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How To Fix A Leak On A Metal Roof

Metal Roofing Issue #: Holes And Punctures

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Rust isnt the only thing that can cause holes in your metal roofing system. Damage, such as holes and punctures, is often due to foot traffic involving the dragging of heavy objects.

For example, installing an HVAC unit can cause some pretty significant damage. HVAC units are quite heavy, and dragging one of them across a metal panel roof will result in scrapes, dents and punctures.

This can also lead to deflection, which is the crimping or creasing of the metal paneling. When this happens, water can pool in the area of deflection, causing rust. Always inspect your metal roofing after having work donedont wait for a leak.

Screw Is Driven In At The Wrong Angle

Again, the key to a successful screwing of the metal screw is getting that seal. When you screw down at the wrong angle, there is nothing for the rubber washer to sit flat against. This will result in the seal not taking effect and leaks persisting around the area.

When something like this happens, you can generally unscrew your driven screw and use the proper torque to re-screw it in. You know you have done it properly when the rubber seal sits flush against the metal roofing panel and keeps the water from leaking through.

This is a pretty easy fix as, in most cases, the screw will not have done any damage to either itself or the metal roofing panel. Simply unscrew the current installation and make sure that you screw it in again so that it sits flush with the panel.

Metal Roofing Issue #: Missing Or Badly Secured Paneling

If the installation of your roof panels is done poorly, theyll be prone to shifting or blowing away with high winds. This happens when the fasteners arent secured properly. Metal roof panels have to interlock correctly and securely, otherwise, youll lose bits and pieces over time.

Most metal roofing can withstand wind up to 110 miles per hour when installed correctly. If youre losing pieces of your metal roof, your installer likely didnt do their due diligence upon installation.

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Traditional Metal Roof Systems

There are projects where the look and feel of metal roofing is the best solution. There are multiple types of metal roof panels ranging from metal roof shingles to standing seam metal panels. The best application is different for each project and building.

Not sure which method would be best for your building? Jurin Roofing can help analyze your current roof and help you decide which method would be the most cost effective. Call us today at 800-710-7525.

What Would Cause A Metal Roof To Leak

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Surface rust: Rust is known to peel the roofs coating, thus leading to scaling and holes. It, therefore, causes significant structural damage. However, just because your roof has rust doesnt mean its leaking. There are several causes of metal roof leaks, as we have highlighted below:

  • Deflection: It is the crimping/creasing or holes of metal panels. The main cause of deflection is foot traffic. It can cause ponding water and, in the end, lead to roof leaks and rust.
  • Movement: A good metal roof allows water to flow from the roof effectively. If you use a repair product that doesnt allow proper flexibility, the patch wont move, thus causing a roof leak.
  • Incompatible materials: There are specific materials that dont lead to rust or corrosion. If you use incompatible materials, youll get opposite results.
  • Punctures: HVAC equipment installation and foot traffic are common causes of creases, crimping, and holes. When an HVAC is dragged and hits the roof, there will be punctures and tears.
  • Fasteners: The two types of attachments for metal panels include fasteners with rubber washers and clips. Sometimes, the fasteners might back out, leaving gaps and holes between the rubber washer and the metal. This will open the roof to water intrusion.
  • Open laps: If you dont install the seams along with the metal panels properly, they can lift and open the section for water. The result is structural damage.

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What Is The Best Sealant For Metal Roofs

Most of the time, the best roof repair option isnt a product but skills and knowledge to find the leaks and replace the roof.

However, after finding the leak on your roof, it would be best to apply the correct sealant on the market to stop further roof leaks. If you use the wrong sulking or sealant on your roof, youll experience flexibility and adhesion problems.

Lets look at the best sealants that you can count on if your roof is leaking.

Titebond is by far the best product that we use mainly for metal roof repair and maintenance tasks. It is also key for new metal roof installs. It boasts an excellent adhesion for gal-velum and Kynar painted metal roofing.

Titebond sealant also keeps a weather-tight bond to the roof through contraction and expansion cycles. Its consistent even in cold weather and sticks well to dirty and damp surfaces.

You can use NovaFlex for both commercial and residential guttering jobs. The sealant isnt as thick as regular roof sealant thus moves and spreads in joints between metal pieces. In the process, it creates a consistent, watertight gasket.

However, after applying the metal roof sealants, ensure that you rivet the joints and trims immediately. Youll have a difficult time if you let the sealant dry before riveting it.

Metal Roofing Issue #: Missing Pieces

Consistent high winds, storms, debris and even deterioration can cause pieces of your metal roof to fall off. Even if you live in an area that doesnt always produce this type of weather , your metal roof is going to sustain wear and tear over time.

When you have other structurally necessary parts that are poorly installed, you run the risk of water intrusion and leaks. That includes foam closures, vent flashings, boots, downspouts, gutters and edge metal.

For example, if your plumbing vents or HVAC curbs arent installed with the proper materials and sealants, theyll come apart much easier, allowing the elements to enter.

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Paint The Patch To Match The Roof

If desired, the surface of the patch can be painted to match the color of the metal roof panels. To do this, lightly wire-brush the surface of the metal patch and the metal panel just past the edges of the patch. Paint over the surface of the patch and onto the surface of the underlying panel. It may be necessary to wait for the sealant to fully cure before it will accept paint. Also, confirm that the paint is compatible with the sealant you used.

Clean The Repair Area

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The first step in the repair of any metal roofing material will involve cleaning the surface. A hole in a metal roof system can be caused by any number of sourcesthe hole may be from deterioration and rust, or it may be from something falling onto the roof surface, such as a large branch. No matter what the cause of the hole, the area around it is most likely dirty and will require cleaning.

Thoroughly clean the surface of the metal panel using Simple Green or another cleaner, until the surface of the roof panels is completely free of any dirt, film, and/or algae growth. Any cleaner residue will compromise the integrity of the roof repair so be sure to wipe it away with a wet cloth when the cleaning project is done.

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Measure The Repair Area And Cut A Patch

Cut the chosen sheet metal to a size that matches the area to be patched. The sheet metal patch should overlap onto the metal panel at least 2 inches past the edges of the damaged area. After the sheet metal patch has been cut and fit to size, round the corners of the patch with a file or emery cloth to prevent any sharp corners from becoming a catching spot for snow or ice.

Once the patch has been measured, place it over the hole being repaired. Take a pencil and outline the patch onto the roofing. Remove the patch and examine the outline to make sure the patch will overlap by at least 2 inches in all directions past the edges of the damaged area.

Other Reasons Why Metal Roofs Leak

Loose fasteners are another typical reason why metal roofs may leak. Tightening fasteners is part of the normal maintenance routine for metal roofs about every 10-15 years. If you live in an area with a lot of snow or freezing rain, then you may need to tighten the fasteners more frequently, as water expands when it freezes and can loosen the fasteners more quickly.

Another possibility for your metal roof leaking is a gap in the seams where the metal panels meet. Seams can separate over the years from severe weather conditions and old age. Small gaps can be fixed without replacing the panel, but large gaps and dents may require that section of the roof to be replaced.

Lastly, oxidation in your metal roofing can turn into holes that allow water to leak if not restored or repaired early on. If you notice your roof becoming dull and faded, or the paint has started to oxidize, you can restore the metal by washing it and applying a new protective coating to seal the unprotected metal.

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Do Away With Loose Caulking

Now that you have screwed everything tight and have prepared each gap for better sealing, you can now apply urethane cement to seal the metal roofs leaks. Before doing so, make sure you have found all areas with damaged sealants and membranes and applied metal-roofing base coat and glass-membrane fabric roof patch beforehand. Another thing to note is to use the proper urethane cement suitable for your roof.

Once you use urethane roof cement and apply the new patch, you have to do it correctly. Apply a coat of urethane cement over the entire area. An extension of at least six inches is good enough to secure the holes and gaps effectively.

How To Deal With Gaps That Warrant A Metal Roof Leak Repair

Top 10 Causes of Roof Leaks

Many contractors will tell clients to get rid of a metal roof that is damaged or loosened. Of course, a inch gap is enough to cause severe damage to a metal roof. However, you can deal with gaps just by cleaning off debris and rust on the surface of the panels.

The metal-roofing base coat helps prevent water from flowing into the gaps. Apply a single layer of the base coat. Then you will need to cover it with glass-membrane fabric . This prepares the gap urethane cement.

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Improper Materials Or Installation

Metal roofing companies require skilled contractors who know which materials and techniques are required for proper installation. If improperly installed, the seams along the metal panels can lift up and allow water to drip under your roof. This not only causes leaks, but can lead to severe structural damage to your home.

Option 2 Remove And Replace The Entire Metal Roof

The cost for labor and materials to install a metal roof will cost between $8 and $15 per square foot.

Add in the labor to remove the existing metal roof and the cost to transport the materials to the landfill, and you may be approaching the $15-$20 per sq. ft. range.

Starting fresh with a new roof is nice, but if cost is important, there are better options.

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Have You Experienced Roof Leaks On Your Metal Roof System

If you have you are not alone. Metal roof systems are prone to leaking conditions in certain areas.

As the old saying goes, the devil is in the details. Nowhere is this truer than in the installation and maintenance of metal roof assemblies.

Some common metal roof issues:

Open seams

Improper installation methods

Panel damage

Before we jump into the areas where metal roof leaks develop, lets look at a few of the major design characteristics of a metal roof system.

Structural Vs Architectural Metal Roof Systems

How to Find and Fix Leaks on a Metal Roof

Metal roof systems can be installed as an architectural metal roof assembly or as a structural metal roof assembly. The primary difference between the two is the use of a structural roof deck.

An architectural metal roof system is installed over a separate structural roof deck. These systems can be found on most residential applications. They may also be found on commercial buildings such as shopping centers where there is a separate deck that supports the metal roof panels. The main characteristic of this type of metal roof system design is that there is a separate structural deck that supports the metal panels.

A structural metal roof system is just as it sounds. This design uses the metal roof panels as both the structural deck for the roof as well as the waterproofing system for the building. These metal roof systems are typically found on pre-engineered metal buildings. These metal roof systems are installed using clips that attach the panels to the horizontal purlins for the building. There is normally a batten insulation that is laid across the purlins before the metal panels are installed.

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Visible Rust On The Roof Surface

Visible rust on the roof surface is a surefire sign that something has gone wrong with your metal shingles.

If you notice that there are brown or red stains in streaks running down the face of your rooftop, then this could indicate an underlying problem.

And its best to get these repaired right away before they spread further along your roof.

Carefully Navigate Your Roof To Find Your Metal Roof Leak Repair

You will need to use your extension ladder to get onto the roof. Before you go up the ladder, take a look at your boots and clear them of any dust, rocks, or other abrasives that can damage your metal. When you get onto the roof be sure to not step between rows of nails. Step on the nail rows and tread lightly. Doing this will prevent your metal panels from bend damage.

To efficiently navigate on your roof, identify areas where the panels rest on underlying battens or decking. These will support the panels and prevent any bending.

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What Causes A Metal Roof To Leak

If you aren’t sure if your metal roof is leaking, you might want to inspect it. Tell-tale signs to look for so you can prevent any further damage include:

  • Loose or missing fasteners
  • Apply Liquid Rubber Seam Tape around vents, flashing and protrusions.
  • Paint Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant over seam tape around vents, flashing and protrusions to seal.
  • Apply Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant on the entire roof with a brush, roller or sprayer.
  • Allow the sealant to dry between coats.
  • Apply a colored or reflective top coat, if desired.
  • If some areas of the roof have a significant amount of rust, apply Liquid Rubber Multi-Purpose Primer before applying Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant. If the roof is more heavily rusted, use Liquid Rubber Metal Safe Sealant.

    The best time of the year to waterproof your metal roof is at a time when you can avoid hot, direct sunlight while temperatures remain above 5C/40F. You also want to make sure to avoid starting your project if there’s a forecast for precipitation. For areas prone to dew in the morning, application early in the day works best to allow time for drying between coats and for the final coat to dry before the next morning.

    Solution For A Small Leak

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    Some roof leaks are tough to locate. Sometimes the water shows up at a ceiling spot distant from the leak. If your ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the drywall and the attic insulation, push the insulation aside and look for flow stains on the plastic. Often water runs to openings in the vapor barrier, such as at ceiling light fixtures.

    If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to simply clip the nail with a side-cutting pliers.

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    Locate The Source Of The Leaks

    Punctured holes are the first sign of leaking roofs. Debris and possible rusting cause metal roofs to weaken and contract . Take note of rust holes and some panels that have slid down due to the expansion and contraction.

    Check the seam transition points. These are sections where one roof panel connects to the others. See if there are any gaps between them. Inspect for missing or loose screws. Inspect the edges and periphery of the roof and look for any missing pieces of the material.


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