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Corrugated vs. Standing Seam Metal Roofing: Performance, Cost, and Aesthetic Showdown

Corrugated VS Standing Seam

While both roofing panels have their advantages, when choosing between corrugated roofing or a standing seam metal roof a few key performance features need to be considered. Corrugated metal panels have been tried and tested for decades around the world. One of the first designed metal roofing panels, these systems are also some of the most structural and durable of any panel profile. Standing seam panels also offer exceptional performance, and are sometimes preferred for their sleek minimal appearances.

Corrugated Metal Roofing

A corrugated metal roofing panel can describe a wide range of looks. A repeating corrugated pattern is all that defines a corrugated metal panel. For this discussion we are going to focus on wave corrugated, as this is often the first panel people think of when talking about a corrugated panel. This repeating wave creates an incredibly strong panel and is very often used in areas where affordable, yet durable roofing panels are needed. For this reason, you often see corrugated metal panels in tropical hurricane zones, or in high-wind regions.

Corrugated metal roofing almost always uses an exposed fastener system, meaning the screws that hold the panel to the substrate or framing are exposed to the weather. Exposed fastener panel systems often install very quickly but do require the occasional inspection (3-5 years) to ensure that the washers are intact and that the fasteners have not loosened over time.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

A standing seam metal roof offers a range of advantages over corrugated metal panel profiles. The panels are often preferred from an aesthetic point of view as their sleek lines are commonly used in high-end residential and commercial projects. Standing seam, or standing rib panels, are usually heavily tested and have excellent performance characteristics. While both corrugated metal roofing and standing seam roofing have engineered solar and snow retention options, standing seam roofing is usually preferred as the base for these roofing accessories.

A crucial difference between corrugated metal roofing and standing seam metal roofing is the fastening system of a standing seam profile. Standing seam panels are designed to conceal the fastener below the surface of the panel, either using a clip or nail flange system. This hidden fastener eliminates the issues related to faulty or improperly fastened exposed systems.

Cost Comparison

Steel, Copper, Zinc and Aluminum are all commonly used material for metal roofing, and pricing for these metals can vary depending on current market prices. For roofing panels, the raw materials are formed into large flat sheet coils which are then ran through a roll-former. The width of the panel can greatly affect the overall price, depending on the amount of waste created from making the finished product.

Corrugated roofing panels often have little to no wasted material from the base coil, and do not require slitting down to a smaller coil width. For this reason, a corrugated panel is often less expensive than a standing seam panel, although this can vary depending on the profile. As an exposed fastener panel, corrugated also has the advantage of a faster installation time than a standing seam panel in most cases.


Overall, both panel types perform well as roofing systems depending on your needs and desired appearance. In Europe and North America, standing seam metal roofing is commonly thought of as a more modern look, while in the pacific regions corrugated metal roofing is commonly seen in modern designs. Both systems perform well, depending on the specific panel chosen, in a variety of weather conditions. While tested, standing seam panels can handle similar wind loads as corrugated roofing panels, however, other weather like hail is better handled by the repeating pattern of a corrugated panel.

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