How to Fix a Leaking Metal Roof

Metal roofing is incredibly strong and durable, making it an excellent choice for protecting your home. However, like any other type of roof, metal roofs can still develop leaks. Understanding the common reasons behind leaks and knowing how to fix a leaking metal roof is essential.

Metal Roof Considerations

Metal roofs differ from traditional materials like asphalt, clay, and cement. Repairing a metal roof can be challenging because metal roof patches might not be as sturdy due to their distinct rate of expansion and contraction compared to the surrounding metal.

This difference in expansion and contraction can create stress, resulting in cracks, splits, and the need for further repairs. It’s important to be aware of these challenges when repairing a metal roof to ensure effective and long-lasting solutions.

Five Common Causes of Metal Roof Leaks 

What causes leaks and damage on metal roofs? No roofing material can be indestructible. Metal roofs may be durable but these five problems can cause leaks.

1. Metal Roof Screws

Roof screws are a common cause of leaks in metal roofs. These screws work by pressing a rubber washer against the metal panels, creating a seal that prevents water from getting in. It’s a simple yet effective technique. However, many metal roof leaks happen because the screws are not placed correctly. Proper placement of these screws is crucial to prevent leaks and keep your metal roof watertight.

Even screws that are installed correctly can degrade over time and lose their seal. It is difficult to tell if a screw has a leak.

2. Stack Flashings

“Boots” refer to the areas around stack flashings that encase pipes, plumbing, and other penetrations in a metal roof. Stack flashings have rubber sealants flattened on each panel. These sealants press against the metal and secure the pipes, sealing the openings. 

However, they can be damaged by the metal’s expansion and contraction, potentially leading to leaks. Regular inspection and maintenance of these stack flashings are essential to prevent water infiltration and maintain the roof’s integrity.

3. Missing Sealants

Regular inspections are necessary as sealants wear out over time. These seals must be flexible enough to move with the metal roof as it expands and contracts daily. If sealants are missing or have receded, metal roof sealant can be applied to repair them effectively. 

Keeping the seals in good condition is essential to ensure they can accommodate the roof’s movements and maintain a watertight barrier.

4. Curb Flashings

Metal roofs often have heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems placed on curbs. This can create a problem with the roofing flashing, which protects against leaks. Installing flashing around HVAC systems is challenging. Over time, water can get trapped behind the unit, causing the sealant to wear away. This erosion can lead to leaks and other issues.

5. Overlaps and Seams

Water can create leaks between metal panels if it flows uphill, a problem known as capillary pull. To fix this, apply sealant or Butyl Tape between the panels. If not done correctly, the leak could worsen, so it’s important to ensure a proper seal.

How to Fix a Leaking Metal Roof: 5 Easy Steps

How do you repair a metal roof that is leaking? Metal roofs require a different method of repair than other roofing materials.

1. Clean the Repair Area

Before fixing the metal roof, it’s crucial to clean the area properly. Rust can make the roof dirty, so it needs a thorough cleaning. Use a roof cleaner made for metal and ensure the panels are free from dirt, rust, or algae. 

After cleaning, use a damp cloth to wipe off any residue. Leaving cleaner on the roof can harm the quality of your repair, so it’s important to remove it completely.

2. Scuff the Metal

Next, take a wire brush to scratch the metal surface in the repair spot. Scratching helps the sealant stick better. Use a metal scrubber only on the specific area that needs scuffing. If you go beyond the repair site, you might accidentally remove the protective layer and make things worse. Be careful to focus only on the area that needs fixing.

3. Measure and Cut

Now, it’s time to measure and cut the metal panels to the right size. The metal patch should overlap the existing panel by at least five centimeters beyond the damaged edges. After cutting and fitting the metal sheet, file the corners to remove any sharp edges that could catch snow or ice.

Place the metal patch over the hole and mark its outline with a pencil on the roof. Remove the patch and ensure that the outline is at least 5cm wide in all directions. This way, you’ll have a proper fit for your repair job.

4. Install the Repair Patch and Secure It

Apply a generous amount of sealant within the pencil line, making sure there are no gaps around the edges. Press the patch into the damaged area. If sealant doesn’t squeeze out of the edges, add more.

Secure the patch with metal screws. Space the screws at 10 cm intervals and keep them within 5cm from the edge of the patch. These screws should only attach the patch to the panel below; they shouldn’t go into the roof space beneath. This ensures a secure and uniform fix for your repair.

5. Paint the Patch

Paint the patch in the same color as your roof panels. Use a wire brush to lightly coat the roof surface and the metal panel around the edges of the patch. You might need to wait until the sealant has completely cured before painting. Also, be sure to check that the paint you choose works well with your sealant.

Need Expert Metal Roof Repairs? Contact All Star Roofing in Tampa, FL Today!

Repairing metal roofs is straightforward, but it’s important to understand the unique aspects of metal roof repairs. While metal roofs are durable, a poorly done repair might lead to frequent maintenance needs. It’s crucial to take your time and do the job correctly to avoid future issues.

If you need professional assistance with your metal roof repairs, consider reaching out to All Star Roofing in Tampa, FL. Their experts can ensure your metal roof is repaired properly, giving you peace of mind. Call us now for a free roof estimate!

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