Metal Roof Leaking? Here’s How to Fix It!

May 8, 2024

Addressing a leaking metal roof promptly is of the utmost importance. Neglecting this issue can lead to costly structural damages and mold growth, putting your health and safety at risk. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of repairing a leaking metal roof, starting with how to identify the source of the leak.

Identify the Source of the Leak

One of the most crucial steps in metal roof leak repair is accurately identifying the source of the leak. There are several signs you should look out for on your roof.

Signs to look for on the roof

Visible signs of damage such as rust, cracks, loose or missing screws, and punctured metal sheets can indicate where the leak is coming from. Pay special attention to the seams and joints, as these areas are often the first to show signs of water ingress.

Inspection of the interior of the building

Inside the building, water stains on the ceiling, peeling paint, or damp walls are clear indications of a roof leak. If you notice any of these signs, try to trace the water path back to its source, as water can travel quite a distance before showing any signs on the interior.

Identifying common problem areas on a metal roof

Common problem areas on a metal roof include the flashings (the metal pieces that cover curves and corners), the ridge (where two roof slopes meet), and the eaves (the edges of the roof). Examine these areas closely as they are often the culprits of a leak.

Identifying the source of the leak is the first step in the process of metal roof leak repair. Once you have found the problem area, you can gather the necessary tools and materials and start the repair work. Remember, it’s always better to fix a leak sooner rather than later to prevent further damage to your property. If you’re uncomfortable with doing the repair yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional roofer.

In the next section, we will discuss the tools and materials needed for the repair, safety precautions to remember, and how to prepare your roof for repair.

Identify the Source of the Leak

Before you can effectively fix a leaking metal roof, it is crucial to identify the source of the leak. This process often involves careful observation and inspection of both the exterior and interior of your building.

Signs to look for on the roof

Upon climbing onto your roof, keep an eye out for signs of damage. This could be anything from rusted or corroded areas, loose or missing screws, or holes and cracks in the metal sheets. Pay close attention to the seams and joints, as these are common areas where leaks occur in metal roofs.

Inspection of the interior of the building

Inside your home or building, look for signs of water damage. This may appear as water stains on walls or ceilings, signs of mold growth, or damp or wet insulation in your attic. Such signs can help pinpoint the area on the roof where the leak might be.

Identifying common problem areas on a metal roof

There are several common problem areas on a metal roof where leaks often occur. These include the ridge caps, the seams, or the screws and fasteners. Another common area is around vent flashing where the metal may have been improperly cut or installed. By focusing on these areas during your inspection, you can quickly and efficiently identify the source of the leak.

Remember, finding the source of a metal roof leak can sometimes be tricky. Water can travel along the underlayment or roof deck before showing signs inside your home, meaning the source of the leak may not align directly with the interior water damage. Therefore, careful and thorough inspection is key when looking to fix a metal roof leak.

If after a thorough inspection, you are still unable to locate the source of the leak, it may be beneficial to consult with a professional roofer who has experience working with metal roof repair. They will have the experience and skills necessary to identify and fix your roof leak. Don’t let a small leak turn into a bigger problem – remember, timely repair is crucial in metal roof leak prevention.

Gather Necessary Tools and Materials

Before embarking on your metal roof leak repair, it’s essential to gather all necessary tools and materials. This process not only ensures a smooth and efficient repair but also guarantees your safety during the process.

List of Tools and Materials Needed

Common tools and materials for repairing a leaking metal roof include a sturdy ladder, roofing sealant or cement, a sealant gun, metal roofing screws, wire brush, metal shears, tape measure, roofing gloves, and safety glasses. Other useful items include a tarp (in case of rain), a soft broom for cleaning the area, and perhaps a friend to lend a hand.

Tips for Purchasing Materials

When purchasing materials, prioritize quality. Cheaper products may save you a few dollars, but they may not provide a lasting solution to your leaking roof. Ensure the sealant or cement is designed for outdoor use and is compatible with metal roofing. Also, consider buying a little extra of each material to account for any mistakes or additional repairs that may be needed.

Safety Precautions to Remember

Working on a roof, especially a metal one, can be risky. Therefore, safety should be your priority. Always use a sturdy, well-placed ladder to climb onto the roof. Wear roofing gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and safety glasses to shield your eyes from dust and debris. If your roof is steep, consider using a safety harness. Lastly, never attempt any roof work in poor weather conditions, as the roof can become slippery and hazardous.

By taking the time to properly prepare and gather the necessary tools and materials, you can ensure a successful DIY metal roof leak repair. This preparation also ensures that you prioritize safety, making the repair process less daunting and more manageable.

How to Stop a Metal Roof Leak

Once you’ve gathered your tools and materials, you’re ready to take the next steps in fixing your metal roof leaks. Whether you’re applying a temporary fix or a long-term solution, your preparedness will make all the difference.

Prepare the Roof for Repair

Before initiating the metal roof leak repair, it’s crucial to prepare the surface appropriately. This not only ensures a successful repair but also prolongs the lifespan of your roof.

Cleaning the Area around the Leak

Start by thoroughly cleaning the area around the leak. Use a wire brush to remove any rust or corrosion from the metal surface. If there’s any old sealant or caulking, scrape it off carefully. For tougher spots, consider using a rust converter or a rust-inhibiting primer. Once you’re done cleaning, rinse the area with water and let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Clearing any Debris or Obstacles

Clear away any debris such as leaves, twigs, or dirt as these can interfere with the repair process or cause further damage. Plus, in fixing metal roof leaks, you need a clear visual of the area to identify any hidden issues effectively.

Tips for Working on a Metal Roof

Working on a metal roof can be tricky. Here are some useful tips. Always wear rubber-soled shoes for better grip and stability. Use a safety harness if the roof is steep or if you’re not comfortable with heights. Additionally, be cautious when stepping on the roof – only step on the supports, not on the panels, to avoid causing more damage.

Safety Precautions

Remember, safety should be your utmost priority when performing a DIY metal roof repair. Never work on a wet or slippery roof, as it increases the risk of accidents. Avoid working during adverse weather conditions. And if you feel the repair task is beyond your capabilities, don’t hesitate to call a professional.

Apply a Temporary Fix

Occasionally, a metal roof leak can strike at an inconvenient time, such as during a storm or when you don’t have all the necessary materials for a full repair. In such situations, applying a temporary fix to your leaking metal roof can help protect your property from further water damage. Here’s how you can do it.

Covering the Leak with a Tarp or Sealant

As an immediate, short-term solution, you can cover the leaking area with a heavy-duty tarp. Ensure the tarp is large enough to amply cover the leak and extend beyond it on all sides. Secure it well to prevent it from being blown away by wind. A roof sealant can also be effective for smaller leaks. Simply clean the area around the leak and apply the sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using Roofing Cement to Stop the Leak

Roofing cement is another practical temporary fix for a metal roof leak. Once you locate the leak, spread a generous layer of roofing cement over the area. It’s advisable to extend the cement a few inches beyond the leak to ensure a good seal. Remember to use a putty knife or a similar tool to flatten the cement, promoting a better bond with the roof.

Precautions to Take When Using Temporary Fixes

While these temporary solutions can help manage a leak, it’s important to remember that they are not long-term solutions. Regular inspection is necessary to monitor the condition of the temporary fix and replace it when it starts to fail.

In addition, always prioritize safety when fixing a leaking roof, especially in adverse weather conditions. If the roof is slippery, it may be safer to wait until the weather improves before trying to fix the leak. If you’re not comfortable doing the repair yourself, don’t hesitate to contact a professional roofer.

Final Thoughts

Applying a temporary fix to a leaking metal roof is a valuable skill that can save you from significant water damage in your building. By covering the leak with a tarp or sealant, or using roofing cement, you can buy some time until you’re ready to carry out a permanent repair. Regardless of the method you choose, always prioritize safety and remember that these are temporary fixes that will eventually need a proper, permanent solution.

Repair the Roof Permanently

The temporary fix should give you a breather, but it is not a long-term solution. The ultimate way to fix a metal roof leak is a permanent repair. This section covers the types of materials to use for a permanent repair, steps for patching or replacing damaged metal sheets, and common mistakes to avoid during the repair process.

Types of materials to use for permanent repair

To fix a leak in a metal roof permanently, you need strong, durable materials. Sheet metal is a common choice for patching holes. You could also opt for metal roofing sealant, butylene tape, and roofing screws. It’s crucial that the materials you choose are weather-resistant and suitable for outdoor use.

Steps for patching or replacing damaged metal sheets

Begin by cutting a patch from sheet metal that is slightly larger than the hole. Apply butyl tape around the edges of the hole and then place the patch over it, pressing firmly to ensure a tight seal. Secure the patch with roofing screws around its perimeter, and then seal the edges and screws with a generous amount of roof sealant. If a whole panel is damaged, it may be best to replace it entirely.

Common mistakes to avoid during the repair process

One mistake many make when repairing a metal roof leak is not cleaning the area properly before starting the repair. Any dirt or rust can prevent the sealant from adhering properly, leading to a weaker repair. Another common mistake is not using enough sealant, so always be generous in its application. Lastly, rushing the job can lead to sloppy work and potential leaks in the future. Take your time to ensure the job is done right.

Repairing a metal roof leak doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. With the right materials and attention to detail, you can effectively and permanently stop the leak. However, if the damage is too extensive or if you’re unsure of the process, it’s always best to call in a professional roofer.

Finishing Touches

Once you have successfully repaired your leaking metal roof, it is essential to carry out some finishing touches to ensure the problem doesn’t recur. In this section, we’ll go over the steps you should take after the repair process.

Checking for any Additional Leaks

After the completion of your metal roof repair, it’s crucial to double-check for any additional leaks. You can do this by thoroughly examining the roof surface, especially around the previously repaired areas, joints, seams, and fasteners. Using a hose to drench your roof can give you a clear picture of whether your repair was successful or not. If you spot any water dripping, then you may need to apply more sealant or patch material.

Cleaning up the Work Area

The next step in fixing metal roof leaks is cleaning up your work area. This involves properly disposing of any old roofing materials, sealant tubes, and cleaning tools. It’s important to leave your roof clean and free of debris to prevent any potential damage in the future.

Tips for Maintaining a Metal Roof to Prevent Future Leaks

Lastly, to prevent future leaks, regular maintenance of your roof is crucial. Here are some tips for metal roof leak prevention:

  • Regularly inspect your roof for any signs of damage or wear, such as corroded areas, loose fasteners, or damaged panels.
  • Clean your roof regularly to avoid accumulation of debris which can trap moisture and eventually lead to rust and leaks.
  • Ensure your roof’s coating is in good condition. If it’s worn out, consider applying a new coat of UV-resistant paint to protect your roof from the elements.
  • If you notice any minor issues, address them immediately before they escalate into bigger problems.

By following these DIY metal roof repair tips, you can keep your roof in the best shape possible and avoid future leaks. Remember, maintenance is always easier and more cost-effective than repairs.


Addressing a leaking metal roof promptly is essential to prevent further damage to your building. The steps outlined in this guide will not only help you fix existing leaks but also help prevent future ones. However, if the damage is extensive, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Keep your roof in top shape, and it will serve you well for years to come.

Importance of Addressing Roof Leaks Promptly

Addressing roof leaks promptly is critical in order to prevent further damage to the structure of your home. Leaks can result in water damage to the interior of your home, including walls, ceilings, and insulation. Over time, this can lead to mold growth, which is a serious health risk. Furthermore, if left unattended, a small leak can turn into a larger, more costly problem, potentially leading to the need for a complete roof replacement.

Professional Help

While the above steps provide a guide for fixing a leaking metal roof, it’s important to note that some roof repairs may require professional help. If you’re unsure about how to proceed or if the damage is extensive, don’t hesitate to contact a professional roofer. They have the necessary skills, tools, and experience to repair a metal roof safely and effectively.

In conclusion, fixing a leaking metal roof is a task that requires careful attention and effort. With the right preparation and approach, you can fix your metal roof leak and prevent future leaks from occurring. Remember to always prioritize safety when working on a roof and to seek professional assistance if needed.

Big G Roofing