Own A House With A Metal Roof? Here's What You Need To Know

Posted on: 28 July 2017

Metal roofing is ideal in warm climates because it reflects the sun's heat. This can help keep the costs of cooling the home minimal as compared to a home with an asphalt shingled roof, which absorbs heat. In fact, a metal roof can save 25 percent of the homeowner's energy costs. Another reason metal roofing is ideal in warm climates is because it provides a durable barrier to the environmental forces of nature, particularly strong wind and heavy rain.

However, even with heat reflection and high durability, metal roofing—as with any other material—doesn't last forever. At some point, metal roofing will need repaired, so it's a good idea to inspect metal roofing annually. Here's what you need to know if you own a house with a metal roof. 

Don't Wait Until the Roof Leaks to Have It Repaired 

Often, people don't repair their roofing until they notice leaks or damage that could result in leaks, regardless of the type of roofing material they have. However, waiting until water leaks occur can result in significant water damage to the structure of your home. If there are any gaps or holes in the metal roofing, water can infiltrate to the underlying materials and cause a significant amount of water damage that you may not suspect until you start seeing water stains on the ceiling of the top floor. Instead of waiting until your roof is in obvious need of repair, inspect your metal roofing regularly. 

Safely Clean Your Metal Roofing Prior to Inspection

Before you can inspect the roof, it's a good idea to clean the roof. That way, you can remove any debris, algae, and stains from the surface of the roof that may be hiding problems, such as rust, corrosion, and a deteriorated coating. To clean the roof, you can use gentle detergent and a power washer set on the lowest setting possible. The reason for this is because you don't want the force of the power wash to wash off any of the protective coating. Also, avoid using harsh chemicals, unless you need to cut through difficult stains, such as tree sap. 

Know What to Look For When Inspecting a Metal Roof 

After the roof has been cleaned, you'll want to look for gaps and holes in the metal roofing, but pay close attention to the screws and grommets to see if they were attached correctly or if they have moved. If the metal screws were under-tightened, they could actually back out of the hole over time, especially due to extreme temperatures that cause the metal to expand and contract. If not properly secured, water can get into the screw hole and reach the wooden structure underneath. Therefore, look for metal screws that are no longer properly secured. 

Another issue that can occur with metal roofing is called swarf, which is the debris that is created when metal is cut or drilled. Swarf is the metal shavings and fine particles of freshly cut or drilled metal. If swarf was not removed from the surface of the metal roofing after the roof was installed, swarf could pit and damage the protective coating of the roofing which prevents rust and corrosion. Look for signs of swarf damage where holes were drilled for screws and along edges.

Rust and corrosion is easy to spot on a metal roof. However, it's equally important to look for signs of deterioration of the roof's protective coating, such as discoloration, flakiness, and cloudiness. Without a good coating of protection, rust and corrosion may occur before your next annual inspection. Due to the importance of the coating, it's a good idea to hire a metal roofing contractor to inspect the coating for you.