With a little effort, you could get nearly 80 years of life from your metal roof. Some regular maintenance and a yearly inspection by a roofing contractor could make this the last roof you have to put on your home. Here are some of the ways you can make sure your roof continues to protect your home for decades.
1. Stay on the horizontal support structures when walking on the roof.
As you do these maintenance tasks, step only on the places supporting the roof. You can easily dent or buckle a metal sheet by walking on unsupported places. If you force the seams apart by stepping on them, you could cause leaks under the sheets.
2. Keep debris cleaned off of the roof.
Sweep or hose leaves, twigs and branches off of the roof as soon as you notice them. These organic materials can keep water from flowing off of the roof. If the water is allowed to pool over scratched or dented areas on the metal sheets, rust can begin. If the water sits over a screw that has become loose or is missing entirely, you'll have a leak and the uncoated metal on the underside of the sheet will rust.
A power washer will make quick work of cleaning off your metal roof. Aim the nozzle at an angle to the metal sheets so as not to damage the coating. Be careful as you power wash the roof so you do not force water under the sheets where a screw or sealer between two sheets is missing. Contact a pressure washer provider, such as Ben's Cleaner Sales, to get the right power washer for the job.
3. Keep gutters flowing freely.
Clean out gutters regularly to keep water drained off of the roof. If the water backs up in the gutter, it can lap up against the edge of the metal sheet and rust can begin. If the sealer between the metal sheet and edge of the house fails, an overflowing gutter can force water up under the sheet to start a leak and rusting there.
4. Repair broken or twisted gutters.
If a metal gutter becomes twisted in a storm, have it repaired quickly. The gutter can scratch the protective coating on the metal sheets. Pay special attention to the gutter repair if it is made of a different metal than the roof. When dissimilar metals touch, a chemical reaction can occur that increases corrosion. An example is a copper roof and galvanized steel gutter.
4. Look for and tighten or replace loose and missing screws.
A screw that has become loose or forced out during a storm, creates space for water to get under the roof. Replace missing screws with roofing screws made of the same metal, so you won't have the corrosive effect mentioned above.
5. Check the sealer on the flashings.
Any opening in the metal roof requires a flashing to be secured to the roof around the opening to prevent a leak. Plumbing vents, cable entry points, skylights and fireplace chimneys all need a flashing that seals the space between the item and the metal sheet. Roof sealer is used to create a waterproof barrier around the opening and metal roof. Look for sealer that has dried out or is missing around the flashing. Clean the old sealer off and fill the space with new roof sealer. You may need to pull up the old flashing, add new sealer, then nail or screw the flashing back down to get a good seal.
6. Repaint or re-coat the roof periodically.
Ask your roofing contractor how long to expect the existing roof coating to last. The coating thins out in the weather and becomes scratched when debris lands on the roof. The coating protects your metal roof from rust and keeps it looking good.