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Metal Roofing Repair

Apr 25 2017

Metal roofs are strong, durable and typically last 50 years or more. They're designed to stand up to extreme wind of up to 150-mph wind, which is as powerful as an F5 tornado. The hail that accompanies these types of severe storm also has little impact on the roof. Compared to other types of roofing materials, metal roofs are low-maintenance and don't require a lot of hands-on care. However, they aren't invincible. Sometimes metal roofing repair is necessary and can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. It's important to know how to care for your roof investment and when it's time to call the professionals in for help. 

Signs of Metal Roofing Damage

The earlier you can catch any harm, the better. Small problems have a tendency to snowball into much bigger and more expensive issues if they're overlooked. A $300 repair could end up reaching $1,000 if months of neglect come into play. 

You probably don't end up on your roof on a regular basis, so sometimes it's hard to stay on top of things. If you have binoculars or a video drone, you have an easy way to get your eyes on the metal's condition without physically getting on top of your property. 

If you feel safe doing so, you can inspect the damage yourself by heading to the rooftop. Be careful about where you step, as metal roofing is sturdy, but the protection is primarily designed around keeping out the weather, not accommodating foot traffic. Have footwear on that doesn't scratch the metal, and try to move via purlins or joists to decrease the chances that you cause damage. Don't hesitate to call a metal roofing professional to check for you, as they have extensive experience walking around on rooftops. 

Here are a few signs of metal roofing damage to look for, whether you view it remotely or go straight to the source.

  • The flashing has gaps or is otherwise compromised. Flashing is the pieces of metal that sit between the roof and other parts of the house, such as a chimney or skylight. A problem with the flashing often leads to leaking inside the home. 
  • Moisture in the attic. Is the humidity in your attic rising, or can you physically see leaks? The water damage starts in the room closest to the roof in many cases so that you can get an early warning. 
  • Ponding water. Is water settling in on part of your roof without draining down into the gutter or off the side of the building? A damaged sheet of metal, problematic flashing or other issues can create a space where water builds up instead of running off. 
  • Rust. Metal roofs get treated with a sealant that reduces the chance of rust, but if this material is compromised through scratches or gouges, rust can form. A common cause of rust is bringing in metals that aren't the same as the roofing material. The contact point between these two disparate materials creates a corrosive spot. 
  • Fasteners that are missing, out of place or aren't flush against the metal. The fasteners are essential in keeping your metal roof on top of the building. If these parts have problems, you don't have the protection that a metal roof normally provides. 

What Repair Options Do You Have? 

So you've looked at your metal roof and you have some type of damage. Now it's time to figure out what repair options work out the best for each type of problem. 

Minor Damage

All damage to a roof has the potential to become a major problem, but you had the opportunity to catch it before it progressed. Some metal roof repairs have the possibility of being DIY fixes, but you need to weigh the cost savings of DIY against your safety, as well as the potential to use an incorrect method for resolving the issue. When in doubt, bring a professional out to assess the damage. 

With that said, here are a few things that are relatively easy to repair:

  • Missing or damaged fasteners: Use the recommended fasteners to put the roof back into tip-top shape. The manufacturer of the roofing material or the installation company can tell you which ones are appropriate. 
  • Incorrect fasteners: Corrosion may have occurred if the wrong fasteners were used in parts of the installation. Pull the affected parts and swap in new fasteners. 
  • Remove surface rust spots with steel wool or a chemical cleaner designed for this purpose. Once the rust is cleared out, prime, paint and seal that part of the roof. 

Major Damage

The damage to your metal roof may be more extensive than the situations mentioned above. Parts of the sheet metal could be completely loose, flashing not aligned properly, degraded sealant or other problems go well beyond most DIYers' capabilities. Recurring leaks can be particularly damaging, as they may lead to mold growth inside your home or other issues. Reach out to a metal roofing professional so they can figure out exactly what's wrong, why it occurred, and how to fix it so you can get back to enjoying your long-lived roof. 

Can You Extend the Life of the Metal Roof With Regular Repair and Maintenance

Metal roofs have the potential to last a lifetime, but you do need to provide the right care to keep it going strong. On the repair side of things, make sure that you bring in the professionals whenever there's a question of a minor problem turning into a huge issue, or if you aren't confident in your ability to fix it completely. A few hundred dollars on a repair is much less expensive than $10,000+ for a new metal roof. 

You also need to stay on top of routine maintenance if you want to maximize the lifespan of your metal roof. As previously mentioned, frequent inspection of this part of your property is essential to catching anything that could lead to a compromised roof. The other thing to keep in mind is that while the roof can last a lifetime, the sealant that protects it doesn't. At approximately the 20 year mark you need to get the roof resealed, so it continues to protect your home against the elements. Ask a metal roofing expert how long you can go before this needs reapplied. 

Another component of your roof that passes through a replacement process is the fasteners. The effective lifespan of these parts depends on the style used, so check-in with your metal roof installer to see when you should schedule a replacement. 

Is your metal roof painted to add curb appeal to your home? The overall effect looks great, but you need to be vigilant about checking for paint chips, as these could potentially lead to rust spots. Touch up any areas that need a refresh, and consider getting the entire roof done if the marks are too extensive. 

Debris on your roof and in the gutters should be cleaned on a regular basis, so everything functions properly. Depending on the type of waste, you also run the risk of corrosion if you leave it in place. Extendable cleaning tools allow you to clear all of this material off of your roof and out of the gutters, and you can also work with a gutter and roof cleaner if you prefer. 

Do you live in a location that gets snow? One of the best benefits of metal roofs is the way that it melts snow and causes it to slide right off. Sometimes this effect doesn't occur, which creates a pile of snow that can build up. The weight could accumulate and cause roofing problems, or it offers a place for standing ponds to form. Use roof cleaning tools to get the snow off of it. 

In general, you want to check-in on your roof's condition two times a year or more. Also take the time to take a look when you have strong storms in your area. While metal roofs are designed to hold up to extreme weather, that doesn't mean they always go unscathed after a hurricane or a similar event. 

What Factors Influence Metal Roofing Repair Prices

The cost of your metal roofing repair varies significantly based on what part of the roof is damaged, how large your roof is, whether the professional needs to completely replace sheets of the roof, how soon you need the damage fixed and whether it's an ongoing issue. When you talk to a metal roofing company, try to be as thorough as possible when describing what's going on. The more information they have available, the more likely it is that they can give you a more accurate quote. In most cases, they do need to assess the damage for themselves before they can provide you with the price since they can evaluate every aspect of the issue due to their experience.

Sources:

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