Painting a metal roof can refresh the look of your home, help reflect heat, and provide an extra layer of protection. But what does it cost to paint a metal roof? Here’s a detailed look at the factors influencing the cost of painting metal roofing.
Average Cost to Paint a Metal Roof
The average cost to paint a metal roof falls from $1.20 to $2.80 per square foot, with most homeowners paying around $2 per square foot. This can add up quickly for a large roof.
For a typical single-family home with a 2,500 square foot metal roof, expect to pay between $1,300 and $3,420 to hire professional painters. This includes materials like primer and paint, plus the labor for surface preparation, painting, and cleanup.
On the low end, painting a metal roof may cost around $1 per square foot if it just needs one coat of paint and minimal prep work. For a heavily oxidized or rusted roof that requires extensive scraping, priming, sealing and 2-3 fresh coats of elastomeric paint, costs can surpass $3 per square foot.
I plan to budget $2,000 to $5,000 for a professional metal roof painting job on a typical single-family home. Get several quotes to compare prices in your area.
What Impacts the Cost to Paint a Metal Roof?
Many factors influence the overall cost of painting a metal roof, including:
- Roof pitch – Steeper roofs often cost more to paint since they may require scaffolding or safety harnesses for painters. Simple gable roofs tend to be the most budget friendly.
- Roof size – Larger roofs mean you need more paint and labor time, increasing overall cost. Extensive multi-level roofs cost more than simple sloped ones.
- Roof type – Standing seam may cost more than corrugated panel roofing due to seams needing caulking. Some metals like copper can also be pricier to paint.
- Paint needed – More coats, higher quality paints, and elastomeric/specialty paints can increase material costs.
- Prep work – Extensive scraping, priming, rust removal or sealing will increase costs but improve results.
- Accessibility – Roofs that are difficult to access safely will drive up the costs for equipment like scaffolding or lifts.
- Location – Roof painting costs are higher in areas with higher labor and material rates like large metro areas.
- Contractor – Rates for professional painters cover a broad range. Get multiple bids.
Always get an itemized quote so you understand what is included in the price. The lowest bid may not cover the same preparation and painting process as a higher one.
Cost of Painting a 2,500 Square Foot Metal Roof
To give a ballpark estimate, let’s look at the cost to paint a typical 2,500 square foot metal roof on a single family home.
For a roof of this size, you would need approximately 5-8 gallons of elastomeric acrylic metal roof paint, which costs $30-50 per gallon. So your paint costs would be $150-400 depending on the type and quality of paint used.
Assuming the roof is accessible but requires some preparation like pressure washing, spot scraping of rust, priming bare metal, and caulking seams, you can expect to pay $1,200-2,000 for labor. This brings the total cost to paint a 2,500 sq ft roof to around $1,300 on the low and up to $3,400 on the high end.
Getting quotes from at least 3 professional roof painting contractors is recommended. Look for ones experienced with metal roof coatings. And be sure to ask what preparation work they include in their pricing.
Cost of Metal Roof Paint Per Gallon
When calculating how much paint you’ll need for a metal roof coating project, the key metric is gallons per square (100 square feet). A general rule of thumb is 0.5 – 1 gallon per square depending on the roof pitch.
You may only need 0.5 gallons per square on a relatively flat metal roof. Up to 1 gallon per square may be needed for a steeply pitched metal shingle roof to ensure full coverage on all surfaces.
Other factors like the roofing material, painting over an existing layer of paint, and desired dry thickness can also impact coverage rates.
Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates. Too little paint risks exposing the metal to corrosion. Too much paint can lead to dripping, sagging and poor adhesion.
In terms of cost per gallon of metal roof paint:
- Basic exterior acrylic latex paint – $30-40 per gallon
- Exterior acrylic elastomeric paint – $40-55 per gallon
- Fluoropolymer paint – $50-80+ per gallon
Elastomeric paints cost more but provide better expansion and contraction to prevent cracking. They also resist chalking and fading longer.
Why Paint a Metal Roof?
There are several good reasons homeowners may want to apply paint to their existing metal roofing:
Aesthetics – Painting can update the look of faded metal roofing and allows you to change the color. Painted roofs can complement home exterior colors like siding.
Rust prevention – Paint forms a protective barrier over metal paneling to prevent moisture penetration and rust formation.
Reflectivity – Coatings like elastomeric paint resist heat absorption, helping reduce cooling costs. White reflects the most heat.
Leak repair – Paints can temporarily fill minor cracks or holes that could allow water intrusion. Should still be repaired properly.
Life extension – A fresh layer of UV-resistant paint can get more years out of an aging metal roof before full replacement is needed.
Just note that painting a metal roof may not carry the same warranty as a new pre-finished metal roof. Contact the roofing manufacturer before painting.
Prepping a Metal Roof for Painting
Proper surface preparation is crucial for the paint to adhere well on a metal roof. This often accounts for a significant portion of the project costs.
Typical metal roof prep work includes:
- Pressure washing – Thoroughly cleans the roof surface and removes any chalky oxidization or existing coatings.
- Repairs – Fix any dents, punctures, fastener pops or seam gaps that could allow leaks.
- Rust removal – Wire brushing or sanding to remove rust buildup or scale.
- Priming – A metal primer helps the paint bind tightly to the bare metal surface.
- Caulking – Sealants prevent water intrusion between roof seams, joints, gutters and trim.
Neglecting proper prep work often leads to paint adhesion issues down the road. Don’t skip appropriate cleaning, repairs, and priming for best results.
How Long Does Metal Roof Paint Last?
On average, a freshly painted metal roof can last anywhere from 8-20 years depending on several factors:
- Quality of paint used
- Type of metal underneath
- Pitch and orientation of the roof
- Local weather and sun exposure
- Number of coats applied
- Prep work performed
Using elastomeric paints that flex and don’t crack provides the longest-lasting results. Heavily worn or rusted roofs will need recoating sooner.
To maximize the lifespan of paint on your metal roof:
- Only apply paint during dry conditions without dew or rain expected
- Allow each coat to fully cure for 1-2 days before adding another
- Use compatible primer and paint from the same manufacturer
- Apply thick even coats according to manufacturer specs
Inspect the painted metal roof every year or two for any cracks, blisters or deterioration. Spot repairs as needed to prevent moisture penetration.
Plan to recoat the entire roof every 8-15 years depending on how the paint holds up. The lifespan can match typical asphalt shingle roofs.
Pros and Cons of Painting a Metal Roof
Painting a worn metal roof can improve aesthetics and weather resistance. But there are also some potential downsides to consider:
- Less expensive than full roof replacement
- Allows changing roof color and style
- Can help reflect heat to reduce cooling costs
- Provides extra protection for aging roof panels
- May qualify for cool roof rebates in some areas
- Won’t match original warranty or longevity of factory finishes
- Requires re-coating every 8-15 years typically
- Metal prep can be labor intensive for best results
- Voids warranty of some metal roofing manufacturers
- Paint may not adhere well long-term without proper prep
Weigh these pros and cons against the cost of a new metal roof installed. For mildly worn roofs with years of life left, a fresh paint coating can be a cost-effective way to rejuvenate them.
Key Factors When Choosing a Metal Roof Paint
With so many brands and types of metal roof paints available, choosing the right product can be tricky. Keep these key factors in mind:
Elastomeric vs Standard – Elastomeric paints expand and contract with the metal roof as temperatures fluctuate. This prevents cracking or peeling. They cost more but last longer.
Acrylic vs Urethane – Acrylic latex paints are more affordable and common. Urethane paints are more durable in extreme weather. Both work well for metal when using the right primer.
Sheen – Most metal roof paints come in satin or low sheen finishes, which resist fading and hide imperfections well. High gloss enamels look nice but show flaws.
Reflectivity – Some paints and coatings are specially designed for high solar reflectance, which reduces heat gain. This can lower A/C costs.
Color – Consider how a painted roof will look with your home’s color scheme. Darker colors absorb more heat. White is most reflective.
Recommended Brands – Look for quality products recommended for metal roofing from brands like BEHR, Rust-Oleum, Valspar, Sherwin-Williams and KILZ.
Consult with paint supply stores for the best product for your particular metal roof. Provide details on roof age, existing coatings, pitch, climate and your budget.
Hiring Professional Roof Painters
While some homeowners tackle metal roof painting themselves, hiring professionals is often wise, especially for large or steep roofs. Here are tips for finding the best painters:
- Get at least 3 detailed quotes from local contractors to compare pricing
- Verify they are properly licensed, bonded and insured
- Ask about their specific metal roof coating experience and training
- Request before and after pictures of past metal roof painting jobs
- Make sure they include adequate surface preparation in quote
- Get quote in writing along with expected timeframe for job
- Ask about warranty they provide on their paint application work
Avoid roofers that seem unclear on proper preparation methods or take shortcuts. This can severely reduce the lifespan of your paint job.
DIY Painting vs Professional Roof Painting
For homeowners on a tight budget, a DIY painting project may seem attractive compared to hiring a professional roofer. But there are some important considerations when deciding between DIY vs pro roof painting:
Safety – Painting a roof comes with obvious risks of falls and injuries. Professionals have safety training, harnesses and equipment to prevent accidents and are covered by insurance if any incidents occur.
Prep Work – This is the most crucial step for proper paint adhesion, but is labor intensive. Hiring pros with power washing equipment can save huge time and effort.
Painting Skill – Achieving consistent coverage without drips or thin spots takes some technique that comes with experience. Novices often struggle with this.
Clean Up – Professional crews are equipped to handle spills and thoroughly clean the property after painting to leave no traces behind. DIYers must manage this messy process entirely on their own.
Cost Savings – Paying professional painters does cost more upfront. But the value comes from their expertise in proper application and years of added durability compared to amateur jobs.
Carefully weigh the benefits of greater safety, quality, experience, efficiency and convenience against the higher costs when deciding between DIY or hiring a pro painter for your next metal roof painting project.
Maintaining a Painted Metal Roof
Once your metal roof painting project is complete, regular maintenance and care will keep it fresh and protected. Recommended tips for maintaining a painted metal roof include:
- Inspect the roof a couple times per year for any signs of paint cracking, peeling or deterioration
- Perform spot repairs quickly on any problem areas to prevent rust and leaks
- Wash the roof periodically with a gentle cleaner safe for painted metal surfaces
- Avoid walking on the roof or letting fallen branches bang on it to prevent denting
- Clear the roof of leaves and other debris to prevent buildup and moisture-related issues
- Reapply fresh elastomeric coating every 8-15 years as needed based on paint condition
- Avoid any harsh chemical cleaners or abrasives when washing the painted metal panels
With proper maintenance and care, a freshly painted metal roof can retain its aesthetic appeal and protective qualities for over a decade, boosting curb appeal and savings on energy bills from increased reflectivity.
Cool Roof Paint Programs and Rebates
Some areas offer rebates and incentives for switching to highly reflective “cool” metal roof paints to promote building energy efficiency. These programs are more common in warmer climates.
For example, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power offers 30 cents ($0.30) rebates per square foot of roof space when switching to a cool paint coating with a solar reflectance index (SRI) of at least 78. This can add up to significant savings on large commercial roof painting projects.
Homeowners may also be eligible for rebates on elastomeric acrylic roof coatings that meet cool roof requirements. This can offset around 20-30% of painting costs.
Contact local utility providers to ask about your region’s current rebate programs for cool metal roof coatings. Submit the required applications and documentation to qualify.
Roof Paint Colors, Coatings and Supplies
Select appropriate paints and coatings designed specifically for metal surfaces when painting a metal roof. Stock up on all necessary prep supplies like primer, caulk, brushes, rollers, etc. Here are some top products to consider:
- Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Metal Roof Paint – Alkyd-based rust preventive coating for bare or rusted metal roofs.
- BEHR Metal Roof & Fence Paint – Durable acrylic latex coating resists fading, chipping, and stains.
- Valspar Metal Roof Paint – Elastomeric coating expands and contracts to resist cracking and peeling.
- KILZ Interior/Exterior Metal Primer – Water-based primer sticks tight and resists flash rust on metals.
- Geocel 2320 Roof & Gutter Sealant – Flexible for sealing roof seams, flashings, fasteners, and penetrations.
- Wooster 2.5″ Angle Sash Paint Brush – Versatile brush ideal for coating metal roofing panels and trim.
- Shur-Line Paint Edger Mini roller – Great for ensuring clean lines along roof edges vs. brush.
Consult with paint store specialists to select the right primers, paints, caulks and tools for your particular metal roof painting project. Invest in quality products and take time to prep for results that will last.
Safety Tips for Painting a Metal Roof
Painting a metal roof requires extra precautions compared to other painting jobs. Follow these safety tips to avoid slips, falls and other accidents:
- Use fall protection like harnesses and tie-off points if working from roof heights
- Wear shoes with slip-resistant soles to avoid losing footing
- Cover all roof vent openings to avoid stepping into them
- Use planks or roof jacks to distribute weight and access areas safely
- Pay attention to weather forecasts and avoid painting in windy conditions
- Set up drop cloths and barricade off ground areas below work
- Keep paint buckets tethered so they don’t slide off the roof
- Don’t work alone in case an emergency occurs where you need help
- Follow all manufacturer safety precautions for paints, solvents, primers and tools
Focus on minimizing risks from slips, trips and falls that cause most roof painting project injuries. Take it slowly and make safety the top priority.
Painting a metal roof requires careful planning, surface preparation, quality paints and proper application to achieve long-lasting results. While hiring professional roof painters costs more upfront, this investment pays off for many years with enhanced aesthetics, energy savings, and weather protection.
Use the estimates and tips in this guide to help budget for your next metal roof painting project. Pay special attention to prep work, safety, paint selection, application techniques and regular maintenance to get the maximum return from your painted metal roof.