Can You Paint Metal a Roof?

by Mr. RoofingMay 7, 2020
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Maybe you want to change the color of your metal roof

or maybe you are thinking of ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home and extend the life of your roof. So you want to know:

Can You Paint a Metal Roof?

If you can! As long as you prepare your roof’s surface properly, choose the correct primers, paints, and sealers, and apply your products correctly, painting your metal roof can extend its life and help make your home more energy efficient.

Newly installed metal ceilings should dry for at least 6 months before applying 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. However, if you want to paint a new metal ceiling, you can prepare it by washing it with a weak acid (such as diluted vinegar) to remove oils and residue first.

Whether your ceiling has been previously painted or not, power wash before you start painting. This step removes mold, dirt, and any old paint that can cause adhesion problems.

If you don’t have a pressure washer or prefer not to use one, the alternative is to use a paint scraper and scrub your ceiling with a solution of water and trisodium phosphate. It’s slower and requires 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 ceilings and for covering old paint.

Oil-based alkyd paint can also be used with a suitable galvanized metal primer. A top coat does not eliminate the need for a good primer – the top coat seals the paint, but the primer makes the paint adhere properly.

Some paints that are designed for metal roofing projects have additional benefits like 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 suits your needs. For example, water repellent paint may not make sense if you live in a desert, but it is a good idea to reflect ultraviolet radiation.

Follow the directions that come with the roofing paint. If you recommend using a sealer or primer, use it.

Interior paint should not be used on a metal roof, nor should exterior paint that you used on the rest of your home. That type of paint will not withstand the elements.

How to Paint Your Metal Roof

Once you have selected the correct type of paint, the application is simple.

You can use a roller or brush specifically designed for corrugated metal, or you can use an airless sprayer to get the job done more quickly and evenly.

Sprinklers are also better suited for the job if your roof has a steep slope, as you can use an extended spray arm to get to high places without crawling there.

The downside to sprinklers is that they cannot be used effectively in windy conditions.

Whenever you are walking on your roof, wear slip-resistant shoes and a safety harness to avoid serious injury in the event of a fall. For roofs with a 4:12 pitch or steeper, installing permanent anchors is the safest way to get to the ridge. Hire a professional if you are unsure whether you can safely paint your own ceiling.

Ongoing Roof Maintenance

Metal roof is a low-maintenance material, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require any maintenance.

Ideally, you should clean your ceiling with a mild detergent twice a year to remove debris and grime that can damage your paint. While you’re there, check for signs of damage, bald spots, and other potential issues that may need to be addressed.

Just this little maintenance extends the life of your roof and prevents costly repairs like leaks. Also, a home in good repair is easier to sell if you decide to move in the future.

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