Tips for Finding Leaks in Metal Roofs

Metal roofs have grown in popularity due to their many good qualities. They are excellent for homes for being durable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. Metal roofs can also withstand heavy weather, and they don’t require too much maintenance. However, it doesn’t mean that they are immune to leaks and damages.

There are many reasons for metal roof leaks to occur. Some are due to human error, while others are simply due to uncontrollable circumstances. Still, no one likes a leaky roof. You’ll be paying extra for repairs or replacement. At worst, it can ruin all the valuable items in your home and be hazardous to your health.

If you suspect there’s a leak on your roof, take action right away and look for them to curb the damage. Here are some tips for finding these leaks in your metal roof.

silver-metal-roof-finding-leaks-content-image

 

Look for Signs

Chasing leaks on metal roofs is more successful when your efforts are focused and you have an idea of what to look for. Sometimes, roof leaks are easy to find as they are more evident by the water stains on the ceiling. However, other signs may indicate leaks in your metal roof.

The following are some of the signs that you might find on the exterior of your roof. You can search for them from the ground with binoculars or look from a ladder. If you can’t do the job without getting on the roof surface, contacting a professional is a much safer option.

• Rusting on the Roof Surface

Rust on the roof’s surface doesn’t automatically confirm the existence of a leak. Instead, it is a normal reaction when metal is exposed to the elements. Most metal roofs are made of galvanized metal or coated to prevent rusting. However, it can still occur due to ponding water or heat from direct sunlight.

If leaks are the source of the problem, the rusting will occur in the body of the roof or otherwise known as the metal roofing panel itself. You should be able to find rust holes by doing a visual inspection in this area.

When rusts are left untreated, rust can spread and cause damage. The protective coating will begin to peel, and the metal will start to scale. Eventually, it can eat away at the metal and cause holes. All of which can lead to severe structural damage.

• Fastener Issues

Your roof system’s metal panels are brought together by either clips or rubber washer fasteners. Clips are fastened directly to the purlin, which conceals the seam laps. They often involve sealants like acrylic and urethane to bind the metal panels of the entire roof together.

Whereas fasteners with rubber washers are more concealed after the panels are seamed and crimped together. They are self-drilling and can be placed as close as every two square feet. This way, it won’t need an additional sealant or butyl tape.

Over time, the fasteners might back out and leave gaps or holes in the metal seam laps. This will let in water and pave the way for more issues down the road.

• Improper Roof Movement

Metal roofs are designed to move a bit to allow water to flow off them. However, issues may arise after a bad repair job on your cover. For example, suppose you use a repair product that inhibits proper elongation or flexibility. In that case, the roof panels will continue to move, but the repair patch will remain still. As a result, a tear will form, and water will penetrate your roof.

• Holes or Crimping in the Roof

Rust is not the only one that causes holes in a metal roofing system. It can also end up with this type of damage from foot traffic involving dragging heavy objects. For instance, HVAC units that are installed can cause significant damage to your roof. Since it’s ponderous, dawdling them across a metal panel will result in scrapes, dents, and punctures.

Deflection can also occur from equipment getting dragged across the roof, known as the crimping or creasing of the metal panels. This can result in water pooling in your roof. Eventually leads to rust, holes, and leakage, especially if the problem is not adequately repaired or maintained.

Check the Leak Prone Areas

Although metal roofs can leak for different reasons, you’ll most likely find the source of the leak in a few key places. Searching for leaks is far easier when you know where to focus your efforts. Here are a few weak areas in your metal roof where you can find a leak in your metal roof.

Body of the Roof: The body of the roof or the panels is a great place to begin the visual inspection of your roof. This is where roof leaks almost always occur on metal roofs. Besides rust damage, other types of damage in this area include puncture holes, out-of-place panels, and missing, misaligned, loose, or overly tightened screws.

Transition Points: Transition points refer to the roof areas where one section of the roof connects to another or ties into a different roofing system. Pay close attention to these areas, especially in the valleys. Things that may seem insignificant at first glance may be the leak you’re after.

Roof Penetrations: These are the areas wherein pipes, vents, skylights, chimneys, and other types of mechanical support pass through the roof. They depend on a kind of seals such as caulking, sealant, butyl tape, or pitch pant sealer to keep water out of the building. Keep an eye out on these sealants, the flashing, and the gaps in metal trims on the corners of the HVAC curbs.

Termination Details: A termination detail is in any area where the metal roof stops or ends, including the gaps, trims, caps, and counter-flashing that hide the end of the metal panels.

Break out the garden hose

Finding a roof leak is easier during rainy weather, but it can make your search more challenging if the recent weather is dry. In that case, you can always simulate a storm. This method will require two people. One should go up the roof with a garden hose, while another looks in the attic with a flashlight in hand.

When you spray the roof with water, do it in sections to help you pinpoint the source of the leak. Start from the lowest part of the roof, then work your way up. The person that stayed inside carefully examine the roof’s underside for leakage. Follow the water stains or wet spots up to the rafters or roof decking to their highest point.

Once you confirm the existence of the leaks and their location, reach out to professionals like Fahey Roofing Contractors for a more in-depth inspection of your roof. With their help, you can get your roof back to its pristine condition.

Fahey Roofing Contractors has the experienced and skilled contractors you need to help you with any necessary roof repairs and roof replacement. We serve various areas in West Virginia and Ohio. If you have questions or concerns, visit our website or contracts us at (304) 826-1323 for West Virginia or (740) 523-0380 for Ohio.