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How To Perform Metal Roof Leak Repair and Prevent Future Issues

Posted on December 12, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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Metal Roof Leak Repair

In this blog post, we delve into the world of metal roof leak repairs, a topic relevant to many homeowners across the country. Although metal roofs are known for their durability and strength, they still come with their challenges.

Further, we’ll talk about the causes of metal roof leaks, and different ways you can address them. Whether you prefer professional services or are inclined towards DIY methods, this post will provide valuable insights into both to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Understanding What Causes Metal Roof Leaks

Metal roofs are tough and last a long time, but they can still get leaks. Here are some reasons why:

#1. Faulty Screws and Fasteners

The majority of leaks on metal roofs are caused by metal roofing screws and fasteners. Moisture tends to leak under the metal panels through screws that are over-driven, under-driven, or installed at an incorrect angle. Poor-performing screws with misaligned threads or breakage can also allow moisture to seep under the metal panels, even if a sealant is applied.

#2. Issues With Stack Flashing

Stack flashing is better known as the boot that goes around ventilation pipes sticking out from the metal roof. This flashing off creates a waterproof seal around the vent. In regions that have been exposed to the sun and are prone to weather damage, stack flashing may eventually deteriorate. Leaks and expensive metal roof repairs can result from these rubber gaskets breaking entirely due to the expansion and contraction that the roof experiences.

#3. Missing Sealant

Applying sealant to laps and any seams between metal panels, trim, flashings, and ridge caps happens during installation. It’s also used where brick, stone, fiberglass, and metal converge. For a sealant to work, it needs to be flexible, as it stretches with the expansion and contraction of metal roofs throughout the day rather than breaking. Without this crucial element, water damage and leaks are prone to developing.

#4. Problems With Curb Flashing

Curb flashing is used to waterproof the area around roof penetrations such as skylights, vents, and chimneys. If curb flashing is not installed correctly or is damaged, water will penetrate the interior of your home. 

#5. Capillary Draw 

Water can actually move uphill between two tightly joined pieces of metal when something called Capillary Draw occurs. Water will pass through the seam and cause leaks if sealant or butyl tape is not used between the two pieces of metal to break the capillary draw.

How to Inspect for Metal Roof Leaks

In order to repair the leak, you’ll first have to inspect your roofing system to find it. Here are the areas you should inspect closely in order to find the source of a leak: 

Inspect for Metal Roof Leaks

#1. Damage To The Roofing Surface

Start by looking at the whole roof for any dents, scratches, or signs of aging. This helps find potential issues that might cause leaks.

#2. Check Flashing

Flashings are important for keeping water out around pipes and other openings. Make sure they’re in good shape and properly sealed. Check the sealant behind them too.

#3. Inspect Roof Penetrations

Look at things like skylights, vents, and chimneys for any signs of leaks or damage. Check the flashing around these penetrations to make sure they’re okay.

#4. Check Screws and Fasteners 

Leaks often happen around loose or damaged screws. Look for any that are damaged and consider replacing them to stop leaks.

#5. Get Help From A Professional If Needed

If you can’t find the leak or aren’t sure what to do, ask a professional roofer for help. They can figure out the problem and suggest the best way to fix it.

How To Repair A Leaking Metal Roof

When dealing with a leaking metal roof repair, there are various methods to consider. Here are some common approaches:

> Sealants and Caulk 

Ideal for small leaks, this involves cleaning the area, removing debris, and applying a roofing sealant. However, it’s a temporary fix and needs more comprehensive repairs later.

> Patching 

Recommended for larger holes, it includes cleaning the damaged area, applying adhesive or sealant, and placing a compatible patch over the damaged area. This is best for isolated damage, but may not be a long-term solution.

> Replacing Damaged Panels 

When damage is extensive, consider replacing damaged panels, ensuring careful assessment and proper installation to maintain the integrity of the roofing structure. 

> Professional Solutions 

For significant damage or an aging roof, professional options like roof coatings, spray foam roofing, retrofitting, or complete replacement provide more comprehensive and long-term solutions.

Professional Solutions for Metal Roof Leaks

Metal Roof Leaks

There are various professional solutions for fixing leaks in buildings with metal roofs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The choice depends on factors like the leak’s severity, the building’s condition, and budget constraints. Here is a closer look at some of the  solutions we mentioned earlier:

> Roof Coating Systems 

Certified contractors can apply coatings like acrylic or urethane across the entire roofing system, creating a seamless, waterproof layer. This extends the roof’s life by up to 20 years, offering a long-term solution.

> Spray Foam Roofing 

Polyurethane foam is sprayed over damaged areas, filling gaps and cracks to create a lasting seal. This method is effective for hard-to-reach spots and can be cost-effective for small leaks.

> Retrofitting for Reinforcement 

Additional support or reinforcement is added to the existing roofing structure, especially in areas showing wear or damage. This helps prevent further issues.

> Roof Replacement as a Last Resort

When repairs aren’t effective, a complete roof replacement may be necessary. This eliminates the risk of future leaks, improves energy efficiency, and boosts property value.

The choice of a professional solution depends on the specific circumstances, overall building condition, and budget. Consulting with a professional is important to determine the best approach for your situation.

DIY Steps for Repairing Metal Roof Leaks

Here are the following steps that you can take if you want to take a DIY approach to your metal roof leaks. Just keep in mind that professional help will always ensure you receive the best outcome. 

#1. Clean The Area To Prepare It For Repair Work

Make sure the surface is completely clean and free of any residue, rust, or debris. Check that the cleaner you use is made especially for your metal roofing system, and use a wet cloth to remove any leftover cleaner residue.

#2. Evaluate The Affected Section

Inspect the damaged area and use a wire brush to gently remove any rust or debris that may have accumulated. Take note of the type of damage you’ll be dealing with. 

#3. Measure and Cut Appropriate-Sized Patches

After measuring the damaged area, use a roofing material that is similar to your current one to cut a repair patch. To ensure a tight seal, make sure the patch is slightly bigger than the damaged area.

#4. Install and Secure The Patch 

The damaged area should be sealed with a premium roofing sealant or adhesive before the repair patch is carefully placed over it. To smooth the patch and guarantee a tight seal, use your hands or a putty knife.

#5. Paint The Patch to Match The Surrounding Color Of The Roof 

After the repair patch has been installed, paint it to match the surrounding color of the roof. In order to preserve the aesthetic appeal of the roof and stop rust from developing in the repaired area, this step is crucial.

Conclusion

Dealing with metal roof leaks quickly is essential to stop more damage from occurring. By knowing what causes leaks, checking the roof often, and exploring repair and prevention choices, metal roof owners can make sure their roofs last longer.

In short:

  • Screws and flashing are examples of vulnerable areas on a roof that can cause leaks.
  • Regularly inspect your metal roof to catch leaks before larger forms of damage occur.
  • Whether you do it yourself or get experts involved, quickly make repairs and don’t ignore the leak.

Need Help With Metal Roof Leak Repair? Contact BRH Enterprises 

If your metal roof has suffered damage, it’s crucial to act quickly and get in touch with a skilled roofing contractor such as BRH Enterprises in Wisconsin. Seeking the expertise of professionals not only helps stop further damage from occurring but also ensures the continued structural integrity of your home.

For comprehensive roofing solutions, reach out to our team today at (920) 249-4228. Let our experts assess the condition of your roof and check whether repairs or a full replacement is necessary. Let us show you the difference we can make in your roofing system. 

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