Metal Roof Repair – How-to Guide, Costs, and More

metal roof tiles

A metal roof is one of the most durable and long-lasting roofing materials. Metal roofs can have a durability rating nearly 4 times as long as a conventional shingle roof. However, like with other roofing materials, there may be issues that need repair (such as holes).

Since a metal roof has such a long lifespan, repairing problems makes good sense. Shakes, shingles and slate roofs can be patched, but metal roof repair requires a little more diligence. Here is a metal roof repair guide that shows you how to repair metal roof holes. It includes the tools and materials you will need, plus the costs.

Tools Needed for Metal Roof Repair

You will need some basic tools to repair a hole in your metal roof. These are common tools, except for metal snips. If you have a metal roof, investing in a good pair of metal snips is a wise idea. They’ll cost you less than $20 for a high-quality pair and you can use them for other metal working projects. Here are the basic tools for metal roof repair projects.

  • Metal snips
  • Cordless drill (Electric drills work, but you will have to deal with the inconvenience of an extension cord)
  • Caulking gun
  • Ruler and/or a tape measure
  • Wire brush and steel wool
  • Paintbrush and/or paint roller
  • Sharpie or Soapstone

Of course, the metal snips are to cut the metal roofing. The drill is necessary for pilot holes to help ensure a good secure seal for the sheet metal screws. You’ll need a sharpie or a piece of soapstone to make marks on metal. A wire brush and steel wool are used to clean any joints, or remove rust and grime to provide a clean surface to seal.

A sharpie works, but soapstone makes a clear mark that will also wash away if you happen to make a mistake. Caulking guns are used to provide a final seal to seams and edges if necessary. Finally, if you may need to color match any of your repairs. A paintbrush will be sufficient for small sections, but use a roller for larger metal roof repair projects.

Materials for Metal Roof Repair

You’re going to need a handful of materials to complete your metal roof repair project. The amount of material you need, such as sheet metal, will depend on the size and amount of damage. You should consider purchasing a little more than you need, because most of these materials can be saved for future repairs as needed.

  • Sheet metal – The type of sheet metal needs to match the grade used on your roof. Anything else may have a tendency to leak.
  • A metal cleaner or type of cleaner that does not leave a residue.
  • Urethane sealant that matches the color of your roof.
  • Pan-head sheet metal screws (a box of 100 is recommended).
  • Paint (Match the color precisely to your roof).

These metal roof repair products have good shelf life, so you can use them for future repairs. The metal roof leak repair sealant is especially important, since it can be applied to any small leak that may appear, a leak is not the result of a hole or other type of damage. A good wire brush and steel wool can also be handy for quick metal roof rust repair, so you can quickly paint over a problem

Steps of Metal Roof Repair

There are five basic steps in repairing your metal roof. Anyone of these steps will handle simple problems such as seam leaks, or moderate rust and corrosion. These five are designed to mend minor to moderate holes. For extensive damage, it’s recommended a metal roof professional assess the damage.

1. Clean the Area to Be Repaired

The hole could be due to rust and corrosion or have been caused by a falling object. It does not matter what caused the hole. To be certain you get a good quality repair, you need to clean the area thoroughly.

Use your metal cleaner to clean the damaged area. Since the cleaner isn’t expensive, clean at least a full 12 inches on all sides of the damaged area in need of repair. Since you’re using a good quality cleaner that doesn’t leave a residue, you’ll be able to move to step 2 almost immediately.

2. Take a Measurement of the Area

Mark the outline edges with your soapstone to make certain you’re accurate. Cut your new piece using your metal snips at least 2 inches bigger on each side than the cutout area. This will give you sufficient overlap to get a good seal.

Once you have the piece cut, lay it over the place to be repaired. Using the soapstone, follow the outline of the piece you cut. Now, measure in 2 inches on all four sides to allow an overlap. See why it is helpful to use soapstone as your marker, since it will easily wash off.

3. Adhere the Repair Patch

You’re going to have a two-inch frame marked around your patch area. One will be the outside edge; the other will mark a minimal inside seal. Apply the Urethane sealant. Since doing a repair multiple times gets more difficult each try, it is always best to use a little extra sealant the first time.

Make a circular configuration with the sealant around the hole or cut. This will make sure the repair piece adheres tightly in that important area. For an extra tight seal, if you have a piece of ply board approximately the size of the new piece of metal, you can lay it flat and then add weight with a brick at each corner. This is optional, as step four will secure the replacement metal to the roof.

4. Secure the Repair Piece

Once again, it is helpful to pull out your trusty soapstone and make another inner frame, 2 inches from the edge of your repair piece. This will help you keep a neat straight line for your repair screws. Using a tiny drill bit, 5/64s of an inch is recommended; follow around the outside edge of your patch piece.

Drill a pilot hole every 3 inches, exactly halfway between the outside line and the inside mark. Tighten one sheet metal screw in each hole, starting on one side and alternating clockwise from top to bottom and side-to-side until you have filled all the holes. Blend in any excess sealant that has forced its way out from under the patch.

5. Paint the Patch

Allow the sealant to cure at least 24-hours so it won’t cause the paint to bubble. Paint the patched piece to match the color of your roof. Check the seal of the edges of the patch.

This is a guide that can handle simple to moderate damage in your metal roof, especially holes. For metal roof repair that involves a higher level of expertise, consult with a professional who specializes in repairing a metal roof.

Summing Up

Some considerations that may deem it advisable to speak to a roof specialist are holes that have been there for months, or damage that may have compromised the roof structure. You can follow these simple five steps for small holes and moderate damage to your metal roof.

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