Roof leaks are hazardous and can significantly damage a building and compromise the integrity of the roofing system. Home and commercial property owners choose the best roofing materials to avoid any potential issues. Metal roofs are widely popular and coveted as they offer various advantages over other roofing systems. They are built to last and are known for durability, weather resistance, low-maintenance requirements, and energy efficiency.

Though metal roofs deliver superior performance, they are not entirely resistant to leaks and other damages. Metal roofs do develop leakages, and an understanding of their construction and the causes of a leak can make it easier to spot the problem areas. Wear and tear and standing water for a prolonged period can lead to leaks in a metal roof over time. 

Why does a metal roof leak?

Metals like copper, steel, aluminum, or zinc are primarily used to construct a metal roof. It does not require much upkeep and can last a long time before needing replacement. When a metal roof leaks, it is essential to know the common causes before looking for ways to fix them.

  • General wear and tear over time
  • Improper installation can lead to misaligned screws and failed fasteners, seam, sealant, and flashing
  • Inferior quality or incompatible materials
  • Physical damage due to foot traffic, fallen trees, flying debris, and extreme weather events.

Signs indicating a leaking metal roof

Here are a few symptoms indicative of a leak in the metal roof:

  • Surface rust
  • Water stains on the attic ceiling or roof sheathing
  • Peeling and bubbling paint after rains
  • Musty odor
  • Mold and moss growth
  • Improper roof movement
  • Visible dents and holes on the roof
  • Mold and rotten wood frames
  • Loose seals
  • Deteriorating sealant

Locating a leak in a metal roof

It is challenging to identify a leaking metal roof and spot the exact location of water infiltration. However, once it is clear that there is a leakage, homeowners can look in specific leak-prone areas to precisely identify the problem source and prevent it from turning into a major issue.

Leaks in the roof body

Regular visual inspections can help detect leaks on the metal roofing panel. Look for issues like:

  • Out of place roofing panels due to expansion and contraction
  • Weather or debris induced puncture holes
  • Holes and other damages caused by rust
  • Screws that are loose, too tight, poorly aligned, or missing

For a steeply sloped roof, either call a professional or use a pair of binoculars to conduct a visual inspection from the ground.

Leak at termination details

Any place where the metal roofing ends is called a termination detail, including the roof trims and gaps. Hip cap, gable or rake trim, counter flashing, and coping cap are some common terminations. Here a homeowner should look for:

  • Losing cap pieces
  • Running water underneath the caps
  • Sealant integrity
  • Counter flashing damage

Roof transition point leaks

Metal roof transition points are areas where two of its sections connect. The type of metal roof determines the details and craftsmanship used to ensure it remains dry. Valleys, pitch changes, and roof plane transitions of same or different materials are some common areas to inspect. Watch out for:

  • Seam integrity in places of overlapping roofing panels
  • Missing sealant
  • Gaps between trim pieces 
  • Loose or misaligned screws

Leaks surrounding roof penetrations

A place where plumbing vents, skylight, chimneys, pipes, and HVAC curbs pass through a metal roof are roof penetrations. These areas have flashing installed to prevent leaks. Check for:

  • Rotting sealant
  • Cracked flashing seals
  • Gaps in metal trims on penetration corners

Proper maintenance is the key to a long-lasting metal roof. Hire a reliable roofing contractor if you suspect a leak in your metal roof and fail to spot it. Professionals can inspect and repair the roof and restore its functionality and ensure it stays in top condition.

iRoof & Restoration are experts in roof leak repair. We also offer roof inspections, roof replacements, commercial roofing and emergency roofing services throughout Colorado and Texas.