Standing Seam, Snaplock or Nailstrip?

Standing Seam, Snaplock and Nailstrip cladding systems are seamed profiles. The three systems can appear similar, so a common question is “where and when should each profile be specified?”

To answer the above, it’s best to take a look at Standing Seam, Snaplock and Nailstrip in terms of their qualities, features and benefits; after doing so, their differences will become apparent. Each metal cladding system has its own unique set of capabilities and limitations. This doesn’t mean one product is superior or better than another, it means one product will be more suited to a specific application than another.

Standing Seam

  • 25 mm or 38 mm standard rib heights
  • 180 mm to 530 mm pan widths, rib to rib (material dependant)
  • Standard pan widths:
  • 25mm rib – 230 mm, 330 mm, 530 mm (for all materials, excluding zinc)
  • 38mm rib – 200 mm, 300 mm, 500 mm (for all materials, excluding zinc)
  • Standard zinc pan widths of
  • 25mm rib – 263 mm and 430 mm
  • 38mm rib – 233 mm and 400 mm
  • Up to 9000 mm long panels (material dependant)
Access more Standing Seam information

One of the oldest and most recognisable systems, Standing Seam offers projects a traditional and refined aesthetic. Standing Seam’s flexible profile design is capable of achieving intricate construction details. No visible fixings means the system creates a clean, architectural facade. Panels can be laid in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal pattern, as roof and/or wall cladding.

Standing Seam is available in almost any metal cladding material. COLORBOND Steel®, natural copper, aluminium and zinc, are all commonly specified. In addition to good looks, Standing Seam offers superior wind and water  resistance. Double Lock Standing Seam, a sister system to Standing Seam, provides increased profile strength via an additional seam fold. Double Lock Standing Seam is normally specified at the recommendation of an engineer, when projects have high wind load ratings or when there is a risk of extreme water penetration.

While Standing Seam offers incredible flexibility, aesthetic variety and facade strength, installation does require speciality tools and experienced installers. Seams must be closed with appropriate seam closing tools and by proven cladding installers. Reputable manufactures and installers should always be involved during Standing Seam specification, tendering and onsite installation.


  • 25 mm or 38 mm rib heights (from base to rib top)
  • 165 mm to 500 mm pan widths, rib to rib (material dependant)
  • Standard pan widths of 180 mm, 280 mm and 480 mm (for all materials, excluding zinc)
  • Standard zinc pan widths of 233 mm and 400 mm
  • Up to 9000 mm long panels (material dependant)
Access more Snaplock information

Snaplock is ideal for modern architectural developments. Providing a similar aesthetic to Standing Seam, Snaplock doesn’t require seam closing tools, instead the profile “snaps” together. Like Standing Seam, Snaplock can be specified on roof and wall cladding and is open to horizontal, vertical and diagonal lay patterns. Concealed fixing allows the system’s attractive vertical fin to be the hero in each application – a design feature unique to Snaplock and Nailstrip cladding systems.

Snaplock shares Standing Seam’s material availability, with profiles commonly fabricated and installed in COLORBOND Steel®, natural copper, aluminium and zinc. Snaplock offers the “look” of Standing Seam cladding, without needing the same level of technical know-how to install. Because of Snaplock’s extensive material suitability, at Metal Cladding Systems we still recommend we be involved at specification stage and an experienced cladding professional conduct the installation. While no special tools are needed, different materials, in particular zinc, requires specialist attention during installation.


  • 38 mm rib height (from base to rib top)
  • 165 mm, 265 mm and 465 mm standard pan widths, rib to rib (material dependant)
  • Standard pan widths of 165 mm, 265 mm and 465 mm
  • Up to 9000 mm long panels (material dependant)
Access more Nailstrip information

Nailstrip shares aesthetic attributes with Standing Seam and Snaplock, however simplicity of installation makes Nailstrip a favourite among owner builders, beginner installers, and those who seek the look of architectural cladding, without complicated technical installation details. Fixing is concealed and no fixing clips or seam closer tools are required. Nailstrip can be lay in vertical, horizontal and diagonal patterns. This system can be used for roof and wall cladding.

Nailstrip’s simple installation and less flexible profile design means material suitability is limited. At Metal Cladding Systems we recommend only specifying Nailstirp in COLORBOND®, GALVABOND® or ZINCALUME®.

While we recommend professional manufacturers and installers be involved on every metal cladding project, Nailstrip is a trusted option for less experienced installers and straightforward facade details. Nailstrip offers speedy onsite installation and will satisfy projects on tight deadlines.

In conclusion …

Standing Seam, Snaplock and Nailstrip offer visually similar facades, however subtle differences  in profile design, system limitations, installation requirements and material suitability, will make one panel more suited to a particular project than another. It’s always worthwhile speaking with cladding professional before specifying systems and materials. As a general guide, or starting point, consider the following:

  • Standing Seam – Ideal for architectural developments with intricate designs, or custom requirements. This system’s flexibility and material availability is hard to beat and when superior facade performance is called for, Standing Seam is the go-to profile. Keep in mind, specialist tooling and expertise is needed for successful installation.
  • Snaplock – Well suited to standard architectural specifications. Compared to Standing Seam this system is slightly less open to customisation, however the same extensive material availability is on offer. Snaplock should be installed by an experienced cladding professional, however no specialist tools are needed.
  • Nailstrip – Minimal material options will limit where and why this system is specified. Simplified installation methodology offsets minimal material availability. Nailstrip is ideally specified on projects with tight construction timelines.

For more information on all Metal Cladding Systems’ profiles, visit our “Systems” main page by clicking here.

*Recommendations expressed in this blog are generic. All projects should be reviewed individually for expert system and material specification advice. Please contact our project team at for tailored project assistance.