How to Repair a Metal Roof (DIY Guide)

Ultimate Metal Roof Repair Guide [How-To]

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Posted By:Shingle & Metal Team

By design, metal roofs are incredibly durable and long-lasting. They’re able to withstand high winds, heavy rains, and other severe weather events. They also require minimal maintenance to keep going strong.

However, metal roofs aren’t 100% indestructible. They can be prone to leaks and holes due to being improperly installed or fluctuating temperatures that cause expansion and contraction in the fasteners used in metal roofing.

You can consider this your guide on how to repair metal roof systems in which we’ll cover the most common issues you’ll come across as a homeowner.

Getting Started: Equipment, Tools and Supplies

Different repairs will call for different tools and materials. Depending on the metal roofing repairs you’ll need to make, you’ll likely need one or more of the following:

  • Metal snips
  • Wire brush (or steel wool)
  • Cordless power drill
  • Metal file 
  • Emery cloth
  • Caulk gun
  • Putty knife 
  • Pencil
  • Spray-on rust inhibitor
  • Metal roof primer
  • Clean rags
  • Roof cement
  • Color matched urethane sealant
  • Roofing screws
  • Sheet metal (that matches your metal roof)
  • Asphalt-impregnated patching membrane
  • Paint or coating to match your roof color

You’ll also want to take the proper safety precautions as carrying out repairs on a metal roof can be incredibly dangerous. Be sure to wear the appropriate attire and utilize safety equipment to reduce the risk of accident and injury.

Metal Roof Repair 101

The most common types of metal roof repairs that a homeowner is capable of tackling themselves include:

  • Fixing loose metal roofing screws and fasteners
  • Fixing a leaking metal roof
  • Fixing holes in metal roof panels
  • Cleaning up rust and deterioration

Repairing Metal Roofing Fasteners

Over time, the expansion and contraction of your metal roof will cause the fasteners or screws to loosen. When this happens, your metal panels will start rattling as the wind blows and will eventually dislodge. 

To fix the issue:

  • Inspect your metal roof for missing and loose fasteners, paying close attention to vulnerable points such as edges, ridges, and valleys.
  • Using your power drill — with a screwdriver tip — tighten up any loose fasteners and replace any missing ones. Be sure not to overtighten as this can strip the fasteners and damage the metal panels.
  • Seal the fasteners by applying roofing sealant around each fastener’s base. This will help create a watertight seal to prevent leaks from the fastener holes.

Cleaning Up Metal Roof Rust and Deterioration

While most metal roofing systems are installed with a protective coating to prevent corrosion, you may still encounter rust issues. If you run into any type of corrosion, here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Lightly wire brush the affected area to remove the rust.
  • Wipe the area clean with a wet rag followed by a dry rag.
  • Apply your spray-on rust inhibitor to prevent future rusting.
  • Follow up with the metal roof primer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Finish up with a top coat of metal roof coating or the metal roof paint that matches your roof’s color.

Fixing Metal Roof Leaks

Damaged metal panels, poorly fitting flashing or seams, deterioration — all of these things can lead to leaks in your metal roofing system. If you want the job done right, it’s best to call a roofing professional to assess the extent of the water damage and recommend the right solution.

For minor leaks, here’s what you can do on your own:

  • Locate the source of the leak.
  • If one or more metal panels are damaged, use your metal cutting snips to cut out the damaged areas.
  • Measure and cut a patch from the matching metal material.
  • Using your putty knife, spread the urethane roof cement where the patch will be applied and set the patch in place.
  • Fasten the patch with metal roofing screws and seal the edges and screw holes with extra roofing cement.
  • Touch up the paint where needed.

Fixing Holes in Your Metal Roofing Panels

Holes in your metal roof system can be the result of a number of things from corrosion to falling objects to hailstone impacts.

To fix the holes in your metal roof, you’ll essentially follow the same steps mentioned above:

  • Begin by thoroughly cleaning the surface of the affected metal panel or panels, ensuring it’s free of any rust, dirt, or debris.
  • Using an emery cloth, scuff the surface of the area to provide a better bonding surface for the sealant. Be sure to only scuff the area that you’ll be patching so you don’t accidentally scuff off the protective coating from the rest of the panel’s surface.
  • Next, measure the area you’ll be patching and cut your matching sheet metal to size. Your patch should overlap the area by at least two inches on all sides.
  • Use the emery cloth to smooth out the edges of your patch to prevent the corners from becoming a catch for snow and ice in the wintertime.
  • Place the patch over the hold and scuffed area and trace it with a pencil to double-check that it will properly overlap the damage.
  • Once you’ve determined that the patch will suffice, apply the urethane sealant to the damaged area. You should apply enough so that it will squeeze out from the edges of the patch along the sides to create a watertight seal.
  • Appy and press the patch into place, then secure it using your sheet metal screws. Space the screws every three to four inches around the perimeter within one inch of the patch’s edge.
  • Touch up and retool any sealant oozing out from the edge of the patch using your putty knife to ensure moisture won’t be able to seep in.
  • It should take up to a week for the sealant to fully cure. Once it’s fully cured, you can paint the patch to match the rest of your roof.

Leave the Metal Roof Repair to Us

Repairing a metal roof isn’t always as easy as it may seem. This is especially true when it comes to holes and leaks, as the average homeowner isn’t qualified to assess the extent of the damage. 

No matter how big or small, you’ll want an experienced roofer who specializes in metal roof repairs and replacements to inspect the damages. That’s where the professional roofers at Shingle and Metal Roofs LLC come in. Give us a call today to schedule your metal roof repairs and get a free estimate for the work!

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