Water Leaks

July 31, 2009 | Filed under: Roofing Help Podcasts

One of the things I’m always sorry to hear is when someone contacts me and says “Hey, I put up a metal roof…I’ve absolutely loved it, and here I am five years later dealing with some water infiltration” (basically a leak). I hate it when I hear that.

However, the fact is…hanging around Up on the roof is a pretty brutal environment, and any roof system (no matter how well it may have been designed – no matter how well it may have been installed) certainly has the potential at some point of having a minor problem come up with it. The neat thing about metal roofs and leaks typically, is if you do have water infiltration through a metal roof, usually it can be remedied pretty easily. You’re usually not having to chase it around. You can usually identify pretty quickly what’s going on.

What to look for when your roof leaks

Some of the common things that you may look for if your metal roof is leaking:

  1. A visual inspection. Do you see any areas on the roof or perhaps some roof panels have been damaged by a tree limb falling on the roof? Or perhaps you see an area that has been lifted up by the wind.
  2. Sealants. Are there any sealants on the roof that perhaps might have failed or broken loose at some point over time.
  3. It’s not the roof system at all. This this probably happens in about 50% of all metal roof leaks that I will hear about… actually the leak is not pertaining to the Roof System at all, It’s not unusual even though it may be many feet away from where the water is actually entering the home, it’s not unusual for roof leaks to actually originated in a sidewall on a house, or in the trim around the window or chimney (chimneys certainly break down over time as well) either through the sides of the chimney or through the cap of the chimney. So, about 50% of all metal roof leaks I hear about we find out that had nothing to do with the metal roof system at all. The metal roof system was fine but the problem was actually in the side wall, or a window, or a chimney.

So, the important thing, if you do have a problem with your metal roof, contact the manufacturer, or contact your installing dealer. Find whatever help you can possibly find out there. Make sure that the repairs are remedied quickly, and make sure that they were done by a competent installation technician.

todd Miller

has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.

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2 responses to “Water Leaks”

  1. Hi, Todd

    Great website !!! Great topic too. I am about to put in a new roof because of a leak. My question is what if the leak on a metal roof is hard to find, what do you do then ? Can panels /sections be removed fairly easily ? And from what I have been told, the materials / cover that goes under the metal roof should never leak. Any feedback will be appreciated.

    • toddmiller says:

      It really depends upon the style of metal roofing. Through-fastened panels aren’t too difficult to remove. Many of the shingle style products can have panels and sections removed. Standing seam is more difficult and mechanically seamed standing seam is most difficult.

      When tracking down leaks, always look at all penetrations and flashings, and look uphill from where the leak may be manifesting itself.

      I always recommend a quality underlayment beneath every metal roof.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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