What are Roofing Clips? (And When Should You Use Them)

When it comes to roofing clips, you have to know what you’re doing.

If you’re going to be working on a roof, you need to know how to use these clips. And if you don’t, then this article is for you!

And then we’ll talk about when you should use them.

What are roofing clips?

Roofing clips are small metal components used in construction to secure roofing materials. They are typically made of galvanized steel or stainless steel.

These clips are used to attach roofing panels, accommodate expansion and contraction, secure snow retention systems, stabilize tile or slate roofing, and improve installation efficiency.

What’s the purpose of using roofing clips?

Secure attachment

Roofing clips are used to securely attach roofing panels or materials to the underlying structure. They provide a strong connection that prevents the panels from lifting or shifting in high winds or extreme weather conditions.

Accommodate expansion and contraction

Roofing materials, particularly metal panels, expand and contract with temperature variations. Roofing clips allow for slight movement and help accommodate these thermal changes without causing stress or damage to the roof.

Prevent uplift

By securely fastening the roofing materials, roofing clips help prevent uplift, which is the upward force generated by wind that can dislodge or damage the roof. They play a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity of the roof during storms or windy conditions.

Snow retention

In areas with heavy snowfall, roofing clips are used to attach snow retention systems or snow guards. These clips help hold the snow in place on the roof, preventing sudden snow slides or avalanches that can cause damage or pose a safety risk.

Stabilize tile or slate roofing

Roofing clips are often utilized in tile or slate roofing systems to provide stability. They help secure individual tiles or slates in place, preventing movement or displacement due to wind or other external forces.

Improve installation efficiency

Roofing clips contribute to the efficiency of roof installation. They provide a standardized method of attachment, allowing for faster and easier installation. Clips can be pre-installed on roofing panels or tiles, saving time and labor during the installation process.

What types of roofing clips are available?

Snaplock clips

Snaplock clips are commonly used in metal roofing systems.

They are designed to securely hold metal panels together by snapping or interlocking them into place.

These clips provide a strong connection while allowing for thermal movement of the panels.

Butterfly clips

Butterfly clips, also known as T-clips or T-bar clips, are used in suspended ceiling systems.

They are typically made of metal and are shaped like a butterfly with wings that extend to hold ceiling tiles in place.

These clips are easily adjustable and provide a secure attachment for ceiling tiles.

Standing seam clips

Standing seam clips are specifically designed for standing seam metal roofs.

They are typically made of metal and are attached to the standing seams of the roof panels.

These clips secure the roof panels together while allowing for thermal movement. They are often concealed, providing an aesthetically pleasing appearance to the roof.


H-clips, also known as panel clips, are commonly used in plywood or OSB (oriented strand board) roof decking systems.

They are typically shaped like the letter “H” and are installed between adjacent roof panels.

H-clips provide support and help distribute the load evenly across the panels, reducing the risk of sagging or warping.

Seam clips

Seam clips are used in metal roof systems with overlapping panels.

They are designed to secure the seams where two adjacent panels meet.

Seam clips ensure a tight fit and prevent water infiltration at the seams, enhancing the roof’s weather resistance and durability.

Bermuda clips

Bermuda clips, also called tile roof clips or hurricane clips, are utilized in tile roof systems, particularly in regions prone to hurricanes or high winds.

These clips help secure individual roof tiles in place and provide resistance against uplift forces caused by strong winds.

Fixed clips

Fixed clips, also known as fixed fasteners, are commonly used in various roofing systems.

They are typically designed to provide a secure and permanent attachment of roofing materials to the underlying structure.

Fixed clips offer stability and resist movement, making them suitable for high-wind areas or when a rigid connection is required.

Expansion clips

Expansion clips, also referred to as movement clips or sliding clips, are used to accommodate thermal expansion and contraction of roofing materials.

These clips allow for slight movement of the roofing panels or tiles without causing stress or damage.

Expansion clips are often utilized in metal roofing systems to prevent buckling or warping due to temperature changes.

Bearing plates

Bearing plates, sometimes called load-bearing clips or purlin clips, are used to distribute the weight or load of the roof panels to the supporting structure.

They are typically larger and offer increased load-bearing capacity.

Bearing plates are commonly used in metal roofing systems or when there is a need to reinforce the attachment points of the roof.

Gutter hangers

Gutter hangers, also known as gutter clips or gutter brackets, are specialized clips used to attach gutters to the roof or fascia board.

They provide support and secure the gutters in place, ensuring proper water drainage from the roof.

Gutter hangers come in various designs, such as spike-and-ferrule hangers, strap hangers, or hidden hangers, depending on the gutter system and installation method.

Floating clips

Floating clips, also referred to as floating fasteners or floating roof clips, are used in certain roofing systems to allow for thermal expansion and contraction.

These clips have a floating or sliding mechanism that enables the roof panels to move slightly as they expand or contract due to temperature changes.

Floating clips help prevent stress and damage to the roof and ensure its long-term durability.

What materials are roofing clips made of?

  • Galvanized steel: Galvanized steel clips are widely used due to their durability, strength, and resistance to corrosion. The steel is coated with a layer of zinc, which provides protection against rust and extends the lifespan of the clips.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel clips are another popular choice for their corrosion resistance and strength. They are particularly suitable for environments with high moisture or salt exposure, as they are highly resistant to rust and oxidation.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum clips are lightweight and offer good corrosion resistance. They are often used in applications where weight reduction is a consideration or in coastal areas where saltwater exposure is a concern.
  • Copper: Copper clips are chosen for their excellent corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal. They are commonly used in historic or decorative roofing systems where maintaining the visual appearance of the roof is important.
  • Plastic or polymer: In certain applications, plastic or polymer clips may be used. These clips are lightweight, cost-effective, and resistant to corrosion. They can be found in some low-load or non-structural roofing systems.

What’s the difference between fixed, slider, & floating clip systems?

Fixed clip system

In a fixed clip system, the roofing panels or tiles are firmly attached to the underlying structure using fixed fasteners or clips.

These clips provide a secure and rigid connection, minimizing movement of the roofing materials. While fixed clips ensure stability, they do not allow for thermal expansion and contraction.

This can potentially lead to stress and damage to the roof if the materials are not able to move freely with temperature changes.

Slider clip system

Slider clip systems are designed to allow for limited movement of the roofing materials.

These clips have a sliding or floating mechanism that enables the panels or tiles to expand and contract with temperature variations.

Slider clips provide a degree of flexibility, allowing the roofing materials to move slightly without causing excessive stress. This system helps to mitigate the risk of buckling, warping, or other damage due to thermal changes.

Floating clip system

Floating clip systems offer the highest level of flexibility for thermal movement. These clips allow the roofing materials to freely expand and contract without constraints.

Floating clips typically have a larger range of movement and provide the greatest allowance for thermal expansion and contraction.

They help to ensure the long-term integrity and performance of the roofing system by minimizing the potential for stress or damage.

When should you use roofing clips?

  • Metal roofing systems: Roofing clips are essential for securing metal roofing panels to the underlying structure. They provide a secure attachment, prevent uplift in high winds, and accommodate thermal expansion and contraction of the metal panels.
  • Tile or slate roofing: Roofing clips are often used in tile or slate roofing systems. They help stabilize individual tiles or slates, preventing movement or displacement. Clips ensure the tiles remain securely in place, especially in areas prone to high winds or seismic activity.
  • Snow retention systems: In regions with heavy snowfall, roofing clips are used to attach snow retention systems or snow guards. These clips help hold the snow on the roof, preventing sudden snow slides that can cause damage or pose safety risks to people below.
  • Thermal expansion and contraction: Roofing materials, such as metal panels or certain types of membranes, expand and contract with temperature changes. Roofing clips accommodate this thermal movement, preventing stress and damage to the roof and maintaining its integrity.
  • Enhancing installation efficiency: Roofing clips can improve the efficiency of roof installation by providing a standardized method of attachment. They streamline the installation process, reduce labor time, and ensure consistent and secure fastening.
  • Compliance with building codes: Building codes and regulations may require the use of roofing clips in certain roofing systems to ensure proper attachment, stability, and safety.

What are the potential risks associated with roofing clips?

While roofing clips are commonly used and provide many benefits, there are a few potential risks that can arise if they are not properly installed or used. Here are some potential risks associated with roofing clips:

  • Improper installation: Incorrect installation of roofing clips can compromise their effectiveness. If the clips are not securely fastened or positioned correctly, they may fail to provide the intended stability or allow for proper thermal movement. This can lead to problems such as roof leaks, material damage, or reduced wind resistance.
  • Inadequate load-bearing capacity: Different roofing clips have specific load-bearing capacities. If the chosen clips are not suitable for the weight or load of the roofing materials, it can result in the clips being unable to adequately support the roof. This can lead to sagging, structural issues, or premature failure of the roofing system.
  • Clip failure or deterioration: Over time, roofing clips can deteriorate due to exposure to the elements, especially if they are made of materials that are prone to corrosion or degradation. This can result in reduced clip strength, compromised attachment, or potential failure. Regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to identify and replace damaged or deteriorated clips.
  • Incompatibility with roofing system: Not all roofing clips are suitable for every roofing system. Using incompatible clips or mismatched components can lead to poor performance, ineffective attachment, or compromised roof integrity. It is crucial to select clips that are specifically designed and recommended for the particular roofing materials and system being used.
  • Insufficient number of clips: Insufficient placement or spacing of roofing clips can undermine the stability and performance of the roof. If an inadequate number of clips are used, it can result in inadequate attachment and an increased risk of roof movement, especially during high winds or other severe weather conditions.

What are the risks of not using roofing clips?

Not using roofing clips or omitting their proper installation can lead to several risks and issues in roofing systems. Here are some potential risks associated with not using roofing clips:

  • Inadequate attachment: Roofing clips play a crucial role in securing roofing materials to the underlying structure. Without proper attachment, the roofing materials may become loose, shift, or even detach from the roof altogether. This can result in significant damage to the roof, increased vulnerability to wind uplift, and potential safety hazards.
  • Structural damage: Without the support provided by roofing clips, the roofing materials may sag, warp, or deform over time. This can lead to structural damage to the roof deck or underlying framing, compromising the integrity and stability of the entire roofing system.
  • Water infiltration: Insufficient or improper attachment of roofing materials due to the absence of clips can create gaps or openings where water can infiltrate. Water leaks can cause damage to the roof structure, insulation, and interior of the building. Over time, this can lead to rot, mold growth, and compromised structural integrity.
  • Reduced wind resistance: Roofing clips play a crucial role in enhancing the wind resistance of the roof. Without proper attachment, roofing materials are more susceptible to being lifted or blown off during high winds. This not only increases the risk of property damage but also poses a threat to the safety of occupants and nearby structures.
  • Premature roof failure: The absence of roofing clips can accelerate wear and tear on the roofing materials. The lack of secure attachment can subject the materials to increased stress and movement, leading to premature deterioration, cracking, or breakage. This can significantly shorten the lifespan of the roof and necessitate costly repairs or replacement.

How do you install roofing clips?

  1. Prepare the surface: Ensure that the roof surface is clean, free of debris, and properly prepared for clip installation. This may involve removing existing roofing materials or making necessary repairs to the roof deck.
  2. Determine clip placement: Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and the specific requirements of the roofing system to determine the appropriate placement and spacing of the clips. This will depend on factors such as the type of roofing material, anticipated wind loads, and local building codes.
  3. Mark the clip positions: Use a chalk line or other marking tool to identify the positions where the clips will be installed. This will help ensure accurate and consistent placement.
  4. Attach the clips: Depending on the type of roofing clip, secure them to the roof deck or underlying structure using appropriate fasteners such as screws or nails. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the specific fasteners and installation technique required for the clips.
  5. Verify alignment and attachment: Double-check the alignment and attachment of the clips to ensure they are properly secured and in the correct position. This step is crucial to ensure the stability and effectiveness of the clips.
  6. Repeat the process: Install the remaining clips according to the predetermined placement and spacing determined in step 2. Maintain consistent installation techniques and attention to detail throughout the process.
  7. Inspect and test: After all the clips are installed, conduct a thorough inspection to ensure they are securely fastened and functioning as intended. Perform tests to verify their ability to hold the roofing materials in place and resist any anticipated loads or movements.

How often should roofing clips be inspected?

The frequency of inspecting roofing clips can depend on various factors, including the type of roofing system, local climate conditions, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

However, it is generally advisable to include roofing clip inspections as part of regular roof maintenance, which is typically done annually or biannually.

During these inspections, check for any signs of damage, deterioration, or loosening of the clips. Additionally, inspect the overall condition of the roof and address any issues promptly.

What is the life expectancy of roofing clips?

The life expectancy of roofing clips can vary based on factors such as the material they are made of, exposure to weather elements, and the quality of installation.

Higher-quality clips made from durable materials like stainless steel or galvanized steel can have a longer lifespan compared to lower-quality or plastic clips.

On average, roofing clips can last anywhere from 10 to 30 years or more, depending on the specific circumstances.

Are roofing clips necessary?

Roofing clips are necessary in many roofing systems, especially those that involve the use of materials prone to movement, such as metal panels or tiles.

Clips provide crucial attachment, stability, and allow for thermal expansion and contraction, reducing the risk of damage to the roofing materials and maintaining the integrity of the roof.

They help prevent issues like material displacement, leaks, and structural damage, making them an important component of a properly functioning roof.

Alternatives to roofing clips

Some alternatives to roofing clips include adhesive systems, interlocking systems, or specialized attachment methods recommended by the manufacturer of the roofing materials.

  • Adhesive systems: Instead of using clips, adhesive systems can be employed to attach roofing materials directly to the roof deck or substrate. Adhesive systems provide a strong bond between the roofing materials and the roof deck, eliminating the need for clips. This method is commonly used for certain types of membranes or single-ply roofing systems.
  • Interlocking systems: Interlocking roofing systems utilize specially designed roofing panels or tiles that interlock with each other, providing secure attachment without the need for clips. The interlocking mechanism ensures stability and prevents movement of the roofing materials. This method is commonly used for certain types of metal roofing, such as standing seam roofs or snap-lock panels.
  • Mechanical fastening systems: Instead of clips, mechanical fasteners such as screws or nails can be directly used to secure roofing materials to the roof deck. These fasteners are strategically placed to hold the roofing materials in place and provide stability. Mechanical fastening systems are commonly used for shingle roofs, where each shingle is individually secured with nails.
  • Integrated attachment systems: Some roofing materials come with integrated attachment systems that eliminate the need for separate clips. These systems may include built-in hooks, tabs, or channels that allow for secure and direct attachment of the roofing materials to the roof deck. This streamlines the installation process and provides a seamless and integrated solution.

Other interesting articles:

Author: Logan

I help people connect with businesses