Can You Paint A Metal Roof? 3 Steps To Upgrade Your House Appearance

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Metal roof is a preferable choice for many people because it’s cheap and long-lasting. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot improve its appearance and protection. Painting is one of the best choices.

So can you paint a metal roof, and how exactly can you do it without messing things up? Follow us to find out pro tips to get your metal roof painted perfectly.

Can A Metal Roof Be Painted?

The answer is: Definitely yes! In fact, since all types of metal roofs can be repainted, you can change the color of your roof anytime you want. Just one small note: If you have just installed your roof, you should wait at least 6 months before painting so that it can weather.

You also need to power-wash the roof to remove mildew, dirt, and any old paints left, whether your roof has been painted before or not. Otherwise, they can cause adhesion problems. 

In case you don’t own a jet power wash, you can use a paint scraper and scrub your roof with water and trisodium phosphate. 

For a completely new roof, you can wash it with weak acid, like diluted vinegar, to remove oil and residue first.

3 Steps To Paint A Metal Roof

1. Before painting 

Although we had some instructions above that is not nearly enough. Here are other steps you should pay close attention to:

Let your roof dry

Do not paint it right away after cleaning. Let your roof rest for about one hour, then check whether it is already dry. If it’s still wet, check again after 15 minutes until the roof is dry.

Apply primer

You only need one coat of primer, but make it a thick one. After that, you let it sit for approximately an hour to dry completely.

Choose your paint

To choose the right paint, you can look into these categories:

  • Depending on the roof’s type: Different roof types require different paints. For instance, acrylic latex paint is the most suitable with bare or galvanized metal roofs. And with roofs made of terne metal, most people will choose oil-based paint.
  • Depending on your area: Nowadays, some paints used for metal roofs have various features: water resistance, fire resistance, insects and pests repellent capabilities, UV reflection,… Choose carefully based on your whereabouts. For example, if your house is in a tropical region, it’s necessary to choose a paint that can resist water and repel insects.

2. Painting

Choosing the right paint will make this step easier. You can use any tools you have, but the most common ones are brushes and rollers specifically designed for corrugated metal. Another choice, if you have a high and steeped metal roof, is an airless sprayer. It can also paint more quickly and evenly. However, it can become useless on windy days. 

After the first coat, let the paint dry. It might take about one hour, depending on different weather. Remember to check where you paint last, not the first place. 

Afterward, apply at least another layer of paint. That would help you hit the spots you missed before. Keep adding layer after layer until the color looks dark or rich enough. Don’t forget to let the paint rest after each coating.

You should also pay extra care to your safety by doing 3 things below:

  • Use an extension ladder: When painting on a ladder, don’t try to paint the areas out of your reach. Get one paint roller with a long handle to help with that.
  • Wear a harness with safety rope when working on the roof: Anchor the rope to somewhere stable, like a tree. Then, put on the harness and attach the rope to it. That will prevent you from falling off the roof in case you lose your balance. Better if you wear non-slip shoes
  • Hire a professional: Painting a house roof is a dangerous task for an amateur, easily leading to minor/serious damage. So if you are not confident, you can always call a professional.
can you paint a metal roof

3. Maintenance

Metal roofs require minimal maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you can completely ignore yours. At least, you should clean your roof at least twice a year. Or else, the debris, dirt, and gunk can penetrate the paint and make the metal rusted. 

Remember to use a gentle detergent. While cleaning, you can also check for any early signs of damage, bald spots, and other potential issues; or whether the painting is chipping, peeling, detaching from the roof or not.

Pro Tips To Paint A Metal Roof

Now you have known each step to keep your metal roof well-painted. But we still have some tips to perfect the painting layer.

  • Purchase the right paint: Do not regret your leftover paint, just buy a new paint that is suitable for your roof. The wrong and low-quality type of paint will erode quickly and leave your house prone to moisture damage
  • Use a sealant before applying the paint: It will keep your roof from being rusted and eroded.
  • Follow correct application steps: Be careful with the amount of paint you apply or how you apply it. Or else all of the efforts will become fruitless.

Read more: Best Caulk for Metal Roof Review and Buying Guide

Here is a video by Brian Yauger instructing us how to paint a rusted metal roof:


1. What kind of paint do you use on a metal roof?

It depends on your roof’s type and your area. If your roof is made of bare metal or galvanized metal, acrylic latex paint is the most common choice. And oil-based paint goes best with terne metal roofs. You can also consider the weather in your region to choose the features of the paint: water resistance, fire resistance, UV reflection, insect repellent capabilities,…

And if your roof has been painted before, it would be best to get the new paint from the same brand. However, paint from different brands still does the work but you will need a coat of primer assure adherence.

2. How long does paint last on a metal roof?

Normally, your metal roof needs to be repainted once every 10 years. Or else, the roof membrane will start breaking down and the coating can no longer protect the metal. Ignore it for too long and you’ll have to replace your roof.

Also, you’d better check your roof twice a year for any signs of damage or potential issues. Along with that, clean the metal roof with a gentle detergent to remove debris, dirt, and gunk.

3. Can I paint over a rusted metal roof?

Metal roofs are easily rusted when exposed to different elements. However, you can repaint your rusted roof to improve the appearance and prevent it from rusting further.

  • Step 1: Scrub the rust away with a stiff, wire brush
  • Step 2: Wash your roof with the compound of 1 cup TSB (trisodium phosphate) with 4-5 liters of water. Use a power wash to get rid of more rust. Wait for the roof to dry.
  • Step 3: Apply a primer specifically designed for metal and preventing rust. Wait for the primer to dry.
  • Step 4: Paint a layer of paint. Your paint should coordinate with the primer. Let it dry, then apply another coating of paint, until the color suits your taste.

4. What are the benefits of having the metal roof painted?

  • Increase roof life: The metal roof is already affordable at first, and if you maintain it well, you can save a fortune for yourself. And painting metal roofs helps that by protecting the metal, reducing the probability of getting rusted,…
  • Improve the house appearance: There are many paint colors for you to choose from and decorate your metal roof. Make it match your house, your neighborhoods, or your natural environment,…
can you paint a metal roof