Architectural Building Components


Do you cringe when you hear the term oil canning? For no additional charge, request the Plank and Pencil profile on your next project specification.

Oil canning in metal roofing is an observed waviness or buckling across the flat areas of sheet metal panels. Purely an aesthetic concern, oil canning does not normally affect the roof’s structural integrity. This inherent problem is typically caused by uneven stresses at the fastening points. While oil canning cannot be totally eliminated, it can be minimized by panel design, material handling and, most importantly, the installation process

Above: Examples of the waviness and buckling associated with oil canning.

Oil Canning is a typically occurs when using light-gauge metal panels, particularly those with broad, flat areas. Generally, the size and extent of the wave depends on the continuous width of the flat part of the panel. Therefore, smooth panel profiles with wide, flat surfaces have a more frequent occurrence of oil canning than panels with ridged shapes- which have narrower flats and are less likely to exhibit oil canning. The industry-wide addition of stiffening ribs and striations within panels can break-up the flat surface and make oil canning less apparent. We take this a step further and recommends that clients request our Plank & Pencil Profile, which better absorbs the stress placed on the panel to minimize the appearance of oil canning even more.

oil canning

In addition to the panel profile, the movement of the primary support system or the structure itself can also cause waviness that may become more of a problem during certain weather conditions. Thermal stresses are transferred from the structure to metal panels through the fastener system. Our Symmetrical 138T & 238T Panel Systems allow panels to float without causing thermal stresses because of their innovative use of fasteners and clips.

Since many uncontrollable factors are involved, no manufacturer can realistically assure the total elimination of oil canning. Color and surface finishes also effect the presence of oil canning on metal roofing. Darker colors tend to emphasize any oil canning that is present, while lighter, more neutral colors can be more forgiving. In addition, proper handling needs to be addressed in every step of the process from production to final installation. With careful attention to the production, panel design and installation practices, the appearance of oil canning can be effectively minimized.

Above: The appearance of Oil Canning is minimized by the use of Plank & Pencil Profile

Metal Roofing