Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

Metal Roof Maintenance: What You Need To Know

by

James
February 22, 2022
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A metal roof has many advantages. It’s lightweight, so it’s easy to install, and it’s durable.

It also has a very long lifespan as compared to other roofing materials.

Is a metal roof difficult to maintain?

You don’t need to do lots to maintain your metal roof, but there are a few rules you should follow. The most important thing is to ensure your metal roof is installed properly as that will make its future maintenance much easier

With that in mind, let’s explore everything you need to know about how to make your metal roof last for a long time. Read on to learn about the proper metal roof maintenance tips and hacks. 

How Long Does A Metal Roof Last? 

Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

A metal roof is beloved for its durability. It can last for between 40 and 70 years, which is pretty amazing when compared to other roofing materials.

For example, asphalt roofing can last for about 12 to 20 years. To ensure that your metal roof lasts for a long time, you have to ensure that you look after it. 

Metal Roof Maintenance 101  

If you want to install a metal roof on your home, you’ll be glad to know that it requires less maintenance than other types of roofs, such as asphalt shingles.

Metal roofs provide the best resistance against factors like fires and hailstorms. Here are some important maintenance tips for metal roofs, as well as DIY repair when required. 

Use a solvent to remove stains

If your metal roof has stubborn stains that you can’t clean off easily, you can use a solvent such as rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits on them. But be careful – this is not solvent that you should use on the entire roof. Only apply it to the stains so that you don’t remove the metal’s coating or paint. 

Clean the metal panels

Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

Wash your metal roof regularly with water and dish soap. You can also use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the metal panels.

A good tip when cleaning your metal roof is to do so on an overcast, dry day. You should not clean your metal roof on hot or very sunny days. This will cause the metal panels to become too hot to handle, which can burn you.

Avoid harsh products, such as sandpaper and wire brushes, when cleaning your metal roof as this will scratch the metal. 

Remove snow and ice

If there’s been some snow in your area, you have to remove it from your roof to prevent it from causing leaks or corrosion. You should use a snow rake for this purpose that is gentle on your roof to prevent abrasion.

A long rake also ensures you can remove snow and ice from your metal roof climbing it. Metal roofs can become very slippery when wet!

Clean your gutters

As with any type of roof, you have to clean the gutters so that you remove debris, sticks, and leaves that can cause blockages. If you have trees surrounding your home, you should ensure that you clean your gutters more regularly to prevent issues. 

Trim back branches of surrounding trees

Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

Branches that are close to your roof can sway in the wind and scratch it. They can also cause areas of shade where moss and mold can grow. This is why they should be trimmed regularly.

The additional benefit of cutting back tree branches so that they’re not hanging over the metal roof is that they ensure your roof can absorb lots of UV light, which is essential if you want to install solar panels on your roof. 

Clean the valleys

There are some areas on your metal roof panels where debris can become stuck, such as the valleys. Check these regularly and clean them. A buildup of debris traps moisture and causes shade, two factors that can cause moss and algae to form

Check for corrosion

Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

There are four types of corrosion you should look for in your metal roof. Here’s a rundown of them.

Underside corrosion

This is when a defective coating underneath the metal roof panels deteriorates. Water can become trapped between the panels and the roof’s underlayment. This is why ensuring the proper installation of your metal roof is so crucial. 

Saltwater corrosion 

Saltwater can corrode metal very quickly, so if you live in a coastal region you have to ensure that your metal roof is made out of zinc and aluminum, both of which are resistant to corrosion.

Edge creep 

This is when rust starts to form at the cut edges of your steel roof. To deal with this problem, roofing professionals can install flashing lap and hemming. 

Apply a coating to protect your metal roof 

You want to coat your metal roof to prevent air and moisture from damaging it. This also prevents the metal from rusting. When it comes to roof coating, there are different types, with silicone often being praised as the best. This is because it protects structures from water much more effectively than acrylic coatings. 

Check your metal roof for any damage

Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

You should regularly inspect your metal roof for any scratches, fading, or rusting. You can repair scratches and scuffing with mineral spirits on a clean cloth. 

As for rust, you can repair it by gently sanding the rust spot before applying a metal primer to protect the roof against future rust. Don’t use a wire brush as this will corrode the material. 

Check the roof for any holes

Metal is resilient and strong, but if you have any gaps and holes in the metal this will cause it to deteriorate. If you notice gaps or loose seams, sealant will help you to seal them up.

It’s a good idea to invest in a waterproof coating for your metal roof as this will protect the metal from rust and corrosion. If the gaps are very large and this is causing rain to enter your home, you will have to call a professional roofer who will be able to repair your roof. 

Corrosion can lead to holes forming in your roof. You can fix these yourself, as long as they’re not too large. You will need roof cement and a mesh patch. A primer that tackles rust will also help to bring your metal roof back to its original condition.

After applying one layer of primer and it’s dried, apply urethane cement to the patch. Then apply the mesh. Make sure you cut the patch so that it’s an inch bigger than the hole it has to cover, then apply two layers of mesh and cement. End with another application of cement so that you ensure you get a waterproof seal.

Inspect any penetration points on the roof

These are areas where water can seep into the roof, such as around skylights, chimneys, and air vents. Flashing is required in these places to keep the roof watertight. Check it regularly for any cracks or holes that can lead to leaks.

Avoid foot traffic 

Even though metal roofing is strong, you shouldn’t walk around on your metal roof a lot as this can cause damage to it. However, you can reduce the risk of damage by knowing how to walk on your metal in the safest way. Find out more about this by reading our article, “Can You Walk On A Metal Roof?”

If you need to remove debris from your metal roof, try to do this from the ground instead of getting up onto the roof. You can purchase a long roof rake that will be able to reach all areas of your roof so that you don’t have to risk climbing the roof and suffering injuries. 

Check the roof’s screws

The screws that join together the roof’s metal panels can become loose. This can happen as a result of thermal expansion, compression from snow or ice, or other deterioration. Roof screws have a rubber gasket between the head and metal panel which can become damaged.

If the screws are damaged, you can repair these yourself. You will need a roof screw or screw bit and a hand-operated drill to get the job done. 

Can You Power Wash Your Metal Roof? 

Although you can power wash your metal roof, this isn’t usually recommended because it can cause dents. If you have to use a power washer, make sure you use it on a low setting and that you don’t get too close to the roof.

You should also make use of hot water instead of cold water when power washing your metal roof. This is because the hot water will soften up the grime much better and reduce the amount of time that you spend washing your metal roof. 

What To Know About Painting A Metal Roof 

Metal Roof Maintenance What You Need To Know

Painting your metal roof can help to keep it in good condition. However, if your metal roof is new and hasn’t been painted before, it’s a good idea to allow it to be weathered for six months before you apply paint. This will remove any oils and remnants from it.

When you’re ready to paint it, prepare the surface of the metal by using a primer to ensure that the paint will go on evenly and stick to the metal surface.

During the painting process, you will have to ensure you avoid the following mistakes:

  • Not using a sealant. You have to apply a paint sealer before you go ahead and paint your roof. This prevents the paint from peeling off.
  • Not using energy-efficient paint. When buying paint, opt for the one that’s energy efficient. This will ensure your metal roof will reflect heat away from your home, making your living space much more comfortable.
  • Not choosing acrylic latex paint. A big no-no when painting your metal roof is using paint that’s been sitting around in its tin, such as paint that you used for other purposes around the home. Paint that’s suitable for metal roofs is acrylic latex paint. This can be used on already-painted or bare metal roofs. 

When Is It Time To Replace Your Metal Roof? 

Although your metal roof can last for many decades, there are times when you need to replace your metal roof because repairing it won’t be enough to keep it in good condition.

These include if your metal roof was improperly installed to begin with, your roof has missing flashing, or it has been damaged by severe weather. 

Will your metal roof fade over time?

A metal roof can fade as a result of the harsh elements, such as strong UV rays that strike it every day. This is why painting your metal paint every 10 years can help to keep it in good condition and keep it strong.

What roof pitch is ideal for a metal roof?

The minimum roof pitch your roof requires for metal shingles is 3-in-12, which means that the roof rises three inches for each horizontal foot. By comparison, some standing-seam roofs can be used on 2-in-12 roofs. 

Conclusion 

If you have a metal roof installed on your home, you will need to care for it to make the most of its long lifespan.

In this article, we’ve featured some of the most important tips to follow when maintaining your metal roof so that it looks as good as the day it was installed.

Reference Articles:

James

James Weldon is a professional roofing contractor with many years of experience on the job. He does not only handle large projects and provide excellent services for his company’s many clients; James Weldon also dedicates his spare time to teaching others useful tricks of the trade. Using BuildCampus as an avenue to reach many roofers and aspiring roofing contractors, James Weldon continues to provide high-quality educational posts and buying recommendations for anyone who visits the website.