10 Jul 2020

Standing Seam: The Ideal Solution for Self-builds

Self-build projects around the UK are turning to metal standing seam roofing and cladding – as it can offer a multitude of benefits for a residential property. The system consists of flat metal panels with upstanding seams at the edge that run vertically. These seams will interlock with the panel next to it, to create a fully weather-resistant seal.

Design flexibility

Pre-finished steel standing seam systems can be used on a far greater variety of roof shapes and designs, compared to more traditional materials such as tile or slate. For example, they can be used to create mono-pitch and saltbox-style roofs, as well as more complex designs like clerestory, butterfly and double-pitched M-shaped roofs. As such, for the self-builder and their architect, it really increases the potential design possibilities.

Compared to alternative materials, standing seam systems can also be installed at a far lower pitch. Some products can be fitted to roofs with a pitch of just 5º. This means that headroom in the attic space can be increased by as much as 44% compared to a standard 40º pitch roof. This can be incredibly beneficial for those who really need to maximise space.

Leading manufacturers should also be able to offer a wide range of colour options for pre-finished steel standing seam systems (which is made possible by the coating used). Colour options in our own portfolio include Winter Sky and Merlin, both of which offer an excellent alternative to materials such as zinc, as they can be used to achieve a similar look. Furthermore, the tonal matt shades we have can complement different facades, including glass, brick, wood, stone and render. Alternatively, Terracotta and Patina can be used to replicate the colour of traditional roof tiles and aged copper roofing.


Standing seam roofing and wall cladding can be made from a number of materials – however, opting for pre-finished steel ensures a durable and long-lasting solution. Leading manufacturers will state the performance ratings that the product achieves and/or provide guarantees – and these are always worthwhile checking.

For example, Colorcoat Urban comes under the Confidex Home guarantee – a 25-year warranty offered directly to the homeowner. Confidex Home provides confidence in the quality of the advanced paint system applied to the steel (covering both Colorcoat Prisma and Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra) and is in place regardless of whether the system is used as roofing or cladding, or where the property is located.

Colorcoat Urban also has a Class AA/B roof (t4) performance rating according to BS 476 Part 3/EN 1187 when used as part of a roof cladding system. It is CE Marked in accordance with BS EN 14783:2013, and it meets Class 0 ‘low risk’ fire classification requirements of the UK Building Regulations. Colorcoat Urban also meets all UK roofing application requirements.

Environmental impact

For projects looking to minimise the environmental impact of the property, pre-finished steel standing seam roofing and wall cladding is ideal. Firstly, steel can be easily recycled without impacting on the quality of the material, so at the end of its lifecycle, there is no need to turn it into landfill waste.

You should also check that the product has been sourced responsibly and the manufacturer has taken steps to reduce its own environmental impact in production and across the organisation. This will be demonstrated with certifications to BES 6001, ISO 14001, or if the product has achieved a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating or above.

Quick and easy installation

The easy fitting process and light weight of pre-finished steel standing seam systems mean that the installation process is quick and simple when compared with traditional methods. For example, Colorcoat Urban is seven times lighter than roof tiles, making it easier and safer to handle – which will ultimately reduce the installation time and cost.

Unlike zinc roofing, which requires a specialist roofing contractor to fabricate and install the system, steel systems can be installed by a more general roofing contractor or by the homeowner, providing they have the correct training. We can provide essential training, which we would recommend to all self-builders who wish to undertake the work themselves.

Non-combustible cladding

If you are looking to use steel standing seam cladding, it is important to check that it meets the required fire safety standards set by the updated Building Regulations. These state that all external cladding elements for buildings over 18m high must have a reaction to fire rating of A2 or better.

When embarking on a self-build project, it is always advisable to look at a variety of building materials at your disposal. Pre-finished steel standing seam roofing and wall cladding systems offer a number of benefits including ease of install, greater design freedom, durability and improved safety, making them an ideal choice for many.


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