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Corrugated Metal Panels: The Pros and Cons
Lauren Risotto

By: Lauren Risotto on March 30th, 2020

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Corrugated Metal Panels: The Pros and Cons

Metal | Roofing | Corrugated Roofing

Deciding on what type of material you should use for a roof or siding can become stressful when you realize how many options you have. Even when you narrow it down to using metal, there are still choices to make.

There are many different types of metal panel profiles to choose from. One of the most popular metal panels on the market is corrugated.

At Western States Metal Roofing, we’ve been manufacturing metal roofing and siding panels for over twenty years. Corrugated metal panels are consistently our most often requested panel.

Customers love the longevity and durability, along with the other benefits of metal. However, every metal panel comes with its downfalls.

In this article, we will go over the pros and the cons of corrugated metal panels so you can decide if corrugated metal panels are right for your project.

The Pros Of Corrugated Metal Panels

  • Cost-Effective
  • Readily Available
  • Oil Canning Is Less Obvious
  • Simple Installation (DIY friendly)

Corrugated Metal Panels Are Cost-Effective

One of the biggest advantages of corrugated metal panels is that they cost less than a standing seam metal panel. Depending upon the gauge and paint system, the cost savings will be at least 50%.

Corrugated Metal Panels Are Readily Available

Corrugated metal panels are arguably the most common type of metal panel. You should not have a problem finding corrugated panels in your desired quantity or color.

They’re sold at almost any home improvement store, although you will find a much greater panel and color selection when going through a metal manufacturer.

Oil Canning Is Easily Disguised On Corrugated Metal Panels

Oil canning, sometimes also known as stress wrinkling, is a cosmetic deformation, observed as waves or wrinkles, in the flat areas of metal roofing and metal siding panels. It’s an inherent characteristic of metal that can be caused by multiple factors such as an uneven substrate or from the expansion and contraction of metal.

While the problem is solely cosmetic and does not affect the functionality of a metal roof, it’s presence is still unwanted and hard to avoid.

Luckily, oil canning is much more difficult to detect on corrugated metal panels compared to a flat panel like standing seam. The waves and ridges in corrugated panels help disguise oil canning so that if it is there, it’s not as noticeable.

To learn more about oil canning, we suggest reading:

What Is Oil Canning? Causes + Solutions For A Common Metal Roof Problem

Simple Installation

Installing a corrugated metal roof is an easier and faster installation than a metal panel with a concealed fastening system because it requires fewer steps.

Since the installation requires a simpler skill set, more contractors are qualified to install corrugated metal panels. Having more contractor options coupled with less labor time means that these systems are generally less expensive to install.

The easier installation makes corrugated metal panels a great opportunity for a DIY (do it yourself) project. You will save even more money this way by doing the labor yourself.

Fewer Accessories Are Required To Install Corrugated Metal Panels

Corrugated metal roofing will also save you money because fewer accessories need to be purchased for the installation. Corrugated metal panels are easily installed, just by using fasteners.

There’s no need to buy any clips like you would for other metal roofing systems. You also need less trim and flashing for a corrugated metal roof than you would for a standing seam roof. Standing seam trim requires purchasing multiple pieces of trim for each roofing condition.

For example, a ridge cap for a corrugated metal roof is a one-piece system. That same ridge cap for standing seam is a three-piece system. Not having to purchase the additional trim and fasteners will substantially increase the overall cost of the roof.

 

Corrugated Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Homeowners Guide

The Cons Of Corrugated Metal Panels

  • Exposed Fastener Panel
  • Frequent Inspections
  • More Material Needs To Be Purchased (Panel Sidelap)
  • Panel Appearance

Corrugated Metal Panels Have Exposed Fasteners

The main problem with exposed fasteners is every time they penetrate the panel it creates a potential leak point. Corrugated panels can require thousands of fasteners to keep the roof in place. If the fasteners are not properly installed or become loose, the roof can be vulnerable to leaks. If you are trying to decide upon the best panel for your roof it will come down to standing seam versus some kind of exposed fastener panel. It's important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each system.

To learn more about the differences between corrugated and standing seam , we suggest reading:

Corrugated Metal Roofing v. Standing Seam (Advantages & Disadvantages)

Corrugated Panels Need To Be Inspected Often

While all metal roofing or siding should be inspected annually to prevent any problems from developing further, corrugated metal panels generally require more frequent inspections and maintenance.

The reason you need more frequent inspections for corrugated panels is so you can check the fasteners. Since the fasteners are exposed on corrugated panels, they may need to be tightened. They could possibly even need to be replaced if they are damaged to avoid leaks. The natural expansion and contraction of metal can cause the fasteners to become loose.

Homeowners should perform an inspection after any severe weather that you think may have caused damage. Checking on a roof right after a substantial storm, instead of waiting for your next routine maintenance, might save you from a larger problem.

Foam closures should also be checked during inspections to make sure they are still in good condition. Roofs and gutters should also be checked for leaf buildup, and leaf guards should be installed if you’re in an area with a large volume of leaves.

During inspections, also check the corrugated roof for cracked sealant. Sealant is a top reason for roof leaks as it has a short life span and usually isn’t replaced on time. The life expectancy of sealant should be listed on its container and replaced as suggested by the manufacturer.

 

Corrugated Metal Panels Are Not Compatible With Flat Roofs

With a flat roof, rainwater tends to stay on the roof longer as it doesn’t have a steep pitch to help with runoff. This is not a good combination with the exposed fasteners as they are more susceptible to leaking. The longer water stays on a roof, the more likely a leak is to occur, potentially resulting in expensive roof repairs.

 

Panel Sidelap And Corrugated Panels

Corrugated panels will incur a loss of square footage during installation due to the panel side lap, or the overlapping of two like panels.

The panels need to overlap two corrugations for roofing and one corrugation for siding. While this seems minor, it can add up depending on the size of the project.

For roofing, you will have to purchase 10% to 12% additional material for corrugated. For siding, you will need about 6% additional material. Purchasing additional material adds to the overall total cost of the project.

 

Panel Appearance

The desired aesthetic of your project is subjective and based on personal preference. While the appearance of corrugated panels might not be a problem for every situation, there are certain projects that you might want to go with an alternative panel.

Corrugated panels have exposed fasteners, which is usually regarded as not being as modern or clean looking like a panel with concealed fasteners (such as standing seam).

Corrugated panels are generally used in industrial or agricultural structures. For a residential project where aesthetics are a top concern, corrugated panels are not usually the top choice.

 

Do The Pros Of Corrugated Metal Outweigh The Cons?

Here at Western States Metal Roofing, we believe in the many benefits of corrugated metal panels. Corrugated metal panels offer plenty of value, but there are some drawbacks as you can see.

To find the ideal roofing and siding material for your home, you’ll have to take several factors into consideration. Think about your budget, type of project, and desired amount of maintenance into account when deciding if corrugated metal panels are the right choice for you.

If corrugated panels don’t sound like the best option for you, you should consider using standing seam panels instead.

Learn more about the differences between corrugated panels and standing seam panels

 

Metal Roofing Learning Cener

 

Click here to request a free metal roofing sample in your favorite color!

 

About Lauren Risotto

Lauren is the Content Manager at Western States Metal Roofing and provides insight on content creation and product promotions.