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How Long Does Metal Roof Paint Last?

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It's time for a repaint when it has been a decade or so since your metal roof was last painted. You shouldn't wait any longer, or this can take a toll on the integrity of the roof material. We researched how long metal roof paint lasts and why you shouldn't wait to get a recoat. Interested? We'll explain everything in this post.

Most metal roof paints last 10 to 15 years on average. Roof paint lifespan depends on many things, including the quality and type of paint used. Exposure to different weather conditions and high temperatures also affects the lifespan of metal roof paints.

Still not sure whether to repaint now or wait longer? Don't worry; we can help you make the most appropriate decision. Please keep reading to get all your questions answered.

roofer builder worker with pulverizer spraying paint on metal sheet roof - How Long Does Metal Roof Paint Last

How Long Does Metal Roof Paint Last?

While a typical roof paint will last at least a decade on average, some factors can lead the paint to either last longer or crack sooner. Roof experts agree that the paint quality has a lot to do with the paint job's longevity.

The house with plastic windows and a green roof of corrugated sheet. Roofing of metal profile wavy shape on the house with plastic windows. Green roof of corrugated metal profile and plastic windows.

The best paints to use on any metal roof are acrylic latex paint and oil-based alkyd paint. There are considerations when reapplying the same type of paint as well as when switching from this paint to the other. Following the correct procedures when doing either application results in a more durable coat.

Paint from premium brands is often more reliable in many ways. They are usually easier to work with and are more durable. Using good brands does not always guarantee good, long-lasting results, though. Shortcuts and improper practices during the application process can also speed up the lifespan of any roof paint.

When it comes to the paint color, lighter shades fade more quickly, so it may be necessary to recoat more often when your roof uses a lighter shade of paint. This post, "What Color Metal Roof Fades The Least?" will give you more insight about paints that fade faster.

On the other side, extreme weather conditions and temperature fluctuations can ruin the integrity of any roof sooner than you expect. Prolonged exposure to heat dries out the coating causing it to become brittle. Hail, strong winds, and heavy rain work can also cause damage to roof paint.

In worse cases, falling debris brought by these extreme weather conditions puncture the coating and exposes the roof material. It now becomes easier for the elements to damage the paint faster with the presence of a cracked coating.

To-Do's Before Repainting Metal Roof

The roof is your home's ultimate protection from the elements. Experts recommend repainting it every ten years to keep it in tip-top shape. But this doesn't mean you have to wait a decade if you see serious signs of paint damage. Repaint as soon as possible to avoid bigger roof restoration and repair expenses.

While it is tempting to begin the painting process immediately, some things should be done first to make both the paint and the roof last longer. 

Prepare Tools and Safety Equipment

Your roof can go higher than the standard height, especially if you have a false ceiling or multiple floors. This means it is an area prone to slip and fall accidents. One way to avoid this is by following the painting operations safety protocols.

A painter who paints the tiled roof

You have to wear gloves, long sleeves and pants, a hard hat, and a pair of shoes with good traction. You may also need protective glasses or goggles when working on rust removal.

Safety lines and a ladder are necessary and must be checked for safety and efficiency before use. Decide which paint you will use and prepare the appropriate application tools and a primer if needed.

Remove Dirt and Debris

The best way to begin any paint job is to clean the space where you will apply paint. You may use a high-pressure washer to clean the roof. Otherwise, use a soft-bristle brush, water, and a cleaning solution to remove dirt. After scrubbing with soap, let it sit for at least five minutes before rinsing.

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To finish the process quickly, some people skip the cleaning part, but you should not. Leaving the dirt and debris behind might make it difficult for the paint to adhere to the surface. What is the point of repainting when the new coat is only as good as the old paint?

Scrape Off Old Paint and Rust

Unfortunately, a pressure washer will not eliminate all the loose paint and rust. You need to use either a putty knife or a plastic scraper to remove old paint. For thick, damaged paint spots, you can apply vegetable oil or a rust remover on the surface and leave for a few minutes before scraping.

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Scraping away rust is also essential. Doing so is probably a sacrifice, but this single step is the ultimate key to delaying corrosion which would otherwise leave you with more extensive damage. You may use a steel brush and oxalic acid to remove roof rust.

Repair Any Damaged Part of the Roof

Use a sealant to cover holes and leaks that you may find. Take this chance to replace or fix all damaged metal panels. For bigger repairs, call a professional roofer to get the job done.

Get the Right Type of Paint

You may consult a roofing expert to know the type of metal you are using for your roof. For terne metal, it is ideal to use oil-based paint. Galvanized metal roofs are often applied with acrylic-based paint. 

Read the label to know which type of primer is best for your paint. It is not advisable to use paint with a primer when they have incompatible bases. 

Here's an insight on whether you can use water-based paint and oil-based primer together; visit this post, "Can You Use Water-Based Paint Over Oil-Based Primer?"

How To Repaint Metal Roof

Repainting is much more work than painting metal panels from scratch because of prep work. If you don't hire pros, then schedule your paint project during the days without rainfall and when the temperature is not too high. The best times to paint the roof are during fall and spring.

roofer builder worker with pulverizer spraying paint on metal sheet roof

Getting a buddy also makes work more manageable, especially with a huge roof. Then, once everything you need is in place, that is the only time you can begin. Here's how to repaint a metal roof:

  1. Scrape away dirt, loose paint, and rust before a thorough pressurized wash.
  2. Let the roof dry naturally. Painting while the roof is still wet will affect the adherence and durability of the paint.
  3. Seal any holes or leaks using a silicone sealant.
  4. Apply a primer using a roller brush. Begin from the top of the roof down to your point of exit. Wait for an hour or at least when the primer is completely dry. 
  5. Apply the first coat using a different roller brush or wash the same brush before using it. Wait at least four hours before applying the second coat.
  6. Apply the second coat once the first coat is thoroughly dry. The paint should be fully dry after 24 hours. 

It is not always easy to repaint a metal roof. The size and existing damage can make the work even more complicated. If unsure, it is best to call people who know what they are doing. 

How Much Does It Cost To Paint A Metal Roof?

The average cost of painting a metal roof ranges from $1,159 to $3,618. The price depends on several factors, including the roofing company, your location, paint products, and the size and steepness of the roof. Steeper and bigger roofs cost more because they consume more paint products and utilize more complex staging solutions.

The cost of professional roof painting may also increase with additional services such as power washing, sealing and prep work, and repair and restoration. 

Why Is It Important To Repaint a Metal Roof?

roofer builder worker with pulverizer spraying paint on metal sheet roof

It is essential to repaint your metal roof to maintain the integrity of your roof material for as long as possible. The roof is the primary defense against the weather and the elements. Repainting will delay corrosion leading to expensive repairs.

Recoating has other advantages, too. It increases a home's resale value and promotes energy efficiency. Some paint products reduce heat absorption rate, which in turn lowers energy consumption from air-conditioning. 

Final Thoughts

Finally, you know how long metal roof paint lasts and when it is time to repaint your metal roof. The process should not be that complicated using our guide on how to paint a metal roof. Recoat as often as needed to keep your roof in tip-top shape for longer.