I have an old barn with an rusty corrugated roof. The rafters are pretty rotten and the corrugated sheets come apart and I have slow leaks. The roof is nailed and some of the nails have worked their way out.

My plan is to hammer the nails back in (where they still would work) and use rivets to rivet the sheets together on the seems to tide me over until I have time to repair the rafters.

I am wondering if that is a good idea and if rivets are actually water tight or how I can make them watertight and if there are special metal roofing rivets. Any better suggestions?

Easy to see where the sheets are lifted at the seams.

enter image description here

  • 2
    "tie me over until I have time to repair " Grab a can of "Aluminum roof paint/patch" and slather it on the problem areas after following Ed's advice re: screws with sealing washers. Just try to actually get to repairing the rafters (there were folks in my neighborhood growing up who just kept slapping more coats of that on rather than ever fixing their roofs properly. I don't recommend that approach, but it's far better than nothing as a temporary aid to the problem.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Feb 19, 2021 at 14:05
  • I am having a brain fart but there is a clear roof patch that will even seal a nail hole it’s expensive stuff, where we built an additional 4 stalls out in one of the fields we used 2nd hand tin, a 1/2 gallon did the holes snd it was dry again this winter so there ways to extend the life of even old roofing.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 6:16

2 Answers 2


I know aluminum boat manufactures use rivets with rubber seals. I have not seen rivets used on corrugated roofing. I would convert the leakers to screws with washers that’s how most metal roofs are put on and if the wood is a little compromised at the leaky nail hole a screw will hold better than putting in another nail the seal on the screw makes it dry.

  • Converting to screws does not work because the rafters are rotten where the nails don't hold
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 4:52
  • Putting another nail in will really make things worse. growing up on a farm and having my current 10 stall barn with 60x120 indoor riding arena I can tell you a roofing screw will do more good than a nail. For the last few years the kids and grandkids have been doing the repairs making sure the drill is on the lightest torque setting will seat a screw and squish the washer for a seal where it has been leaking and is compromised, it is true the screws cost more but I would rather fix the leak than loose the structure.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 6:10
  • Yes a screw works better on a good rafter but nail or screw will not work on a rotten one.
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 5:39
  • 1
    It looks like you are not going to get the answer you want I hope your roof doesn’t fail lack of maintenance is an out for the insurance company.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 14:12
  • Well, the Barn is 100 years old. Not insured at all ;). I will post the solution I came up with soon. Just have to do a test run and make pictures
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 22:47

I did some investigation and found stainless (don't use aluminum) steel Rivets with thick neoprene washers (I bought them seperate) and tried them on an old piece of corrugated metal. The outcome is quite encouraging and the rivets show a nice holding power and it looks like they also will be watertight in the valleys and ridges. Here are some pictures enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

  • That looks like it will keep the rivet holes dry. Are you using long roofing screws with rubber washers to hold the tin down where the old nails have failed? Sure, there may not be much wood left around the failed nail hole, but a longer screw should reach into some solid wood somewhere...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 14:43
  • Those are pop rivets the center shaft is not sealed the ones in the low points may be under water. I guess Rube Goldberg lives on. A good wind storm with no hold down is not a good idea.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 15:50
  • Of course that does not hold down the roof but it keeps the seems of the sheets together.
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 16:08
  • Yes I use screws with rubber washers where I have enough wood left
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 16:09
  • @EdBeal the point is to make the roof better to keep the sheets down and connected on the seems. Screws don't works always and rivets fill that gap. I try to get a solution until I can exchange the rafters where necessary and keep the rain out. I don't appreciate snide comments by the way
    – Ride Sun
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 16:17

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