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How Proper Fastening Affects Metal Panel’s Performance

Fastening feature image

Whether you’re using metal panels for roofing or siding, making sure they are fastened properly is crucial to their performance. Ensuring your panels are fastened right helps metal roofing and siding last as long as possible, keeps them safe from adverse weather conditions, and contributes to their overall effectiveness.

Fastening Overview

In terms of metal panels, fastening refers to securing metal panels to a substrate or any other type of material underneath them. Fasteners themselves are any of the hardware used to secure the panels, which can include screws, clips, nails, etc. 

Metal panels are either categorized as concealed fastener systems or exposed fastener systems. Concealed means that once the panels are completely installed, the hardware is unable to be seen — so it’s actually underneath the panels and out of sight. Exposed means that after installation is complete, the hardware is still able to be seen, which means that the hardware is driven directly through the panels on top of them and is visible post-installation.

Impact on Performance

A metal panel’s performance depends heavily on the correct installation of its fasteners. Fasteners affect how well roofing and siding perform against water penetration, wind uplift, and other elements. Without proper fastening, a metal roof is more susceptible to wind uplift and water penetration. For example, if screws are not driven in far enough (or underdriven), both elements can seep into the hardware and reach the substrate beneath. This can cause unwanted water damage or cause wind to get beneath the panels more easily. 

Making sure your screws are installed correctly also helps a metal roof or siding last as long as possible. Overdriving your fasteners can actually cause the washers beneath to have so much stress put on them that they “explode” out the sides. This exposes them to the sun’s Ultraviolet, which can degrade them and cause them to start cracking. This deterioration can lead to an increased chance of your panel’s being subjected to water damage. Driving your fasteners in too far can also decrease metal’s natural ability to flex and adapt with changing temperatures. Metal needs to be able to expand and contract as temperatures change throughout the day. When a screw is driven in too tightly, this ability is lessened. 

Overall, fasteners may seem like a tiny component of a metal roofing or siding system, but they play a huge part in the entire end result. Proper fastening is crucial to the high-performance and structural stability of metal.

Residential metal siding using corrugated metal siding

Fastening Tips

Proper fastening is crucial to a metal panel’s performance. It helps extend the lifespan, keep water and moisture out, and keeps it performing as best as possible. Installing your fasteners correctly is one of the best ways to make sure they’re able to perform well. Here are a few tips to follow when fastening:

Avoid Overdriving — Driving fasteners in too tightly or too far can actually be very damaging to your panels. It puts unnecessary stress on them, and can actually crush or dimple the metal. Overdriving can also actually strip your screws and make them less effective. You want to make sure you’re driving them in enough to reach the substrate, but not overdriving them so much that it’s putting extra pressure on the panels.

Avoid Underdriving — If you don’t drive the fasteners far enough in, elements like water and wind can get into the panels more easily. You want to make sure you’re securing them far enough into the substrate underneath for ultimate performance.

Correct Angling — The angle you’re driving the fasteners in at also affects the way they perform. You want to make sure you’re going in at a vertical, straight angle that’s in the direct center. If you’re off-center or going in at an angle, water and wind can get beneath the panels more easily.

Initial Contact — Rather than stabbing the tip of your screw into the panel, just let the drill you’re using do the work. The first initial contact your fastener has with the material below should be “natural” in order to avoid damaging the tips of screws. Stabbing into the material can actually cause your screws to reject and not even go into the panels. Just let the drill drive into the metal naturally.

Proper fastening is essential for maximizing the performance and lifespan of your metal siding. For more latest detailed guidance, consult with a product specialist.

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