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Short-term fix for metal roof leak

 
Posts: 126
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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chicken forest garden goat
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We have a fifty-year-old shelter that we will be completely replacing in 2 years. In the meantime, there 2x6' roof area (metal standing seam) that is leaking where leaves collected in a hollow (a birdbath) with pinholes.

We're trying to think of an alternative to buying a gallon of asphaltic roofing compound. Ideas?
 
master pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Do you have any conifers locally? You might still be able to tap some for sap, or find a woodpecker-injured tree that is bleeding and collect the sap. Heat it, take old tea towels or wicker, or both, anything to form a matrix to hold the sap, and adhere the first to the area around the hole, then layer sap atop it, then place another layer, rinse and repeat.

I would perhaps heat up a cast-iron pan as hot as could be done safely, and then use it to spot-heat the patch, causing the sap to melt again, and to saturate the layered cloth.

And bam, there you have it, a roof patch that should remain waterproof as long as it doesn't either get so hot that it melts, or so frozen that the slightest mechanical damage causes it to shatter.

Of course, you could try a more conventional fibreglass patch, or a tarp. I like my method, but it is better-suited to patching canoes than metal roofs that could get hot in the summer sun. But it could probably survive both that and extreme cold if kept shaded and cool in the heat and kept from unreasonable mechanical damage.

Hope you find a fix that works. Keep us posted, and good luck.

-CK
 
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How many pinholes?  On my old barn the previous owner plugged holes in the metal roofing with dabs of silicone caulk.  They've done well for the 4 years I've owned it plus however many years he did it before selling.
 
Erica Colmenares
Posts: 126
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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We're going to do more exploration of the conditions from above, maybe even a photo (!) and report back.
 
Erica Colmenares
Posts: 126
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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With rain coming tonight and tomorrow, we had to go with Mike's suggestion.  I think we're going to figure out your suggestion,  Chris, before we do the reno. As you can see from this roof photo, we've got plenty of pine!


 
pollinator
Posts: 162
Location: Near Philadelphia, PA
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Clearing off all that duff is a place to start.  That will help promote run off, reveal the true condition of the panels and let things dry out.
 
Erica Colmenares
Posts: 126
Location: Charlotte, Tennessee
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That's a goid point. I should have mentioned that I wouldn't let my brother clean off all that until we pack out next week (we don't live here, just camp). We'll do that once the shelter is empty, as the falling debris tends to cover everything inside with dust.
 
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If you can increase the slope of the roof, things will be a lot better
 
Erica Colmenares
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I agree, John. We want something that is a little steeper, but still easy to get up on. Now the whole thing is cleared, and the roof patch held fine over two days solid of rain. Success!
 
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