How to Find a Leak in a Metal Roof
Thanks to their durability, longevity, and aesthetics, metal roofs are growing in popularity, especially for homes in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, and Silverdale. And while they can last for up to 50 years, that doesn’t mean they are completely worry-free. But finding a leak in your metal roof can be a little more challenging than with a typical asphalt or cedar shingle roof.
Let’s talk more about identifying areas in your roof that are damaged or leaking, or what could be causing the leak.
It all starts with installation, and unfortunately, poor installation happens. Metal roofs are newer, and not all installers are well-versed in proper installation techniques. The biggest issues occur when seams aren’t properly installed. When the seams aren’t properly attached it can cause the seams to lift, allowing water to drip under.
The Body of the Roof
The first place to look is the body of the roof, which is simply the metal roofing panel itself. Leaks that occur here can be found by doing a visual inspection of roofing material. As you look around check for missing, overtightened, loose screws.
We all know that metal can rust, but rust on your metal roof doesn’t necessarily mean it’s leaking. What it does indicate is that your roof is starting to weaken. Rust causes your roof’s protective coating to break down. If this goes too far, it will start to leave small openings that will eventually leak.
So, if you see rust you need to call your installer right away. They will likely apply a rust inhibitor and will inspect the roof for any additional spots that need to be treated.
Dents or Holes
Dents or holes in a metal roof can be caused by falling debris but are also caused by someone walking on the roof. If you have a dent in your roof, we recommend you have it fixed as soon as you can. Dents cause water to pool, and any cracking associated with that dent can cause rust. And a hole in the roof can lead to a more serious problem.
Metal roof panels are attached with clips or fasteners. Clips fasten directly to the purlin (the supports that provide stability and strength by adding support between the framing), and fasteners are concealed after the panels are seamed and crimped together. Over time, fasters with rubber washers might wear out and leave holes or gaps between the metal and washer, making the roof susceptible to leaks.
Roof penetrations are anywhere there is an interruption in the roof. Think vent pipes, chimneys, vents, or skylights. When you complete your seasonal roof inspection, be sure to inspect any roof penetrations.
A termination detail is anywhere the roof stops or ends including the periphery of the home. Common terminations including the ridge cap, gable trim, or counter flashing along walls.
You want to make sure that there are no missing pieces, and that water isn’t running underneath the caps.
Metal roofs are a wonderful option if you’re looking to replace your roof. As a newer residential roofing material, we want you to have the information you need as you make new roof decisions. If you think you might leak, please give us a call. We can help identify any leaks and help your roof get back to keeping the weather outside.