If you have an older steel roof on your home, then you may notice that the roof is starting to build a layer of rust. This rust forms as the top protective coating secured over the steel starts to break down. This coating is built up in layers. A zinc coating, primer, top coat, and a protective seal will often make up these layers. Unfortunately, wind, sun exposure, and adverse weather conditions can all break down the coating. You may need to purchase a new steel roof if rust has eaten through the metal to the point that leaks have started to form over the majority of the roof. However, if leaks are not a concern, then you can add a new coating to the steel. Keep reading to learn about some tips that will help ensure that you have prepared your roof properly for the new coating.

Release All The Rust

One of the most important things that you will need to do is remove all the rust from the steel panels. Start by inspecting the steel screw fittings that hold the panels together. These screws will be hex head varieties. If the screws are rusty, then use a ratchet to remove them. Replace the screws with new hex head roofing screws. However, before you secure the screws, switch the regular washers with umbrella washers. These steel washers are rounded on the top and have an attached rubber washer on the bottom. This type of hardware keeps the rubber protected from the UV rays of the sun. The washer will remain strong for many years and will prevent water from seeping underneath and around the fastener. Preventing leakage will stop new rust from forming.

Once the screws have been replaced, you can start removing the surface rust. You will need a wire brush and some coarse sandpaper. A piece of sandpaper that is 40 or 60 grit will work well. Work the wire brush across the rust first to force loose oxidation to release. Once the thick and loose pieces are released, use the coarse sandpaper to remove the rest of the rust. 

After the initial cleaning is completed, use your hose or a pressure washer to rinse the roof thoroughly. Rinse with water alone first and then use a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar across the roof. This will help to pull up rust residue, debris, and grease that may be on the roof.

Repair Holes And Cracks

Once the rust is removed, you will need to fill in cracks, holes, and other damaged areas that appear across the surface of the roof. Inspect the roof thoroughly for any signs of damage. All openings need to be filled in, and you can use a polyurethane roofing sealant for this purpose. Purchase a polyurethane roofing sealant or cement from your local home store. Make sure to apply this sealant on a completely dry roof and on a day when the forecast does not call for rain. This will allow the sealant to cure properly.

To complete your repairs, you will also need some steel roof mesh. Start by cutting the mesh to cover each of the holes and openings along the roof. Make sure that mesh is one inch larger than the hole on each side. Use a putty knife to spread the roofing sealant over the damaged area. Make sure the sealant is one-quarter to one-half inch thick. Press the metal mesh into the sealant. Use your putty knife to cover the mesh with more sealant. Taper the edges around the metal so the repair will be unnoticed once the area is covered with the roof coating. Allow the sealant to dry for at least a few days.

If you need to repair large holes or damaged areas of the roof, then make sure to add two layers of the steel mesh and roofing cement. This will help to add strength to the area so a leak will not form in the future. For help with any roofing repairs, you can also call the professionals from a company like All American Roofing Incorporated