Metal roofs are durable, dependable, and can last up to 40 (or even 70) years. With such a long lifespan, commercial buildings can certainly get a lot out of a metal roof. But, metal roofs can leak just like any other type of commercial roofing system and tend to be a little more difficult to fix as compared to leaks on traditional asphalt roofs. So what do you do when/if a leak happens?
If you’re struggling with a leaking metal roof, the following solutions are often utilized by professional roofing companies to address metal roof leaks. But before we talk about repair options, let’s first take a look at how you can spot a leaky metal roof!
Signs of Metal Roof Leaks
Knowing is half the battle…but how can you tell if there’s a leak in your metal roof? Understanding the telltale signs is the first step towards finding a solution.
Rusting is one of the most prominent signs, though it can be a little tricky – just because there’s rust on your roof doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a leak. However, rust can spread, erode, and cause more issues down the line. So, if you spot rust on your roof, you should take action even if it isn’t causing a leak.
Additionally, it’s important to realize that metal roofs use clips and fasteners to attach the metal panels. Over time, these fasteners might slip out, leaving holes and other gaps in your roof. Inspect these areas if you suspect a leak, because they are often culprits of metal roof leaks (as are holes and punctures in the roofing system).
How to Find The Leak in Your Roofing Material
Now that you know the signs, it’s time to understand how you can find the leaks themselves. Let’s go over a few key spots that roofing contractors look for when determining the source of a metal roof leak.
A lot of leaks tend to happen on the body of the roof, especially flat roofs. These areas are usually visible, presenting as holes from the weather or debris that has caused damage to the roof. Temperature changes can also cause leaks and slight structural damage to metal roof systems, so inspect your roof after all major weather events (including bouts of extreme heat).
Corrosion, punctures, missing screws, or metal roof panels that slid out of place are also key areas that might be causing leaks. Commercial roofing contractors also commonly check HVAC units, spots where pipes, skylights, vents, or chimneys might exist, and counter flashing.
Gaps and trim are also hot spots for leaks (loose caps are a common cause of leaks in these termination areas) and gutter damage can occur here as well.
Solutions for Leaky Roofs
Now that you know how to spot roof leaks, the next step is to find the solution that best fits your situation. You don’t always need a new metal roof to correct leaks – solutions can range from plugging holes and gaps to installing new tiles or flashing underneath.
Tarping in Emergency Situations
Once you find the source of your roof leak, the first step is to minimize the current damage. That means short-term solutions like tarps are in order.
Covering the leak with a tarp acts as an emergency solution before a professional can adequately address the entire issue. Get a large, waterproof tarp that’s big enough to cover multiple spots at once, clear any debris from the compromised area, and find something to secure your tarp to prevent it from blowing away.
Sealing the Leak
If your metal roof leaks are relatively small, you can utilize a sealant or coating as an effective restoration solution.
Acrylic and urethane roof coatings are both appropriate for metal roof restoration but depend upon the type of metal roofing material used on your commercial property. Butyl tape is also an option, in addition to sealant, and can be used in vulnerable areas like skylights and vents.
Addressing Roof Flashing
Roof flashing is a material that is placed on your roof to seal up leaking areas at joints, vents, exhausts or HVAC connection points. Contractors typically install flashing on your roof from the getgo to boost its longevity, but it may need to be replaced if leaks are present.
Flashing is usually placed underneath the roof material and secured with caulking to seal. Installation is relatively simple but the results speak for themselves.
Replacing Compromised Metal Panels
One way to repair metal roof leaks is to replace certain parts of the roof itself. While many might not want to resort to intense metal roof repair, it doesn’t necessarily have to be an entire roof replacement.
By targeting specific portions of your roof and replacing the most worn-down parts, you can keep most of your roof intact while addressing the leak(s). (Bringing in a commercial metal roofing specialist in this situation is non-negotiable!)
Fix Roof Fasteners
We mentioned earlier how metal roofs have fasteners that can become loose and lead to roof leaks. These screwed-in fasteners are usually placed in areas where water won’t pool, but can cause leaks nevertheless.
With that being the case, you might have to fix or tighten up your roof fasteners to make sure they aren’t causing any leaks. Using the right screws or fasteners to fix these leaks is imperative, and calling a commercial roofing contractor here is also highly beneficial for the best results.
Fix Your Leaking Metal Roof Today
If your commercial building has a leaking metal roof, fixing the issue might not be as taxing as you’d expect. But, since most building owners aren’t in the business of making safe, trusted roofing repairs on their own, TEMA Roofing Services is there when you need a trusted, professional commercial roofing contractor.
Contact us today and we’ll get you started on a solution right away!