using thicker steel is usually a good idea since it’s not much more expensive and increases durability.

Your Roof’s Square Footage

The size of your roof plays an important part in determining the total cost of a standing seam roof. Larger roofs require more material, making them more expensive than smaller roofs. Standing seam roofs cost between $10.00 and $20.00 per sq. ft — that’s a price range of $1,000–$2,000 per square if you’re familiar with roofing terminology. These estimates include the labor cost; the raw materials make up approximately half of this cost.

Locking Mechanism

Standing seam roofs can have two different designs for how the individual standing seam metal panels join: snap-locked or mechanically-locked. Snap-locked roofs are cheaper but are not as resilient as mechanically-locked roofs. The tradeoff is that installing a mechanically-locked roof requires special equipment and an experienced technician, making them more costly.

Standing Seam vs. Regular Metal Roof Cost

Combining the factors from the previous section and assuming an average home with a 1,500–2,000 square foot roof, the total average cost of installing a standing seam roof is about $20,000–$35,000.

A regular metal roof with exposed fasteners is much cheaper than a standing seam roof but also less durable. Regular metal roofs usually cost between $12,000 and $20,000, making standing seam roughly 50% more expensive.

Cost of Standing Seam vs. Other Roofing Materials

Standing seam is generally the most expensive type of roof you’ll see in a residential home, with asphalt shingles, clay tiles, and wood usually being far more common in most areas.  Here’s how the cost of a standing seam roof compares to the cost of a roof made from other roofing materials.

  • 3-tab asphalt: $5,000–$8,000
  • Wood: $8,000–$12,000
  • Clay: $15,000–$23,000
  • Slate: $5,000–$8,000
  • Standing Seam: $20,000–$35,000
  • Solar shingles: $60,000–$75,000

Why is Standing Seam so Expensive?

More than 50% of the cost of a standing seam roof comes from labor. Installing a standing seam roof requires experience and specialized tools that many roofing companies don’t have. This leads to a lack of supply of experienced roofers, which leads to higher prices.

Even though the materials are less than half the cost of a standing seam roof, metal is more expensive than other materials like asphalt shingles. This is especially the case if you choose a more expensive option like zinc or copper roofing, but even galvanized steel or galvalume steel will cost you more in materials than simply picking up a few bundles of asphalt shingles from your local hardware store.

How to Save Money on Standing Seam Roofs

If money is tight and you don’t have a sizable budget available for a new roof, a standing seam roof probably isn’t your best option. However, it is possible to save money and still reap most of the benefits of a standing seam roof.

Choose Galvanized Steel or Galvalume

Choosing galvanized steel or galvalume for your standing seam room is going to reduce the cost of materials substantially compared to zinc or copper without sacrificing most of the protection you get from the more expensive materials.

Go With Snap-locking Instead of Mechanically-Locking Panels

Mechanically-locked standing seam offers superior resistance to extreme weather like high winds, but snap-lock roofs are still better than a regular metal roof. Snap-locking standing seam takes less time to install and doesn’t require special equipment, making it more affordable.

Choose a Thinner Gauge

Using 24-gauge or 26-gauge steel will help keep costs down compared with thicker 22-gauge steel. However, the savings from using a thinner gauge won’t be as significant as using a different material or choosing snap-locked roofing panels. Additionally, thinner roofs offer noticeably inferior protection compared to thicker roofs, so only consider downgrading the gauge if money is especially tight.

Why Choose Standing Seam for Your New Roof

Standing seam roofs are three to five times more expensive than asphalt shingle roofs, making it hard to justify for many people. However, a standing seam roof often winds up being more affordable in the long run, making it a great choice — if you can stomach the initial sticker shock.

Consider that most people never have to replace a standing seam roof once they have one installed. Over 60 years, the one-time $30,000 cost of a standing seam roof doesn’t seem so bad when you realize that you might have to replace an asphalt roof two or three times over the same span.

A standing seam roof is also easier to maintain, withstands high winds better, and gives you a better ROI than most other roof types — even other types of metal roofing. If you can look past the high upfront cost, a standing seam roof is an excellent investment that will pay for itself in time.

Additional Standing Seam Roofing Costs

Materials and labor make up the bulk of the cost of installing a standing seam roof, but there are other factors to consider.

First, any roofing contractor will charge you to remove your old roof. These costs are usually included in the quote a company will give you, but it’s worth asking to avoid any surprises. You don’t want to find out after the fact that you were charged for removing your existing roof.

Second, even though standing seam roofs are easy to maintain, they still need regular maintenance. Seasonal cleaning is a must to prevent any deposits from degrading your roof. Luckily, mold, moss, and mildew — common problems for other roofing materials — are usually not an issue for standing seam roofs. More important than yearly cleaning is recoating your roof every 20–30 years, depending on how corrosive the environment is where you live.

Finally, even metal roofs can experience damage from natural disasters and weather, so you might have to pay for repairs down the line. Hail has been known to dent metal roofs, and improper care when walking on a standing seam roof may also cause it to deform. These costs are hard to predict but should be considered before you purchase a standing seam roof.

Key Takeaways

Overall, standing seam roofs are excellent investments that give your home better protection against the elements, an unparalleled ROI should you decide to sell your home down the road, and freedom from frequent replacements due to their incredible longevity. Standing seam roofs would be more popular if they were cheap since many homeowners who would otherwise choose one can’t afford to cover the high installation costs.

Still, if you factor in the money you’ll save on repairs and roof replacements over the years, the price gap between an asphalt shingle roof and a standing seam roof closes. If you have the cash on hand and can afford to plan for the long run, a standing seam roof is an excellent choice.

Find Local Roofing Services

  • Free estimates based on your roof, no phone call required
  • Typically costs between $1–$25 per square foot
  • Get your quote in 30 seconds

Frequently Asked Questions

Is standing seam a good investment?

Yes, absolutely. Standing seam roofs hold their value over decades, with most people recovering between 70% and 90% of their investment when they sell their home. This is unheard of with other roofing materials, and a standing seam roof that’s been well-cared-for is a selling point. Thankfully, metal roofing panels are very low-maintenance, making it easy to keep a new metal roof in good condition.

What is the ROI for a metal roof?

Most people can expect to recoup between 70% and 90% of the cost of a standing seam roof when they eventually sell. Standing seam roofs have outstanding durability and are long-lasting, increasing the resale value of any home that has one.

How long do standing seam metal roofs last?

Most standing seam roofs will last for at least 50 years, even in harsh climates. The salty, humid air in coastal regions presents the biggest challenge to standing seam roofs but is easily manageable with regular maintenance. In an average climate, standing seam roofs have even longer lifespans, with many homeowners getting upwards of 75 years out of them.

House Method Roofing Methodology (Roofing Type)

Arranging for a home repair of this scale is going to be a fairly involved project. If you haven’t conducted renovations like this – either via a contractor or on your own – then it can be a bit overwhelming. At House Method, we pride ourselves on being able to take all of the guesswork out of the equation for you.

We’ve thoroughly evaluated each roofing type to make your selection process easier. Through exhaustive research into hundreds of different roofing providers throughout the United States and analyses of thousands of individual homeowner experiences, we’ve broken our roof rating system down into the following categories.

All roofs receive an aggregate rating between (0.0) and (1.0). This rating is comprised of six key evaluation criteria, which we’ve outlined below. The rating between (0.0) and (1.0) will correspond to a secondary rating out of five stars, which is displayed more visibly in our articles across this category.

  • Durability (.40): With roofs being constantly exposed to the elements, different materials’ relative durability is a key metric that must be considered. If you’re planning on conducting such an extensive upgrade to your home, then your roof’s expected lifespan should be among your primary concerns. We’ve weighed the relative effectiveness of all roofing materials, from asphalt shingles to corrugated metal roofing from different manufacturers in order to determine the most long-lasting options.
  • Cost (.25):The nationwide average cost for replacing a 1,500-square-foot roof falls between $6,500 and $16,000. Across the board, you should expect to pay between $4 and $11 per square foot of roofing material. This range will account for your location, material choice and availability, ease of access to and installation of your roof, and far more.
  • Contractor Availability (.13): Different roofing contractors in different locales will have varied service offerings. For example, not all roofers are equipped with the requisite skillset and knowledge to install metal roofing. Depending on the kind of roof you want to have installed, your contractor options may be somewhat limited.
  • Warranty Offerings (.12): Aside from workmanship warranties, many roofing manufacturers will offer warranties for the panels themselves. Structural failure should be covered by any manufacturing firm for at least 10 years after the installation has been completed, at the panel or shingle’s full value. We grade each roofing type by standard warranty offerings to ensure that you’re covered in this case.
  • Ease of Future Maintenance and Upgrades (.05): You should always have contingency plans after any home upgrade. Maintenance is inevitable, no matter the material you use. Whether you’re installing solar panels on a functional existing roof, or are simply replacing a defective panel or shingle, certain materials will be easier to work with than others. Typically, less durable materials will score higher in this category due to their better pliability and workability.
  • Customization Options (.05): Any exterior and visible home upgrade is going to have an aesthetic element, aside from functionality. A roof replacement should be an upgrade to the curb appeal of your home. Different types of roofing materials will have varying numbers of style and color options, which factor into our rating.

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