Exposed Fastener vs Standing Seam

When selecting a metal roof, standing seam and exposed fastener panels are two options that you will choose from. Both panels are great options, but they can be very different in terms of aesthetics and cost.

Exposed Fastener Metal Roof Panels

An exposed fastener roof system consists of panels that are fastened to the substrate directly on the face of the metal without hiding the heads of the screws. The screw heads can be purchased in colors to match the panels.

Exposed fastener panels are the most economical option and are typically installed over solid decking or wood framing.

An exposed fastener metal panel uses a foam closure at the eave (lowside) and ridge (highside). It can be easier to install than the metal closure that standing seam uses because foam closures are pre-formed to fit the panel profile.

standing seam

When it comes to paint, most exposed fastener systems use Metal Sales MS Colorfast45 paint. This Siliconized Modified Polyester paint system has a 45 year warranty and is highly resistant to fade and chalk.


Standing Seam Metal Roof Panels

Standing seam, also known as concealed fasteners, are designed to conceal the fastener below the surface of the panel. It uses either using a clip or fastening flange system. This hidden fastener eliminates the issues related to faulty or improperly fastened exposed systems.

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.

Some standing seam panels profiles are available in MS Colorfast. Panels in heavier gauges 24 and up are coated in a PVDF (Kynar 500) finish. Both carry a 45 year finish warranty but PVDF is even more resistant to fade and chalk.

While material and finish warranties are similar, most standing seam systems are superior due to their concealed fastener design, heavier gauges, better paint system and the option to add a weathertight warranty to select profiles.


Cost is the primary benefit of exposed fastener panels. Exposed fastener roofs are less expensive than standing seam systems. Lower cost comes from the fact that these roofs are manufactured with thinner gauge and wider-dimensioned panels, reducing material handling aspects of installation. Typically, exposed fastener panels are 36” wide, which means that fewer panels and less labor will be necessary to complete your project.

If you would like to speak with someone within Metal Sales to see what is right for your next project, please contact one of our 21 branches.

About Metal Sales

Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation is the premier nationwide provider of metal panels for the construction industry. Metal Sales works with architectural specifiers and commercial construction professionals to create inspirational design solutions. With the industry’s largest and most knowledgeable sales and technical support team, Metal Sales has the expertise to address today’s challenges in high-performance, sustainable and Net-Zero building. Metal Sales has outreach around the world. Delivering outstanding roof, wall and fascia metal panels from its 21 facilities throughout the U.S.

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