One construction material that is continuously gaining popularity in the United States is metal roofing, which is well known for its durability and low cost. It has an average service life of 70 to 80 years which is comparable to slate but at a fraction of the cost. While the material is highly regarded for its durability, it does require a skilled contractor to perform the installation in order to prevent some common roofing problems.
Improper installation of a metal roof can lead to leaks. Unlike conventional material such as shingles, steel panels are very malleable and can easily bend if it is not properly secured. It this material is bent, it can form gaps which can become a passageway for water. One of the common places where mistakes are often made is with the installation of the flashing, which is where the roof joins with other parts of the entire system such as the chimney, vents, and skylights. To prevent leaks, flashing has to be properly joined with the rest of the parts and an adhesive applied to ensure a watertight seal.
The screws and nails that hold each individual panel in place should also be installed at the highest point of the corrugation and not at the water channels to ensure that they will not become wet. Special roofing nails with caps as well as screws with rubber seals should be used to keep the water from leaking through to the material under the panels.
One of the prevalent problems with a metal roof is noise. Strong wind, hail and rain can cause the material to produce unpleasant noises, mainly because of its high resonance. Although steel is usually noisy, there are ways to eliminate the sound. A thick underlayment should be used beneath steel panels to absorb the sound. It will also serve as a second line of defense any to moisture intrusion.
One of the unique properties of metal is its high thermal conductivity. While it may be useful for some applications, it is not ideal for roofing applications. During the winter, cold temperature can easily penetrate the material and lower the temperature of the living space below. In the same way, during summer, warm weather can increase the indoor temperature to an uncomfortable level. To prevent that from happening, a thick insulating material should be installed between the rafters and the ceiling to effectively keep the indoor temperature neutral and will also be effective at dampening noise.
Installing steel panels over existing shingles is practiced by a few contractors. While it is acceptable to some, not all insurance providers approve it. The additional weight of the metal can potentially add strain to the supporting structures. Before deciding on this option, consult a local roofing professional and insurance provider so as not to void the warranty provided by the manufacturer.
Metal is one of the most durable roofing materials; however, because it is still gaining popularity, not all contractors have the necessary skills to properly install this material which could result in problems like leaks, poor temperature insulation and noise. Hopefully this article has provided helpful information regarding the common installation problems with metal roofs and how they can be prevented!
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