Imagine for a second that you are a homeowner who’s in the process of moving. You need to sell your home before buying a new one. To make your home look as spacious as possible, you rent a storage facility where you can store most of your clutter.
Your home sells, you’ve found and purchased a new house, and now it’s time to move in. Yay…moving! You rent a U-Haul, back it in, and now it’s time to load all of your belongings from the storage unit.
You open the door and find all of your stuff wet and ruined. As a storage customer and facility owner, you never want this scenario to happen.
How does a metal roof leak?
Most storage facilities have metal roofs. Because the metal panels are attached, there are possibilities for leaking. For example, the panels are attached to the deck using fasteners.
Over time, these can back out, which will give water immediate access through the roof. Fasteners can also be installed incorrectly. Under-driven, over-driven, rubber washers that deteriorate over time and misaligned fasteners can all create opportunities for water to enter your units.
Quick note: Notice the damaged rubber washer. This can help the fastener back out quicker than normal and allow water to enter through the screw head.
Another way a metal roof can leak is through the seams. The seams attach one metal panel to the other. If the sealant around the seams isn’t applied correctly or wears away (the metal will outlast the sealant), then water can have an entry point into your units.
What repair options do facility owners have?
If you have a fastener that has backed out, you can replace the screw with a new oversized replacement screw or simply seal the existing hole with sealant and install a new screw within the same area. The same can be done with a seam that has cracked.
Now, if the roof is old and you have multiple fasteners and seams that are in decent/poor condition, you might be able to restore the metal roof with a silicone coating system.
Some advantages of silicone roof coating systems are: they will fill in any cracks, holes or punctures; they will leave behind a seamless membrane; they will get your metal roof under a new warranty ranging from 5 to 20 years; and they are cost-effective.
A silicone roof coating system usually costs about $2-$4 per square foot. The average cost of a new metal roof is $7-$12 per square foot.
One negative about silicone roof coatings is that they don’t provide any additional R-value to your existing system. This can be a “Debbie Downer” if you have a climate-controlled facility.
What repair options do climate-controlled facility owners have?
If you have a roof leak on a climate-controlled unit, money has to be flying through the roof to keep the temperature consistent. That’s why the best roof for a climate-controlled facility is a spray polyurethane foam roof.
- Spray foam can go over the top of your existing metal roof, saving you money on purchasing new metal, ripping off the old metal and transporting it to a landfill, and extensive labor hours on installing the new metal panels.
- Spray foam has an R-value of 6.5 per inch of thickness (the highest R-value of any roof insulation).
- Spray foam is seamless (eliminating common leak areas such as seams, flashings, and fasteners).
If your goal is to keep the roof watertight while reducing your energy costs as much as possible, a spray foam roof might be the most cost-effective solution for you. (A spray foam roof usually costs about $4 - $7 per square foot).
What are your next steps?
The best repair option going forward depends on how many problem areas that you have, and if R-value and energy costs are important to you.
For a self-storage facility with no insulation, a metal roof restoration with silicone coating is a cost-effective option (vs a complete metal roof replacement) to get the roof leak-free, seamless, and under a new warranty.
For a climate-controlled self-storage facility, keeping the heat/cool inside the building is a huge expense.
You can combat this by having more R-value on your roof. Spray foam roofing is a way to add a large amount of R-value, get the roof watertight, seamless, have closed-cell insulation, and have the roof under a new warranty.