Metal is a unique, long-lasting roofing material that can enhance your home's curb appeal. Even though it's more durable than other roofing types, it's still vulnerable to wear and tear from harsh weather conditions and improper care. This ultimate guide to metal roofing can help you keep it in excellent condition throughout the year.
What Are The Different Types Of Metal Roofs?
Standing seam metal roofs: These roofs have raised seams that interlock to create a watertight seal. They are popular for their durability and resistance to wind, rain, and snow.
Metal shingle roofs: These roofs are designed to look like traditional asphalt shingles, but are made of metal. They are lightweight, durable, and can last for several decades.
Metal tile roofs: These roofs are designed to look like clay or concrete tiles, but are made of metal. They are durable, long-lasting, and resistant to fire, wind, and hail.
Corrugated metal roofs: These roofs have a wavy pattern and are often used for agricultural or industrial buildings. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and can be painted or coated for added protection.
Copper roofs: Copper is a premium roofing material that is known for its durability, resistance to corrosion, and long lifespan. It can be expensive, but is often used for high-end homes or historic buildings.
Metal Roof Maintenance Guide
Here are some ways you can regularly care for a metal roof.
Do Metal Roofs Require Maintenance?
Yes, metal roofs need annual maintenance to perform and look their best. Consider these benefits of caring for your metal roof:
Prevent costly issues: Leaks, dents, scratching, degradation and corrosion could damage your property, resulting in expensive repairs. Scheduling a roof inspection with a professional roofing company can help prevent these issues by identifying problem areas and fixing them as necessary.
Prolong your roof's lifespan: Metal roofs can last a long time, but harsh weather conditions and other factors could cut your roof's lifespan short. When you take care of your metal roof, you can keep your roofing components in excellent condition. Inspecting your roof at least once a year can help you repair problems and prevent the need for a future replacement.
Enhance your roof's aesthetic: Besides making sure your metal roof can adequately protect your home, maintaining your roof allows your roof to look its best. Instead of letting dirt and dents pile on top of your house, you can clean your roof to improve your property's curb appeal. A metal roof is a significant investment, so you should take care of it to highlight this quality material.
What Maintenance Does a Metal Roof Need?
For best results, you might want to inspect and clean a metal roof about once a year. Even though you can maintain a metal roof on your own, it may be helpful to hire a professional so you don't have to climb onto your roof. Follow these metal roof maintenance tips to make it last forever:
Clean off the metal panels: You can wash your metal roof with dish soap and a bucket of water. Wet a clean microfiber cloth in the bucket and gently wipe the metal panels, rinsing the soap off with a garden hose. A professional in the roofing industry could clean your metal panels to prevent damaging your roof by walking on it incorrectly.
Keep snow and ice off the roof: After a winter storm, you can sweep the snow off the top of your house with a brush or long-handled broom. Try to avoid using metal tools that could scrape the roof's protective coating when cleaning your roof.
Clean the gutters and drains: Leaves, sticks and other debris can get stuck in your gutters, causing them to clog and fill with water. Excess moisture could corrode your metal roofing and invite pests near your property. If you don't feel comfortable going on a ladder and removing the debris from your gutters with a trowel, you can consult a roofing contractor to clean them. It may also help to install gutter guards that prevent future debris buildup.
Remove debris from valleys: Inspect your property for leaves and branches that can get stuck in those hard-to-reach areas of your metal roof panels. During a professional cleaning, the contractor can dispose of any debris they find on your roof to prevent scratching the paint and ruining your roof's curb appeal.
Trim branches near the top of your house: Nearby trees could scratch your metal roof surface and deposit leaves, scuffing your roof's paint and leaving it vulnerable to damage. If you have branches near your property, you may want to hire a professional to trim the ones that could rub against your roof.
Inspect for damage: Check your metal roofing paint for scratches, scuffs, flaking or fading. If you notice any major blemishes, you may want to consult a professional to replace your roof.
Repair minor scratches: You can apply mineral spirits with a clean cloth to buff minor scratches. Wipe the mineral spirits over the scratched area, rinse with water and allow the panel to dry. You may also want to touch it up with a little paint.
Fix loose or separating panel seams: If the seams that connect the panels become loose or out of place, moisture could leak between the gaps and into your home. When you call a professional to inspect your roof, they'll check the panel seams and repair any damage.
Adjust damaged flashing materials: The flashing controls water flow away from vulnerable parts of the roof. If your roof leaks, you probably have broken or missing flashing. During a professional inspection, the roofing contractor will check your flashing's seal and condition to prevent water damage inside your home.
Inspect penetration point areas: The materials around chimneys, solar panels, air vents and skylights can degrade due to sunlight exposure. Besides checking your flashing, the roofing contractor will also check the paint and metal for exposure to chemicals and other substances that could degrade them. They'll also probably make sure fallen debris didn't create any holes in the panels.
Check for corrosion: During your roof inspection, a roofing specialist will examine the parts of your roof around your HVAC system and ventilation areas. Vented appliances such as your range hood release chemicals, steam and heat that can degrade your metal roof's paint and eventually corrode its panels. To prevent corrosion, it helps to keep different metals from touching each other.
Repair rust spots: If you notice rust spots, apply a gentle scrubbing cleanser with a clean cloth. Get rid of as much of the rust as possible and use a garden hose to rinse off the debris. Avoid using a wire brush that could corrode the roofing panels. If you notice corrosion from the rust, lightly sand the rust spot and apply a metal primer to prevent future rusting. If you want, you can paint the area according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Can You Pressure Wash a Metal Roof?
Yes, you can pressure wash a metal roof with light pressure and hot water. A roofing contractor probably has the equipment to pressure wash your roof if you don't feel comfortable climbing on top of your house.
If you want to pressure wash your metal roof, keep the following in mind:
Figure out what type of roof you have: Knowing what kind of roof you have can help you wash it properly. You can walk on a flat metal roof, but be careful of slippery areas. On the other hand, you might want to clean your high-pitched metal roof on a ladder because it's challenging to walk on it.
Be safe: Follow metal roof safety tips when you're working on the top of your house. You may want to invest in a harness, fall arrest protection and ladder with stabilizers to prevent slipping off your property. It helps to have a friend or family member spotting you on the ground in case of an emergency.
Use the appropriate pressure washer: You probably want to use a hot pressure washer with a 40-degree tip, especially if you have a flat roof. The hot water and precise angle can remove debris buildup and grime.
Avoid using too much pressure: Even though a pressure washer is safe to use for a metal roof, too much pressure could damage it.
Do Metal Roofs Need to Be Repainted?
The paint system on new metal roofs can protect and enhance your property for several decades. However, if you recently bought a house with old or damaged metal roofing, you may want to consult a roofing professional about getting your roof repainted.
Here are some of the ways a paint metal roof treatment can add value to your home:
Repair damage: A fresh coat of paint can fix the visible blemishes your roof suffered from a storm or old age. You can repair minor issues such as surface corrosion, chips and small holes with a new paint job. However, you might want to consider replacing your roof if it has significant damage.
Protect your roof from wear and tear: A high-quality metal roof most likely won't need a new paint job for at least a decade, but you may want to touch it up if you notice paint chips on the surface. Applying acrylic or oil-based paint can help protect it from weather and moisture damage.
Save money and gain resale value: A fresh coat of paint on your metal roof can attract potential homebuyers. Even if you don't want to sell your property soon, repainting the top of your house reduces the number of times you'll need to replace your roof, saving you money over the years.
Enhance curb appeal: Since your roof makes up such a significant part of your exterior property, its quality affects your guests' first impression of your house. You can improve your home's curb appeal and highlight your investment by applying a new coat of paint.
Caring for Metal Roof Screws
Metal panels connect through high-quality, long-lasting screws. As part of the roof maintenance process, you might want to consider how to care for and replace these screws over your property's lifespan.
What Causes Screws to Back Out of a Metal Roof?
The screws could loosen from your metal roof because of:
Thermal expansion: During the roof installation, the roofing contractor should make sure there's enough space between the panels for them to expand and contract as the temperature changes throughout the year. Your panels' change in size could strain and loosen the screws holding the roof to the building.
Compression: Metal roof screws could become loose from the compression process. Heavy snow or ice could crush the metal roof and make it sink lower than the screws, leaving them exposed. After the snow and ice melt, the roof material usually goes back in place on its own.
Gasket deterioration: Roof screws feature a rubber gasket between the head and the roof panel. The gasket prevents water from coming into the hole, but it can deteriorate and loosen the screw over time.
Water damage: If moisture leaks under the metal roof panels, the underlayment could become damaged. The screws may become loose when the underlayment has rotted or corroded because they might not hold down the roof structure anymore.
How Often Should You Replace Screws on a Metal Roof?
Lifetime metal roofing screws last as long as your metal roof panels. The screws' exact lifespan depends on how the contractor installed them and your local weather conditions throughout the year. When you inspect your roof, check the screws for corrosion and other signs of wear and tear.
If you think you need to replace your roof screws, you might want to examine your current metal roof screw pattern, look for potential problems and contact a professional if you see major damage. You should only use screws and a screw gun recommended by the manufacturer. When you seal the screw to the panel, make sure you don't apply too much pressure.
Metal Roof Longevity
Once you install a metal roof, you can expect it to last as long as you stay in the house. Consider what factors affect how long your roof will last and when to replace it.
How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?
A metal roof has the potential to last about half a century or more with the proper maintenance. Here are some factors that may influence your metal roof's lifespan before you need to replace it:
Installation: The fastening of your metal roof to your house can affect how long it lasts. A standing seam metal roof can last longer than a screw-down panel one because it allows the panels to expand and contract as the temperature changes. If the roofing contractor installed your metal roof incorrectly, you could expect to find damage on your roof soon.
Paint finish: The coat of paint protects your metal roofing panels from the elements, but if you find any paint chips or damage on the coating, your metal roof's lifespan might be cut short.
Local weather conditions: Even though metal roofs can withstand the elements, they're not entirely resistant to harsh weather conditions. Metal panels can dent from the impact of hail and snow, and fluctuating temperatures could cause the metal to expand and contract.
How Often Do Metal Roofs Need to Be Replaced?
When maintained correctly, your metal roof shouldn't need replacing for at least half a century. During your annual roof inspection, the roofing contractor may recommend a roof replacement if they notice these signs:
Gaps or cracks in the metal panels
Movement or shifting that created openings on the roof
Severe weather damage
Damaged or missing flashing
Discoloration, rust or corrosion on one or more of the panels