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Roof Leaks

Top 3 Metal Roof Installation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

June , 2024 | 6 min. read

By Mitch Owens

metal roof repair in progress

Let me guess, you have a metal roof leaking somewhere, right? No, I am not a metal roof leak repair psychic, but I do realize and openly admit that roofing is a very boring topic, so unless you’re pretty bored, it's safe to assume you’re not randomly searching for a metal roof repair service online.

Our family and team at RoofCrafters have helped many homeowners solve their metal roof leaking issues over the many years in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. In fact, over the past 30 years, we have seen some of the worst metal roof leaks imaginable. However, we’ve always managed to find the best-fit solution. So, let’s figure out why your metal roof may be leaking. 

Metal roof leaking typically occurs when one of three things have happened:

  1. Installation error
  2. Installation error
  3. Deterioration of the metal

Yes, you read that right. Installation errors are the number one and number two causes of leaks. After many years of installing and repairing metal roofs, we have found that metal materials rarely fail.  Installation errors on metal roofs are a common thing in the roofing industry.

So, in this article, we will cover the most common installation errors and go over how the issue of deteriorating metal can be solved. By the end of this article, we promise you'll know the fairest answer to:  "Is it possible to repair a leaking metal roof?" 

Common Metal Roof Installation Mistakes and Solutions


There are 3 common metal roof installation mistakes we find regularly on metal roofs, including:

  1. Improper installation of the roof-to-wall flashings
  2. Improper installation of metal roof components (valleys, pipes, hip, and ridge caps)
  3. Improper use of metal roof fasteners

improper screw installation on metal roof


All 3 are typically the result of shingle crews or shingle installers who are unskilled and untrained in metal roof installation attempting to install a metal roof. Sadly, we’ve seen this happen quite frequently.

The good news is that in most cases these metal roofs can be repaired, depending on exactly what condition has caused or is causing the roof to leak. We usually find that the metal itself is in good condition.  There are roofing solutions in most cases.

Screws backing out a metal roof

Now, it does require removing and reworking the parts that have not been installed properly. The improper use of fasteners can be repaired if it is an exposed fastener screw-down metal roof system.

Here are the problems we see with the improper fastening of a metal roof:

  • Overdriven screws
  • Under driven screws
  • Screws installed at an angle
  • The use of the wrong type of screw altogether

If your metal roof was installed with hidden clips or a concealed fastener, repairing your metal roof may not be possible. A hidden metal fastener means all the fasteners are under the metal roofing and can not be seen. If the metal roof installer uses the wrong fasteners, the entire metal roofing system will most likely need to come off and be replaced.

Concealed fastener being installed on standing seam metal roof

Metal roofs are rated to withstand some of the highest wind storms. Metal roofs that blow off in lighter wind storms have typically been installed using insufficient fasteners. 

How to Fix Leaks on Older Metal Roofs


Having an older metal roof does not always mean it needs to be replaced if it leaks. Metal roofs installed properly can last an extremely long time, 50 years or more. So, if your roof is older, don’t panic!


Often we see leaks happening on older metal roofs at the penetrations (chimneys, skylights, dormers) or pipe vent flashings because these components require a special sealant to work with the metal. The metal expands and contracts with the temperature change. This thermal movement over long periods can cause these components with the sealant to fail. In most cases, these can be reworked. 

old sheet metal roof

If you have an older metal roof, we recommend having your local roofing contractor come out and do a thorough inspection. Any reputable metal roofing contractor will ensure the metal has a useful life before they provide a solution to repair your roof leak.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Metal Roof Leaks


Preventing leaks in your metal roof starts with regular maintenance. Proper care can extend the lifespan of your roof and save you money on costly repairs. Here are some essential maintenance tips:

1. Regular Inspections: Schedule bi-annual inspections to catch any potential issues early. Look for signs of wear, rust, and loose fasteners.

2. Clean Gutters and Downspouts: Ensure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris to prevent water buildup and roof leaks.

3. Sealant Check: Examine the sealants around flashings, vents, and other roof penetrations. Replace any worn or cracked sealants promptly.

4. Remove Debris: Keep the roof surface clear of leaves, branches, and other debris that can trap moisture and cause rust.

5. Trim Overhanging Branches: Trim any tree branches that hang over your roof to prevent them from falling and damaging the roof surface.

Follow these steps to reduce leaks and extend your metal roof's life.

Is It Worth Repairing a Leaking Metal Roof?


Unless you plan on turning your living room floor into the indoor pool you’ve always wanted, it’s advisable to get your leaking roof checked out and repaired as soon as possible. 

We know this can be nerve-wracking considering many contractors don’t know how to properly repair metal roofs, but fear not. RoofCrafters has provided you with a checklist to ask your contractor during your initial inspection so that you can scope out the best roofing company for your repair.

image call to action, download the top 10 checklist

Always choose the contractor that you feel most comfortable with, and believe is the most qualified for the job. At RoofCrafters, our contractors have decades of experience repairing metal roofs, new and old. Nip your leaking metal roof problem in the bud and schedule an inspection with us.

Schedule an Inspection

One of our experts will reach out to you as soon as possible and get you scheduled at your earliest convenience. In the meantime, feel free to browse the extensive resources located in our learning center.

We recommend reading “What You Need to Know About Metal Roofs” so that you can better understand your metal roof and how it operates.

Mitch Owens

My name is Mitch, and I have over 10 years of roofing experience. I enjoy my career in the service industry because I love helping others take care of their homes and businesses. With over 10 years in the roofing industry, my success comes from my honesty and integrity during my roof inspections. I do my best to listen to the needs of my clients and strive to provide an awesome client experience.