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Is it better to repair or replace a flat roof?

Flat metal roofs are an economical and aesthetic choice for many homes and businesses in Australia. When installed correctly, they are some of the easiest roofs to maintain. However, they can have their fair share of issues.

Excessive leaks, poor drainage, fast rusting—most of these are the result of poor installation. Sometimes, the damage is fixable. Other times, the only way to get your roof in working order again is by replacing it altogether.

So how do you know if you should repair or replace a flat roof? The only way to know for sure is to get a professional roof inspection. But with fifteen years of experience, Vivify Roofing can offer you some advice on how to know if it’s even worth calling a roofer in the first place.

Let’s take a look!




repair or replace metal roof


When does your flat metal roof need replacement?

When assessing a flat metal roof for potential replacement, there are a few specific elements to consider. Sometimes the answer is pretty obvious, but other times there are grey areas in deciding the best course of action to take. By asking questions about the following six aspects of your roof, you can get a good idea of whether replacement is right for you.

Roof pitch

Flat roofs aren’t actually flat. They just have a very subtle slope. However, because of how small the pitch is, the room for error is quite large. One of the most common mistakes during flat metal roof installation is improper roof pitch.

If your roof doesn’t have the right slope for its profile, it is going to drain water poorly, which leads to leaks and premature rusting. Water can pool on top of the roof, for example, allowing it to wear away at the screws until they start to rust. Then all of that pooled water has an easy entryway into your home.

Below are the standard flat roof pitches that we aim for during installation. If yours is far from these, repairing the roof is probably not going to be cost-effective in the long run.


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BlueScope offers a variety of warranties subject to application and eligibility criteria – Colorbond


If the roof is appropriately pitched, the next thing to look at is just how damaged it actually is. When you have severe or rapidly-spreading rust, replacing the roof is usually your only option.

Some homeowners hope that we can just paint over the rust. Unfortunately, painting over a heavily rusted flat metal roof is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound. The rust is still there, it’s going to keep spreading and that money you spent on repainting is quickly going to be wasted.


The primary role of your roof is to keep out water. Is yours up to the job? A lone leak or two can likely be repaired. However, if the roof is leaking in multiple places, you may be better off replacing it. While minor spots of damage could just be isolated incidents, widespread leaking likely indicates a more serious underlying issue.

In this case, patching the leaks as they pop up is just delaying the inevitable. As soon as one leak is taken care of, another is going to appear. Over time, you’ll spend so much money on minor repairs that you’ll wish you had just replaced the roof in the first place.


Metal sheet roofing must comply with the minimum pitch requirements for the associated roof profile in accordance with Figure –

Repair history

Consider how often and how much you have had to repair your roof in the past. Certainly, every roof will need a bit of care and maintenance over the years. But if you find yourself constantly having to hire out repairs, it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong with your roof. Especially if your roof is still young, excessive repairs are an indication that there were mistakes made during installation. Often, the only fix is a new roof.


A good metal roof should last anywhere from 40 to 80 years. If yours is getting up there in age, roof replacement may be your best option. Rather than sink money into an already dying roof, why not invest in a brand new one?

Likewise, if you aren’t anywhere near your expected metal roof lifespan but are still experiencing leaks or rusting, it’s time to consult a professional. An experienced roofer will be able to evaluate the cause of your roof’s apparent fast aging and recommend the best course of action.


flat metal roof repair

The minimum roof slope for Corrugated Roof and Wall Cladding is 5 degrees – Metalroofingonline

Your plans

Finally, consider your plans for the future. For example, if you are thinking about selling in the next few years, an aging or damaged flat metal roof may need to be replaced in order to make the home appealing to buyers.

Alternatively, if you have home renovation projects in mind for the near future that will require re-roofing, you may just want to make some affordable repairs for now, since you know you don’t need a long term solution just yet.

Think about where you want your home to be in the near and distant future, and make a flat roof repair or replacement plan that fits in with your vision.

When can a flat metal roof be repaired?

There are some situations when flat roof repair is usually an easy choice. The following problems can be fixed without replacing the roof—as long as there are no major underlying issues.

Faded paint

While we can’t just paint over rust, we are happy to bring a fading roof to life again with professional metal roof painting. This is the perfect way to refresh a flat metal roof that has lost its initial appeal over the years. If you are looking for a change of pace, repainting your roof in a new colour can transform the entire external aesthetic of your home.

As part of our roof painting process, we also conduct an inspection to discover any minor damage that needs repair before painting can commence. This is the perfect opportunity to not just give your roof a facelift, but to extend its life altogether.

Small dents and punctures

They are rare in durable metal roofs, but severe weather and falling debris do occasionally cause dents or punctures in your roof. Small cosmetic dents don’t usually necessitate repair, but they can still be taken care of if you wish.

Holes that actually impair the function of the roof, such as by letting water in, need immediate attention before they lead to larger issues. Often, this involves cutting out the damaged section, replacing it with a new patch of matching metal roofing and then ensuring that it is appropriately sealed against water and weather.


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Damaged flashing

Flashing is a thin, relatively flexible metal that is used to waterproof especially vulnerable areas of your roof, such as around vent pipes or chimneys. Basically, wherever your roof meets a surface that goes in a different direction.

Usually, flashing will last as long as the roof. However, it can be damaged or shifted out of place over time. The good news is that flashing can usually be replaced or repaired without the need for replacing the rest of the roof.

Failing roof screws

Roof screws or other fasteners need to be installed in an appropriate manner. During roof installation, if screws are driven in too far—or not far enough—they provide the perfect entry point for water. The same goes for screws that are installed at an imprecise angle.

Like most jobs, the quality of your roof comes down to attention to the littlest details. When an unprofessional roofer rushes the fasteners, the damage can be extensive even if everything looks good on the surface. The most insidious part of failing screws is that the roof may function well for months or years before the water comes trickling in from those poorly driven fasteners.

If the problem gets caught soon enough, though, screws can be removed and replaced. In cases in which the issue persists for too long unnoticed, the damage may be extensive enough to require complete flat roof replacement instead.


damaged flashing flat metal roof


Schedule professional flat metal roof inspection today!

When properly installed and cared for, flat metal roofs are one of the most reliable ways to protect your home from the elements. But when things go wrong with them, the damage can be devastating. The best way to prevent extensive issues is to catch them early and deal with them sooner rather than later.

Vivify Roofing has been serving the homes and businesses of Melbourne for 15 years. We have seen every type of roof damage and made every sort of repair you can imagine. Get in touch today to receive our professional opinion on whether you need to repair or replace your flat metal roof.

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