Metal roofs have been a staple among commercial business owners for decades, but it’s only recently that homeowners have jumped on board with the growing trend. Now, residential homes across the country are taking advantage of the lower cost and greater longevity associated with metal. The problem is, these benefits only apply if homeowners work with specialized roofers who know how to avoid common mistakes like those described below.
- Choosing the Wrong Roofing Panels
The huge growth in popularity of metal roofing has led to a wide range of products being introduced to the market. Not all of them are created equal, though. Roofers must ensure that the panels selected will provide a weather-tight fit and that they will be able to accommodate the pitch of the roof.
- Incorrect Fastener Installation
Incorrectly installed fasteners almost always lead to roof leaks. Both overtightening and under-tightening are common mistakes. Properly installed fasteners should screw in with minimal resistance. If the fasteners are installed correctly, the gaskets should be compressed firmly, and the washers should be on-center and virtually invisible.
- Incorrect Measurements
Even traditional roofers with little experience working with metal should know how to field measure a roof, but not all of them take the time to do so before ordering materials. It’s never wise to order off plans, as it can result in panels that are too long or too short. Homeowners and less experienced contractors often try to rely on roofing calculators to determine the proper panel size, but they’re not always accurate. Make sure the roofers take field measurements.
- Oil Canning
Oil canning, a problem also known as stress wrinkling, refers to visible waves or rippling in flat areas of a metal roof. Some amount of oil canning is present in even high-quality metal panels as a result of their manufacturing process. However, severe cases are often caused by the improper selection of materials, incorrect tightening of the fasteners, or improper placement of the clips.
- Improper Underlayment
Just like traditional asphalt shingle roofs, metal roofs need underlayment. It offers extra protection against condensation and, in most cases, it’s required by local building codes. Use of the wrong underlayment can void the warranty for metal roofing panels, so the contractors should never try to cut corners.
- Using the Wrong Sealant
The right sealants will, when properly applied, help to keep out water, dirt, and other substances that could damage the roof. To work as intended, the sealant must be flexible enough to expand and contract with the metal roofing panels without breaking its seal. Caulk and sealants that aren’t made specifically for metal roofing may not work as intended.
- Improperly Attached Flashing
Flashing plays an essential role in roof construction. It prevents water from entering around the joints and other potential penetration points. Incorrectly attached flashing won’t be able to stop water from getting into ducts, chimneys, and skylights, which can lead to leaks and corrosion. The areas around all penetration points should be completely covered and the seams should be sealed to prevent water from getting beneath the roofing panels.
- Lack of Training
Not all roofers have experience installing metal roofs. Homeowners should only hire contractors who have had proper training and plenty of on-the-job experience. They should never work with amateur contractors or attempt to perform their own DIY roof installations.
The Bottom Line
Installing metal roofing requires specialized skills, tools, and expertise. Work with industry leaders who know how to get the job done right.