Common Metal Roof Problems Prevention and Maintenance Tips

Metal roofs are esteemed for their durability and longevity, yet like any roofing material, they can develop specific issues over time. Understanding these common problems and knowing how to prevent or address them is crucial for maintaining the integrity and lifespan of your metal roof. Here, we delve into key issues, provide practical tips for homeowners and roofing companies alike, and explore additional relevant topics to ensure comprehensive roof care.

Oil Canning

One of the aesthetic concerns with metal roofs is oil canning, characterized by visible waves or ripples on the surface. This phenomenon doesn’t compromise the roof’s functionality but can affect its visual appeal.

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Factors contributing to oil canning include panel conditions and installation techniques. To mitigate this, roofing companies often employ panel designs with striations or pencil ribs that distribute stress and reduce the visibility of waves. These techniques not only improve aesthetics but also enhance the overall durability of the roof.


Leaking is a significant issue that can arise from improper installation or damage to the roofing material. Common causes include incomplete flashing or poorly secured fasteners. Roofing companies emphasize thorough inspections and meticulous installation practices to prevent leaks. Ensuring that flashing is correctly installed and fasteners are properly sealed can significantly reduce the risk of water infiltration. Regular maintenance checks by roofing professionals are essential to catch potential leaks early and address them promptly.

Scratching and Scuffing

During installation and maintenance activities, metal roofs are susceptible to scratching and scuffing. These minor damages, if left untreated, can lead to corrosion over time. Roofing companies recommend using manufacturer-approved paint pens to touch up scratches promptly. This preventive measure not only maintains the roof’s appearance but also protects against corrosion, thereby extending its lifespan.


Corrosion is a serious concern for metal roofs, particularly when improper tools or abrasive materials are used during installation. Environmental factors can also contribute to corrosion. Roofing companies stress the importance of using appropriate tools and handling materials carefully to avoid scratching or gouging the surface. Regular inspections and timely repairs with specialized paints recommended by the manufacturer can effectively manage and mitigate corrosion issues.

Dissimilar Materials

The interaction of dissimilar metals, such as copper or aluminum, with the metal roofing material can lead to corrosion. Even without direct contact, environmental conditions can accelerate this process. Roofing companies advise homeowners to select compatible materials and ensure proper separation or protection to prevent corrosion. Awareness of these interactions and proactive maintenance can safeguard against potential damage.

Chalking and Fading

Chalking and fading of the roof’s paint finish are natural consequences of prolonged exposure to UV rays and weather elements. While these issues primarily affect the aesthetic appeal of the roof, they can also indicate deterioration of the protective coating. Roofing companies recommend regular inspections and adherence to manufacturer’s guidelines for paint maintenance. Understanding the warranty coverage and limitations related to chalking and fading helps homeowners plan for necessary touch-ups or refinishing.

Installation Errors

Perhaps the most critical factor in avoiding roof problems is ensuring proper installation. Errors during installation, such as incomplete flashing or improperly secured panels, can compromise the entire roof system. Roofing companies stress the importance of hiring trained and certified installers who follow industry best practices. Thorough inspections post-installation can identify and rectify any issues promptly, ensuring the roof performs optimally for years to come.

Additional Relevant Topics

Thermal Movement

Metal roofs expand and contract with temperature fluctuations, a phenomenon known as thermal movement. Improper allowance for thermal movement during installation can lead to buckling or warping of the panels over time. Roofing companies recommend using expansion joints or other techniques to accommodate thermal changes and prevent structural issues.

Snow and Ice Management

In regions prone to heavy snowfall or freezing temperatures, proper snow and ice management are crucial for metal roofs. Accumulated snow can exert significant weight on the roof structure, potentially causing structural damage or leaks. Roofing companies advise installing snow guards or using de-icing methods to safely manage snow and prevent damage to the roof and surrounding areas.

Ventilation and Insulation

Proper ventilation and insulation are vital for maintaining the performance and longevity of a metal roof. Inadequate ventilation can lead to moisture buildup in the attic or roof cavity, promoting mold growth and accelerating corrosion. Roofing companies recommend installing vents and ensuring adequate insulation to regulate temperature and moisture levels, thereby preserving the roof’s integrity.

Environmental Impact

Metal roofs are environmentally friendly due to their recyclability and energy efficiency. However, improper disposal practices or chemical treatments during maintenance can negate these benefits. Roofing companies encourage homeowners to choose eco-friendly roofing materials and disposal methods. They also promote regular maintenance practices that minimize environmental impact and maximize sustainability.


Maintaining a metal roof involves proactive measures to prevent and address common issues like oil canning, leaking, scratching, corrosion, dissimilar materials, chalking, fading, installation errors, thermal movement, snow and ice management, ventilation, insulation, and environmental impact. By understanding these challenges and implementing preventive strategies, homeowners can preserve the durability and aesthetic appeal of their metal roofs. Regular inspections and maintenance conducted by experienced roofing companies like Brunel Roofing are essential to identify potential problems early and ensure effective solutions. With proper care, a metal roof can provide reliable protection and enhance the value of any property for decades.


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