Best paint for old metal roof

Metal roofs are sturdy, but they often face a common issue: rust. When rust starts, it can lead to holes and roof leaks. The good news is, you can prevent or restore all of this by painting your roof when it needs it. In this article, we’ll help you find the best paint for your old metal roof. We’ll also give you some important things to think about when choosing the right paint. Plus, we’ll show you how to figure out when it’s time to repaint your roof. Let’s get started!

Things to consider when buying roof paint

What paint to use on old metal roof?

Your regular outdoor paint may look fine, but when it comes to protecting and restoring old metal roofs, specialized roof paints are the way to go. These paints are specifically designed to address the unique challenges that metal roofs face. Although they might be more expensive than standard paints, their performance and durability make them a worthwhile investment.

Types of Roof Paint: Silicone vs. Acrylic Coatings

In the world of metal roof restoration, silicone coatings emerge as the undisputed champions. Their exceptional ability to breathe new life into aging metal surfaces is unmatched, thanks to their superior waterproofing and UV stability.

Yet, it’s worth noting that while silicone reigns supreme in Waterproofing and UV protection that ultimately translates to longevity, acrylic coatings are much easier to install. They are far less problematic on application equipment and only require water for clean-up.

Durability and Warranty

  • Durability: Evaluate the paint’s durability and longevity. A longer-lasting paint can provide better value in the long run, as it reduces the need for frequent recoating. Most of the paints we recommend below have either a 5year or 10year option with a slight price variance.
  • Warranty: Check if the paint product comes with a warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty can provide peace of mind regarding product performance. Be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the warranty, including coverage duration and any maintenance requirements to maintain warranty validity. A strong warranty can reflect the manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s durability.

Color and UV blocking ability

Select a color based on your specific needs and preferences. However, keep in mind that brighter colors, such as various shades of white and lighter greys, can help maintain lower roof temperatures. This can ultimately contribute to reduced air conditioning bills and enhanced energy efficiency.

Ease and mode of application


Consider your budget when evaluating paint options for your roof. Paints come in a range of price points, and while some are ok attempting DIY solutions with regular paint to temporarily refresh an old-looking roof. Such solutions end up being too much work that does not give satisfactory results. All the products we have recommended are designed to provide long-lasting solutions, avoiding the need for frequent minor repairs. We believe in the principle of fixing it properly to prevent ongoing maintenance costs.

Ease and mode of application

While applying these finishes is not overly complex, they do require a certain level of skill for optimal results. Ease of application can vary slightly between different products. It’s advisable to check the specific product descriptions for additional details on the application process to determine if it aligns with your skills and requirements before making a purchase. In general, most of these paints can be applied using a brush, roller, or sprayer. If you opt for a brush, be sure to choose a soft one, as stiff brushes may inadvertently remove the coating material as you rebrush.

Pick your weapon: best paint for old metal roofs

best roof coating for metal roofs

Countryman Coatings 100% Silicone Roof Coating
$395.00 ($0.65 / Fl Oz)

The "Countryman Coatings 100% Silicone Roof Coating" is a durable and flexible roofing solution suitable for various surfaces, including metal roofs. It comes in several colors; including white and grey which helps reflect sunlight and heat. This product is designed to seal leaks, cracks, seams, and penetrations, making it a versatile option for roof restoration and protection.

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Why choose Countryman Silicone Roof Coating

  1. No Primer Needed: One of its standout features is its direct-to-metal (DTM) application capability. This means that once you’ve thoroughly cleaned your roof and ensured it’s dry, you can apply the Countryman Silicone Roof Coating directly to your metal roof without the need for a primer. This simplifies the application process and saves you money, time and effort.
  2. Durability and Longevity: The Countryman Coatings 100% Silicone Roof Coating is renowned for its exceptional durability. Once applied, it forms a robust protective barrier that can withstand the harshest weather conditions, including intense sunlight, heavy rainfall, and temperature fluctuations. This durability ensures that your roof remains safeguarded for up to 10 years.
  3. Seals Leaks and Cracks: Beyond its protective properties, this silicone roof coating excels in sealing leaks, cracks, seams, and penetrations effectively. This versatility means it can address existing roofing issues while also providing a proactive shield against future damage. By preventing water infiltration, it helps maintain the structural integrity of your roof.
  4. Helps reduce energy bills: The availability of white and grey color options further enhances its performance. These reflective colors are designed to bounce back sunlight and heat, reducing the heat absorption by your roof. As a result, your home stays cooler during hot weather, potentially leading to less reliance to your air conditioning system.


  • Higher Initial Cost: It’s important to acknowledge that the Countryman Coatings 100% Silicone Roof Coating may have a higher initial cost compared to standard roofing paints. While the upfront investment might be greater, it’s essential to weigh this against the long-term benefits. The exceptional durability and longevity of this coating can ultimately translate into cost savings over time by reducing the need for frequent roof maintenance and recoating.

Fastest drying paint for metal roof

Black Jack Silicone Roof Coating
$310.00 ($0.51 / Fl Oz)

The Black Jack Silicone Roof Coating is a 100% silicone that guarantees a completely waterproof roof. Its rapid drying time ensures a rain-resistant surface in just over 15 minutes, providing you with immediate protection against the elements. What sets it apart? No primer is required as it effortlessly forms a strong bond with your metal roof, delivering not just convenience but also exceptional adhesion.

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Why choose Black Jack Silicone Roof Coating

  1. Superior Waterproofing: Our innovative silicone formula offers top-tier waterproofing capabilities, safeguarding your roof from the harshest elements.
  2. Durability Redefined: Black Jack Silicone Roof Coating boasts exceptional resilience, enduring even in areas prone to water pooling, outperforming conventional coatings.
  3. Cool and UV-Resistant: The coating dries to a brilliant white finish, not only enhancing your roof’s aesthetics but also effectively reflecting heat to keep your roof surface cooler. Plus, it offers outstanding UV resistance, prolonging the life of your roof.
  4. Rapid Dry Technology: Our cutting-edge formula dries at an astonishing speed, providing a rainproof surface in just over 15 minutes. Say goodbye to lengthy waiting times and unpredictable weather concerns.
  5. Primer-Free Application: Unlike other coatings, Black Jack Silicone Roof Coating doesn’t require a primer. It effortlessly bonds to your metal roof, ensuring a secure and lasting connection, saving you time and money.

Things to consider

  • Price Consideration: While Black Jack Silicone Roof Coating offers exceptional waterproofing and durability, it’s important to consider that premium quality products like this may come at a higher initial cost compared to standard roof coatings.

Best elastomeric roof coating

Ames Maximum Stretch - Waterproof Sealant Membrane
$155.24 ($0.26 / Fl Oz)

Ames Maximum-Stretch is by far the best acrylic coating for metal roofs. Boasting an impressive 650% elongation capacity, this coating resists cracking and peeling. Thanks to its acrylic composition, application is a breeze, making it a user-friendly.

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Why choose Ames Maximum Stretch 

  1. Exceptional Reflectivity: With an impressive 88% light reflectivity, this bright white finish not only enhances your roof’s aesthetics but also significantly reduces surface temperatures, leading to substantial savings on cooling costs.
  2. Durable Performance: This elastomeric and rubberized coating and sealant is designed to withstand the harshest elements. It doesn’t flake, chip, or peel, ensuring long-lasting protection for your roof.
  3. Easy Application: Whether you prefer brushing, rolling, or spraying, the application is hassle-free. You’ll get professional-grade results with ease.
  4. Environmentally Responsible: Our product is non-toxic, eco-friendly, and low in VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), promoting a sustainable choice for your roofing needs. Plus, it’s proudly made in the USA.


  • Ponding Water Vulnerability: While Ames Maximum-Stretch offers exceptional durability and protection, it’s important to note that, like many coatings, it may not be the ideal solution for areas prone to extended ponding water. In such scenarios, additional measures or alternative products may be needed to address specific water-related challenges, ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your roof. Always consult with a roofing professional to assess and address any ponding water issues effectively.

Related Read: Can you spray paint old metal roof?

Painting your old metal roof

Step 1: Check Your Roof

Start by taking a good look at your metal roof. Check for rust and any loose paint. How bad the rust is will help you decide what to do next.

Step 2: Clean It Up

To make sure the paint sticks well, you need to get rid of loose rust and dirt. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Use a Pressure Washer: If you have one, a pressure washer can quickly get rid of loose rust, dirt, and old paint. It’s not too much work.
  • Try Abrasive Blasting: If the rust is really bad, you might need to use abrasive blasting. This means using air pressure to shoot rough materials at the rust to get it off. It can be more work and may need special equipment.
  • Use Rust Converter: If the rust is being stubborn, you can use a rust converter product, such as Rust-B-Gone. Follow the product’s instructions to transform the rust into a surface suitable for painting.

Step 3: Apply a Rust Conversion Primer

After you’ve cleared away loose materials, the next step is to apply a rust conversion primer. This primer is specially made for metal surfaces like your roof. It works by changing the rust into a surface that’s perfect for the new paint to stick to. While it’s often used on cars, it’s just as effective for roof metal.

If you want to learn more about the best metal primers and get a deeper understanding of this crucial step, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on metal primers [Best metal primers]. It will provide you with valuable insights into choosing the right primer for your metal roof.

Step 4: Choose the Right Paint

Selecting the right paint for your old metal roof is crucial for ensuring its longevity and appearance. When dealing with aged metal roofs, acrylic and silicone roof coatings, such as Countryman Silicone Roof Coating and, Ames Maximum Stretch, are ideal choices. These elastomeric and rubberized coatings provide exceptional flexibility, allowing them to withstand the expansion and contraction of metal surfaces without cracking or peeling.

Choose the Right Paint

Paint Application on Flat Roofs

For flat metal roofs, proper paint application is essential to achieve a flawless finish:

  • Begin Application: Start in one corner and work your way towards the exit in manageable sections, typically 10 feet by 10 feet. Ensure that you overlap onto adjoining sections to create a seamless, uniform finish.
  • Apply Multiple Coats: To achieve the recommended thickness for your coating, apply multiple heavy coats. For a 60-80 mil (1.5-2.0mm) Dry Film Thickness (DFT) membrane, you should aim for a minimum final thickness of 1 gallon per 15 square feet (1.4 sq/m). This typically requires 4-5 heavy coats.
  • Inspect as You Go: As you apply the paint, inspect the surface for uniformity and coverage. Check for any pinholes, blisters, or voids in the coating. Repair any defects as necessary during this process.
  • Final Inspection: After the final coat has dried sufficiently to allow walking without causing damage, perform a thorough inspection. Ensure that the membrane thickness is consistent and that there are no visible defects that need addressing.
  • Allow for Drying: Allow the coating to dry for at least time directed by manufacturer. Some tackiness may be present during this period, which is normal. Once fully cured, your old metal roof will be revitalized and ready to withstand the elements for years to come.

Paint Application on Sloped Roofs

For sloped metal roofs, the application process is similar:

  • Start Application: Begin at one end of the roof and work your way to the other end, just as you would with a flat roof. Apply the paint in manageable sections, ensuring proper overlap onto adjoining areas.
  • Apply Multiple Coats: Achieving the recommended thickness is still vital. Aim for a minimum final thickness of 1 gallon per 30 square feet (2.3 sq/m) for a 30 mil (0.76mm) DFT membrane. This typically requires 2-3 heavy coats.
  • Inspect as You Go: Continuously inspect the coating as you apply it to ensure uniformity and coverage. Address any pinholes, blisters, or defects immediately during the application.
  • Final Inspection: Once the final coat has dried sufficiently for safe walking, perform a final inspection. Check for uniform membrane thickness and address any remaining defects.
  • Drying Time: Allow the coating to dry for at least 48 hours, understanding that some tackiness may be present during this period. After the curing process, your old sloped metal roof will look rejuvenated and well-protected against the elements.

Key takeaways

Reviving and protecting your old metal roof through proper painting can extend its life and enhance its aesthetic appeal. The Best paint for old metal roof is Countryman Silicone Roof Coating.

Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Rust Prevention: Regularly inspect your metal roof for rust and loose paint. Address rust issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Proper Cleaning: Ensure the roof surface is free from loose rust and dirt. Depending on the severity of rust, consider pressure washing, abrasive blasting, or using a rust converter.
  • Rust Conversion Primer: Apply a rust conversion primer to transform rust into a surface suitable for painting. These is however optional if the coating has a DTM ability.
  • Choosing the Right Paint: Opt for specialized roof paints designed for metal roofs. Acrylic and silicone coatings like Countryman Silicone Roof Coating and Ames Maximum Stretch are excellent choices for old metal roofs due to their durability and flexibility.
  • Drying Time: Allow the coating to dry for the recommended period, typically at least 48 hours. Some tackiness during this time is normal.

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