Fixes for a Leaky Sunroom With a Metal Roof
LESLIE: Jerry in Tennessee, you’ve got The Money Pit. What can we do for you today?
JERRY: We have an all-seasons sunroom. Love the sunroom. It’s a nice size: 12×20. It has a metal roof on it with four panels. We’ve had a leak between the panels, probably for a couple of years now. We’ve tried – had several people look and do things with it.
The person we brought it has since gone out of business. And so, we’ve called another dealer – an installer. And so what he suggested to us is that they coat the entire roof with a rubber coating. He said that that has been successful in the past. He said, “If you want to, you could put shingles on top of it.”
TOM: That seems like a really dumb idea.
JERRY: So, this is something you don’t recommend?
TOM: Well, the thing is, for as long as we’ve had metal roofs, there have been roofers that want to coat them with rubber or coat them with tar or something. In the old days, when you had real metal roofs, they would last forever, pretty much. And if the metal roofs developed leaks, you’d basically take them apart and reassemble them and fix it. But at some point, a roofer shows up on site and covers that thing with tar or rubber or something and that marks the beginning of the end for the roof. Because water still finds its way underneath and now it starts to rust away the material.
If you’re convinced that this is in the seam, it seems to me that it shouldn’t be terribly complicated to figure out which seam is causing the leak. What I would try to do is I would try to disassemble some of the roof, if anything. Because, obviously, it had to be put together. And so I would try to disassemble some of those panels so that I could get a good layer of sealant – some good-quality silicone sealant is probably what I would use – in between those seams where they’re leaking. I would also get the hardware. Because sometimes the bolts and the screws that put those together have a rubber sort of washer underneath and that can break down. And I would seal those with silicone.
But I would go up and seal all those seams with silicone way before I would think about just slapping some tar on it and putting some shingles over top. I just think that’s kind of a waste.
JERRY: Yeah, we – of course, we are so frustrated. We’ve been dealing with this for several years now. We’ve had several people who were not roofers or sun people – sunroom people – look at it and it’s just not been successful.
TOM: Yeah. The thing is, you can figure out, strategically, Jerry, where exactly the leak is if you go up there with a hose and just start at one end and very slowly drag it across the roof until you create the leak. You can get a pretty good idea of where the weak spot is and kind of narrow down your attack from there.
JERRY: Our problem is that it doesn’t leak in just a normal rain. It’s when you get a really heavy rain.
TOM: Yeah, yeah. I hear you. Well, again, same thing. I might see if I could – I might try it with a hose to see if I can figure out where it’s leaking, maybe even spray water up into it. But the thing is, those seams are all repairable, OK? They’re all sealable. They went down once; they can go down again. I would definitely not go right to the point where I’m covering that whole thing up. OK?
JERRY: OK. Hey, listen, Tom and Leslie, we thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Jerry. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.