How to Paint a Metal Roof (in 7 Steps)

Metal roofs have become popular in recent years thanks to their durability and long lifespan. While an asphalt roof might last 20 to 25 years, a metal roof could last 50 years or even longer.

If you have a metal roof, you might be wondering how to paint a metal roof, what’s the best paint to use, and whether you can or should paint a metal roof at all. For example, if you have a standing seam metal roof, repainting will eventually be necessary, but a low-maintenance stone-coated steel metal roof from Erie Home will never require repainting. 

We’ll answer these questions and go over the steps to painting a metal roof to help you decide if you’d like to take it on yourself—and why it may be time to consider replacing your standing seam metal roof with a low-maintenance stone-coated steel metal roof from Erie Home.

How to Paint a Metal Roof (7 Steps)

1.    Inspect the roof.

Before you begin painting, you’ll need to check for signs of rust or damage. We recommend inspecting your roof at least once per year.

If you’re painting over rust or loose seams, the paint job won’t look good and won’t last very long, so repair any issues you find before proceeding. While you’re up there, you should also check the soffit and fascia to ensure it’s in good shape.

2.    Clean the surface of the roof.

Just as you need to remove rust and make repairs before painting, you’ll also need to remove dirt, debris, mold, or loose paint flakes. Use a pressure washer and go over any very dirty or rough areas with a wire brush.

You can also remove old paint with a scraper. If the paint has bubbled or flaked, don’t be tempted to just leave it there; you need to remove every bit of loose paint or it will cause issues later with the new paint.

3.    Check for mold.

If there’s mold on the roof, use a wire brush to remove it, then wash the area with soap and water. Rinse off the soap and allow the roof to dry completely. Once it’s dry, check it again to make sure the mold is gone.

4.    Prime the roof.

Since painted metal roofs are factory-finished, you’ll need to prime the surface before painting. Choose a dry day and apply a primer with a titanium dioxide base—this will improve brightness and contribute to an even appearance after painting. Let the primer dry fully; check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long it will take.

5.    Choose and purchase the paint.

You need to use paint designed for metal surfaces; the best paint for a metal roof is acrylic latex. The latex will allow the paint to stretch, which can prevent cracking and peeling when the metal contracts and expands due to temperature changes.

6.    Apply one or two coats of paint to the roof.

Use a paint roller, and be sure to keep yourself safe by wearing non-slip shoes and a harness. Also, paint with another responsible adult in the vicinity in case there’s an emergency.

Usually, one coat will suffice, but read the manufacturer’s instructions to see if two coats are needed. Let each coat dry fully, per the instructions.

7.    Apply a thin coat of sealant.

Silicone and polyurethane are common sealants for metal roofs, as they’ll extend the life of your paint and help prevent peeling. This should be a thin layer; more is not better, as too much can lead to cracking.

Standing Seam vs. Stone-Coated Steel Metal Roofs: Why You Should Consider an Upgrade

One reason many standing seam metal roofs require painting is that they tend to become faded and worn over time. Erie Home’s stone-coated metal roofing, however, is better protected against the elements and comes in a variety of colors and styles.

Painting can help a typical metal roof last longer. It will improve its appearance if it fades, and it can even increase energy efficiency by helping it to reflect sunlight from the home.

However, if your standing seam metal roof is faded and needs repainting, it may be time to upgrade to a low-maintenance stone-coated steel roof and eliminate the hassle of repainting your roof for good. Not only do our stone-coated steel roofs never need to be repainted, but they offer many benefits over standing seam metal roofs, including:

  • Resistance to rust and corrosion: Our stone-coated steel shingles are coated with a zinc-alloy to offer exceptional durability and resistance to rust and corrosion, which are common problems with standing seam metal roofs.
  • Weather resistance: Our metal roofs offer excellent weather resistance with a Class 4 hail impact resistance rating, and resistance to winds up to 120 mph.
  • Classic, timeless aesthetic: Our steel-panel stamped metal roofing offers the classic look and style of traditional roofing. Choose styles such as dimensional shingles, Spanish tile, or metal shake in a variety of colors to perfectly complement your home.
  • UV and fade resistance: Our acrylic-resin binder bonds the stone chips to the steel, offering a protective coating that resists fading and UV penetration.
  • Energy savings: Our stone-coated steel roofs help to insulate your home from the elements, so you’ll save on energy costs.
  • Low-maintenance: Our metal roofs require little to no maintenance throughout their expected 50-year lifespan, giving you a higher return on investment.
  • Limited lifetime warranty: Backed by a 50-year, limited lifetime transferable warranty, our stone-coated steel metal roofs offer peace of mind while also adding value to your home.        

Final Thoughts on How to Paint a Metal Roof

Painting a metal roof is necessary in some cases, and there are a number of steps you should follow to ensure a good result. At Erie Home, we use metal roofing products that don’t require painting, allowing you to find the style and color you want without having to worry about painting it later.

A metal roof not only protects your home against the elements, but can also add value to your home. Our roofs are typically installed in a single day, and come with a transferable Limited Lifetime Warranty, so if you decide to sell your home in the future, your buyers will have the peace of mind of knowing that their roof is protected.

If you’re looking for a lower-maintenance stone-coated steel roof, we have many options to choose from, and we can help you decide which type of roof is right for you. Call us today at 1-800-862-6400 or contact us to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is painting a metal roof a good idea?

Painting a metal roof may be a good idea in certain situations, such as if your metal roof is faded or rusted. Erie Home uses stone-coated metal shingles that offer exceptional durability and come in a variety of styles and colors that won’t fade over time. In fact, our stone-coated steel metal roofs never require repainting.

What is the most energy-efficient color for a metal roof?

If your main priority is reflecting the sun’s radiation and heat, a white metal roof will be the most energy-efficient choice. In general, though, light colors will reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than dark colors.

What time of year should you paint a metal roof?

It’s best to avoid temperature extremes and rain when you’re painting your metal roof. The exact time of year will depend on your local climate, but in most areas, you’ll want to choose the spring or fall. If it rains a lot in either of these seasons where you live, choose a dry month that isn’t very hot or very cold.

Is it cheaper to paint or replace a metal roof?

Replacing a metal roof is an investment, although painting a roof will still cost several thousand dollars. That’s why it makes sense to upgrade to an Erie Home metal roof. Our stone-coated steel metal roofs are low-maintenance and never require repainting, saving you thousands of dollars in repainting costs and other necessary maintenance tasks throughout the lifespan of your roof.

What are the cons of painting a metal roof?

Painting is often part of the maintenance of a metal roof, but it can be inconvenient and potentially dangerous if you don’t follow safety precautions. Once painted, you should be checking the paint annually for wear and rust, and you should also clean the roof regularly to keep it in good condition.

An Erie Home stone-coated steel metal roof never needs to be repainted, which saves you money over the lifespan of your roof. It also means you can avoid the safety risks that come with DIY roof repainting projects.

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