Steel Roofing Repair and Maintenance Tips

metal roof

Steel roofing is one of the best investments you can make for your home since it's a type of roof that's highly durable and tends to last longer than asphalt shingles. The average, well-maintained steel roof can last at least 30 years while the best asphalt shingles usually only last 25 years under the most ideal weather conditions. One of the most appealing attributes of steel roofing is that it remains durable and long lasting with very little maintenance. But every now and then you're going to need to make metal roof repairs. Here are a few tips to consider with metal roof maintenance.

Reduce the Chance of a Leak

Coat your steel roofing every two years. Use a good quality roof coating based on the climate you live in. For warm climates, choose a reflective (white) coating to reflect the sun's rays. A gray coating works well in cooler climates since it helps absorb heat. Only apply coating in temperatures of at least 50 degrees with low humidity to encourage proper curing of the roof coating.

Coat seams with a stiff bristle brush and apply the coating with a paint roller for even coverage.

Patch a Hole

metal roof and dormer

Small holes can be repaired by cleaning any loose roof coating from around the hole. Create a square in a two to three inch perimeter around the area to be patched using one or two inch butyl tape. Cut a piece of galvanized metal to fit over the area including the tape. Secure the patch to the existing roof metal with screws every two inches. Caulk the edges of the patch. Once the caulking dries, cover the entire patch with roof coating.

Repair a Parted Roof Seam

The seams between the sheets of metal in steel roofing can come apart in high winds, hail, or simply with regular wear and tear over the years. As part of your metal roof maintenance, you should regularly examine your roof for even the smallest cracks in a parted roof seam.

Use a putty knife to remove any loose roof coating. Then cover both sides of the seam with a quality roof coating. Before the coating has completely solidified, patch the parted seam with glass membrane fabric. The patch needs to overlap the seam by at least two inches. Apply a second layer of roof coating over the repair and allow to dry completely.

Precautions to Take When Making Metal Roof Repairs

ladder leaning against a roof

Steel roofing tends to be more slippery than other types of roofs. Before you climb onto your roof, carefully inspect it and its trusses. If they're moss-covered, icy or wet, be very cautious when climbing onto it.

Watch where you place your weight to prevent popping a seam. Try to step only on the edge of the roof or the rafters which are usually spaced every 16 to 24 inches apart.

Ideally, you should try to make any repairs while standing on your ladder. If you can't do this and must sit on the roof to fix it, bring up a 2 by 4 foot piece of wood that's at least 1/2 inch thick. Place the board across the rafters and use it to support your weight.