Metal Roofing Repair: Steps to Identifying and Repairing Leaks

Metal Roofing Repair: Steps to Identifying and Repairing Leaks

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1- Safety

The first step before starting buying fixing products and getting into action is to inspect the roof. Safety comes first so make sure you use a proper ladder and tie it off, wear a security harness and anchor yourself adequately.

2- Drainage

You need to examine the drainage to ensure your roof is getting rid of the rain water properly. Verify if gutters and downspouts are clear. Adequate drainage is crucial for waterproofing. Commonly, drains are blocked with debris, as well as gutters or they aren´t correctly sloped, downspouts may be plugged and not draining water away,  roof to gutter flashing may be not terminating the water into the gutter, or ice dams may be freezing up gutters and drains causing leaks. The roof drains should be checked twice a year and cleared. If your drains tend to freeze up, you should think of installing heat cable down them.

If gutters and downspouts are getting clogged, clean them minimum twice a year. If gutters are freezing and causing leaks, a heat cable system could be the solution.

3- Penetrations

Once you know that drainage is not a problem, you need to check penetrations such as:

  • rooftop mechanical unit curbs
  • heat stacks
  • vents
  • hidden gutters.

Repairing penetration zones is usually a matter of removing old caulking and replacing it with a modern roof coating. The key is to clean and dry the area as much as possible and use a high-grade coating and a proper mesh or seam tape support.

Ice dams can also separate metal seams and produce havoc with penetrations and flashing. They must be removed. Using a mechanical method or a steam truck is recommended, and for the long-term, it would be good to apply a roof coat or replace the vapor barrier and the insulation.

Check properly, as rooftop penetrations tend to be the cause of leaks.

4- Roof seams

After having checked drainage and penetrations, it´s time to take a look at the roof seams, fasteners, and flashing. It is quite common for fasteners to come loose and roof seams come apart from expansion and contraction of the material. Additionally, it is frequent to find the fastener holes having got larger because of the contraction and expansion around the screw.

If you don´t find any leaks from any of the possible causes we mentioned before, then there are two possibilities: roof ice dams or condensation. Proper roof ventilation needs to be assessed. If there are roof ice dams, they should be removed and then a long term solution to ice damming should be found.

Ice dams are the result of melted roof snow that has re-frozen. They can show up in the gutters or the roof. It´s frequently seeing ice dams creating leaks at the gutter to eave edge zone, and at the rooftop.

If the roof needs significant repairs, maybe you should consider an entire roof coating or a replacement instead of doing many spot repairs. If your roof desperately needs repairs, it may be better to recover, coat, or replace the roof.

Certainly, if you are a handy person, you can do your own metal roofing repair; otherwise, seek an expert in your area and forget about all the fuzz!


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