What You Need to Know About Metal Roof Coatings

Metal roof covered with tile effect PVC coated brown metal sheets

In the ever-changing landscape of modern construction and sustainable building practices, metal roofing has emerged as a stalwart choice for its durability and eco-friendly attributes. Yet, home owners seek to maximize the potential of this resilient roofing material, which is why the significance of coatings has taken center stage.

These innovative protective layers offer a crucial solution to enhance a roof’s performance, prolong lifespan, and mitigate environmental impacts. From understanding the diverse types of coatings available to evaluating their essential properties, find out what you need to know about metal roof coatings to choose the best coat for your roof.

What is Metal Roof Coating and Why is it Important?

An indispensable roofing tool, coatings have emerged to augment the performance and longevity of roofing systems. This specialized protective layer is meticulously crafted to safeguard roofs from the relentless assault of nature’s elements.

From the harsh UV rays to the unyielding deluge of rain and snow, coatings form an impregnable barrier, providing the following benefits:

  • Shields the roof surface from corrosion and rust
  • Uses cutting-edge technology to reflect sunlight
  • Prevents premature deterioration
  • Reduces energy consumption
  • Mitigates heat absorption
  • Reduces carbon footprint
  • Potential cost savings on energy bills

8 Types of Metal Roof Coatings

There’s an array of options available, each tailored to meet specific roofing needs and requirements. Understanding the distinct characteristics of each coating type can help you make informed decisions when seeking the ideal protective layer for your roof.

1. Acrylic Coating

A popular and versatile choice, acrylic roof coatings are known for their user-friendly application and cost-effectiveness. Water-based and easily applicable, these coatings offer moderate UV protection, making them well-suited for various applications. They form a seamless, flexible film over the roof surface, guarding against water intrusion and resisting fading caused by sunlight exposure.

2. Bitumen-Based Coating

The texture of a roof coated with bituminous (asphalt) coating.
Photo Credit: Mehaniq / Canva Pro / License

Also called asphalt coating, this type of coating is a time-tested option known for its excellent waterproofing capabilities. It’s often applied as a hot or cold process, forming a thick, protective layer that seals and protects the roof from moisture and environmental hazards.

3. Elastomeric Coating

Prized for its exceptional elasticity and flexibility, this type of coating is suitable for roofs subject to significant temperature fluctuations and structural movement. With their ability to expand and contract, elastomeric roof coatings maintain their integrity over time, providing long-lasting protection against water intrusion and thermal stress.

4. EPDM Sheets

Photo credit: Crownbuild / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

While not a liquid coating, EPDM sheets are worth mentioning as they are often used in roof protection. These rubber sheets are highly durable, offering weather resistance and waterproofing benefits. Typically applied as a single-ply membrane, EPDM sheets protect against leaks and environmental elements.

5. Fluoropolymer Coating

With superior UV resistance and color retention, this type of coating is perfect for those seeking a premium, long-lasting solution. Ideal even for commercial metal roofs, fluoropolymer coatings offer a formidable shield against environmental aggressors while preserving the roof’s visual appeal.

6. Polyurethane Coating

For those seeking unmatched durability and resilience, polyurethane coatings emerge as the top contender. Their robust nature allows them to withstand extreme weather conditions, making them ideal for roofs subjected to heavy foot traffic and harsh environmental elements. Their high levels of elasticity ensure the coating can flex and contract with temperature fluctuations, preventing cracks or peeling over time.

7. Silicone Coating

worker coating a layer of silicone on roof
Photo Credit: Pxfuel

If you have a low-sloped or flat roof, silicone roof coatings provide a valuable solution. These coatings exhibit remarkable resistance to weathering and ponding water, making them highly effective in areas prone to frequent rain or standing water. Furthermore, their ability to maintain adhesion under challenging conditions ensures long-lasting protection.

8. TPO Coating

worker coating the tpo membrane
Photo Credit: peuceta / Canva Pro / License

Also commonly used for low-sloped or flat roofs, these coatings provide excellent weather resistance and energy efficiency – reflecting sunlight to reduce heat absorption. Their ability to withstand ponding water and resist mold and mildew growth makes them a reliable choice for many applications.

Properties of an Effective Metal Roof Coating

As the backbone of protection for metal roofing systems, an effective coating should possess a well-rounded set of properties to withstand the challenges posed by the elements and deliver long-lasting performance.


At the heart of any reliable coating, there’s durability – ensuring the coat can withstand the test of time and the unforgiving forces of nature. A robust coating will protect the metal surface from physical abrasions, weather-induced stresses, and potential impact damage, preserving the structural integrity of the roof for years to come.

UV Protection

The relentless assault of UV rays can lead to the fading and degradation of roofs over time. Even if you don’t have a cool roof, an effective coating with exceptional UV resistance can act as a shield against these harmful rays. It can help prevent premature wear and color changes, thus prolonging your roof’s aesthetic appeal.

Corrosion Resistance

Strong corrosion resistance capabilities are essential in protecting the underlying metal substrate from moisture and corrosive elements. A coating that resists corrosion effectively helps maintain the roof’s structural integrity and extends its lifespan.

Low Maintenance

An ideal roof coating should require minimal maintenance over its lifespan. Coatings that maintain their protective qualities without frequent roof repairs or touch-ups offer convenience and cost savings in the long run.


Sealing out water intrusion is vital to prevent corrosion, rust, and leakage within the building structure. A high-quality roof membrane or coating should provide reliable waterproofing, forming a tight and seamless barrier that repels water and prevents roof leaks effectively, even during heavy rains.

Flexibility and Elasticity

Metal panels and shingles are subject to constant temperature fluctuations, causing expansion and contraction that can damage the fasteners and other roofing components. An effective coating should be flexible and elastic, capable of accommodating these movements without cracking or peeling. It helps the coating remain intact and functional under varying weather conditions.

Reflectivity and Energy Efficiency

For environmentally conscious homeowners, energy efficiency is a paramount concern. Opting for a reflective coating can help mitigate heat absorption, reducing your HVAC’s cooling load and contributing to lower energy consumption, thus promoting sustainable practices.

Adhesion and Compatibility

An effective coating should adhere firmly to the metal surface, ensuring a long-lasting bond that withstands wear and tear. Additionally, if you want optimal performance, choose a coating that works with the type of metal on your roof to prevent potential issues.

What to Consider When Choosing a Coating

Each roofing project is unique, and understanding these key elements ensures your chosen coating aligns harmoniously with the specific requirements and challenges.

  • Type of metal and surface preparation: Different coatings exhibit varying levels of compatibility with specific metals, and surface preparation is vital to ensure proper adhesion.
  • Local climate and environmental conditions: Areas subject to intense sunlight, high humidity, heavy hailstorms, or extreme temperature fluctuations necessitate coatings with specific properties, such as high UV resistance, waterproofing capabilities, and excellent durability.
  • Application method and ease of maintenance: The application method should be evaluated based on the roofing structure and logistics. Some coatings are better suited for spray-on application, while others may be applied with a roller. Also, considering the ease of maintenance and the need for periodic recoating will contribute to the overall cost-effectiveness of the coating.
  • Warranty and manufacturer support: A high-quality coating should come with a comprehensive warranty, reflecting the manufacturer’s confidence in its product. Understanding the terms and coverage of the warranty, as well as the level of manufacturer support, provides peace of mind and quality assurance.
  • Budget and long-term cost considerations: While cost is a crucial factor, it should not be the sole determiner. Instead, focus on the long-term cost implications of the coating you choose. A premium coating with superior durability and energy efficiency may yield cost savings over time, offsetting the initial investment.

Cost to Coat a Metal Roof

Depending on the type of coating, you can expect to pay around 58 cents to $11 per square foot to coat your roof. While the initial investment may raise eyebrows, the long-term benefits are enough to make you consider adding a metal roof coating.

Factors such as the size of the roof, the type of coating selected, and the complexity of the application process all contribute to the initial expenses. Premium coatings, such as fluoropolymer variants with exceptional UV resistance and color retention, may be more expensive, reflecting their superior properties.

But the true value of these coatings is in the long-term gains they bestow upon the investment. Consider the savings you’ll enjoy through increased energy efficiency – coatings with reflective properties can reduce cooling costs by up to 20%.

FAQ About Metal Roof Coatings

How long does coating last?

A coating’s lifespan will vary depending on factors such as the type of coating used, the quality of application, and environmental conditions. In general, well-maintained coatings can last anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Premium coatings with exceptional durability and UV resistance tend to offer longer lifespans, providing extended protection and value for the investment.

Can I apply a new coating over an existing roof?

In many cases, applying a new coating over an existing roof is possible and can be a cost-effective option instead of going for a full roof replacement. However, you must consider certain factors before proceeding with this roofing project. If you don’t want to tear off your old roof, you must assess its condition and the old coating’s adhesion to the roof surface.

For a successful application, the old coating should be in good condition, without extensive damage or deterioration. Additionally, it must adhere well to the metal substrate. Proper roof surface preparation, such as cleaning and priming, may be necessary to ensure the new coating bonds effectively.

Consult with a reliable roofing contractor who can conduct a thorough inspection and provide guidance on whether this method is suitable for your specific roof condition.

Should I apply a topcoat, or will a base coat be enough?

The decision to apply a topcoat or use only a base coat depends on the level of protection desired. In some cases, a base coat alone may provide sufficient protection against water intrusion and weathering. But for effectively stopping leaks before they begin, a topcoat can enhance the system’s durability, UV resistance, and overall performance.

Topcoats typically offer additional benefits, such as increased reflectivity for improved energy efficiency and extended lifespan. They also provide an extra layer of defense against physical damage and environmental factors.

To determine whether a topcoat is necessary, consult with a trustworthy roofing contractor who can assess your roof’s condition, the type of coating used, and the specific requirements of your project.

Fortify Your Roof with Metal Roof Coating

With a variety of coating options, each boasting unique properties and benefits, the choice of coating becomes an essential decision for homeowners seeking to safeguard their investments and embrace eco-friendly practices. From the durability of polyurethane to the UV resistance of fluoropolymer, coatings promise a better future for your roof and the environment.

Don’t wait to fortify your metal roof against the elements. Contact a trusted roofing pro today to explore the ideal coating tailored to your roofing needs.

Main Image Credit: Volodymyr Shtun / Canva Pro / License

Melanie Joseph

After discovering her passion for writing through her beauty blog, Melanie left her engineering job in California, became a writer, and never once looked back. When she isn't writing, she loves dipping in the pool, tending to the garden, or doing simple home improvement projects.