One of the neat things about metal roofing is that it’s one of the most customizable roofing materials on the market. Not only are there several types of metals, shapes, and styles to choose from, but metal roofing also comes in over 100 different colors. With so many options, how do you choose the right metal roof color?
Selecting the best metal roofing color is not just about personal preference, but your home’s design, style, energy-efficiency needs, geography, neighborhood, and more.
Let’s take a look at what factors you should consider in selecting a color for your metal roof.
What to Consider When Selecting a Metal Roof Color
There are several things to consider before selecting the metal roof color that works best for you and your home. When you think about your home’s style, existing structures, neighborhood, geographic location, and personal preference, you have to consider whether you want your roof to have contrasting or complementary colors.
- Contrasting colors make your roof pop and accentuate the highlights of your home.
- Complementary colors provide a soothing aesthetic flow to your property. Complementary colors don’t just match your home, they also blend with the landscape around them.
Pro Tip: Before you commit to painting your entire roof one color, you could experiment by painting a small patch of your roof the color you are considering and test it out in different types of light.
What Type of Metal Do You Have?
With its modern aesthetic, metal roofing has become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners, and with good reason. There are many pros to metal roofing: Metal roofs are eco-friendly, durable, energy-efficient, lightweight, low maintenance, and customizable.
Before you decide what kind of color you want for your metal roof, you first need to pick out what type of metal roofing you want for your roof:
Not only will the type of metal you choose affect the list of colors your roof can have, but the style of roofing also affects what colors are available for your roof. There are several metal roofing styles such as:
- Standing seam
- Screw-down panels
- Metal shakes
If you have a homeowners’ association, check to see if it allows metal roofs in your neighborhood. Not all HOAs allow metal roofing.
Additionally, homeowners’ associations may be picky about what kind of roof colors they allow. If your neighborhood has an HOA, chances are that they have restrictions on what colors you are allowed to use for your roof.
Personal preference is one of the biggest factors when selecting a metal roof color. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a roof color you hate.
If you already have a roof color in mind, that’s a good place to start. If you don’t have any idea what color you want for your roof, you could start by ruling out any roof colors you know you don’t want to narrow down your options.
The availability of colors may differ between brands, so browse multiple brand names to find the perfect color for your home.
Home’s Exterior Structures
To make your property cohesive and blend, you don’t want your roof color to conflict with the colors of the surrounding environment. Instead, consider what colors will match all the components of your property:
- Landscape plants
Think about what colors would match these materials or any other nearby structures in your yard or decorating the building.
Knowing what will – and what won’t – match the colors of your home’s building materials will help you narrow down what color you should pick for your roof.
You want to select a roof color that will match everything in your home and yard. So if you’re having trouble thinking of what color is right, go outside in your yard, study the colors of the exterior components making up your home, and visualize what color would be best suited for the top of your house.
You’ll also want to consider the architectural style of your home to make sure the roof color fits with the aesthetic of your home.
Modern-style homes tend to look best with gray or black metal roofs. Or you might consider topping your contemporary home with a bare metal roof without painting it. Bare metal roofs give roofs a sleek, modern look perfect for any contemporary home.
Barns or Farmhouses
Barns or farmhouse designs are typically topped with whites, dark grays, or reds.
The best color scheme for ranch-style homes are typically roofs that are brown, gray, or white.
Generally Spanish-style homes work best with a rust-colored roof or any metal roofing color that mimics clay tile or terra cotta. If you have a Spanish-style home, pick a color that matches, such as a sharply contrasting red or orange color.
Victorian homes call for muted roof colors such as gray. Or for a more brilliant and colorful contrast, Victorian-style homes can be fitted with a copper roof.
When picking a color for your metal roof, it’s not just your house that you need to consider. Consider how it will fit in with the other houses in your neighborhood.
You might want a striking roof that will stand out in a sea of homes that look similar, but you don’t want to pick a roof color that will stick out like a sore thumb. If your neighborhood is full of neutral or muted colors, your neighbors might not appreciate it if you choose a roof color that clashes with the rest of the neighborhood.
Your roof color might aggravate the neighbors and it could be a turn-off for potential buyers who might not want a garish roof.
Before you settle on a roofing color, walk around your neighborhood to get a sense for trends in the neighborhood aesthetic and think about what kind of roofing colors will fit in.
The best color for your home is something that complements the surrounding environment.
Geographic location impacts your roof color, since the natural environment influences what will suit your roof. Depending on the type of biome you live in, you may want to consider how your roof color will fit with surrounding nature.
Forests and Mountains
Forested or mountainous regions tend to be best-suited for earth tones such as browns and greens.
Deserts and Plains
Deserts and plains are generally best suited for warm colors that match the colors of the desert and dry grass. This includes shades of burnt orange, browns, tans, bronzes, or grays.
Coastal and Tropical
Coastal or tropical areas tend to be well-matched with cheery bright colors, such as blue roofs to match the sea or bright copper roofs to contrast with a fun tropical aesthetic.
Homes in tropical regions are also well-served to try metallic shades or they can forgo the paint and go with a bare metal look instead.
Lighting at Different Times of Day
Morning, afternoon, or night – your home looks different at different times of the day depending on the lighting. When deciding on your roof color, think about how the color will look at all times of day.
View your home during the bright midday hours, in the ambers and golds of sunset, and even the darkness of nighttime. This will give you a good sense of how drastically the appearance of your home changes in different lighting.
Also, think about how your roof will look on cloudy days versus sunny days, particularly if you live in areas that are primarily sunny or primarily cloudy.
Energy efficiency is important for every home, especially for homeowners looking for ways to save on energy bills. Metal roofs act as insulation by helping maintain steady indoor temperatures. Metal roofs are cool roofs that can save homeowners up to 25% on yearly power bills.
You might not think about it, but dark colors versus light colors have a big impact on your roof. In a nutshell, dark roofs make your roof hotter, while light roofs keep your roof cooler.
The problem with dark-colored roofs is that they absorb heat, which increases the temperature of your house. Since they absorb heat, darker colors are best suited for cold climates that experience freezing winters.
Light-colored roofs have better solar reflectance, resulting in cool metal roofing. For homeowners looking for a cost-effective option, light-colored roofs are the most energy efficient and the energy savings reduce energy bills by 20% to 30%.
A light-colored metal roof will keep your home cooler than a dark asphalt shingle roof by a 50- to 60-degree difference in temperature. Lighter colored roofs also contribute to lowering urban heat islands caused by heat-absorbing artificial materials such as dark roofs.
Light roofs are best for hot climates. If you live in an area where the summers are blisteringly hot, a light roof will be the best option to keep your house cool and save your air conditioning unit from overworking during hot seasons.
Additionally, light roofs make your roof look taller and bigger than dark colored roofs.
What Type of Paint Finish Do I Use?
You want a high-quality paint system that is durable and long-lasting. Paint finishes can look matte, glossy, metallic, or flat. Most people agree that matte finishes are the most attractive roofing option. Gloss paint finishes tend to diminish over time as dirt accumulates on the roof.
There are different types of paint finishes. The type of metal may affect the available color choices for that roof. In general, though, oil-based alkyd paints or acrylic latex paints can be used on most metal roofs.
Before the paint coating is applied, the surface of a metal roof will have to be primed with a primer or sealer. Paint should never be directly applied to bare metal.
Metal roofing paint finishes protect your roof from a lot of different issues that might harm your roof:
- Pollutive particles
- Sun exposure
Protective coatings and finishes are necessary to protect your roof, and this will reduce the number of repairs required for your metal roofing system. Of course, regular maintenance and keeping your roof clear of debris also will help protect your metal roof’s paint job and prolong the metal roof’s lifespan overall.
There are two types of paint systems: polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and silicone modified polyester (SMP).
Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF)
PVDF paint systems, the best paint finish on the market, is usually applied to concealed fastener panels. The chemical structure of PVDF is made of carbon-fluoride, making it acid-resistant. The resin-based coating is a thermoplastic polymer.
Warranties for PVDF finishes typically range from 20 to 40 years. PVDF resins are typically known under the brand name Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000.
The incredibly durable paint finish is resistant to:
- Extreme temperatures
- Pollution particles
- Rough weather
- UV sun rays
- Wear and tear
If it’s a matter of quality over quantity, there’s no doubt that PVDF is all about quality, as it is viewed as the best paint finish in the industry. You get what you pay for: PVDF is the most expensive type of paint system, but it is also the best and highest-quality available.
PVDF colors last a long time without fading, maintaining their bright, vivid color for much longer than SMP paint finishes. If you want a bright color, then you should go for a PVDF roof.
Silicone-Modified Polyester (SMP)
SMP, a creation of polyester and silicone, is a weather-resistant paint finish. Typically, the warranty for SMP film adhesion lasts about 40 years. It is used most frequently on siding applications or in the agricultural industry.
SMP has fewer color options and is not as long-lasting as PVDF, but it is cheaper. If an expensive paint finish like PVDF isn’t in your budget, then you should go with an SMP paint system.
While it is impressively scratch-resistant, SMP isn’t as high quality and there aren’t as many colors to choose from. Many of the SMP colors are lighter colors, as SMP is not known for bright or metallic colors.
Polyester-resin based paints don’t perform as well as PVDF and SMP counterparts, so while it is cheap, its underperformance makes it the least popular and least used among metal roof paints. There are three types of polyester coatings: super, siliconized, and modified.
Although its surface is scratch-resistant, the paint lacks silicone, meaning that the paint will fade quickly. Polyester-resin paints are prone to extreme fading in the direct sun and may have to be repainted more frequently than other types of metal roof paints.
Tools To Help Pick the Perfect Metal Roof Color
Samples and roof visualizers are some things that can help you better picture what a certain roof color looks like on your home or commercial property. Here are a few tools that might be helpful to homeowners deciding what color to pick for their roof.
Most companies provide color charts of the paints they sell, usually offering color charts for both PVDF and SPM paint finishes. Color charts allow you to browse the collection of metal roof color options and pick between the many different shades available.
Potential buyers should be aware that when it comes to color charts, the hue you see online or on paper might be slightly different from what the color looks like on your roof. Be aware that the hue on the color chart might not turn out the exact shade you thought it would be.
If none of the offered colors is to your tastes, some companies offer custom colors. However, custom colors cost more than the standard colors.
A color chip is a sample piece of painted metal roofing. Having a physical color sample of the roof allows you to compare it to the highlights of your house and get a picture for how it contrasts or complements the other components of your home.
Generally, companies offer color chips so that you can see a physical product of what the paint will look like when it is applied to a metal roof.
Roof visualizers are computer programs that allow you to upload a photo of your house to get a look at what your roof would look like with different roofing colors. This technology allows you to get a better visual idea of what your home would look like with a particular color metal roof.
It also allows you to browse photo galleries showing pictures of other homes with different color roofs to give you an idea of what looks good.
However, a roof visualizer is only a digital representation of what your roof will look like with a painted metal roof, so there are some limitations to this program.
Colors for the Gutter System
When you pick a roof color, you’ll have to pick colors for the gutter system. There is one important question to ask when considering colors for your gutters and downspouts: Do you want your gutter system to be the same color as your roof or contrast with the color of your roof?
Using the same colors on your roof and gutter system creates a blended, cohesive look. But contrasting the roof with the gutters adds a fun splash of color to your home that can increase curb appeal.
An Alternative to Paint: Bare Metal Roof
Some homeowners might want to skip over the whole process of color selection and let the beauty of the metal shine on its own with a bare metal roof.
From aluminum to zinc, roofing metals don’t necessarily need a paint finish. Instead, you can leave them unpainted and give them a protective coating such as sealants or waterproofing coatings to protect them from the elements. Not only will it give your home a pleasingly modern appearance, it is also more affordable.
Copper in particular is prized for its unique bronze sheen, which develops a desirable green patina over the years. Whether shiny and new or covered with a verdigris patina, copper is an elegant roofing with an aesthetic that looks beautiful without paint.
FAQ About How to Choose the Right Metal Roof Color
While all metal roofing colors fade over time, some colors are more resistant to fading:
Lighter colors such as light tans, grays, or whites
Matte colors last longer than glossy paint finishes
Colors with inorganic pigments last longer than colors made from organic pigments
PVDF paints last longer than SMP paints
Color can affect the price of roofing materials. Some companies offer premium colors which cost more than standard colors. However, what the premium colors are varies from company to company.
You should avoid power washing your roof, since it may scratch your paint job or damage the protective sealant. The jet force used to wash a roof can damage or dent your roof.
Bring Color to Your Roof
With over a 100 customizable colors to choose from, metal roofing guarantees you’ll be able to find the perfect color to decorate the top of your home.
If you are still not sure about what colors will work best with your roof, you can always contact a professional roofer and ask their opinion on selecting a color. Whether you are looking to get a metal roof installation or if you are ready to get your roof painted, find a roofing contractor in your area.