Four Mistakes Property Owners Make When Repairing Holes In Metal Roofs

21 March 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


Metal roofs are popular with Australian property owners because they are easy to install, durable and last a long time, but repairs are still sometimes necessary. Damage to a metal roof from birds and animals, trees or weather conditions can lead to holes that may cause water damage inside the property, so you need to find and deal with any issues as quickly as possible. If you've got a hole in your metal roof, make sure you fix the problem effectively and avoid the four following mistakes some people make.

Causing further damage to the roof when repairing it

Metal roofs are durable, but the material is still susceptible to damage. When working on a metal roof, you should take care to walk directly over the joists and purlins. This will distribute your weight evenly and will avoid accidental bends or dents in the metal sheets that can occur if you walk anywhere else.

In fact, any foot traffic on a metal roof can cause damage. For example, tough work boots can scratch the metal, exposing the steel sheet underneath and increasing the risk of rust damage. As such, you should aim to avoid walking across the roof any more than necessary.

Failure to clean the damaged area before making the repair

While there are many possible causes for a hole in a metal roof, you'll nearly always end up with dirt around the area that's causing the problem. Rust particles, sand and tree debris can all gather in and around a hole in your roof, and if you don't thoroughly clean the area before carrying out repairs, you may not fix the problem.

Clean the surface of the damaged metal panel with a specialist cleaner, taking care to remove any rust, dirt or algae growth. Carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions, and make sure the cleaner is suitable for the type of metal roof you have.

Remove any residue the cleaning material leaves behind. Any unwanted material can interfere with the repairs you subsequently make. It's important to remember that it can take some time to clean the roof properly, and you may need to do the work in several sessions to allow the surface to dry properly. Nonetheless, it's always worth taking the time out to properly complete this stage.

Using a patch that's the wrong size

The most effective way to repair a hole in a metal roof is to apply a patch that adequately covers the area. Therefore, the patch needs to be large enough to properly plug the hole, or you won't stop water getting through the roof. Ideally, you should select a patch that gives you a margin of at least a few inches around the edge of the damaged area.

Conversely, a patch that's too big is not ideal, either. An oversized patch is a waste of material. What's more, you'll find it harder to properly fix and seal the patch around the hole, so you should always cut a larger patch down to size. Also make sure your patch has no sharp corners, as these can attract snow or ice in the winter.

Failure to properly secure patches

You need to properly secure the patch over the hole, or you won't tackle the risk of water leaks. As such, you need to use a sealant between the patch and the roof, plus you need to secure the patch with pan head sheet metal screws.

Don't scrimp on the sealant. Apply it liberally to the roof across the entire surface on which you intend to place the patch. You will know when you have used enough sealant because the liquid should bleed from every edge of the patch. Once you've applied the sealant, you must then screw the patch in place with the sheet metal screws. Insert the screws at even intervals around the patch, about an inch inside the leading edge.

Even a small hole in a metal roof can cause significant damage to your property, so you need to tackle problems as soon as they arise. Talk to a building maintenance company in your area, such as Austral Property Maintenance Pty Ltd, for more information and advice.