close up of house getting a new metal roof installed

Homeowners Guide to Metal Roof Repair: Punctures, Leaks, & More

More and more these days, metal roof systems are starting to pop up in neighborhoods around the country. While asphalt roofs are still all the rage, installing metal roofing is something many homeowners are starting to consider due to their highly durable and aesthetically pleasing designs.

Even with high levels of durability, you don’t know when your metal roof may become damaged unexpectedly, so it’s important to know the basics of metal roof repair and how to repair a metal roof. 🛠

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  1. the benefits and drawbacks of metal roofing systems;
  2. how damage can happen to metal roofs;
  3. and your options for metal roof repair.

how to repair metal roof shingles

Benefits & Drawbacks of a Metal Roof System

Before we dive into the details of how to actually fix any damaged area of your metal roof, let’s look at some of the reasons you might choose to install one in the first place:

Pros

  • Depending on the type of metal you choose to install and the amount of maintenance you put in, a metal roof can last anywhere from 50 to 70+ years.
  • There are many metal materials, colors, and style options to choose from to suit your aesthetics.
  • More and more roofing companies are mastering metal roofs, so installation is often fast and easy.
  • Unlike asphalt shingles, rain and snow can slide easily off a metal roof, so you won’t have to worry about raking any ice or snow off your home this winter.
  • Metal roofing is highly energy efficient, helping homeowners save an average of 30% on their monthly energy bills after installation.
  • Metal roofs offer solid reflectivity and UV resistance, meaning your home’s interior won’t get too hot.
  • Although many homeowners believe this common misconception, metal roofing will never attract a ⚡️ lightning strike ⚡️
  • Metal roofing is moss, mold, fungus, AND fire resistant
  • It can sustain weathering and temperature fluctuations in all kinds of climates
  • Metal roofing requires minimal maintenance

While metal roofing is an excellent investment that’s only gaining more and more traction across the country, there are a few cons:

🚫 Cons 🚫

  • The roof surface gets exceptionally slippery when wet, so making your own repairs can be dangerous.
  • Although snow slips easily off metal roofs, this can cause avalanches that damage decks, light fixtures, and other features protruding off your home.
  • Metal roofing materials may show visible warping or waviness over time, called “oil canning.”
  • This type of roofing can get relatively expensive, depending on your roof size, pitch, design, and the type of metal roof system you choose to install
  • Cheaper metal materials are susceptible to scuffs, scratches, and denting during heavy hail storms or roof construction.
  • It’s challenging to match the color exactly after metal roof panels start fading or discoloring.
  • Like any metal material, a metal roof system can also be prone to potential rusting and deterioration, even with its impressive 60+ year lifespan.
  • Rain and hail storms can be noisy with a metal roof installed.
  • Metal roof systems are typically more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles.

How Do Metal Roofs Get Damaged?

Metal roofs are some of the most durable roofing systems out there, often lasting more than 50 or 60 years with the proper care and maintenance. Even though a metal roof is made to withstand fires and high winds, there are a few ways in which they can get damaged.

While small pieces of hail won’t dent or puncture your roof, there is the possibility that larger hail could have an impact on the roof’s surface. In addition, large and heavy debris like fallen trees could potentially puncture your roof, the sun can cause discoloration over (lots) of time, or lingering water could cause leaks and rust.

Any kind of roof system can incur damage over time, but a metal roof system is still one of the strongest and most durable. You likely won’t run into too many repairs with a metal roof, but you still want to be prepared when the unexpected occurs. Fortunately, fixing metal roof damage is fairly easy.

how to repair metal roof damage

Metal Roof Repair: Punctures, Leaks, & More

Now that you’re aware of how your home’s metal roof might become damaged, we can take an in-depth look at how to repair a metal roof system yourself. And we promise, with the proper tools, protective gear, and knowledge, it’s actually pretty easy. (Otherwise, you can always just call a professional roofing company to make metal roof repairs.)

Repairing Dents

Metal roofing is highly durable, but if you’re going to see damage, it will most likely be a dent. Your metal roof should be able to withstand hail the size of golf balls or even bigger, but if there’s a freak hail storm, you might be out of luck.

There’s no easy way to eliminate dents on your metal roof (especially if its a large panel system). You’ll likely have to replace any panel (or panels) that were affected. If you happen to have smaller metal shingles, you will be able to get away with a smaller repair by just replacing the dented shingles. While roof damage is always something homeowners want to avoid, the good news is dents are merely cosmetic and you won’t have to worry about leaks.

Filling Punctures and Holes

Another unlikely kind of metal roof damage is puncturing. To reiterate, your metal roof is highly durable, so you don’t necessarily have to worry about experiencing a puncture or hole. But just in case, we’ve compiled some simple steps to patch and cover a hole in your metal roof:

  1. Prepare a piece of scrap metal or a metal piece as close as possible in color to your roof as you can find. Cut this patch to be 2 inches wider and taller than the size of the hole you’ll be covering.
  2. Prepare the area that’s being patched. If anything protrudes that will stop the scrap metal from laying flat, you can pound it down as much as possible.
  3. Lay the patch over your repair area and trace it with some chalk. Then, fill in the outer 2 inches with the sealant of your choice.
  4. Press the metal patch onto the surface firmly; sealant should seep out of all edges, otherwise, you need to add more.
  5. Once you’ve applied an adequate amount of sealant, you can use a putty knife to smooth it against the roof surface.
  6. To finish up, install hard screws around the patch uniformly (but not too tight to allow for expansion and contraction), and apply a matching paint if you’d prefer.

Fixing Discoloration

Unfortunately, matching the color of a metal roof panel after they’ve been manufactured and sold is quite challenging. So, if your metal roof starts showing signs of wear or discoloration, you might want to consider replacing entire roof. Again, this might not be the answer you were looking for, but even durable roofing materials like metal will show wear over time.

If there’s only a small area of discoloration, the area isn’t in an obvious spot, or you’re comfortable with a minor piece of mildly mismatched roofing materials, you can simply paint or patch the discolored section.

Mitigating Roof Leaks

While it’s not very common for a metal roof to leak, there are a few ways for water to penetrate metal roof panels. Some of the primary reasons you might have a leaky metal roof include:

  • Open roof seams
  • Fastener backout
  • Open flashing
  • Loose counter flashing
  • Metal roof oxidation (rusting/deterioration)
  • Improper installation
  • Damaged panels (physical or water damage)

To fix a roof leak, you’ll need to find the leak first. You can do this by simulating rain using a water hose and having a partner stand in the attic to see where the leak is located. You might see water dripping from the attic ceiling or pooling on the attic floor.

Once you’ve located the leak, you can take steps to eliminate it. If your metal roof has started oxidizing, you can still apply a rust inhibitor to help stave off the issue. Ensure all fasteners are tightened regularly, inspect counterflashing, and fill in any gaps or holes with caulk of a matching color to your metal roof.

It’s also recommended that you apply a coating after making repairs to a metal roof to seal out any more leaks. There are two primary types of coatings you can use:

  • Acrylic sealant
  • Urethane sealant

Many home improvement and hardware stores like Home Depot offer a range of sealant options, including paintable sealants seen here.

contractor completing metal roof repair

Handling Rust/Deterioration

As we mentioned above, when your metal roof starts to oxidize, you might see signs of rusting or deteriorated metal. If you catch the metal oxidation process in its early stages, you can still apply a rust inhibitor to slow down the decay. That’s why it’s crucial to inspect your roof annually for any signs of damage or deterioration. While rust is mainly cosmetic, it will lead to leaks and roof failure if left for too long. If you can spot signs of damage early, then you’re in a much better position to avoid expensive repair costs of water damage and rott

Getting the Most Life Out of Your Metal Roof

If you’re reading this post, you probably suspect your metal roof has been damaged. If this is the case, one of the most important things you can do is move fast. Whether it is a DIY inspection and repair or hiring your local contractor, it’s best to identify any damage early so you can stop any leaks fast.

If you happen to be located near Appleton, Madison, Milwaukeekee, or greater Chicagoland, make sure to contact our team at Durashield Contracting! Our team is at the ready to schedule a consultation for metal roof repair services that are fast, affordable, and done right every time.

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