The Right Way to Choose a Standing Seam (Metal) Roof

Woodlane Properties

I recently worked with an eDesign client who had to replace their existing roof due to hurricane damage. This time they were choosing a standing seam (metal) roof because it’s more durable.

My recommendation was to go with a lighter colour because it would de-emphasize the not-so-fabulous roof lines of their house. Standing seam roofs are somewhat reflective and can look really airy in lighter colours disappearing into the sky.

What style of home looks good with a standing seam roof?

There does seem to be a trend towards installing more standing seam metal roofs. When I started writing this post, I was going to say that this style of roof is too modern for a traditional home. It used to be that you would not typically see them on a conventional home.

But it works, as it turns out, on a case by case basis. The main reason you don’t see a lot of standing seam (metal) roofs in the residential world is simply because they are expensive.

I will say that it is a more modern looking material. But once you get used to something in a new context it can begin to feel right. This is how smart trends sometimes evolve into new classics. Standing seam roofs are attractive because they look clean, solid and high end.

One trend that has really embraced the standing seam roof is the modern farmhouse style. It works well with the simple and practical elements of the aesthetic (below). And metal roofing is more common in rural areas, so the context feels right as well.

Here is an interesting article about how standing seam roofing is beginning to trend in residential and urban neighborhoods.

Bannister Custom Homes

Using a standing seam roof as an accent

On a traditional home, they are often used as an accent over a portico or porch with the rest of the roof being asphalt or cedar like this house below.

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Here is a more decorative version of the idea (below). They are also often used on a french country home over a bay window.

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This copper one is especially pretty I think (below). They have repeated it with copper gutters and downspouts for a timeless high end look.

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Standing seam roofs are often installed on these smaller porch overhang areas because the pitch is too shallow to use anything else.

The important thing to notice is when a standing seam roof is incorporated as an accent material in this way, it looks best if the colour relates quite closely to the main roof. The interest is the subtle shift in material and texture, not a random colour thrown in. It rarely works to throw in a black metal accent roof when your shingles are brown or light gray for example.

A metal roof works well on a modern home or a low pitched roof

A standing seam roof is beautiful on a modern home like this one below. The linear style of the roof relates well to the simple lines of the design. And it relates perfectly to the black windows. Notice the pitch of the roof is quite low. Apparently standing seam roofs are better on lower pitched roofs where water is likely to get under regular shingles rather than roll off.

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If you get the colour right a metal roof can work on a more traditional home too

As it turns out, a metal roof may be an option for any style of house really. They are definitely more expensive to install.  But they make sense in the long run since they are much more durable and weather proof.  Here’s a metal roof looking right as rain on a traditional stone house (below).

Lantern and Scroll

It comes down to choosing the right colour for your home

So if you’ve decided you want a standing seam roof, how do you go about choosing the right colour?

Just like any roof, it needs to relate to the colour palette of your house. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog, stone and brick  are bossy. It’s important that the roof colour coordinates with elements like that.

You’ll notice that metal roofs tend to be more reflective than other roofing materials, so you can sometimes get away with a darker colour and not have it look too heavy. On the other hand, because they look more uniform and inorganic than traditional shingles, you need to make sure the colour is warm enough so it doesn’t feel too cold.

Consider your windows, trending black or bronze windows look good when they relate to the roof colour.

If you have a warmer palette with earth tones, you are likely going to be in the realm of bronze like the stone house above, or maybe aged copper (real copper turns green with patina).

In very hot climates, lighter colours may be more cooling like pale grays. And a light colour can soften a convoluted roof line if necessary as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

If you have  classic white or cream house, you’ve got lots of options, black, charcoal, bronze, copper and lighter grays all look good on a white house.

And as I said, if you are using a standing seam roof as an accent material or for your porch or portico, the colour should relate to the colour of the main roof shingles as closely as possible.

I will say that in certain contexts, especially buildings surrounded by a rural or natural setting, colours like green or barn red can work well. In general though, a blue, red or yellow roof is going to look too commercial for a residential house. A hard “plastic” surface like a metal roof in a “plastic” saturated colour to boot is going to look like it belongs on a warehouse or big box store.

Via Go Metal 

So over to you. I’d love to hear whether you’re noticing more standing seam roofs in your area. Or whether you’ve installed one or are considering installing one yourself.

If you are considering investing in a new roof, I would love to help. You can find our eDesign consultation for the perfect roof colour for your house here.

Related posts:

5 Best Ways to Choose Your Roof Colour

10 Tips to Transform Your Exterior

Ask Maria: Is my Roof the Right Colour?

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  1. I live in the mountains of Northern California and metal roofs are common due to the snow load, and newcomer’s romantic ideals of the past. Storage units, gas stations, and government buildings have blue, red, and green roofs, which in my opinion are hideous. Green roofs compete with the surrounding foliage making it look unhealthy, and limit exterior paint colors forever. Darker color roofs become faded looking after the rain deposits minerals on the surface. For all these reasons, probably light grey is the most practical choice, similar to the original plain steel roofs.

  2. As a person who has had that style of roof, I don’t know that I would choose it again. It IS more durable as far as sun exposure and being ripped off in a hurricane, BUT:
    1. It keeps you awake whenever it rains. It’s like being in a drum. And rain can last for days upon days in hurricane weather.
    2. The wind vibration really does a number on the rivets holding the roof down and it’s expensive to fix. Picture them vibrating out and the wind makes the roof hum.

  3. Thanks for the info,Maria–I never knew the roof over the porch on our new home had a name! It was the builder’s decision, looks good–and now I know it will be durable as well.

  4. This per a reputable roofing company in Florida: the colors WILL fade in the sun – so be aware. We just installed a metal roof and it is quieter than the architectural shingles we had previously. Much depends on the quality of the installation. Do your homework when choosing a roofer.