Can You Paint Metal Roofing?

By Amanda Lutz Updated March 13, 2024

You can paint metal roofing to suit your style preferences and increase its life span. Metal is a popular roofing material because of its durability, longevity, and aesthetic appeal. Understanding how to paint a metal roof is important to ensuring all three. 

Before starting your painting project, consider the type of metal, its surface condition, and your climate. Our detailed painting guide for metal roofs covers common issues and best practices.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Painting a Metal Roof

Consider whether the aesthetics and energy efficiency of painting a metal roof outweigh the higher cost and extra maintenance required. We cover the advantages and disadvantages of painting a metal roof below.

Benefits of Painting a Metal Roof

Painting a metal roof comes with aesthetic and climate benefits. 

Drawbacks of Painting a Metal Roof

A bad paint job can subtract from the aesthetic appeal of your painted metal roof. 

A painted metal roof can last for many years. However, factors such as climate, exposure to harsh conditions, and quality of application can impact the longevity of the painted surface. If your roof is nearing the end of its life span, painting it could be a project with low ROI.


How Much Does Painting a Metal Roof Cost?

Painting a metal roof can cost between $1,160 and $3,600.* The price of your project depends on several factors, including the following:

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vs. Professional

If you decide to paint a roof on your own, you won’t have to factor in the labor costs. However, you need to invest in the necessary tools and safety gear. If you don’t have the equipment, the project price can increase.

Paint Quality

A gallon of paint typically covers a 400-square-foot surface. Depending on the type of paint you choose, a gallon could cost between $50 and $450. You may need to apply two coats for some roofs.

Prep Work

You need to prepare the roof before painting it. Prep work includes removing mold, dirt, debris, and old paint. Power washing the roof can cost you between $0.50 and $1 per square foot.

Roof Pitch

The steeper your roof, the harder it is to paint. The need for safety precautions increases the price tag. If the pitch is 4/12 to 5/12, expect to pay between $1.20 and $2.80 per square foot. The cost goes up to $1.26 to $3.36 per square foot for roof pitches of 6/12 or higher.

Roof Sealing

Resealing the roof before painting may be necessary to increase its protection properties. Sealant applications can cost between $1.50 to $3 per square foot.

Roof Size

The cost of painting one square foot of a metal roof is between $1.20 and $2.80. On average, painting a 1,000-square-foot metal roof will cost you $2,375.

*All price information in this section was sourced from Angi.


DIY Metal Roof Painting Guide

Painting a metal roof on your own is possible as long as you’re comfortable working on your roof. Here is a step-by-step guide that can help you. 

Preparation

Before starting your metal roof painting project, check the weather. You will need a couple of dry days. Also, ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials to clean and paint the roof.

Pay attention to your safety during the painting process. You should have another person monitoring your work at all times in case you need assistance.

Start by thoroughly cleaning the roof to remove dirt, debris, rust, and old paint. You can use a pressure washer or scrub brush with detergent to get the job done. If you see any rust spots, remove them before painting with a wire brush. While you are prepping the roof, inspect the surface for damage. Fix any significant dents.

Apply a metal primer after inspecting, cleaning, and repairing the roof. A high-quality primer designed for metal surfaces can improve paint adhesion and increase the coating’s longevity. You can start painting once the primer is dry, which takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

Choice of Paint

Choosing the right paint determines the longevity and durability of the coating. The three most common types of paint for metal roofing are the following:

When selecting the best paint for your project, consider several factors, including compatibility with metal, desired finish, and environmental-friendliness. Try to choose paints low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to minimize the environmental impact.

Before buying the paint, review the manufacturer’s recommendations for surface prep and painting and ensure you have everything you need to follow them.

Painting Process

To start, apply painter’s tape and drop cloths to protect nearby surfaces and windows from paint splatter.

If you plan to apply more than one coat, wait at least three hours between coats. Once you’re done, it takes roof paint between eight and 24 hours to fully dry.


Professional Metal Roof Painting Services

DIY painting comes with several downsides. Many homeowners prefer to outsource this task to professional roof painters for the following reasons.

Expertise

When you don’t have experience painting roofs, this home improvement project can take days. It’s easy to make mistakes that become flaking, cracking, and other issues over time. This will decrease the longevity of the paint coating and reduce its efficiency. Professional roof painters have the experience and training to ensure top painting results in less time.

Guarantees  

Professional roof painters provide guarantees on their services. These warranties may be around 10 or 15 years, depending on the paint quality. Roof painting professionals will come to your home to evaluate the project and provide an estimate. 

Safety

Safety is the most important concern when it comes to roof painting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls from heights (mainly roofs, ladders, and scaffolds) are the leading cause of death among construction workers. 

Roof painting can be dangerous if you don’t have experience, instruments, and safety equipment. Outsourcing this project to experts who have the necessary tools and equipment is an investment in your health and peace of mind.


Considerations Before Painting Your Metal Roof

Your roof type, local climate, and local regulations impact the feasibility of a metal roof painting project. Review how these factors influence the process and type of paint you choose. 

Climate

The color of your roof affects the temperature in your home. Darker paint absorbs heat and makes your house warmer, so it works best in colder climates. Lighter paint does the opposite, reflecting sunlight and keeping your home cooler. It’s a great choice for hotter weather. The paint should also be resistant to the weather conditions that are common in your area.

Local Regulations

If you’re planning a DIY painting project, review local restrictions or regulations regarding painting metal roofs. Some areas may have specific restrictions on the paint type or colors used on roofs. This is typically determined for aesthetic or environmental reasons. If you plan to hire professional roof painters, they can fill you in on the local regulations.

Surface Condition

Unless you’re painting a brand-new roof, it’s likely to have some imperfections. Loose paint, debris, dents, and other factors can interfere with the roof painting process. Applying paint before cleaning and preparing the roof surface is counterproductive. That’s why you must invest time in proper surface preparation measures, including pressure washing, sanding, repairing, and priming.

Type of Metal Roofing

Common types of metal roofing include aluminum, copper, and zinc. Each type has its own properties that can affect several aspects of painting, including how well the paint adheres and how long the coating lasts.

Choose paint specifically formulated for metal surfaces to ensure durability and resistance to weathering. The wrong choice of paint could lead to unexpected repainting expenses in the near future.


Our Recommendation

Paint isn’t just an aesthetically pleasing coating for your metal roof; it also has protective properties. Well-chosen paint reflects or absorbs light for increased energy efficiency, protects the metal from corrosion, and helps it resist weather elements. While it’s possible to paint a metal roof on your own, hiring a professional roof painting service may be a good investment in the curb appeal and protection of your roof.


Can You Paint Metal Roofing FAQ

Is painting a metal roof a good idea?

Yes, painting a metal roof is a good idea because it can protect the roof’s surface, improve curb appeal, and increase its longevity.

What kind of paint do you use for a metal roof?

You can use acrylic, polyester, or silicon paint for your metal roof. The choice depends on your budget and roof type.

Do painted metal roofs last?

Yes, painted metal roofs last. Roof paints typically last 10 to 15 years and help metal roofs last longer than those without paint.

Is it less expensive to paint or replace a metal roof?

It’s less expensive to paint a metal roof than to replace a metal roof.

When should a metal roof be repainted?

A metal roof should be repainted every 5 to 15 years, depending on its condition.