No roof is perfect. 😱 We know; it’s a shocker!

But even the most durable materials installed by expert contractors can still be susceptible to damage and leaks. And, of course, roof leaks are something that no homeowner wants to deal with.

Even though metal roofs are typically less-susceptible to leaks, they aren’t immune. There are nine common causes of a metal roof leak:

  • Storm damage
  • Ice dams
  • Faulty fasteners
  • Missing sealant
  • Moving seams
  • Rust
  • Damaged flashing
  • Clogged gutters
  • Incompatible materials

1) Storm Damage

Storm damage from hail, high winds, or flying debris can wreak havoc on your metal roof. Storm damage can cause a leak by puncturing the metal panels or by loosening and displacing the fasteners that hold your roof in place.

If you live in an area that’s prone to severe weather, it’s important to inspect your roof regularly for any signs of damage. If you do spot damage, it’s best to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent a leak from developing. Many reputable roofing contractors provide free storm damage inspections and can help you file an insurance claim.

2) Ice Dams

metal roof leak ice dam

Metal roofs are typically lauded as a great option for homeowners who live in colder climates because snow easily slides off metal panels. However, improper attic ventilation can lead to ice dams in winter.

Ice dams can form when heat escapes from your home through the roof, causing the snow on your roof to melt. The water then runs down to the edge of your roof, where it freezes again, creating a dam. As the ice dam grows, it can back up under your metal panels and cause a leak.

3) Failed Fasteners or Screws

Most metal roof leaks are caused by leaking roof screws or fasteners. Over time, the fasteners that hold your metal roof in place can loosen and fall out. This can be caused by everything from severe weather to normal aging and wear and tear.

If you live in an area with high winds, it’s especially important to check your roof regularly for any loose or missing fasteners. You should also have your roof inspected by a professional after any severe weather event.

Screws can also get inserted incorrectly during installation. Leaks can occur when screws are:

  • Under-driven
  • Over-driven
  • Installed at an incorrect angle
  • Bypassing the frame

4) Deteriorated or Missing Sealant

Most metal roofs have seams where the panels come together. These seams are sealed with a special metal roof sealant that helps prevent water from leaking through. However, the sealant can degrade over time, allowing water to seep through and cause a leak.

It’s important to replace the sealant on your metal roof every 10-20 years. If you don’t have a roofing contractor regularly inspect your property, you can miss the necessary timeframe to reapply the sealant.

5) Movement of Seams

The seams on a metal roof are particularly vulnerable to leaks. Over time, the fasteners that hold the seams together can loosen and cause the seam to separate. This allows water to seep in and cause a leak.

In some cases, the movement of seams can also be caused by thermal expansion and contraction. Metal expands when it’s heated and contracts when it’s cooled. So, if there are significant temperature changes where you live, it can cause the metal panels on your roof to move and create a gap at the seams.

6) Surface Rust

metal roof leak rust

Rust is rare on modern metal roofing systems thanks to new technology. But older or neglected metal roofs can develop surface rust. Rust itself doesn’t automatically mean your roof will leak, but if left unattended, it can peel and cause holes, which ultimately lead to leaks.

Surface rust usually occurs around fasteners, at seams, or where the metal panels are dented or damaged. If you spot any surface rust on your roof, it’s best to have it repaired as soon as possible by a professional.

7) Damaged Flashing

Flashing is installed around areas of your roof that are more vulnerable to leaks, such as:

  • Chimneys
  • Skylights
  • Vent pipes
  • Valleys

The flashing helps direct water away from these areas and prevents leaking.

However, if the flashing becomes damaged or displaced, it can allow water to seep in and cause a leak. Flashing can be damaged by severe weather, normal aging and wear and tear, or improper installation.

8) Clogged Gutters

One of the most common causes of metal roof leaks is clogged gutters. When gutters become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, they can’t do their job of directing water away from your roof. This can cause water to back up under your shingles or metal panels and cause a leak.

It’s important to clean your gutters at least twice a year to prevent them from becoming clogged. You should also have your gutters inspected by a professional after any major storm.

9) Incompatible Materials

Specific materials need to be used for metal roofs because metal can interact negatively if dissimilar metals are paired together. If this has occurred on your roof, it can lead to corrosion and, eventually, a leak.

This is usually not a problem with newer roofs, but it can be an issue with older roofs that have had repairs done with incompatible materials. If you’re not sure what material was used on your roof, it’s best to have a professional inspect it to avoid any problems.

Keep Leaks at Bay With a Skilled Contractor

Storm damage and improper installations are the biggest culprits when it comes to metal roof leaks. If you live in Ohio, partner with Gouge Quality Roofing to keep your home protected. We offer free storm damage inspections and insurance claim assistance. Plus, with 17+ years of experience, you can trust that your metal roof will be installed to the highest industry standards.

Reach out to our friendly team today, and we’ll be happy to repair your metal roof or install a new, durable system.