Metal roof

Fiddling with the roof

Having to fix a roof or replace a roof is just no fun at all. It’s one of those things that has to be done, it’s likely going to be expensive, but just how uplifting is it to spend money on something that’s just not that interesting.

Not to mention that whenever we call roofers, they are so busy around here that we are happy when they just show up to look at the “problem”. In our Ontario climate, our roofs have to deal with snow, ice, freezing temperatures, melting, pouring rain and wind and then lots of heat and sunlight. We are darn lucky to have such variety in our climate, but our roofs are important!

Long roof - ranch
The long and often replaced roof

Our previous home was a long ranch style home, with a separate detached garage. The roof was made with asphalt shingles. Over the 25 years that we owned the house, I think we replaced the roof 4 times. FOUR TIMES! The one good thing that we found was that we could replace the front or back half of the roof without doing the other side, as one side faced south and west and got so much sun and wind that the shingles decayed more quickly. Also, you could only look at the roof directly from the front or from the back – so you could never see both sides at the same time (bonus!).


Roof Guarantee

Of course we had a 20 year guarantee or so on the shingles, but this typically covered materials, and our roofing contractor was always out of business by the time we needed to replace the roof.

300x600 Covered Home Repairs

Lifetime Metal Roof

So we thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a metal roof – one of those lifetime guarantee roofs? Wouldn’t that be worry free?

Our “new” 130 year old home has a steel roof. It has been on the house though for more than 20 years, and so we do not have the name of the supplier or installer. But we thought, these things are impermeable, so no worries about leaks. Metal roofs are more expensive than asphalt shingled roofs and are often called investment grade roofs – so I was impressed, and it looked good to me!

Metal Roof
Our metal roof

We knew that one of the bedrooms had a leaky chimney, but we sorted that out and primed the goopy stain from that.

Goopy chimney inside wall leak
Goopy chimney inside wall leak
Fixed chimney inside wall
Fixed chimney inside wall

Over the past few weeks we have been working on renovating the largest bedroom. It was added on to the home at some time -perhaps in the 1980s. The room appears to be over what was maybe a porch, that is now our family room. It has a sloped ceiling covered with pine planks and no attic, and is 2 steps lower than the rest of the upstairs. Hmmm, very old house peculiar!

The room was painted in a rusty beige – and had thick brown carpeting, along with it’s pine ceiling. We gave the room a quick coat of off white paint, and began taking it apart – and then we noticed why the room was painted it’s unusual colour……… the paint colour matched the stains from the drips down the wall – which started to appear on the wall after each rain.

We had our eavestroughs and soffits replaced, to improve the drainage from the roof, and had eavestrough leaf covers installed.

Drippy off-white walls
Drippy off-white walls

Finding Roof Repair

But we thought, before we fix up this room, we should get the roof repaired. We called 3 roofers. One was interested in the repair, gave us a quote and sent someone out to fix it. He got up on the roof and said he didn’t work on metal roofs.

We called another few roofers. After about the 5th call, a roofer came out, walked around on the roof and caulked around a roof vent. He said that should do the trick.


A little more dripping occurred and we called a few more roofers. Here were some of the responses:

  • We don’t work on metal roofs (most common response)
  • We hate metal roofs because they are too slippery
  • You can’t fix a metal roof – you have to replace the whole thing
  • Your metal roof is under warranty, if you go up there and find the name of the manufacturer, you can call them
  • Your metal roof might be under warranty, but it won’t cover labour, and damage from incorrect installation, so if you have a nail hole or it’s installed over an old roof it won’t matter
  • I will come out as soon as I buy a new ladder (This was definitely our favourite response)
  • We will only come and look at it if you give us $500 cash to do the estimate before we go up on the roof. (We eventually agreed to pay this person if you can believe it – and they never showed up!)
  • We only sell new metal roofs we don’t fix them

The Repairs

Eventually we found a fellow who went up and inserted a new piece of metal under a metal shingle. After he left we had torrential rain in our bedroom, where there had never been a leak before.

Finally, we had a fellow go up and do some other patching at the join in our roof between two levels. We think this did the trick! I am knocking on wood right now!

I guess the point of my story if there is one, is that roofs can be a problem, and it’s hard to get people to fix them or replace them properly. If I wasn’t so unsteady on a ladder I think I would learn to fix it myself – but it’s good to know my limitations!

In the meantime, we think the roof is fixed and we are ready to start our next bedroom renovation.

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5 thoughts on “Fiddling with the roof

  1. Oh, God, I hate to hear these stories! I agree, roofs are a huge challenge. We changed to a metal roof because we had so much trouble with leaks from ice dams. The metal roof fixed that, but with all the ice pellets and warmer heavy snow we’ve had the past few years, instead of the snow falling off it forms thick sheets of ice that eventually slide off and destroy things below it. You can’t win! But I hope you do win!!

    1. Hi Jane, we have the same issue now with the snow falling off in big sheets. Hopefully the leaks are gone now, but we will see in the spring.

  2. Great idea! Metal roofs are more energy efficient than any other kind of roof. But if you are looking for a roof repair you must try some good liquid butyl rubber to give the roof stronger consistency at a low cost. Once you apply this roof sealant you will remain stress-free for so many years.

  3. I think we did eventually get a good butyl rubber sealant applied, it is just that nobody seemed to want to work on our metal roof in our area! Hopefully it doesn’t leak again, but if it does we will definitely look at your link! Thank you for posting it!

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