Is your metal roof leaking? Can you repair damage to a metal roof? Metal roofs are meant to last for years but repairing metal roofs becomes necessary at times. Roofing technology trends are worth keeping up-to-date with so you know how your roof may be repaired. What you need to do depends on why you have a leak. Leaks cause damage to interior walls, floors, windows, and woodwork. And, that damage may occur far away from the source of the leak as water runs along rafter and trusses, pools on moisture barriers, and seeps into walls. Sometimes you may need to invest in a roof maintenance program.
A metal roof leaks because it was not properly installed or because it was damaged. And, sometimes it leaks for both reasons. And, occasionally, we are asked to check for a roof leak only to find that the problem is condensation from a leaking pipe, an air conditioner, or an improperly vented dryer. But there are still many reasons why roof maintenance can be a good investment.
When your metal roof is installed by a professional it should be good for years and years. Many people choose metal roofs because metal roofs are cheaper over the long term for this very reason. Unfortunately, mistakes by non-professional installers can result in leaks. Here are some of the metal roof installation mistakes that we see.
● The cavities of longitudinal roof seams were not caulked with the right sealants or were not caulked at all. Or the bar was not correctly placed.
● The eave connections or four way panel laps did not have the necessary installation of a covering sealant strip.
● All of the screw holes were not protected with tape sealant.
● Someone forgot to caulk between the roof panel undersides and the extra trim.
● Joint sealants, roof penetrations, or flashing were not installed correctly.
Over the years, metal roof seams can separate, areas can rust when coatings break down due to damage or weathering, sealants can fail around fasteners, and ice dams can occur despite efforts to avoid this sort of problem. Roof repair can be simple or complicated, depending on the extent.
Before you repair metal roof damage you need to carry out an inspection. Inspect side and end laps, transitions, J-rails, penetrations, seams, and sealants. Note any worn or rusted areas or damaged rumble buttons. When the neoprene washer ages it can break down and be the source of a leak. Any metal roof repair task should wait for a complete inspection. It can also help you to know the purpose of construction documents.
Your metal roof repair requirements will be fewer if you inspect your roof every year. An inspection will show if the coating is weathering and breaking down. It will also spot any problems that came with poor installation in the first place and fix them.
Depending on your climate and yearly weather conditions, the coating on your metal roof will last five to ten years. When the time comes to recoat your metal roof it needs to be cleaned to remove any loose coating as well as dust and dirt. Any necessary repairs should be done at this time (before the new coat is applied). Not only will new coating protect your metal roof against leaks but it improves the energy efficiency of your metal roof as well.
Metal roof repairs start with rust removal. By sanding or using a wire brush rust can be removed and then a rust inhibitor or primer is applied followed by recoating.
When fasteners are rusted, loose, or missing, the area should be cleaned and new fasteners with butyl rubber washers should be installed and then caulked with sealant which is allowed to dry. When the sealant is set roof coating is applied.
Small holes in your metal roof can be patched if there isn’t extensive damage. The area needs to be cleaned thoroughly. The area to be patched should have 2” butyl tape strips applied around the edges. The covering patch of galvanized metal needs to be cut to extend three inches beyond all sides of the hole to be patched. If a metal patch is used it is attached with screws driven through pre-drilled holes. The screws should never go into trusses or rafters and the patch must fit snugly. Screws should be set two inches apart to as close as an inch apart to make certain that the patch is flush to the roof. The patch needs to be sealed around the edges and over the screws and treated with roof coating when it has dried.
An alternative approach is to use metal fiber membrane cut to the same size and shape and attached with adhesive. This approach generally works well for small and narrow holes. The area needs to be coated with an aluminum-based coating after installation.
Repairing metal roofs when they have sustained extensive damage or were neglected for years typically requires replacing entire sections. When this is the case, be sure that the underlying rafters and areas under the roof are checked for structural damage, wet insulation, or mold accumulation before you cover everything again. If the attic is wet, allow it to dry thoroughly before covering with new panels.
When an entire roof section needs to be replaced, the J-rail needs to be loosened by removing screws on each side where the new section will be placed. The J-rail is not removed but only loosened to allow removal of the old section.
The old sheet should be measured carefully as the new sheet needs to be exactly the same length but a foot (or more) wider on each side. Butyl tape should be applied to the bottom edge of the new sheet before it is placed over the damaged area.
The end is slid beneath the J-rail on each end and attached with screws sufficiently long to pass through the side of the house, new roof panel, butyl tape, and the J-rail. The metal should be flush when you are done. All edges and seams are then coated.