How to Care for a Metal Roof

Metal roofs are growing in popularity, and for good reason. Not only are they durable and long-lasting, but they provide homeowners with a level of unbeatable protection. They’re fire-resistant, immune to mold and fungus growth, good for the environment, and help repel water and snow to reduce damage. Metal roofs can also boost your home’s energy efficiency enough to reduce your monthly utility bills by up to 30%. When properly cared for, these roofs can last upwards of 50 years—longer with high-scale metal materials. However, to get the most out of your roof, you need to take care of it accordingly. To help, here are a few tips on how to care for a metal roof.

The Importance of Metal Roof Maintenance

While maintenance requirements tend to be lower with metal roofs, they still require some care. In doing so, you have the potential to drastically increase their longevity while reducing costly repairs or replacements.

Reduce Costly Problems

Ongoing maintenance and regular inspections of metal roofs allow you to catch any signs of a problem early and fix it accordingly. When problem areas are addressed, you reduce the risk of creating a failure in the system or widespread issues. Some of the primary concerns that need to be addressed in a metal roof include signs of water damage or leaking, denting, scuffing, scratches, corrosion, and general deterioration.

Elongate the Lifespan of Your Roof

Metal roofs can last anywhere between 25 to 50 years or more. Some copper roofs have even been known to last up to 100 years when properly cared for. However, in order to achieve this longevity, you need to uphold a regular maintenance schedule. This helps preserve the integrity of the materials and ensures that proper protection is being provided to your home.

Keep Metal Roofs Looking Great

Metal roof maintenance will also help keep your home looking its best. This can boost your curb appeal, property value, and reduce the need for premature painting or aesthetic repairs.

8 Tips to Care for Your Metal Roof

While important, metal roof maintenance is fairly straightforward and can be integrated into your seasonal to-do list. If at any point you find any signs of damage, it’s important to call a qualified roofing contractor to address the problem. Don’t try to fix a metal roof on your own, as they require a special set of skills to properly fuse and reduce further damage. Some of the most important tips when caring for your roof include the following.

1. Trim Overhanging Trees

While large, willowing trees create a calming outdoor oasis, they shouldn’t be rubbing against your roof. The continual friction that tree branches and leaves create against a metal roof can slowly cause damage to the finish or sealant. Since most paint warranties don’t cover scratches caused by preventable damage, this can compromise the aesthetics or cause expensive paint repairs. When high winds are combined with ongoing contact, overhanging trees can lead to loosened fasteners. Luckily, this is a fairly straightforward maintenance chore and will also help keep your landscaping looking neat and organized. Each spring, go around your yard and inspect the trees that are close to your roof. Either hire a professional landscaping company to come and address overhanging branches or, if you have the tools, take care of them yourself. When removing large branches or heavy limbs, always work with a professional to avoid damaging your home or causing personal injury.

2. Keep Your Drainage System Clear

All roofs require a healthy drainage system to stay in good condition over the years. When downspouts and gutters get clogged, it can create problems with the roof, your home’s structural integrity, and the strength of the foundation. While metal roofs are designed to help shed debris that falls on the surface, this can travel into gutters and lead to clogs or corrosion. Take time to regularly clean your gutters and test the water flow of your downspout. To make this process easier, consider installing gutter guards or hire a professional roofing inspector for assistance.

3. Avoid Walking on it Often

Metal roofs aren’t entirely fragile, but they’re much thinner than traditional materials like asphalt. To reduce the risk of problems such as denting and damaging panels, try to avoid walking on it or standing on the surface for too long. Metal roofs can still support you, but not as well as their wooden counterparts. You won’t fall through the roof, but the less you walk on it, the lower the risk of damage. Whenever you need to get on your roof, try to only walk directly over the support structures. If you’re not sure how to identify these, ask your roofing installation team to show you or call for professional help instead of getting on the roof yourself.

4. Reduce Paint Overspray

When painting your home’s exterior or siding, take extra precaution to reduce splashes or droplets on the roof if you’re using a sprayer. Many professional painters use this technique to make the process easier, but overspray that reaches a metal roof can leave long-lasting, often permanent, marks. Due to the durability of exterior paint, this makes it impossible to remove from your metal roof, which can drastically reduce the overall aesthetic appeal. This could result in needing to replace or repaint your metal roof long before its time, creating an unnecessary expense in your home maintenance care. While it might cost a little more to have professional painters upgrade your siding with rollers or brushes, it’s worth the investment if it means keeping your metal roofing in good condition.

5. Address Loose Parts

When properly installed, a metal roof shouldn’t experience loosening parts for years. However, while unlikely, it’s not impossible. To make sure that your roofing structure stays in impeccable condition, address any loose parts as soon as you notice them. Since you shouldn’t be walking on your roof that often, consider hiring a professional to perform yearly roof inspections. They know how to best traverse your metal roof and search for problems that can go unnoticed by the untrained eye. Parts that should be checked regularly include fasteners, rivers, screws, panel seams, and flashing. When caught early, fixing them is easy and inexpensive, but if left untouched, they can result in expensive repairs.

6. Maintain Sealants

After installation, metal roofs are sealed to further protect them from water, wind, and dirt. There are different options for sealants, each of which has a certain longevity and offers unique protections. Sealants designed to resist UV rays or cracking can last for years, but other options may need to be touched up and replaced as time goes on. Discuss your options for sealants with your roofing professional and stay up to date with the schedule they provide for maintenance.

7. Repair Holes or Separations Early

Holes or separations in metal roofs can be easily noticed when they get large, but small problems should be addressed early. When left unattended, these can increase the risk of water damage and lead to rust or corrosion. Have your roofing contractor check for holes and separations during yearly inspections.

8. Undergo Surface-Level Maintenance

Surface level maintenance basically refers to the process of keeping your metal roof clean, clear of debris, and looking its best. While they’re inherently mold and fungus proof, mildew can accumulate underneath wet leaves or debris, which should be wiped off in a timely manner. You can assess what needs to be done using simple visual inspections as needed. Whenever you see any debris building up on your roof, clear it using a long pole designed for roof maintenance. This can help reduce the risk of decomposition damage on the finish from old, wet leaves. During colder months, snow should also be removed regularly to help reduce excess strain on the roof. Luckily, a metal roof’s surface is slippery, so this type of maintenance may occur naturally depending on your roof’s pitch and slope. If you’re unable to clear debris from your roof on your own, hire a professional roofing contractor to help.

When looking for a reputable roofing company to install, maintain, inspect, or repair your metal roof, contact First Star Exteriors. We work to make sure that your needs are addressed through effective communication and competitive prices. To learn more about our roofing options or to get a quote from us today within 48 hours, contact us at (479) 267-4800 or fill out our contact form here.

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