Your Metal Roof Maintenance Guide

Residential | August 16, 2022  | By: John Esh

Closeup shot of a gray metal roof

Metal roofing is known for its durability, sustainability, and long life. A metal roof is typically long-lasting, difficult to damage, and nearly maintenance free. However, that doesn’t mean a metal roof is indestructible. Like any roofing system, your metal roof will benefit from regular attention and care.

Even though problems are generally minimal compared to other roofing materials, there are steps you can take to keep your metal roof in tip-top shape. With care, you can keep your metal roof looking its best and protecting your home for years to come. 

Regular maintenance checks can help prevent problems like 

  • Corrosion
  • Degradation
  • Dents
  • Leaks
  • Scratches
  • Scuffs

Inspect your roof yearly

Stay ahead of potential maintenance problems by inspecting your roof regularly. Metal roofing is durable and long-lasting, but weather is unpredictable and can leave debris and cause other problems. A good rule of thumb is to inspect your roof yearly, if you’ve had extreme weather, or if there is visible debris on your roof.

Remove debris

Wind and other weather conditions can leave debris on your roof, ranging from leaves to anything that can be blown in the wind, like plastic bags. Certain roof configurations create valleys or pockets where debris can build up. If leaves, sticks, and other debris is left to decompose, it can damage the roof’s finish.

Wash the metal panels

Dirt, mildew, and stains not only look ugly, but can contribute to rust or damage your roof’s finish. In general, a mild detergent mixed with water and a soft brush or cloth can typically be used to wash the panels to improve the look and extend the life of your roof. Tougher stains might require a solvent. Before you use any cleaner or solvent on your roof, it’s important to check your warranties and the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your roof.

Clean the gutters.

Debris naturally tends to build up in gutters and drains, especially in areas with deciduous trees, high winds, or extreme weather. Wet dirt and leaves that pile up in the gutter can cause water to back up and pool, eventually leading to corrosion. Cleaning your gutters twice a year and when there’s visible debris can help protect your roof. This is especially important on metal roofs. If wet debris like leaves or even standing water remain in contact with the edge of the roof metal for an extended period of time, it will begin to rust along the bottom edge.

Trim overhanging trees

Overhanging trees can drop leaves and twigs onto your roof and supply shelter to birds and animals that can stain and damage a roof. Overhanging branches can also rub against the roof, damaging the finish and causing rust and corrosion. Trimming back the branches can protect your roof in more ways than one. 

Inspect coating, paint, or sealant

Sealant makes the roof watertight by sealing out dirt, water, wind, and other substances. Sealant and roof paint are long-lasting but don’t last as long as the roof itself. Exposure to the elements can affect the lifespan. 

Check for chips, scuffs, scratches, chalking, or fading in the paint, or visible rust that indicates the sealant or coating is failing. Minor scratches can often be touched-up with a paint pen, but larger problems should be handled by a professional.

Tighten or replace fasteners

A screw-down roof needs more maintenance than a standing seam metal roof. Screws need to be replaced every 20-30 years. Check for loose or missing screws or fasteners. Tighten or replace as needed, making sure to use the same material as the roof.
Often, a poorly placed panel screw will slowly begin to loosen, resulting in a leak spot. This happens if the wood on which the metal was installed is of poor quality, or if the fastener even missed the wood altogether. 

Look for separations or holes

Holes or gaps in the panels can let in moisture, damaging the underlying structure of the roof. Panels and seams should be tight and undamaged. Flashing should be well-sealed and in good condition.

Check penetration points

Air vents, chimneys, skylights, and solar panels have unique flashing materials to protect against leaks. Check that each is in good condition and doesn’t expose the roof to degradation and leaks.

Put roof maintenance on your calendar to extend your roof’s life

To keep your metal roof in the best condition possible, schedule time for maintenance twice a year. Fall and spring are good times to inspect your roof for needed repairs and to remove any debris from the previous season. You may also want to check for debris or damage after severe weather.

Roof maintenance comes with risks, and metal roofing can be slick when it’s wet. If you don’t have experience maintaining a roof or are uncomfortable with the idea of climbing up there, call a roofing professional that specializes in metal roofing. A professional has the experience, tools, and expertise and knows how to navigate even the steepest roofline safely. 

Metal roofing is long-lasting, durable, eco-friendly, and looks great. With the proper maintenance, yours can continue to protect your home and your investment for years to come.