How to Fix a Leaking Metal Roof: A Comprehensive Guide

Oct 21, 2023

WRITTEN BY:

Viking Contractors

CATEGORY:

Roof Repair

POSTED ON:

October 21, 2023

UPDATED ON:

May 10, 2024

Got Questions?

With superb durability, performance, and longevity, metal roofs are great until they leak, and these leaks can shorten their lifespans. So, how do you put an end to this issue?

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about a leaky metal roof as a homeowner, armed with our experience in roofing services. At Viking Contractors LLC, we can identify, evaluate, and provide repairs for metal roof leaks so that your life isn’t on hold.

 

Why Does My Metal Roof Leak?

It all starts with understanding why metal roof leaks happen, as this allows you to adopt a proactive approach and consider relevant repair options.

Metal Roofing Screws

One of the main leak causes involves metal roofing screws. After all, their function is to prevent water penetration. Roofing screws compress a rubber washer to your metal roof panels, creating a metal roof sealant.

Accordingly, the improper installation of screws results in metal roof leaks, which can look like any of the following mistakes:

  • Improper Angle: Screws driven at the wrong angle cause leakage. You want it to sit flat against the metal panel for sealing to work.
  • Over-Driven Screws: Over-driven screws break the rubber washer due to the surface tension they apply, undermining the seal.
  • Under-Driven Screws: If the rubber washer isn’t compressed, the screws and metal panel can’t properly seal your roof.
  • Wear and Tear: It’s natural that even driving screws properly won’t stop them from degrading over time, which will cost them their seal.
  • Missed Frame: If the metal roofing screws aren’t on top of the metal strut or wood framing, it becomes pointless and makes it difficult for you to locate the leak.

Missing Sealants

Some areas of metal roofs need a high-quality sealant to waterproof them, and it must remain flexible to accommodate the natural expansion and contraction of your roof panels.

Sealants are vulnerable areas compared to your roofing panels, which means they need routine inspection and, sometimes, maintenance. So, pay close attention to the following spots to locate damage:

  • Metal Ridge Caps
  • Counter Flashings
  • Z-Flashings
  • Roof Transitions
  • Reglets
  • Pitch Pans

Stack Flashings

The method of isolating a metal chimney from the flow of water on the roof of a residential building.

Pipes, air vents, and other roof penetrations require stack flashings (usually from rubberized material) to be properly sealed.

However, they wear out about mid-way through the roofing material lifespan due to the stress induced by the expansion and contraction of roofing materials. When the stack flashings finally break, water may penetrate your roof via these protrusions.

Curb Flashings

If you install your HVAC units on your metal roof, you’ll most likely mount them to a roof curb, which is a metal body designed to handle the system’s weight and link it to the ductwork. Even with properly installed curb flashing, water can seep through your roof from the area around the roof curb. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to fix this problem without replacing your metal roof.

Overlaps

Metal roofs have regions where panels overlap. Roofers install rubber or mastic seals on both sides of the fasteners, fixing the roof sheets together. This way, it won’t permit water in.

However, harsh weather conditions, such as strong winds and snow accumulation, can move metal roofing panels around, which causes seals to deteriorate over time. Then, water may slip through the gaps created between the panels, causing leaks called a capillary draw or capillary action.

 

How Do You Fix a Leaking Metal Roof?

Construction workers repairing roof waterproofing waterproof roof.

Roof repair differs for metal roofs from other roofing materials. It also varies according to the cause of the leak, degree of damage, and more, so the repair routes may be any of the following:

Replacing Screws and Fasteners

We’ve explained how screws can become water entry points due to improper installation on metal roofs, damage, or natural deterioration. If that’s the case, you’ll need a professional contractor to remove and get fasteners installed properly. However, this becomes a labor-intensive job when the damage isn’t limited to a few fasteners.

Applying Roof Coating

To restore your existing roof, experts lay a roof coating, which is an elastomeric coat (one that can stretch). This process involves little tear-off and limited expenses. Depending on your warranty, it may extend the lifespan of your metal roof by 10 to 20 years.

Sealing Your Roof

Roof sealants are a solid short-term solution. They can prevent leaks, stop the penetration of moisture and ultraviolet rays, and fix small leaks.

Installing Spray Foam

Consider having a professional contractor install spray polyurethane foam (SPF) over your metal roof. Spray foam roofing requires minimal tear-off and is better than a coating, offering you a heightened R-value and closed-cell insulation.

Replacing Your Roof

A professional roofer may recommend that you replace your metal roof altogether. This is relatively expensive, but it saves you money in the long run if your roof is old or falling apart. Signs that it’s time to invest in a new roof include significant rust, plenty of loose panels, and extensive leakage.

 

Final Thoughts

When discussing metal roof leaks, we have to trace them back to their source, which typically involves protrusions and penetrations within a metal roofing panel or more.

Qualified roofing experts can locate them easily. They can also fix the core issue to prevent future leaks. So, waste no time and contact us at Viking Contractors LLC. We’ll provide you with the best metal roof repair service for your budget, goals, and roof.

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