How To Repair An Open Seam On A Steel Roof

Posted on: 8 August 2016

If you have a steel roof on your home, garage, or barn, then this roof will last a long time before a repair is needed. In most cases, a steel roof will last 60 years before needing to be replaced. You may see some damage before a brand new roof needs to be installed, and repairing the damage can help to prolong the life of your roof. The cracking and breaking of the rubber washers that hold the steel fasteners in place is one common issue you might see. When washers wear down, steel sheets that make up the roof may pull away from one another. This can cause a leak issue. To fix this problem, keep reading.

Purchase The Best Supplies


Before you start making your repair, you will need to purchase your supplies. You will need washers to repair the ones that have degraded. Washers or gaskets are secured just underneath the heads of the screws that secure the steel roofing sheets in together. These washers act as cushions between the fasteners and the roofing panels. This helps to reduce pressure and stress on the fasteners when the panels expand and contract during weather changes.

Common rubber washers are typically installed around fasteners, because the material is flexible. However, rubber breaks down when exposed to the sun during a process called UV degradation. This same type of breakdown will occur again if you simply replace the rubber washers. You should instead locate and buy dome washers. Dome washers are fasteners with rounded dome tops and flat bottoms. The ones made for roofing are steel varieties with a fused rubber or neoprene layer across the bottom. The rubber absorbs stress while the metal dome reflects sunlight away from the rubber. 

Purchase several dome washers and make sure to purchase some new steel roofing screws as well. 

Roofing Sealant

Some metal roofs are installed with a sealant along each seam to keep moisture from traveling underneath the steel. If you notice that a seam has pulled away from the roof, then the sealer has likely been damaged or broken in the process. You will need to purchase a new sealer to add to the seam. There are several types of sealers that will work well for metal roofing. Polyurethane, polyether, and oxime-cure silicone are all good options. Purchase one of these types of sealer or caulk for the seams. 

Complete The Work

You will need to climb directly on your roof to make your repair, so make sure to take precautions so you do not injure yourself. A roof safety system with a harness is a good idea, and so is the use of rubber-soled boots that will grip the roof. A sturdy ladder should also be used so you can get on the roof. Once your safety gear is secured and you get on the roof, use a socket wrench to remove the screw or screws that attach to the open seam. Place a dome washer on each new screw with the rubber part of the dome facing downward. 

Start to tighten each screw a small amount, but leave a gap along the seam. Place your sealant in a caulk gun and squeeze a generous amount of the adhesive in the gap. Add the sealant about one-half inch from the seam. This will allow the attached pieces of the steel roof to adhere to one another without the sealant seeping out of the crack.

Once the sealer is secured, tighten all of the roofing screws. You want the screws to be hand tight. If you tighten the screws too much, you may force too much pressure on the rubber part of the washer. The rubber will then flatten and crack within a short period of time. 

For more tips about fixing a roof like this, contact a company like Acoma Roofing.


A Direct Guide To Roofing

Hi, my name is Scott, and as you search through this blog, you'll learn invaluable information concerning roofs. When reading the articles, you'll learn about roof repairs, roofing materials and what's new in the roofing industry. I didn't become interested in roofing until my roof started to leak. When that happened, I started doing all types of research to find out why and where my roof was leaking. As I performed my research, I became very interested in the entire industry and even after I hired professional roofers to fix the leak, I still wanted to learn more about roofing. Since I enjoy blogging in my spare time, I decided to start a blog about roofing, and I hope that you also find the information you read interesting and useful.