Metal roofs are a durable investment that lasts up to 70 years. You’ll enjoy peace of mind for decades after installation. But like any roofing material, they also experience metal roof problems.
Identifying metal roof issues on your own is difficult, and even if you do, fixing them is sometimes dangerous. You risk injury from power tools and falls, costing you an arm and a leg in medical expenses.
However, working with reputable professionals like Viking Contractors will help you resolve these problems before they become major issues.
We’ll share the top seven metal roof problems property owners face to help keep your metal roof system in top condition.
7 Common Metal Roof Problems
Here are seven of the most common metal roof problems in the roofing industry:
1. Rust & Corrosion
Metal roofs can withstand corrosion and degradation for decades, making them a convenient option for many homeowners. They have protective coatings designed to resist paint resin breaking and rust from exposure to the elements. Despite these qualities, there are instances when natural corrosion occurs, including:
- Underside corrosion: If the underside of the metal panel is coated improperly, water molecules will get trapped between the panel and insulation. Over time, the moisture weakens the roofing structure, causing problems like a leaky roof.
- Saltwater corrosion: If you live near the coast, the salt in the atmosphere will eat away at your roof’s metal panels, making them brittle.
- Cut edges corrosion: The cut edges of a steel roof experience rusting because the bare metal reacts with salt, water, and oxygen in the atmosphere.
Solution: Avoid using a granulated underlayment that could scratch the protective backside coating of the metal material. If you live in coastal environments, use metals more resistant to saltwater, like aluminum and zinc.
Remember to use edge guards, lap flashing, hemming exposed edges, or a paint pen to conceal cut edges in a standing seam metal roof.
2. Oil Canning
Oil canning affects your roof’s standing seam metal system, causing metal panels to buckle or create visible waves. It occurs due to extreme pressure when the metal roofing materials coil or stress from improper handling and storage by contractors. Insufficient space left for expansion and contraction between the panels may also result in oil canning.
Solution: Buy thicker metal for your metal roof and use a rib roller profile to reduce the flat space on your panels. You can also buy tension-leveled (stretched) metal—a coil stretched beyond its limit and cannot return to its initial state.
Most importantly, work with a skilled roofing contractor who knows how to prevent oil canning during installation.
3. Scuffing & Scratching
Scruffing and scratching occur when the panels are improperly coiled or recoiled, rubbing the material together and stripping the protective coating. People walking on your roof may also scuff and scratch the panels with their shoes, exposing the metal material to rust and corrosion.
If the problem persists, it creates openings for metal roof leaks, leading to water damage and mold growth.
Solution: A paint pen will help fix scratching or scuffing affecting the metal substrate. But if the gouge extends deep into the core of the metal roof panel, replace it immediately.
4. Chalking & Fading
Chalking and fading occur when the paint system on your metal roofing panels breaks down due to exposure to the sun, rain, or snow. When ignored, it’ll make your roof look ugly and reduce its Solar Reflectance Index (SRI), leaving your home hotter in the summer. It’ll also expose the metal panels to the elements, encouraging rust and corrosion.
Solution: Get high-quality paint specifically designed for metal roofs and apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s best to hire experienced contractors to inspect your roof for signs of chalking and fading and help you pick the best paint resin.
5. Dissimilar Metals & Materials
When you mix different types of metals in a metal roof system, the materials may react, causing early corrosion and staining. Here are examples of dissimilar metals that react when combined in metal roofs:
- Steel and copper
- Aluminum and copper
- Galvanized steel and lead
- Stainless steel and carbon steel
When two dissimilar metals come into contact with an electrolyte, like water present, it creates an electrical current. The current forces electrons from the more active metal (anode) to the less active one (anode), corroding it faster than expected.
Common signs of corrosion are pitting or holes, rust, white residue, and blisters or bubbles in the paint systems.
Solution: Talk to your roofing contractor about how the metal material, like fasteners, drip edges, and rivets, will react with your roof. The right professionals will know how to work with your preferred roofing material and use non-reactive components during installation. They may use the same metal for the entire roof or use physical barriers to separate different metals.
6. Loose or Missing Fasteners
Contractors always secure metal roofs with fasteners like screws or nails. Over time, metal panels experience thermal expansion and contraction that loosens or dislodges these fasteners, weakening your roofing structure.
Loose or missing fasteners are difficult to notice from the ground, but you’ll hear rattling or banging noises from your roof. Water may also penetrate the gaps created, causing leaks, water damage, and mold or mildew growth.
Solution: The best way to fix loose or missing fasteners is to call reliable local roofing contractors to repair and replace the components safely. They’ll know whether these fasteners can be repaired or need a replacement and will notice any other metal roof problem that’s emerged.
Metal roofs are usually noisier than other roofing materials because they’re more rigid, causing them to reflect sound rather than absorb it. During heavy rains, hail, or when branches fall, the hard surface amplifies sounds, making loud and sometimes scary noises. If you don’t take the right measures, you’ll have to tolerate the constant noises, especially in the rainy season.
Solution: Use a solid sheathing or insulating underlayment that will dampen the sound and reduce the noise transmitted into your home. The underlayment is always installed before the roofing material, and your contractors will recommend the best material based on the noise levels you experience.
Whether you live in a dry climate or coastal areas, your metal roof may experience problems like rust, fading, and oil canning. It’s up to you to ensure you inspect your roof to catch any underlying issues before they become major.
If you have an old metal roof that needs servicing or want a new one installed, call us today. Our contractors will advise you on the right steps to take, and we’ll give you a free estimate for your entire project to get you started.