Fixing a hole to stop my mind from wondering
August 25, 2006 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Had lots of rain here lately and the tin roof in my old house has sprung a couple of small leaks. I'm not sure what the cause is. Can I fix this myself or is a not-very-handy-man like myself asking for trouble?

The house is about 90 years old but the leak is in an extension that was built in the 70s. The roof is tin and the extended part of the roof appears to meet the old roof without drainage.

Here is a picture of the roof and approximate location of leak, and a picture of the ceiling where the leaks are happening.

There is an attic but it ends just before the extension (and hence the flat part of the roof) so it's not really relevant.
posted by zaebiz to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Metal roofs usually go at the points of contact between the metal and the wooden frame underneath. If you can get into the crawlspace or attic or whatever immediately underneath I would look at the bolts and such holding the roof onto the house and the wood underneath.
posted by Riemann at 8:05 PM on August 25, 2006

If your roof is corrugated tin then you can easily lay a new sheet over where the hole is, provided you tuck the upper end of the new sheet under the lower end of of the sheet above.

You can also use a tar compound to seal up small holes in tin roofs, but that's quite temporary.

Once rust gets to a tin roof, the rest goes pretty quick because of galvanic action, so you want to eliminate rust as quick as you can (NOT cover it, remove it). Stitch in time stuff.
posted by anadem at 8:38 PM on August 25, 2006

What Riemann and anadem said. I would just add a couple of things:
  • If you're looking for a solution to just get you through the rainy season, get some metal flashing (just ask at your local hardware store). Be sure to get pieces that will fit within the channels of the existing roof. Put some roofing tar liberally over the area where the leak is (if you can tell, probably where the nail goes in), tuck the top end of the flashing up under the overhang of the upper roof (so that water running down from the upper roof cannot run under the top edge of the flashing) and nail it down where the roof joists are ( where the existing rows of nails are). This is most definitely a temporary solution.
  • When it's dry again, either get a quote for replacing your existing roof, or (if you're the DIY type) see if you can match the existing metal panels and replace the ones that are leaking, being sure to put down heavy tar paper first, and make sure the replacement pieces (paper and metal) over- and under-lap properly with the existing ones.
When I was learning to do roofing, my boss would tell me "Imagine you're a drop of water. Where would you get in?" You want to try to make sure that any joint or junction is covered in such a way that water can't run into it. Make sense?

Have fun!
posted by al_fresco at 11:06 PM on August 25, 2006

Also, from your pictures, the house may be 90 years old, and the extension may be from the 70's, but the roofing is certainly newer than that. Roofing does need to be replaced periodically. I don't know where you are, but it's good to use community resources to find a reliable roofing contractor and make sure your roof is maintained, especially if you are in a rainy area.
posted by al_fresco at 11:09 PM on August 25, 2006

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