Roof Seamers: What Are They? Should You Rent Or Buy?

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Roof Seamers: What Are They? Should You Rent Or Buy?

Roof Seamers: What Are They? Should You Rent Or Buy?

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Interested to learn how a roof seamer works? Confused about whether you should rent or buy one?

You’ve come to the right place.

Below, we’ll take you through all the details concerning roof seamers, how it works, and if it’s the right fit for you.

Roof Seamers

What Is A Roof Seamer?

In a nutshell, a roof seamer is a portable rolling machine used to install standing seam metal roof panels.

They can bend the seams of the roof in various degrees to lock metal roofing panels in place.

Roof seamers are powered by electric motors and can be supplied through a temporary power source or via an electric generator.

This gives you the flexibility to operate a roof seamer instead of using electrical cords that may cause accidental slips or decrease the power supply.

However, the best benefit of using a roof seamer is providing your roof with superior watertight protection more effective than various types of roof systems and cladding.

How Does A Roof Seamer Work?

Roof seamers work by bending two metal panels together and forming a joint to provide your roof with weathertight qualities.

However, understanding how this robust machine works isn’t so simple. After all, bending layers of steel isn’t an easy or simple task to do.

Let’s take a closer look at how this machine works:


The bending action or power is mostly due to the roof seamer’s chassis design.

A roof seamer’s chassis will house 4 or 5 stations that when engaged, will perform the bending action as you move the seamer along the seam.

A roof seamer’s motor and gearing system are engineered specifically to provide the needed speed and torque to produce an effective seaming process.

An added design of roof seamers is being able to change the forming roller profile and position. In effect, this will allow you to produce hundreds of finished seam results.

Area of Application & Training

First, applying roof seamers should be in an overlapping area where two roof panels meet.

Second, operating a roof seamer yourself can be risky.

Although the concept of operation one seems simple, a trained person is necessary to perform accurate on-site troubleshooting, maintenance, and on-spot adjustments.

Without any of this knowledge, this could lead to your seamer breaking down during the process and damage your roof panels.

Worse, a roof panel without the watertight seal will only bring higher cost and labor to the seaming process.

Hand Crimping

To fully understand how a seamer works, you have to learn more about hand crimping.

Hand crimping involves the use of hand crimpers and helps ensure your seamer will perform as it should.

Without it, it could lead to a poor installation.

Generally, hand crimpers should be approximately 16 inches. A 90-degree hand crimp is also preferable to start with.

Although in some cases where a 180-degree seam is required, one should apply a 4-inch 180-degree hand crimp before the seamer locks onto a roof panel and begins the seaming operation.

Proper hand crimping procedures are vital to the condition of your seamer and during operation. That said, it’s encouraged to look for a trained contractor or person to handle installations that require a seamer.

Overall, using a roof seamer requires technical knowledge and training to ensure the safety and accuracy of the installation performed on various roof systems.

Trying to “eyeball” the operation manual let alone “wing” the process only leads to half-baked results which we can all agree isn’t what you want.

What Is The Difference Between a Stage 1 & a Stage 2 Roof Seamer?

The main difference between a Stage 1 and Stage 2 seamer is the seam profile.

A Stage 1 seamer, also known as Single Lock seam, follows a seam profile where it’s folded once at a 90-degree angle, giving it an upside-down L shape.

On the other hand, a Stage 2 seamer, also known as Double Lock seam, follows a seam profile where its folded twice at an 180-degree angle, giving it an upside-down I shape.

Check out this video for an illustrative guide.

Although the seam profile is a design attribute for each stage, this in turn, also influences the performance of the seam and panels.

Double locks will produce panels and a seam with better security, stronger weather protection & sealing in the panels’ joint, and better performance than single locks.

However, double locks will also mean higher costs and a more labor-intensive process. Here is a guide and main things to consider between choosing stage 1 and stage 2 types:

Choose a Stage 1 Seamer if:

  • A less costly and faster installation process
  • Live in milder climates
  • Need an easier repair or replacement process on damaged panels

Choose a Stage 2 Seamer if:

  • Live in colder climates or freezing temperatures
  • Best for very low slope roofs
  • Need a stronger weathertight fit

History Of Roof Seamers

The development of a seamer takes us back to 1976, where German inventor and immigrant, Ewald Stellrecht, helped develop an early model of this portable rolling machine.

This portable machine served as an innovative way to replace the manual process of using a hammer and anvil to seam panels together.

Talk about hard work, sweat, and unforgiving heat!

Since its first development in the 1970s, there have been several design changes & improvements over the years to make it faster, lighter, and user-friendly.

In fact, 1989 signaled a wide change of seam applications thanks to Developmental Industries Inc. who refocused the niche market allowing your-not-so-ordinary seamer to break through traditional applications.

History fact: Back then, a traditional seamer could only work with a specific panel that was manufactured by a specific panel manufacturer.

When Developmental Industries Inc introduced a new line of seamers available for rent and became universal to several panel manufacturers’ products, this opened avenues for the end-user to reduce cost and choose metal roofing as an option.

Nowadays, you’ll find various types available and not just limited to one type for the end-user to choose from.

Where Can I Rent A Roof Seamer?

Choosing the right rental company is imperative. Can you imagine being in the middle of a roofing project and finding out that the company you rented from does not have good customer service when something breaks or you can’t calibrate the seamer correctly? A real nightmare. Here are some people we have experience with

  1. DI Roof Seamers – DI Roof Seamers has most of the market share and generally has a great reputation overall. They are known for bringing new products to the market before anyone else (due to a full-time team of engineers) and their customer service is impeccable.
  2. Quality Roof Seamers – Another major player in the field, Quality Roof Seamers is well known in the metal roofing community and has a reputation of fair prices and quality customer service.

Should I Rent Or Buy A Roof Seamer?

We strongly recommend renting than buying and performing the operation yourself.

Renting this portable machine will help you save on large capital expenses and carry less risk during the seaming process.

For the most part, since this machine must be calibrated differently for each roof (depending on the bends), it’s crucial to have a reliable, experienced professional from a rental agency be on call to help you perform the job.

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