What to do with a Leaking Metal Building



Did you ever walk through your building one day and notice a wet spot on the floor, maybe have a big wet drop hit you right on your head?  Immediately the thoughts go to how do we catch the water.  Then you may start to think, what am I going to do about this new problem.  If the source of your concerns is a leaking metal roof, here a few options for consideration.


Almost everyone goes to this option first, because it is the least expensive and it gives you time to evaluate the situation.  Almost always the problem stems from a poor seal at a penetration or a fastener head.  A good high grade caulking will probably take care of the problem(for a little while).

Metal Wall Flashing
Metal Wall Flashing


There are many manufacturers that have coating systems for metal roofs.   These may be appropriate if the metal is in sound condition.  Preparation is the key to a successful project.  Generally the fasteners are checked for tightness and possibly re-caulked or replaced.   The roof surface may be powerwashed to remove anything from the metal surface.  Seams and flashings are checked and stripped in with membrane.  A primer and one or two coats of the coating may be applied to the roof surface with either a roller or spray equipment.  Warranties are available from many of these manufacturers.


Several manufacturers have systems for the installation of a single ply membrane over existing metal roofs.  Usually a filler piece of insulation is installed to make a level surface.  Then a suitable substrate to receive the single ply is mechanically fastened to the existing roof.  This may be an insulation board, plywood, or Dens Deck.  Thicknesses can vary and cause the need for wood blocking for securement at the roof edges.  The single ply membrane is then fully adhered to the new substrate.  Weather tight warranties are available.  Note: You should make sure that the structure can withstand the added weight of the system.


Probably the most expensive option is removal of the existing metal panels and installation of new panels.  This is generally only considered when the existing panels are too deteriorated for any of the above options.  Make sure that the replacement panel is designed for the intended application.

Above all, make sure that you use a professional roofing contractor.  They can help you evaluate the various options.  Consider engaging them before the first drop hits the floor.  They may be able to provide preventive maintenance, thus allowing you to budget for the future and possibly prevent any costly damages or down time.


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