Tag Archives: #14 size screw.

Solving Steel Roofing Leaks

Solving Steel Roofing Leaks

Nothing much more frustrating than finding your post frame building’s new steel roofing has a leak (or two) – however they can be solved!

Reader (and client) BRYAN from MECHANICSVILLE writes:

“I’m really loving my pole barn.

With all of the rain we’ve had, I’ve noticed two leaks, I believe they are coming through roof screw holes, what is your recommended way of correcting the problem? Should I put a sealer around the screws, replace the screws or something else?

Thank you for your time and help!”

Quite pleased you are loving your new pole barn! In case anyone has wondered why we do what we do, this would be why – there are such great rewards in being able to aid clients in their new building journeys!

If you have been able to narrow a water issue down to these two locations, you have solved a most challenging puzzle piece. Often, with use of a Radiant Reflective Barrier under the roof steel, water will enter in one place and leak out in a different location. This can cause leak searching to be a true chore.

Under no circumstance should a sealant be used around or over top of screws. Eventually this sealant works away from the screw and the leak is back! Now it becomes diagnosing why there a leak exists and how to best fix it.

Most often leaks are caused by a predrilled screw hole not having a screw in it. Although this sounds obvious – it does occur. Easiest fix, put a screw in hole. Next up would be a screw has missed a purlin. If this happens to be your case, chances are you can see a “shiner” (galvanized screw shank) alongside, or poking out a side of, a purlin. Provided screw holes were pre-drilled, this can be resolved by removing offending screw, as well as its adjacent neighbors for several feet in each direction along the purlin. Have someone push that purlin uphill or pull it downhill until a screw can be replaced into solid wood.

In event of a random miss, for whatever reason, have someone hold a block of 2×4 under the screw hole and drive a screw through roofing and into the block.

Next possible culprit would be a screw not properly seated. If under driven, (EPDM gasket not compressed) screw can normally be driven in further. If over driven (gasket smashed) screw should be replaced with either a larger diameter and longer length screw (say #14 x 2″) or by driving a wooden match stick or other slender piece of solid wood into screw hole, then use an originally sized screw back in original hole. If a screw was driven in other than perpendicular to roofing, it may be possible to remove the screw and drive it straight in.


Leaking Steel Roofing

Leaking Steel Roofing

Properly installed, there is truthfully no reason for a through screwed steel roof to leak. The key being “properly installed”.

Here is a report from a less than totally satisfied with his builder’s installation client:

“Sorry to report I have numerous leaks in the steel roof of my Hansen pole building.  In examining the roof, the workmanship of the screw application left a lot to be desired.  I have read your suggested fix in the manual and done some research on roof repairs etc.  Most suggestions are the same as specified in your manual using a larger and longer size screw method.  

I removed a couple screws where the leaking was taking place and discovered the screw had been rescrewed more than once on the initial install which reamed out the wood in the purlin and made the hole in the steel extra large (my little finger would fit in it).   My Fix method:  First a block was fastened to the existing purlin to give more wood as the screw tip  had broken out on the side of the purlin indicating the screw was not inserted  perpendicular to the roof and purlin.  Then I attempted to fill the hole and placed a second little larger neoprene washer (so the original washer was on the top and the larger one was on the bottom and reinserted the screw.  My thinking was the smaller washer on the top would exert enough pressure on the bottom washer which would cover the hole and provide the needed water seal.  This did not work and I think a larger size head on the screw would have been better.  In your opinion would a 14 or 16 x 2″ solve the problem?

Would appreciate any ideas on repairing the leaks.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru Writes:

For any hole larger than 1/4″ the steel panel needs to be replaced, there is just no getting around it and no practical fix. For smaller holes, a #14 x 2″ screw will probably provide a fix. If it appears the hole in the purlin is large due to any one of a plethora of reasons, a small diameter wooden dowel or wooden matchstick driven into the hole prior to inserting the new screw will certainly aid in getting a good seal.