Caring for your metal roof

Whether you already have a metal roof or thinking about getting one installed, you may be wondering about maintenance. But the good news is, metal roofs will not only last a lifetime (we’re talking 60 plus years!), they also require significantly less upkeep than other roof types because they’re built to withstand extreme weather conditions as well as complement rainwater catchment systems.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean you need to do nothing at all! Here are some tips on caring for your metal roof.

Maintain Your Gutters Regularly

Most of the time rainwater will rinse away most of the debris that falls on your roof, however, there will come a time when an excess of debris starts trapping moisture and gradually decompose, causing rot and creating a fertile environment for moss and mould to grow.

Because metal roofs are designed to shed rainwater and then dry out if you have a large build-up of debris in your gutters it can also stop the edges of your roofing system drying out, which over time could lead to corrosion. Debris can also lead to improper drainage that can lead to the pooling of water in gutters and inclines.

That’s why it’s important that you have a plan for regularly cleaning your roof and maintaining your metal roof, and in particular your gutters, and it’s as simple as following these six easy steps:

  1. Put on a pair of gloves and a long-sleeved shirt.
  2. Gather your equipment including an extendable ladder, a plastic tarp, a small plastic scoop and a soft-bristled brush.
  3. Spread the tarp across the garden beneath the area that you’re cleaning.
  4. Use the plastic scoop and brush to remove all debris, including branches, rubbish and leaves from your gutters, depositing them onto the tarp below.
  5. Avoid hosing or using pressure washers to clean out your gutters as these can force water under your roofing materials and cause rot, leaks and other damage.
  6. Dispose of your garden waste in your green waste wheelie bin or recycle it by composting.

If your garden has a lot of overhanging trees near your roof, they may cause additional debris from filling your gutters, so in this instance, you may need to maintain your metal roof more regularly. Regardless, gutters should be cleaned after any severe weather conditions and/or at least twice a year.

If you notice any significant damage to your gutters, either from storms, hails, or accidental damage, contact your roofing professional straight away.

Avoid Metal Clashes If Replacing Roof Flashings

No doubt you’d be aware of something called ‘metal clashes’ when you first had your roof installed, but maintaining vigilance about avoiding incompatible metals is also a big part of caring for your metal roof.

Metal clashes can lead to galvanic corrosion, which is a corrosion brought about by two dissimilar materials coupled with a corrosive electrolyte. Sounds scientific, however, it basically means that the metal ‘clashes’ and the materials that are in contact either oxidise or corrode.

An example of metal clashing may be if you’re thinking about replacing the flashings on your roof at some point. Copper pipes and lead flashing should never come into contact with a metal roof – flashings should be replaced with the same metal that is present on the rest of your roof, non-absorbent, non-metallic insulators should be applied between the two different metals, or your roof should be painted to avoid galvanic corrosion. Taping or gasketing with sealants or non-absorbent materials is also a highly effective method of separating metals like copper from other metals.

Understanding the basics behind galvanic corrosion and the various reactions dissimilar metals have with your metal roof is an important part of extending is life, however, if proper precautions are taken, damage can be significantly reduced. Basically, you just need to stick to the golden rule and avoid the use of various metals together whenever possible. If in doubt, contact the professionals!

Have Your Roof Professionally Inspected Regularly

Yes, some aspects of caring for your metal roof can be done in your regular DIY maintenance checks. However, it’s also important to call on the professionals if you are serious about roof maintenance (and you should be!) They are experts at pinpointing issues early and during a routine inspection will check for:

  • Sealant failures or weather damage – Most sealants last for around 20 years, however, your roof technician will check these and replace them at any perimeters or penetrations as required.
  • Exposed fasteners – Your technician will check these on a yearly basis as if they become too tight, they can cause the fastener to split or they can cut the neoprene sealing washers. Alternatively, if they are too loose, they will create a gap between the fastener and the metal flashing.
  • Seam separation – Metal roofs are extremely durable, but they can still shrink and expand from extreme weather over time. This can cause seam separation, which creates water build-up around stacks and sometimes holes. Your roof technician will look for signs of seam separation and also check any leaks that might result from silicones that can shrink or harden as they dry.
  • Rust stains – Metal roofs have come a long way but they are still metal and therefore susceptible to rust. If your metal roof isn’t equipped with a non-corrosive sealant, then you may run into problems if it rains. Your roof technician can easily apply a non-corrosive sealant and also spot-treat any rust stains during their inspection.
  • Chipped paint – Metals roofs often need a touch-up every few years, as they are still prone to general wear and tear and exposure to chemicals in the environment. Your roof technician can repair any chipped paint by cleaning the surface, applying a touch-up and then allowing the area to dry.
  • Damaged washers. When metal roof sheets expand or contract slightly from sun exposure, it can challenge the integrity of neoprene sealing washers. Your roofing technician can look at and replace your neoprene sealing washers as required.

A metal roof can last a lifetime if it’s properly looked after, and your relationship with your roof technician should last that long as well – make sure you maintain it!

Is your metal roof showing signs of wear and tear? Contact the experts at Strongguard today on (07) 3623 4422.