Yutzy Roofing Service LLC

How to Paint a Metal Roof: An In-Depth Guide

how to paint a metal roof

Did you know that a new metal roof costs an average of $5,700 to $16,140? With such significant money at stake, ensuring your roof stays in shape is paramount.

One essential aspect of metal roof maintenance is painting it. If you’re wondering how you can and the best way to go about it, this in-depth guide is just what you need.

Keep reading to learn more about how to paint a metal roof.

Can a Metal Roof Be Painted?

Yes, you can paint a metal roof any color you want. However, the paint must be acrylic-latex-based or oil-based.

If the roof is new and unpaid, consider waiting at least six months before painting it. This allows time to weather. But if the project cannot wait, wash it with vinegar to remove oils and other remnants of the galvanizing process.

Ensure you prep the roof properly before painting by thoroughly pressure washing it. Also, use an appropriate primer.

Benefits of Painting a Metal Roof

Painting metal roofing can present its challenges but has various benefits. Let’s explore a few of them below.

Enhanced Aesthetics

One of the most notable benefits of painting a metal roof is improving the aesthetics of your property. You can customize it according to your building needs.

For a business, the paint color can match your marketing scheme and needs. On the other hand, a homeowner can match their roof color to the neighbors. And the best thing is that you can achieve all of the above without altering the interior.

Longer Lifespan

Metal roofs are known for their longevity. However, prolonged exposure to the elements can cause corrosion and rust. A fresh coat of paint can protect against snow, dry leaves, sun, rain, and other environmental factors. This can be instrumental in extending your roof’s lifespan.


Global warming is a concerning threat, with the hot climate growing hotter and the cold becoming colder.

Painting with a heat-reflective coating can improve your building’s sustainability. It can help create a temperate climate inside the building, making it easier for employees to do their job.

The heat-reflective coating also saves on energy costs, delays destructive UV rays from reaching the roof, and increases the lifespan of your commercial roof.

Choose the Right Paint

Choosing the right paint for a metal roof can be overwhelming, especially since the market offers many options. To get you started, here are some factors to consider.

The Paint’s Purpose

Do you want to protect the roof or enhance its appearance? If it’s the latter, a durable and weather-resistant paint like silicone or polyester will do. Acrylic paint is the most common choice for metal roofs.

It’s water-based, dries quickly, and cleans off with water. Polyester is the more popular choice for commercial roofing because it offers an outstanding balance of quality and cost. Silicone is durable, lasting for decades; it’s also the most expensive option.

The Climate in Your Region

You may need to consider adding a roof coating on top of the fresh paint. This is especially necessary if you live in an area with extremely harsh weather conditions.

Solids Content of the Paint

Solids content refers to the amount of paint on the roof after drying. A high-solids paint is thicker and more durable than a low-solids paint. It contains a high concentration of pigments, additives, and other solids relative to solvents.

Metal Roofing Material

You want to ensure that the paint compliments the metal roofing material. The varying properties of different materials can impact paint performance. For instance, copper roofs require different paints from aluminum and galvanized steel roofing.

Paint Color

Light-colored paints reflect sunlight, helping cool your home in the summer. Darker colors, on the hand, absorb heat and warm your home. They can also cause the roof to expand and contract, leading to cracks and other damage.

Ensure Your Safety

Like commercial roof leak repairs, painting metal roofing has several safety risks. That’s why it’s best to leave the job to professionals. But if you’re determined to get the job done, here are a few safety tips.

Wear Protective Gear

Protective equipment such as helmets, goggles, a mask, and gloves can prevent paint from getting all over you. It can also keep you from spraying your eyes with paint or chemicals, which can be dangerous if it happens while on the roof.

Be sure to wear shoes designed for climbing ladders and roofs. They should have good traction and friction to reduce the risk of slipping. You’ll need safety harnesses and guardrails if painting at a steep angle.

Consider the Weather Conditions

Ideally, the weather should be clear and dry, with minimal risk of strong winds that can disrupt your balance as you work. You also don’t want a sudden shower as it can make the roof slippery and unsafe. Check the weather conditions to ensure the painting project goes safely and smoothly.

Familiarize Yourself with the Painting Tools

Another safety tip to remember is to familiarize yourself with the tools you’ll use for the project. These include spray painters, sanders, and power washers.

Any mishap with these tools while working on high ground can cause you to lose balance and slip or fall. If you aren’t entirely sure how to use these tools, you can always enlist the help of a professional.

Work with a Ladder

Secure footing when painting a metal roof is vital to your safety. The right ladder will depend on the roof height, and below are some guidelines to get started:

  • Use a 28-foot ladder for a 17-21 foot roof
  • Use a 32-foot ladder for a 21-25-feet roof
  • Use a 36-foot ladder for a 25-28 feet roof
  • Use a 40-foot ladder for a 28-31-feet roof

Prepare Your Metal Roof for Paint

Proper preparation is critical as it ensures the paint adheres and lasts longer. Below is what you’ll need to do.

Remove the Old Paint

A pressure wash is enough to remove old paint, but you can also use a putty knife or scraper. Be careful not to damage the metal underneath when using the latter method. A mineral-based solvent can loosen and remove the paint for the relatively undamaged areas.

Remove Rust

An abrasive brush or paint scraper will work for loose rust. For any stubborn patches, try vinegar. Don’t forget to wash the rust patches with soapy water and let them dry—also, repair areas where the rust has eroded through the roof.

Power Wash the Roof

A good rule of thumb when painting a metal roof is that you shouldn’t paint on a dirty roof. A power wash helps remove dust, debris, sand particles, and anything else that might cause the paint not to adhere correctly.

Consider hiring a professional power washing service to prevent damage to your siding, windows, and other roof components.

Steps to Paint Your Roof

Now is the time to start painting your commercial metal roof. The following steps will ensure your roof looks beautiful for years to come.

Apply a Primer

Priming your roof prepares the surface to adhere to the incoming layers of paint. It also prevents the paint from cracking too soon.

Use a primer with a titanium oxide base to protect against damage due to the sun and rain. Once applied, let the primer dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Apply the First Coat of Paint

Start at the peak of each roof section, working your way downward. Work methodically through each area, and apply a thick layer. You’ll be applying multiple coats of paint, but you must use each thoroughly for lasting results.

Apply the Second Coat of Paint

Allow at least an hour or two for the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. This is the final step for most roofs.

However, wait until the second coat is dry before making that determination. A third coat might be necessary if the paint isn’t as dark as you thought it would be or if you missed some spots.

Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding inevitable painting mistakes is crucial to maintaining the integrity of your project and safeguarding the structure of your roof. Here are a few common pitfalls to steer clear of:

Using Leftover Paint

Frequently, business owners end up using leftover paint from other areas of the property on their metal roofing.

This is a big mistake since the materials used to make the roof differ from the rest of the house. Using paint specially formulated for metal roofing is essential because it’s water, heat, and even pest resistant.

Using Paint that’s Not Energy-Efficient

Energy-efficient paints contain acrylic, titanium oxide, or other polymeric materials, which add reflective and opaque properties. This is essential for metal roofing as they absorb sunlight and heat the entire property.

A reflective and opaque paint can reduce heat absorption and the cost of heating and cooling your premises.

Skipping the Sealant

You have to apply sealant before the first coat of paint. Otherwise, the paint will start peeling off fast. Sealants lend chemical bonding, giving the paint longer life.

However, ensuring that the sealant and paint you use complement each other is vital. Don’t be afraid to contact us for help.

Not Paying Attention to the Roof After

Commercial property owners make a grave mistake by ignoring the roof once the painting is complete. Ongoing maintenance is a must to ensure the longevity of the roof.

Clean the roof at least once or twice each year. Remove any dead branches and leaves from the roof and gutters.

Should You Hire Professional Roof Painting Services?

Perhaps the most crucial tip for how to paint a metal roof is to enlist the help of a professional. Fortunately, many professional agencies in Wisconsin offer commercial roof painting services with experienced workers who prioritize precision and utilize advanced technologies.

If you’re hesitant about investing in metal roof restoration and maintenance, hiring experts can be a wise decision. Here are some compelling reasons to consider professional roof painting services for your commercial property.

Expertise and Efficiency

Roofs are constantly exposed to heat, wind, and rain, making them prone to damage. Professional roof painting companies employ skilled workers with hands-on experience assessing and repairing the damage.

With their expertise, they use the best procedures and tools to restore your roof efficiently. If you choose to work with these professionals, you can expect them to handle cutting-edge technologies for roof restoration, ensuring that your roof is repaired and visually enhanced.

Easy Transportation

When you hire professional roof painting services, they transport all the necessary materials. Moreover, the trucks used for transportation are also employed to clean the roof and surrounding areas.

On the other hand, if you opt for a DIY approach or hire inexperienced workers, there’s a risk of additional damages or incomplete work. You can ensure a flawless job and peace of mind by relying on dedicated professionals.

Damage-Free Installation

Experienced professionals significantly reduce the risk of damage during metal roof installation. Should any damage occur during the process, the expert team members will repair it at no additional cost.

Professionals utilize their knowledge and efficiency to detect and fix damages effectively, providing you with a well-maintained roof.

Thorough and Complete Work

Unlike inexperienced workers who may rush through a job, professional roof painters prioritize quality and customer satisfaction. They avoid hasty work and may even postpone restoration if weather conditions are unfavorable.

Rushed jobs often result in problems shortly after completion, requiring additional repairs and unexpected expenses. With dedicated professionals, you can expect a full-proof, complete job that meets your requirements.

Don’t Know How to Paint a Metal Roof? We’ve Got You Covered!

Painting your metal roof is an essential aspect of maintenance that will improve longevity and aesthetics. But it’s best to call in the experts if you don’t know how to paint a metal roof. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services.

Scroll to Top