Is Your Metal Roof Leaking? Here's Why & What to Do
Published Date: March 2, 2023
If you’re a homeowner or property manager, one of the most critical areas to maintain is your roof. A leaking metal roof can cause significant damage to the structural integrity and safety of your home and pose health risks due to mold growth if left unaddressed.
If you’ve noticed a leak in your metal roof and are unsure how it happened or what steps to take, this blog post will provide invaluable information on what causes these leaks and how they can be prevented and fixed quickly.
Identifying the Leak
Check for any puncture holes, rust stains, or metal panels out of position; these are all signs of a possible metal roof leakage. Also, inspect your metal roof’s valleys. No sealant or butyl tape, gaps, or loose trim could indicate that your metal roof is leaking.
Lastly, verify the condition of the termination points; does it have loose caps with water running underneath them, or is flashing damage present? Take note of all these elements, as they can help determine if your metal roof has a leak and require immediate action.
Common Causes of Metal Roof Leaks
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common causes of metal roof leaks and what you can do to fix them.
1. Loose or Missing Screws
Metal roofing screws fasten down the panels and trim of your metal roof. If these screws are left loose or missing, water can penetrate through the seams and lead to leaks. To fix this, inspect all the screws on your roof for tightness, replace any missing screws, and use caulk around each screw head if needed.
2. Old or Worn Sealants
When a metal roof is constructed, metal roof sealants are typically less durable than metal roofing panels and must be updated as part of routine roof maintenance. When they deteriorate, sealants under trimmings like metal ridge caps and Z flashings around roof transitions, counter flashings, reglets, and pitch pans will occasionally need to be filled up.
Make use of a metal roof sealer designed especially for metal roofing. The paint on the roofing panels and trimmings may not be compatible with other kinds of silicone caulking. Any sealant must remain flexible and stretch with metal without breaking its seal to endure the daily cycle of expansion and contraction that metal roofing experiences.
3. Curb Flashings
A roof curb is an elevated frame attached to a building’s roof and meant to support roof-mounted features and equipment such as skylights, HVAC units, and hatches.
Roof curbs can be fitted to existing units or built from the ground up. They are designed to cover and support items that mount above the roof and pierce its surface. If these flashings are poorly installed or not properly sealed with caulk, they can create gaps that will cause leaks in your metal roof.
Inspect these flashings regularly for signs of wear and tear or poor installation, then repair or replace them as needed.
4. Seams & Over Laps
Seams occur when two pieces of metal overlap but don’t fit perfectly together – leaving gaps for water penetration. Overlaps occur when two pieces meet without overlapping – creating a gap that allows water into the home through small spaces near the joint where two sheets come together.
To prevent leaks from occurring in these areas, regularly inspect seams & overlaps for any signs of wear & tear or improper installation. Then repair or replace them as necessary using caulking or adhesive gasket material when available.
Water can be pulled uphill against gravity using surface tension forces, cohesion, and adhesion. This is referred to as capillary action. If the overlapping seam is above the underlying panel, it can cause a metal roof to leak. You can use butyl tape or sealant to seal overlaps and joints.
5. Stack Flashings
Stack flashings are covers that protect any protrusions, such as chimneys or vent pipes. The area around stack flashings is another region on a metal roof extremely prone to leaks. If the flashing becomes damaged or deteriorates, it can create a gap where water can enter. They should be inspected periodically for signs of rusting or wear & tear. You should then repair/replace it as needed.
6. Fastener Issues
Metal roofs rely on fasteners to keep them secure at all times. These fasteners are typically screws or nails that hold down the panels to create a watertight seal. Over time, however, these fasteners can become loose due to vibration or harsh weather conditions.
Other typical roofing screw problems include:
- Screws that are driven from below
- Screws that have been over-driven
- Screws that are misaligned
If left unchecked, this looseness can cause water to seep through the gaps created by the loose fasteners, resulting in a leaky roof. To avoid this issue, it’s crucial to inspect your metal roof regularly for any signs of loose fasteners and tighten them as necessary.
7. Rust and Corrosion
Another common cause of metal roof leaks is rust and corrosion. This usually occurs when moisture accumulates on the roof’s surface over time due to poor ventilation or inadequate drainage systems.
The moisture accumulation can lead to rusting, eventually weakening the material surrounding the affected area, causing it to become brittle and prone to leaking.
To avoid this issue, ensure adequate ventilation and drainage systems are in place on your property so that moisture doesn’t accumulate on the metal roof surface over time.
8. Damage From Severe Weather
Metal roofs are also vulnerable to severe weather conditions such as hail storms or high winds. Such conditions can easily damage exposed metal roof areas without proper protection, such as gutters or an overhang system that deflects debris away from your property line.
Taking preventive measures such as installing gutters or an overhang system will help protect your property from damage caused by severe weather conditions. This also prevents leakage due to damaged panels or fasteners being forced out of place during strong winds or hail storms.
Solutions for Repairing a Leaky Metal Roof
Here are a few repair solutions for a leaky metal roof.
CMR Construction & Roofing
Known For Craftsmanship Excellence
CMR Construction & Roofing is the leader in providing top-notch shingle services for residential and commercial clients. Their team of experts specializes in historic restoration and sophisticated commercial construction and specialists skilled in residential projects.
With various awards, such as an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and over 35 manufacturer certifications, CMR offers a truly personalized service with world-class employees and expert installations that will meet your shingle needs.
Although they do not provide warranty info on their website, you can rest assured that ongoing service and maintenance will be available should you need it.
Known For Nationwide Reach
Lowe's is a well-known home improvement store in the country, offering everything from appliances to flooring to roofing services. Lowe's offers metal roof repair and replacement services with up to 25 years of warranty. They provide value for money and budget-friendly solutions so you can get your project done quickly and affordably.
Aspen Contracting Inc.
Known For Eco-Friendly Services
Aspen Contracting Inc. is the top choice for residential, new construction, and commercial roof repair. With their free inspection and quote, aerial measurements, and lifetime warranty Aspen's team of experts is there to take care of all your roofing needs.
So whether you're dealing with a leaky metal roof or need brand-new gutters, Aspen Contracting is the ideal partner for quality service guaranteed to stand the test of time.
DIY Vs. Professional for Metal Roof Leak Repair
When faced with a leaking metal roof, homeowners must decide between tackling the repair themselves or hiring a professional contractor.
DIY repairs are simpler, as they require fewer tools and expertise. However, they might not be effective in the long term due to inadequate experience with roofing projects.
On the other hand, hiring a professional may cost more but offers reliability in successfully stopping the leak. In addition, the contractor will have access to top-quality products and cutting-edge techniques to prevent future problems; additionally, their repairs should last for years.
Ultimately, choosing DIY or hiring a professional depends on time constraints, budget allocation, and expected work longevity.
Dangers of Ignoring a Metal Roof Leak
Neglecting a metal roof leak can be costly, as it can cause extensive damage to your home. If the leak is not addressed quickly, it can lead to significant structural damage, such as rotting wood and structural violations due to water entering the inside of the walls.
Moreover, it may also lead to mold growth on insulation and other areas and weakened joists and subflooring. The potential for electrical hazards is ever present when dealing with moisture seeping into an attic or crawlspace area.
This contributes significantly towards increasing your maintenance costs if not addressed promptly.
Benefits of Repairing a Leaky Metal Roof
If you suspect your metal roof is leaking, take action right away. The longer you wait to address the issue, the more it can cost you in terms of damages, repairs, and replacement.
Promptly repairing a leak, however, can effectively prevent further damage and help maintain a strong roof in good condition for an extended period. Metal roofs are practical and efficient when kept in optimal condition.
Therefore, paying close attention to the early signs of leaks is essential. Taking care of the problem right away can save property owners plenty of money and guarantee their peace of mind in the long run.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Can a metal roof leak stop on its own?
Unfortunately, roof leaks do not fix themselves, and they must be addressed promptly before they cause further damage. Therefore, getting your metal roof inspected immediately is essential if you notice any signs of leakage.
Is it better to repair or replace a metal roof?
If your metal roof is damaged, it’s best to quickly assess the scope of the damage: limited damages can be easily repaired, while more extensive damages might require a full roof replacement. Do not hesitate, as there are significant consequences for leaving either condition unresolved.
How much does it cost to repair a leak in a metal roof?
Repairing a leak in a metal roof can be costly. Depending on the size and depth of the damage, as well as the materials needed to finish the job, patching costs range from $625 to $2,980. So get your metal roof checked and fixed with urgency!
What is the biggest problem with metal roofs?
The inherent downside to metal roofs is that water damage can be caused if the installation or repair is not done correctly and water accumulates, resulting in serious repercussions. Therefore, acting quickly once you notice a leaking metal roof is essential.
How often should I have my metal roof inspected for leaks?
Inspecting your metal roof for leaks at least twice a year is recommended, as this can help you detect and repair any potential issues before they become major ones. In addition, it is wise to take preventative measures and act quickly in case of water infiltration from the roof.
Is it normal for a metal roof to leak in heavy rain?
A metal roof can loosen and lead to water leaks during heavy rain. Therefore, addressing this issue before the next downpour is vital to avoid potential damage.
How long does a metal roof typically last before it starts to leak?
The longevity of a metal roof typically ranges from 40 to 70 years, depending on the type of metal used. Ensure any signs of leaks are addressed soon to ensure its long-term durability.