I wanted to install a standing seam metal roof on my porch. I’ve repaired and restored them, but I’ve never installed one. From inspections, I had a pretty good understanding of installation practices that work. I also study and research historic building materials and methods as part of my career - and for fun. I have a nice collection of old books, some with great illustrations.
Looking at prefabricated, pre-finished roof systems, I found that the material cost would significantly exceed $1200.00. I also didn’t like the look of the seam profiles or the surface finish of the factory applied coatings. I couldn’t find anything that would closely resemble historic standing seam roofs.
Then I got an idea – I’ll make my own. How hard can it be? I’ve seen illustrations of guys over 120 years ago, fabricating entire standing seam roofs with nothing but cast-iron seaming tongs.
Now, I have to admit that I’m the type that has to figure stuff out AFTER diving into a project.
The first step was to get materials and tools. My goal was to see just how little I could spend. I bought 2 rolls of 20″ terne-plated steel on Craigslist for $50.00. I had to drive about 25 miles each way to pick it up.
Then, I had to make a bending brake. You can rent one, or borrow one from a contractor friend, but they’re now mostly all for bending thin gauge aluminum. I found some very detailed plans posted by Dave Clay of Texas at www.ch601.org/tools/bendbrake/brakes.pdf. Mine came out to be a basic, disposable version made out of 1 piece of angle iron, 2 heavy duty hinges, some nuts and bolts and some 3″ thick oak boards. I needed 6′ long pans, so I made the brake just a little longer.
With tools and materials collected, I was able to rather quickly form the 14 pans, eave/drip edge, rake trim and cleats. Here are some links that illustrate important details:
I laid out all the panels and accessories to be sure everything would fit. I then took it all up and proceeded to secure each pan with 4 cleats. Using the seamer, I crimped each standing seam and the lower edge of each pan to the eave/drip edge.
I finished the roof by applying 2 coats of Tin-O-Lin, a linseed oil based paint with iron oxide pigment. This is not only historically accurate, it’s the manufacturer’s required primer for raw terne-plated steel.