Maybe you want to change your metal roof color, or perhaps you’re thinking of ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency and extend the life of your roof. That’s why you want to know:
Can You Paint a Metal Roof?
Yes, you can! As long as you prepare the surface of your roof correctly, choose the right primers, paints and sealants, and apply your products correctly, painting your metal roof can extend its life and help make your home more energy efficient.
Newly installed metal roofs should be allowed to weather for at least 6 months before you apply paint. Since there are a wide variety of metal roof colors available, you probably won’t need to paint your roof within 6 months of installation anyway. If you want to paint a new metal roof, though, you can prepare it by washing with a weak acid (such as diluted vinegar) to remove oils and residue first.
Whether your roof has been painted previously or not, powerwash just before you start painting. This step removes mildew, dirt, and any loose bits of old paint that can cause adhesion problems.
If you don’t have a power washer or prefer not to use one, the alternative is to use a paint scraper and scrub your roof with a solution of water and trisodium phosphate. It’s slower and takes more effort, but it works.
What Kind Of Paint Should You Use on a Metal Roof?
Acrylic latex paint is a good choice for bare metal roofs and to go over old paint.
Oil-based alkyd paint may also be used with an appropriate galvanized metal primer. A topcoat doesn’t eliminate the need for a good primer – the topcoat seals your paint, but the primer makes the paint adhere properly.
Some paints that are designed for metal roofing projects have added benefits such as fire resistance, ingredients that repel insects and pests, water resistance, and pigments that help reflect UV radiation to keep your home cooler. Choose a paint that makes sense for your needs. For example, water repellant paint might not make sense if you live in a desert, but it’s a good idea to reflect UV radiation.
Follow the instructions that come with your roofing paint. If it recommends using a sealant or primer, use it.
Interior paint shouldn’t be used on a metal roof, and neither should the exterior paint you used on the rest of your house. Those kinds of paint won’t stand up to the elements.
How to Paint Your Metal Roof
Once you’ve selected the right kind of paint, application is simple.
You can either use a roller or paintbrush specifically designed for corrugated metal, or you can use an airless sprayer to get the job done more quickly and evenly.
Sprayers are also more suited to the job if your roof has a steep pitch, since you can use an extended sprayer arm to reach high places without needing to crawl up there.
The downside to sprayers is that they can’t be used effectively when there’s wind.
Any time you’re going to walk on your roof, wear non-slip shoes and a safety harness to prevent serious injury in case of a fall. For roofs with a 4:12 pitch or steeper, installing permanent anchors is the safest way to reach the ridge. Hire a professional if you’re not confident that you can paint your own roof safely.
Ongoing Roof Maintenance
Metal roofing is a low maintenance material, but that doesn’t mean there’s no maintenance at all.
Ideally, you should clean your roof with a gentle detergent twice per year to remove debris and gunk that can damage your paint. While you’re up there, check for signs of damage, bald spots and other potential issues that may need addressing.
Just this little bit of maintenance extends the life of your roof and prevents expensive repairs like leaks. Plus, a well maintained home is easier to sell should you decide to move in the future.