Metal Depot
Where beauty meets function


What is Oil Canning? the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As with any product in a build, there is the possibility of something being less than perfect.  We often hear about the imperfect framing causing problems down the road with renovations and new builds.  Metal is no different – but more often than not, it all leads back to the installation process.

Oil canning is defined as being a visible waviness in flat areas of metal roofing and wall panels.  This is often referred to as an elastic buckling or stress wrinkling.  Usually the waviness is more visible during certain times of day when the sun hits it, thereby warming the material and also causing a reflection.

Thankfully this buckling can be prevented with proper planning, preparation, and most importantly: installation.  Most flat panel designs now come only in heavier gauges such as 22 and 24 gauge, but also have options such as pencil ribs or “V” ribs for added strength.  Using lighter colours with a lower gloss also make it more difficult to spot and wrinkles, should oil canning be anticipated or a concern.

Installation is the most important preventative measure for oil canning.  Hiring a contractor who has experience with flat panel installation is imperative.  If a building is not perfectly square or has nuances that could cause stress on the panels, wrinkles can occur.  Some installers utilize Z Bars or Hat Channels to help add a rigid, level structure for the panels to be installed on.  Others will also use rigid insulation or backer rods for extra structural integrity behind the panels.