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Can You Paint a Metal Roof? Benefits, Facts & FAQs

man painting metal roof

Yes, you can paint a metal roof. We would suggest waiting 6 months after installation to do so, however, because the roof needs to weather. During this period, the chemical remains of the galvanization process will wear off. After that, you’re free to paint your roof with either acrylic latex paint or oil-based alkyd paint designed for metal.

Painting a metal roof is a great way to further enhance your roof’s lifespan, plus you can match it to your home’s existing paint scheme. Let’s check out some other interesting info about painting metal roofs, such as how long the paint lasts and what benefits paint confers to metal roofs.

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How to Choose the Paint to Use for a Metal Roof

We mentioned that either acrylic latex paint or oil-based alkyd paint is suitable for metal roofs, but which you use depends on your roof.

Acrylic latex paint can be applied to bare metal roofs or to go over old paint as long as the old paint is well sanded. Primer is technically optional for this type of paint, but a metal primer will help it adhere better than just painting the roof directly.

Oil-based alkyd paint needs a base layer of metal primer to adhere. Ideally, you’d put the primer on bare metal, but the primer will adhere to old paint that’s been sanded well too.

painting metal roof
Image By: Stanislaw Mikulski, Shutterstock

Is It Worth It to Paint a Metal Roof?

Yes, it’s well worth painting a metal roof because you’re adding a layer between the metal of the roof and the elements. Rather than the elements directly impacting your roof via rain, hail, snow, and other weather, they would wear on the paint layer first.

Although metal roofs are already incredibly durable, paint can be a whimsical way to add some extra protection and match whatever aesthetic your home adheres to.

How Long Does Paint Last on a Metal Roof?

If you use paint specifically designed for metal roofs, your paint can last as long as 5–10 years. Regular paint products might only last a year or two, but your mileage may vary based on the climate. If you live in a very mild climate, the paint will last much longer on your roof. However, if you live in an area that gets lots of precipitation or hail, your paint won’t last as long.

woman painting metal roof
Image Credit: Stanislaw Mikulski, Shutterstock

Benefits of Painting a Metal Roof

Benefits Include:
  • Enhanced Durability. As we mentioned before, paint adds an extra layer to your roof that helps fend off rain, snow, tree branches, and other wear and tear.
  • Increased Energy Efficiency. Metal roofs are already very efficient at reflecting sunlight but slapping a coat of light paint on there can help too.
  • Matching Aesthetic. By painting your roof, you can get rid of that bare metal look and match your roof to your existing house paint or complement it with a different color.

Can I Paint My Roof Without Letting It Weather?

It’s generally recommended to let your brand-new metal roof weather for 6 months before painting it, but you can paint it earlier with a little preparation if you want to.

The chemical and oily residue from galvanization can be washed away with a vinegar cleanse, then rinsed with water. Although not as good as letting the residue wash away normally, it’s generally safe to paint your roof as long as you wash away those chemicals with vinegar.

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Metal roofs are super durable, but a little paint can help the base metal withstand small dings and weather. The second-best benefit to painting your metal roof is that you can choose a color that will match your home and surrounding landscape.

Featured Image Credit: tkemot, Shutterstock


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