Do Metal Roofs Leak More?

April 18, 2024

There are many options for what kind of roof to put on residential and commercial buildings. Each roof type has pros and cons, including life span, appearance and durability. Many people prefer metal roofs because they’re fireproof and last a long time.

However, some customers and roofers may be concerned about metal roofs leaking. It may seem counterintuitive to put nails through a metal roof and expect that there won’t be leaks. Learn more about metal roofs, why they may leak and how to prevent and repair leaks on metal roofs. 

What Causes Metal Roofs to Leak?

There are a few situations where metal roofs might leak. However, it’s not because they’re made of metal — leaks result from poor installation techniques or an aging roof that’s not been properly maintained. 

If customers hire a reputable contractor to install their metal roof, they shouldn’t experience any trouble with leaks. The same can be said for any other kind of roof. It’s not the material that matters, but how it’s installed and whether the contractor has experience with this type of roofing.

Where Do Metal Roofs Leak? 

If a metal roof leaks, a few places are more likely than others due to how metal roofs are put together. Some parts on a metal roof tend to wear out faster than others, and this can lead to leaks.

Here are a few areas to check if a metal roof is leaking: 

  • Screws: Loose, overly tight or diagonally driven screws can cause leaking.
  • Seams: Water may enter anywhere a seam isn’t properly sealed.
  • Flashings: Leaks may occur where water tends to run down the roof.
  • HVAC: The roof may leak where the HVAC system goes through if these areas aren’t properly sealed.
  • Holes: Rust, UV rays and other forms of damage can cause holes and leaks.

Metal roofs keep water out with seals that line each hole and seam. Although the metal roof lasts a long time, these sealants tend to wear out before the rest of the roof. If they’re not replaced and maintained, a metal roof may start leaking. 

How to Identify Leaks

If you suspect your metal roof is leaking, you can look for a few signs to identify the leak location and fix the issue. Here are some things to check when you’re looking for the source of a leak on a metal roof:

  • Rust: Rust is a sign that water is building up either on top of or underneath a metal roof.
  • Past repairs: Past repairs could be done poorly and may need to be redone.
  • Holes: Rust and other kinds of damage can cause holes that lead to leaks.

Rust is the biggest indicator of a leak on a metal roof. New metal roofs are coated to protect them from UV damage and to be rust-resistant. These coatings work very well unless they’re damaged or water is allowed to sit on the material for a long time. 

Eventually, standing water will create rust on a metal roof. If the rust isn’t treated, it can lead to holes, more water damage and more rust. Rust typically forms around loose screws, roof seams and valleys in the roof where water commonly runs. 

How to Fix Leaking in Metal Roofs

diverting water from a metal roof is the best way to avoid leaks

Diverting water from a metal roof is the best way to avoid leaks. When a metal roof is installed correctly, all seams are sealed and rainwater is directed into a gutter system. Any area that water could damage is sealed or protected with flashings. 

To fix leaks in a metal roof, start by assessing the state of the roof. Was it installed correctly? What needs to change so all the water goes into the gutter system instead of coming into contact with seams, cracks and susceptible materials? Fix the overlying issue first. 

Next, repair any existing damage. If there’s rust on the roof, it must be sanded off and sealed so it doesn’t continue to spread. Old screw holes that can’t be used anymore should all be sealed. You might need to replace sealants between the roof panels or under the screws. 

Are Metal Roofs Worth the Investment?

One of the downsides of purchasing a metal roof is the initial high investment. However, it pays off over time since metal roofs require very little maintenance and last for many years. Here are just a few benefits of choosing a metal roof: 

  • They’re fireproof.
  • They’re lightweight.
  • They’re extremely durable.
  • They have a long life span.
  • They have many design options.

When they’re installed correctly, metal roofs will not leak. By checking on your building’s roof and completing regular maintenance checks, you can prevent leaks and get the most benefit for your investment. Compared to many other types of roofs, metal roofs last longer and require less maintenance over time.

Do Metal Roofs Leak More Than Shingles? 

Shingles are a common option for roofs because they’re so affordable. However, they’re not nearly as durable as metal roofs. Although both types of roofing have the potential to leak, there’s no reason why a metal roof should leak more than a shingle roof. 

Metal roofs should protect a building more effectively and longer than a shingle roof could, simply because it’s made of high-quality material. A metal roof is only going to leak if it’s installed poorly and there are unsealed holes left in the roof. 

How to Choose a Trustworthy Roofing Company

Since installation is when damage and leaking can occur, choosing a quality roofing company to install metal roofing is essential. Here are a few questions you can ask when assessing a roofing contractor:

  • How much experience do they have with metal roof installation?
  • What do past customers have to say about their installation?
  • Does their pricing accurately reflect the value of their service?

When you hire a trustworthy and experienced roofing contractor, you won’t need to worry about leaks and whether your metal roof is installed correctly. Flashings, correctly-driven screws and sealants will keep your metal roof tight and leak-free. 

protect metal roofing with kickout flashing

Protect Metal Roofing With Kickout Flashing

At Kickout Flashing by PBZ, we aim to help roofers do high-quality jobs that protect their reputation and their clients’ properties. Our kickout flashing is designed to divert water away at roof eaves so it lands in the gutter instead of battering the wall of your client’s home or business. 

Our flashing is manufactured in the USA, meets all required industry standards and is available in various colors. We offer powder-coated and uncoated aluminum so you can find the best product for your client’s budget. Contact us today to learn more about this incredible product!

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