Comparing Standing Seam to Exposed Fastener Roofs

Steel roofing in general is a far greater alternative to traditional materials. Steel is durable against volatile weather, easy to maintain, energy efficient, and available in many different colors and styles. It’s no wonder steel roofing is gaining in popularity in places such as Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. If you’re in the market for a metal roof, you’ll likely be torn between a standing seam or an exposed fastener roof panel. We’re here to break up what each can do and how to best choose your type of metal roof.

What does PBR stand for?

We asked many people and got some funny answers! If you guessed a beer brand, you’re not alone. When talking about metal roofs though, PBR Panels stands for “Purlin Bearing Rib”. If you’re familiar with metal buildings, you’ll often hear it thrown in to describe the type of metal sheeting on a building. As a components customer, you’re likely to hear it as one of the varying panel options we carry at Bunger Steel. PBR is one of the most popular options for exposed metal roofing so in this article we’ll compare it against SSR, or Standing Seam Roofing.

It’s all in the details

PBR panels are the most reliable and popular exposed fastener panel type used for roofing. Much like Bunger Steel, it was built to be better by design. Deep trapezoid like ribs alternating with smaller ribs in between provide strength to the steel without additional weight. It makes it a great option for steel building wall sheeting, roofing, and even as a liner panel on interior walls. When installed, an overlap of the sheets allows for extra support meaning they’re less likely to crimp or buckle. PBR can be installed horizontally or vertically.

SSR or Standing Seam Roofing, has fasteners concealed on seams where the vertical, evenly spaced, flat panels meet. This application reduces the chances of those fasteners being compromised and maintains the integrity of the entire system even longer than exposed fastener roofing types. SSR is great in any type of climate and is even favored in areas with snow.

How do they work?

When used in the roof of a metal building, purlins attach across the rafters and PBR panels fasten to the purlins to create the roof. As sheeting to enclose a building and serve as walls, the PBR panels connect to girts that go across the steel columns. The even spaced shadows over the structure create a very nice aesthetic that do not appear too busy.

Standing seam panels are raised above the level of the roof. The “seam” that is created runs vertically from the ridge to the eave of the building. This design enables less potential for moisture to get in, less seams overall and zero horizontal seams.

There’s no wrong answer

There’s no other way to put it, standing seam is the ultimate in metal roofing. It is sleek, best in class, every other panel wishes it was this panel and for good reason. But it can be more difficult to install, usually requires application by a professional, and is generally more expensive than exposed fastener panels. Exposed fastener panel types such as PBR are more economical, quickly installed, DIY accessible, and come in a variety of style options.

There are significant differences in the two but both are going to give you the protection you need. Whichever option you decide to go with, Bunger Steel can help you get the metal panel you want.

Get a Quote

Thank you for your interest in Bunger Steel. Our staff is available to help answer your questions and guide you on the steps needed to proceed with a steel project. Complete the form with the required information to receive a free estimate from a sales representative.

To speak with a sales representative, call 1-800-3-BUNGER or email

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