What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for a Metal Roof?

When it comes to painting a metal roof, it’s crucial to choose the right paint and primer. Metal roofs are durable and long-lasting, but their exposure makes them vulnerable to harsh weather conditions, UV rays, and corrosion. So what is the best paint and primer to use?

An acrylic-latex or oil-based alkyd paint is the best for metal roofs. Both form a tight bond with the metal surface, providing superior adhesion and protection against extreme weather conditions. A primer made for metal surfaces should be used, as it helps the paint to adhere properly and prevents corrosion.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The factors to consider when choosing paint for a metal roof
  • What type of paint to use
  • What paint finish is best
  • The best paint and primer for a metal roof

4 Key Factors for Choosing the Perfect Paint

It’s important to take certain factors into consideration before beginning the painting process. Here are the 4 most important considerations to keep in mind:

(Make sure to check out my comprehensive guide on painting metal roofs for further details and a convenient, step-by-step tutorial.)

1. Climate Conditions

The climate in your area plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate paint for your metal roof. If you reside in an area with high humidity or frequent rainfall, it is advisable to use paint that contains anti-microbial agents.

This type of paint helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew on your roof. On the other hand, if you live in an area with high UV radiation, choosing a paint that offers UV protection to prevent fading and discoloration is essential.

2. Paint Type

There are different types of paint available for metal roofs, including latex, oil-based and acrylic. Make sure to choose a paint that is compatible with your specific metal roof material.

3. Finish

The finish of your paint will also determine its lifespan. A high-gloss finish offers the most protection, but it can be too shiny for some people’s taste. If you prefer a more subtle look, a mid-level gloss finish might be the best option. 

4. Paint Quality

Choosing high-quality paint is essential for a long-lasting finish on your metal roof. High-quality paints are more resistant to fading, chipping, and peeling. They also provide better protection against extreme weather conditions, making them a great option for metal roofs.

What Type of Paint Is Best?



  • Acrylic-latex paint offers excellent adhesion to metal surfaces, ensuring a long-lasting finish
  • It is highly durable and resistant to fading, chalking, and weathering, making it ideal for use on metal roofs exposed to harsh outdoor elements
  • This type of paint is also water-resistant, preventing the growth of mold and mildew on the metal roof
  • Acrylic-latex paint is easy to apply, dries quickly, and can be cleaned up with water, making it more eco-friendly than oil-based paints
  • It comes in a wide range of colors and finishes, including semi-gloss and matte, allowing homeowners to choose a color that complements their home’s exterior design
  • Acrylic-latex paint is also low in VOC emissions. It contains fewer harmful chemicals that can harm the environment and human health


  • The cost of acrylic-latex paint, which is higher than other paint types, can discourage some homeowners

Oil-based Alkyd


  • Provides excellent adhesion to metal surfaces, preventing peeling and chipping
  • Resistant to harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and UV rays
  • Dries to a hard and durable finish, providing long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion
  • Offers a smooth and glossy finish that enhances the visual appeal of the metal roof
  • It can be tinted to a wide range of colors, allowing for customization and flexibility in design aesthetics
  • Retains its color and sheen longer than other types of paint, reducing the need for frequent maintenance or repainting


  • Takes longer to dry, which can be inconvenient if you need to complete the project quickly
  • Strong odors and fumes that can be unpleasant for some people

What Paint Finish Is Best?

Satin paint is a popular choice for metal roofs because it provides a low level of reflectivity, which can be beneficial if you want to reduce glare. However, it is also less durable than other types of paint.

Semi-gloss paint is a good compromise between satin and gloss. It offers a moderate level of reflectivity, which can help to improve the appearance of your metal roof while also providing a reasonable level of durability.

Gloss paint is the most durable of the three options and is often used on metal roofs exposed to extreme weather conditions or other harsh environments. However, it also provides the highest level of reflectivity, which can be too shiny for some people’s tastes.

The Best Paint and Primer for a Metal Roof

A roof is arguably the most important part of any building, protecting the structure and its occupants from the elements. However, it is also subject to wear and tear from exposure to sunlight, wind, rain, and other environmental factors.

Without proper protection, a roof can deteriorate more quickly, leading to leaks, structural damage, and high maintenance costs.

Choosing the right paint and primer for your roof ensures longevity. High-quality paint and primer will provide superior protection against the elements, reducing the risk of damage and prolonging the life of your roof.

Best Paint

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Oil-based Enamel Paint is the ultimate solution for protecting metal roofs against rust and corrosion. Its oil-based formula provides superior adhesion and long-lasting durability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

With its excellent rust-prevention properties, this enamel has been the go-to choice for safeguarding exterior and interior surfaces for years.

Unlike other paints, this enamel is designed to dry to the touch in 2-4 hours. With coverage of up to 100 sq. ft. (9m2), it can be applied easily and quickly, saving time and money.

In terms of coverage, Rust-Oleum Oil-based Enamel outperforms its competitors. Its superior coverage rate means that less paint is required to cover the same surface area, resulting in cost savings for the consumer.

The enamel’s durability is also top-notch, providing a long-term solution for those looking to protect their metal roofs from rust and corrosion.

Best Primer

Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Clean Metal Primer is the ultimate solution for protecting metal roofs that have little to no rust.

If the metal roof is heavily rusted, it is recommended to use Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Rusty Metal Primer, which creates a strong bond with rust, enabling top coats to adhere smoothly.

Their unique formulas create a sound base for applying Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Paint. This primer provides twice the rust prevention than using enamels alone, ensuring the longevity of your metal roof. 

Applying Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Primer to your metal roof promotes topcoat adhesion and helps prevent chipping, cracking, and peeling. This primer eliminates the need for multiple coats of finish, saving you time and money.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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