While metal roofs are highly durable and long-lasting, they can sometimes develop leaks due to old age or from extreme weather. They may also develop leaks due to faulty installation by an unprofessional metal building company. If you own equipment or inventory, it could be permanently damaged by leaks in the roof. There are ways to not only fix leaks once they have occurred, but there are also ways to prevent leaks altogether so you never have to suffer with running around and placing buckets on the floor or from damaging expensive items.
The best way to prevent future leaks in your metal building is to hire the right contractor to get the job done. A professional, qualified metal building company will know how to properly install a roof. Most leaks are due to improper installation so the construction phase is vitally important for the future of your roof. During this process, your builder will perform the following tasks to ensure a long-lasting roof:
- Install sealant at the right locations: in the panel seams, at the location of screw heads, at 4-way panel laps, at eave connections, and at the underside of the roof panels.
- Use the proper roof slope in the design: a too shallow slope will allow water to stand on the roof, creating an environment for leaks.
- Properly lock and secure the panels: if the panels are not correctly installed, they are more likely to blow away from strong winds.
- Install flashing in the right places: around skylights, chimneys, and pipes.
- Install the proper metal roof coating: coatings can stop rust from forming and will encourage water and snow to slide off the roof rather than sit around.
Maintaining the Roof
After your metal building or roof is complete and many years down the road, you should inspect it regularly (before leaks occur). A metal roof should last upwards of 50 years with the right maintenance. Your main goal during your inspection is to locate any problems in their beginning stages and stop them from progressing. That way you can potentially stop a leak in its tracks.
During yearly maintenance you should clean the roof with a power washer to remove any dirt and debris.
Here are some issues to look for during your inspection:
- Spots of rust anywhere on the roof - on the metal panels, around pipes, etc.
- Damaged flashing
- Cracks in old silicone caulking
- Splits and holes in the metal roofing
- Missing, loose, or corroded fasteners.
Repairing Leaks and Other Problems
The final step to having a pristine, leak-free roof is to repair any and all issues. If the problem is out of your expertise, you can call a professional. Either way, you need to:
- Metal panels that are severely corroded to the point of posing a safety threat should be removed and replaced. If you are worried that a metal panel is too far gone, it probably is. Metal surfaces with minor rust can probably be cleaned by sanding or scraping off the rust. After that you can apply a primer or rust inhibitor.
- Replace damaged flashing.
- Remove cracked and loose caulking and apply new caulking.
- For splits and holes in the roof, you should apply a proper metal coating or repair material. Be sure to clean the area before applying the material.
- Replace all missing or corroded fasteners with new ones. This is a common area for leakage. You should also apply a thick layer of caulk around the fastener, completely covering its head.
At this time you can reapply the coating that was applied when the roof was constructed. Coatings can be applied for many reasons such as to provide weatherproofing, for esthetic purposes, and for water runoff. There are many types of coatings with varying degrees of quality (and price). A metal building professional will assist you in choosing and applying a coating.
All of the repair and maintenance we mentioned previously tasks should be completed prior to applying a coating and the surface should be perfectly clean. For industrial buildings that have leaks or severe cases of rust, you can apply an elastomeric acrylic and urethane metal roof coating to both stop the rust from spreading seal current leaks. You or your metal building company will apply the coating using brushes, rollers, or a sprayer.
Once you have maintained and repaired your roof, you can look forward to having a safe, leak-free building.