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What Is an Exposed Fastener Metal Roof?

Written by

Leroy Whitt

When it comes to roofing options, there’s no shortage of materials to choose from. One particularly durable and cost-effective choice is the exposed fastener metal roof.

With its distinct appearance and a variety of benefits, this type of roofing has gained popularity among homeowners and businesses alike. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of exposed fastener metal roofs, exploring:

  • What they are
  • Their advantages and disadvantages
  • Their cost
  • Lifespan
  • How they compare to the more traditional standing seam metal roof

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What is an Exposed Fastener Metal Roof?

installing an exposed fastener metal roof

An exposed fastener metal roof, often referred to as a “screw-down” metal roof, is a type of roofing system that consists of metal panels secured to the underlying structure using visible screws or fasteners. These fasteners penetrate through the panels, attaching them directly to the roof deck or purlins. Exposed fastener metal roofs are available in various materials, including steel, aluminum, and galvanized steel, with a wide range of colors and profiles to suit different architectural styles.

Pros of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs

  • Cost-Effective: One of the primary advantages of exposed fastener metal roofs is their affordability. They are generally less expensive to install compared to other roofing materials, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners and businesses.
  • Easy Installation: Exposed fastener metal roofs are relatively easy to install, and their installation process is straightforward. This can translate to shorter installation times and lower labor costs.
  • Durability: Metal roofs, in general, are renowned for their durability, and exposed fastener systems are no exception. They can withstand harsh weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, and high winds, making them an excellent choice for areas prone to extreme weather.
  • Low Maintenance: Once installed, exposed fastener metal roofs require minimal maintenance. Occasional inspections and routine cleaning to remove debris are usually all that’s needed to keep them in good condition.
  • Energy Efficiency: Some exposed fastener metal roofs are available with reflective coatings that can help reduce energy consumption by reflecting the sun’s heat. This can lead to lower cooling costs in hot climates.

Cons of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs

  • Aesthetic Considerations: The most significant drawback of exposed fastener metal roofs is their visible fasteners. While some people appreciate the industrial or rustic look, others may find it less appealing. The visible screws can detract from the overall aesthetics of a building.
  • Potential for Leaks: Over time, the rubber gaskets around the fasteners can deteriorate, potentially leading to leaks. Regular inspections and maintenance can help address this issue, but it remains a concern.
  • Noise: During heavy rain or hailstorms, exposed fastener metal roofs can be noisy, creating a drumming sound that some people find bothersome. Adequate insulation and soundproofing can help mitigate this issue.
  • Limited Longevity: While exposed fastener metal roofs are durable, they typically have a shorter lifespan compared to standing seam metal roofs. Depending on the material and environmental factors, they may last around 20-30 years.

Cost of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs

The cost of an exposed fastener metal roof can vary depending on several factors, including the type of metal used, the quality of the panels, the complexity of the installation, and the location of the project. On average, the cost per square foot for materials and installation can range from $4 to $10. This makes exposed fastener metal roofs a cost-effective option compared to some other roofing materials.

Lifespan of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs

The lifespan of an exposed fastener metal roof depends on several factors, including the quality of the materials, the climate, and the level of maintenance. Generally, you can expect these roofs to last between 20 to 30 years. Regular inspections and timely repairs can extend their lifespan.

Comparing Exposed Fastener Metal Roofs to Standing Seam Metal Roofs

Standing seam metal roofs are another popular choice for those seeking the benefits of metal roofing. Let’s compare the two to help you make an informed decision:


  • Exposed Fastener: Easier and quicker to install, resulting in lower labor costs.
  • Standing Seam: More complex installation with concealed fasteners, which can increase labor costs.


  • Exposed Fastener: Visible screws and fasteners may not be as visually appealing for some.
  • Standing Seam: Sleek, clean lines with concealed fasteners offer a more modern and attractive appearance.


  • Exposed Fastener: Generally more affordable upfront due to lower material and labor costs.
  • Standing Seam: Higher upfront cost but may offer better long-term value due to durability and aesthetics.


  • Exposed Fastener: Durable but may require more maintenance over time.
  • Standing Seam: Highly durable with fewer maintenance requirements and a longer lifespan (40-60 years).


  • Exposed Fastener: Can be noisy during heavy rain or hailstorms.
  • Standing Seam: Quieter due to concealed fasteners.

Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing Experts

Exposed fastener metal roofs are a practical and cost-effective choice for those seeking the durability and benefits of metal roofing. While they may not have the sleek aesthetics and long lifespan of standing seam metal roofs, they offer affordability and ease of installation.If you can overlook the visible fasteners and are prepared for occasional maintenance, an exposed fastener metal roof could be an excellent investment for your home or business. Ultimately, the choice between exposed fastener and standing seam metal roofs depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and long-term goals for your roofing system. Have questions? Contact Whitt’s Quality Roofing today!

Leroy Whitt

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