Metal Roof Maintenance Guide

Style and strength: We all want it and we can all have it when it comes to our roofs. Metal roofs repair are the newest fad in roofing, in part due to their longevity and durability, but also because of the unique and stylish appearance that you can only get from the use of metal as a material for roofing. The striking appearance of metal roofs is probably the major reason why they are becoming so popular. With a choice of multiple different styles, textures and colors available, you’ll be able to enhance the style of your house and help make it withstand the elements better than ever. Metal roofs offer maximum resistance when it comes to withstanding ice storms, fires, hurricane winds and even earthquakes.

roof repair

 

While a regular asphalt or old fashioned tile or slate roofing can need repairing or re-installing every 10-15 years, a metal roof, if properly take care of, can last for up to 50 years or even more. Metal roofs are able to withstand just about anything that Mother Nature can throw at them. Compared to other kinds of roofs, there really is no contest when it comes to strength and durability. Most metal roofs come with warranties for up to 30 years, and if you decide to re coat it then perhaps you’ll never need to repair it in your lifetime.

Metal Roof Types

There are several different kinds of metal that are used as roofing materials, and it’s important to know about the unique characteristics and differences between them.

Steel Roofs

The most common kind of metal roof is made from steel. Being one of the most well developed metal industries, steel is a great choice as it offers strength and flexibility, it’s affordable and it is good for any kind of building be it residential, industrial or commercial. Steel roofs are usually made using G galvanized steel, with galvalume steel being used for the sheet metal coils as it’s of a higher quality. Although other (more expensive) kinds of stainless steel are sometimes used on high end developments like commercial buildings, more often than not galvanized steel is the best choice.

Tin Roofs

Tin roofing has quite a long history in the US. Tin smith craftsmen used to do a roaring trade in tin roofs for residential homes for many, many years although they are far less common now. Some are still installed, but tin is nowhere near as durable as other kinds of metal, steel for instance, and needs to be coated regularly in order to preserve their condition and stop them from corroding.

Aluminum Roofs

Probably the longest lasting metal roof material, aluminum can last longer than even the building does sometimes. Aluminum does not get affected or degraded by the natural elements it is exposed to, nor by salt or oxidation. While the paint may fade, the roof will always last.

Copper Roofs

Highly expensive, but offering reliability, beauty and style all in one, copper roofs can be something of a luxury. Unpainted copper has its own natural grace and classical beauty that will never go out of style. Copper is quite similar to aluminum because it is very long lasting though the color will slowly change, but even then it doesn’t matter because the ‘aged copper’ look is very much sought after. Because of its prohibitive cost, copper is rarely used on residential homes. Only the most exclusive homes will have copper roofs installed. The reason for the cost is that copper itself is a very expensive material, and the installation process is also a very difficult process, requiring lots of soldering and mechanical attachment. If you opt for copper shingles, then the process for installing them is the same as for aluminum and steel roofs, therefore the cost will be quite a lot cheaper.

Zinc Roofs

Zinc roofs are not that much different from copper roofs overall. Both are expensive and both are extremely long lasting. However, copper is widely preferred as it is more aesthetically pleasing.

Iron roofs

The last common metal roofing material is iron. Iron roofs are not common at all, and offer much the same qualities as steel roofs do.

Cleaning

The first and most important step for metal roof maintenance is to keep it clean. Cleaning will help to reduce the build up of algae, mildew and mold, and will go a long way towards ensuring that the roof remains in the best possible condition.

roof repair, roof leaks

Step by Step Roof Cleaning:

  • First of all you need to assess the roof’s condition. An older roof that is worn and damaged will need to be cleaned much more thoroughly and more carefully than a newer roof.
  • Make sure that it is safe to work on your roof. Ascertain beforehand that you can reach all the places on the roof where it will be necessary to go. If you feel it is required, wear a harness or some kind of safety rope
  • Use a wire brush to scratch away any corrosion, rust or excess paintwork before you start cleaning. For harder objects, you can use a putty knife, but be careful not to scratch the paintwork where there is no excess paint as this could damage the roof sheets.
  • Use a TriSodium Phosphate solution (TSP) and mix it with water, approximately half a cup to one gallon of solution. Bring the solution up to the roof in a large size bucket and apply it to any dirty areas, especially where there is mildew or mold. Then you neeed to take a soft brush and scrub the area until it’s clean. If the roof is especially dirty it might be a good idea to scrub the whole roof down. After scrubbing the roof, rinse the washed areas with buckets of water, making sure that no TSP residue is left over. Once the roof is dry, you can evaluate its condition again.
  • The final step may or may not be required, usually depending on how old and dirty the roof is. If you think it is necessary, use a power washer on the roof. This is the best possible way to clean off the hard to remove, ground in dirt. Begin at the top (ridge) of the roof and work downwards, as this allows for the debris and grime to be washed away as you clean. Try to keep the nozzle of your power washer at the same distance from the roof as you gradually work your way down spraying it. If necessary, add a little detergent to the water, but not too much because you’ll want to avoid suds which can leave a sticky film on the roof.
  • Finally, rinse the roof down again and allow it to dry. The last step after cleaning is to re-apply a coating of protective metal roof paint.

Maintaining Your Metal Roof

Metal roofs are a lot less work than other kinds of roofs when it comes to maintenance, and can provide your home with protection for generations if taken care of properly. All metal roofs will come with a protective coating; however, this coating may not last very long. Therefore, the first and best step you will ever make in protective maintenance of your metal roof is to cover it with a new, reliable protective coating. Several different choices of metal EPDM coating are available and they include polymeric and asphalt coatings.

EPDM roofing solution

Roof coating applications

Most metal roofs are constructed using long metal sheets or with metal tiles. It doesn’t matter what kind of material is used on your roof, there is going to be a danger that, at every intersection where the tiles or sheets are overlapped, leaks can occur. Metal roofs will usually wear fastest around the ridge and valley of the roof, as well as around the fascia board. This can be avoided with proper maintenance.

What’s Necessary

The majority of metal roofs are protected by being either aluminized or galvanized, or else they are painted with galvalume protective coating. Each of these materials is pretty much maintenance free, although regular cleaning is a necessity. However, it is better to add your own, high-performance protective coating if you want true piece of mind.

Out of all the different protective metal roof paints available, perhaps one of the best ones is Polyyinylidene Fluoride or PVDF. PVDF can increase the strength of the metal on your roof, it is resistant to chemicals and corrosive substances, it offers the highest weather resistance, protection from UV rays and it is even resistant to fungi. When you apply a PVDF treatment to your metal roof, you should only need to check it every 9 or 10 years to see if a new coat is required, while other metal roof finishes such as plastisol, acrylic and urethane will need checking after just 3 to 5 years.

Metal Roof Sealants

There are many great and innovative new solutions for metal roof sealing. Traditionally used ashphaultic sealants have been outperformed when compared to newer products such as the micro sealant called EternaBond. This new product comes as a large roll of sticky tape and can be applied easily by anyone, even somebody with no experience. The EternaBond tape offers great resistance to temperature extremes and inclement weather, and it’s a good fix for leakages too. However, it’s worthwhile to know that while a sealant such as this is great for patch up jobs, employing preventative measures such as a EPDM roof coatings means that it’s unlikely you will ever need to use a sealant.

Things to Know

Before undertaking any maintenance we recommend that you consult a roofing expert about all the safety precautions you should take before climbing onto the roof.

The following steps should be followed carefully when it comes to carrying out metal roof maintenance work:

 

  1. Do not allow different kinds of metal to be touching one another. When different metals touch, chemical reactions can occur and cause the metal to corrode.
  2. Be vigilant and make sure the paintwork is always touched up. This will help to prevent rust.
  3. As soon as you spot a hole or an open seam, repair it immediately, do not delay!
  4. Smaller holes can be covered with either roofing cement, or else the EternaBond tape that was discussed previously. Large holes need to be patched and soldered into place with the same kind of metal as the roof is made from.
  5. Any screws that you use must be of the same kind of metal as the roof.
  6. When screwing plates or sheets into place, make sure you always use a washer, and install the screw into a raised area rather than low areas as this can lead to water pooling and eventual leaks.
  7. Use only non-corrosive metal flux with steel roofs. For copper roofs, acid flux is best.

These are the tools necessary for carrying out metal roofing repairs:

 

  • Galvanized metal
  • Screws of the same type of metal as the roof
  • Roof coating such as PVDF
  • A putty knife
  • Butyl tape or EternaBond tape
  • Roofers caulk
  • Wire brush
  • Snips

Steps to take when patching a hole:

 

  1. Firstly, clean the area around the hole thoroughly, washing away all dust.
  2. Cut a good sized piece of galvanized metal that covers the hole easily. You should have a bearing of 2 or 3 inches over the edge of the hole.
  3. Tape the galvanized metal sheet into place with the butyl tape.
  4. Screw the sheet into the roof, spacing the screws out every 2-3 inches.
  5. Seal the edges of the sheet and around the screws with caulk.
  6. Finally, cover the new patch with PVDF roof coating.

 

RV Trailer and Mobile Home Roof Maintenance Guide

As with all normal roofs, RV trailer and mobile home roofs will from time to time need to be repaired and maintained. Your RV Trailer’s roof is just as vital as the roof on any regular brick and mortar house. The roof offers protection to you and your family home from the most destructive forces that the elements will throw at you. Therefore, whether you use your mobile home only occasionally, for outings and such, or if you are living in a trailer home full time, it is important that regular maintenance for your RV top is planned. Regular roof maintenance will guarantee the longest possible life for your mobile home, keeping it safe from the elements and forces of nature.

Rubber Roofs

Many newer mobile homes have roofs that are made from rubber. This is because rubber is cheaper and often lasts much longer than the traditional metal roofing materials that are used with older trailers and mobile homes. Manufacturers of mobile homes use a special kind of material named Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, or EPDM Coating, a substance that has been especially developed for roofing purposes. EPDM is designed to last for a long time, up to 20 years or even longer, and will usually come with a 10 year guarantee.

EPDM roofs are actually ideal, and very easy to protect. Use of treatments that protect roofs is really not required, as the EPDM is already self protecting. In fact, all you need to do to make it last as long as possible is to clean it regularly. It’s recommended that you clean an EPDM roof four or five times each year.

If your rubber trailer roof is more than a few years old, you may well notice a chalky build up on the surface of it. Don’t worry about this; it’s just normal deterioration due to aging that is unavoidable. If you clean your roof often, you will minimize this chalky build up anyway, and it will visibly reduce the white streaks that can be seen on the sides and roof of your RV.

The one thing that is very important when it comes to cleaning your EPDM roof is using the right products to do the job. Cleaning products that contain harsh abrasives, petroleum solvents or acidic based agents should never be used, as these will cause irreparable damage to the roof and cut its lifespan by many years. The best thing that you can use is some form of very mild, soap-based cleaner or a laundry detergent, and make sure it’s mixed with plenty of water.

Once the roof has been cleaned, before you climb down off of it, carry out a few inspections to make sure of its condition. Check there are no cracks anywhere and that the seals and caulking are still good. Also check any other areas that could see leakages, such as vent covers etc. It pays and will safe you an awful lot of money if you can spot any signs of deterioration early on.

Metal Roofs

Most of the older mobile homes and RV’s around usually have metal roofs, most often aluminum. In order to keep this type of roof in good condition, again it is usually only required that you inspect it regularly and keep it clean. For most metal roofs, it’s okay to clean it twice a year using an automotive wash and wax cleaner.

You may notice that many older RV’s with metal roofs have unsightly black marks or streaks running down the sides. This is caused by dirt that runs off the roof when it gets wet. If you clean your roof often, and especially if for whatever reason it gets particularly dirty, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor with regard to getting rid of these dirty black streaks.

It might be advisable to clean your RV roof more than twice a year if you are often parked underneath trees or other places where a lot of debris falls onto your roof. Debris such as this can cause unsightly and permanent stains if it is left too long.

Keep Your Roof From Leaking With Liquid EPDM

A roof leak can not only be troublesome, it can be costly.  Both the damage done by the leaking water itself and the cost of repairing the roof can quickly add up.  Rather than spend a lot of time, money and effort hiring professionals to repair your roof why not do it yourself with the only product that’s easy to use, cost efficient and extremely durable?

There’s no reason to endure lengthy and costly repairs when you can use liquid EPDM to cover your roof and prevent leaking, cracking and other damage from the elements.  Constructed using the same chemical composition as traditional sheet EPDM Coating, liquid EPDM gives you the added bonus of flexibility and ease of use so you can handle those repairs yourself.

While traditional sheet EPDM can trap air underneath, leading to cracking and breaking later on, liquid EPDM goes on in one smooth coat and is designed to expel excess air during the curing process so that you are left with a strong, water and airtight seal.  And because liquid EPDM will expand and contract with the roof’s surface when the temperature changes, there is less likelihood of weather related damage resulting in a roof leak.

Anyone who has ever had to undergo roof repairs knows how stressful that can be.  Normally, it involves calling in professionals and having them use bulky materials for repairs that only add extra weight to your roof.  Liquid EPDM can be applied by almost anyone and goes on in one smooth and easy coat so your roof is not bearing any excess weight.

The flexibility of liquid EPDM allows it to be applied to almost any type of roof, from commercial and residential to RV’s, trailers and boats.  It can be quickly and easily molded to fit any surface and within hours it will cure to form a watertight seal that can endure ponding water year round.

Not only will liquid EPDM negate the need for professional repairs, because it can be applied in one coat, it also helps you to avoid the cost of applying multiple layers or using a primer.  Again, this cuts down the cost of repairing a roof leak considerably.  And the unique composition of  EPDM Coatings is not only watertight, but will reduce both rain noise and heat build-up to keep you cooler and more comfortable.

Liquid EPDM has been proven to outlast almost any other roofing substance.  Acrylics, urethanes and other elastomers just don’t measure up.  Nothing else provides the peace of mind and cost effectiveness of liquid EPDM.   It’s the one stop solution for all roof repair needs, from industrial to residential and on surfaces ranging from concrete to metal.

You want a dependable roof over your head, so don’t waste your time with messy and costly repairs.  Use liquid EPDM and get it done right the first time with a secure seal that will last for years to come.  Consider liquid EPDM for your roofing needs and you won’t be disappointed!