Tag Archives: repairing roof leaks

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.



A Serious Case of Roof Steel Leaks

This is one of those “Dear Pole Barn Guru” letters which I feel bad for the client in having to answer. The client has paid good money to have his new post frame building constructed, only to have installer challenges render the end result as far less than ideal.

For your reading pleasure:

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: The Hansen pole barn kit I bought has 26 gauge steel roofing put on twice by a licensed contractor that still leaks profusely. A licensed roofer suggested 50 year shingles. Will the trusses bear the weight of a wooden deck and shingles? What’s the expected life span/warranty on your 26 gauge steel roofing from ABC in SLC? TOM in SHERIDAN

DEAR TOM: I’ve had seen the photos of your roof from the inside, as near as I can tell, the roof purlins were not originally set in a straight line from one end of the building, to the other. It then appears the roof steel was predrilled, causing a plethora of screws to miss the purlins as installation progressed from the end towards the middle. The only real solutions are to add lots of framing under all of the holes (so every screw goes straight into the underlying framing) or to remove the roofing, align the purlins and then install new steel over them. If the roof plane is square, the purlins are placed in straight rows and the roof steel is predrilled to properly match the purlin spacing, there is no reason it should leak – other than plain installer error. Placing screws through holes at an angle, or using caulking is not an adequate repair.

As with most post frame (pole) buildings, the roof has been designed to support the weight of the trusses, roof purlins, minimal roof insulation (to prevent condensation) and the roof steel. In order to support OSB or plywood and shingles, at a minimum the roof would need to have been designed for a 7 psf (pounds per square foot) dead load, rather than 3.3 psf. It might be possible to get an engineered repair to the trusses to increase the load carrying capacity, but it is unlikely it would be an easy, or inexpensive, fix.

The steel warranty information is available on our website at:


In your climate, properly installed, your steel roof should last longer than either you or I.

On a side note – a “50 year” shingle typically has a very rapid decline in what percentage of replacement material (no labor) is covered. Here is the true story of shingle warranties:


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