What Is Oil Canning, and How Can It Be Avoided?

homeBlogWhat Is Oil Canning, and How Can It Be Avoided?

As a leading provider of metal paneling solutions, Johns Architectural Metal Solutions Inc. is committed to ensuring the quality and longevity of our products. One common concern with metal panels is oil canning, a purely aesthetic issue that can affect the appearance of your building. Fortunately, with the right knowledge and materials, this problem can be minimized or even avoided. Our MCM panels, for instance, are less prone to this issue compared to single-skin panels. Let’s delve into what oil canning is, its causes, and how it can be avoided.

What Is Oil Canning?

Oil canning is a visible waviness or distortion that appears on the flat areas of metal panels. This aesthetic issue is most noticeable in broad, flat areas of a metal roof or wall and can happen on all types of metal, including aluminum, copper, zinc and steel. The degree of visibility often depends on factors like the finish of the panel, lighting conditions and even the angle from which you view the roof or wall. Despite its effect on aesthetics, oil canning does not compromise the integrity or functionality of the metal panel.

Causes of Oil Canning

Several factors can lead to oil canning. These include:

  1. Stress During Production: During the rolling process, uneven distribution of stress might occur due to gaps within the rollers, causing the panels to distort.
  2. Uneven Roof Decking: An uneven substrate can result in slight contours on the panels, leading to visible distortions.
  3. Poor Installation: Overdriving fasteners, using the wrong clip systems, or misaligning the panels can lead to uneven stresses, resulting in oil canning.
  4. Thermal Expansion and Contraction: Improper installation can limit the room for metal panels to expand and contract with changing temperatures, leading to oil canning. This is also likely when different parts of the roof experience uneven solar heating.
  5. Improper Handling or Storing: Panels that are not handled or stored correctly before installation can also show signs of oil canning.

Minimizing Oil Canning

Several steps can be taken to potentially minimize the occurrence of oil canning:

  1. Add Striations: Striated panel options can help reduce the appearance of oil canning.
  2. Choose a Thicker Gauge: A thicker metal panel is less prone to distortions.
  3. Hire Expert Installers: Proper installation by experienced professionals can significantly reduce the chance of oil canning.
  4. Choose Low Gloss or Textured Finishes: These finishes reduce the metal’s reflectivity, making oil canning less visible.
  5. Utilize Backer Rods: These can help minimize oil canning in certain flat panel applications.
  6. Choose Narrower Widths: Narrow panels have less broad, flat space, reducing the visibility of oil canning.

Given that there is no absolute guaranteed way to prevent oil canning on metal panels, it’s important to be selective when choosing the right panels for your project. At Johns Architectural Metal Solutions Inc., our MCM panels are designed to be less susceptible to oil canning compared to single-skin panels, providing you with a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution. By choosing our panels from the get-go, you can circumvent many of the issues associated with metal panels, giving you full control over your building’s exterior.

Contact Us Today

While oil canning is an aesthetic issue that does not impact the structural integrity of a metal panel, it is understandable that builders, architects, and property owners want to avoid it. By understanding what causes oil canning and how to minimize it, you can ensure your building maintains its aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, choosing quality products like our MCM panels can help you avoid these issues. At Johns Architectural Metal Solutions Inc., we are dedicated to providing superior paneling solutions. Contact us today for more information on our products and services.

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