How to Paint Rusty Metal Roof? [Your Guide]

Sometimes clients ask me, “Can you paint a rusty metal roof?” It’s no secret that a metal roof can last for decades. But what about when it starts to show its age? So How to paint rusty metal roof?

The answer is yes! Painting a rusty metal roof is a great way to give it new life and extend its lifespan.

If you’ve ever seen a rusty metal roof, you know how ugly it can be. Living in an area with harsh weather conditions, keeping your metal roof in good condition is especially important. That’s because a metal roof can withstand high winds and heavy rains.

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to getting your roof looking brand new again, but there is one thing you might not have considered – hiring an experienced professional. A fresh coat or two may be all that’s needed for some roofs!

It’s time to say goodbye, old friend. Your metal roof may be falling apart, but don’t worry because we’ve got everything you need for a quick fix!

bar, roof beams, metal

How to Paint Rusty Metal Roof?

Metal roof is like any other metal surface- they need to be prepared, then primed with a special primer before you paint them.

The steps for preparing and priming your roof will depend on what color coatings you want: basic colors like white or silver can go onto either type. Still, if it’s going over an edge that needs darker shades, dark colors should only come out when applied directly against their shadowed counterparts so as not to stand apart from these backgrounds!

building, brick, stairs

Here is a step-by-step guide on How to Paint Rusty Metal Roof:

1. Remove The Rust

This is the most important part! Before you start painting, you need to make sure all the rust is gone. If any flakes are left, the paint will not adhere properly, and the rust will continue to spread.

Before removing the rust, it’s important to protect yourself from the fumes. Wear a respirator and gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area.

Metal roofs are typically made from galvanized steel, copper, or aluminum. Most of them are pretty strong and highly resistant to the elements but If you are preparing to paint a rusted galvanized metal roof, pay special attention to surface preparation or you will have a recurrence of rust and/or flaking.

There are a few ways you can remove rust. You can use a chemical Rust Remover, sandpaper, or a wire brush.

There are two types of rust removers:

Acid-based and alkaline-based.

  • Acid-based rust removers are the most popular because they’re effective and easy to use.
  • Alkaline-based rust removers are less common because they’re more expensive and can be dangerous if not used properly.

Let’s try out some methods:

Method 1: Using Trisodium Phosphate

Come on! You know that there is no way you can get the stain and rust out without using some serious chemicals.

That’s why I recommend we go ahead with a professional cleaner from professionals in this field who will have everything we need at their fingertips – even if it means paying more money upfront than what’s budgeted right now.

The chemical can penetrate the rust and help remove stains, as well. It’s a common item that you’ll find at your local home improvement store!


Trisodium Phosphate is an effective cleaner for many surfaces, but it’s not something you want to get on your skin. Make sure that any clothes or other items made of material are protected with rubber gloves before handling this product to prevent damage from occurring due to its harshness.

How to use it?

The first thing you should know about trisodium phosphate is that it’s not just a grain of salt! This powerful compound comes in powder but needs water to mix properly.

One cup per gallon will give your liquid enough strength for whatever task it throws- from cleaning windows all over town or removing stains on any fabric inside homes with ease.”

Give it a good 15 minutes to penetrate the rust and start working. Then, use your scrub brush with hard bristles for all that tough staining residue – if you don’t have one, this will take longer than necessary!

Method 2: Using Sandpaper

You can remove rust with sandpaper if you don’t want to use chemicals. This method will take longer, but it’s an effective way to remove rust without harsh chemicals.

construction, sandpaper, site

You’ll need to use coarse sandpaper, such as 60-grit sandpaper. Start by sanding the rust until it’s gone. Then, move to finer grit sandpaper, such as 80-grit, and sand the entire roof until it’s smooth.

Once you’ve sanded the roof, you’ll need to prime it before painting.

Method 3: Using a Wire Brush

If you have a wire brush, you can use it to remove rust. This method is similar to sandpaper but will take less time.

Start by brushing the rust until it’s gone. Then, brush the entire roof until it’s smooth.

Once you’ve brushed the roof, you’ll need to prime it before painting.

Method 4: Pressure Washer

There is a way to avoid the harsh trisodium phosphate and scrub by hand, but if you’d rather not do that, then there’s an easy mechanical method as well!

You guessed it – a pressure washer will quickly take care of business and have your roof looking as good as new in no time.

You’ll need a pressure washer for this, and it should reach at least 2500 PSI if you want to Remove the rust from your metal roof.

Caution: Be sure to hold the pressure washer at least 12 inches from the roof’s surface, so you don’t damage it.

Now that you know how to remove rust from your metal roof, it’s time to prime and paint it!

2. Apply Vinegar to the Roof and Clean It

Corrugated metal roofs are a great way to protect your home from the elements.

These roofs are made with a galvanized coating to prevent corrosion, but the paint might not be strong enough.

That’s where white vinegar comes in! It will help us get our desired look and protect whatever surface we’re working with from any harmful effects of acid rain or other environmental factors that could damage it over time.

The best part? You can find this natural product at your local grocery store—so there’s no need for expensive professional equipment when doing smaller jobs around town.

Next, apply some white vinegar to a rag. Then use the cleaning cloth as your guide and wipe down all parts of the roof consistently for the best results!

Be careful not to scrub too hard, or else you may miss some areas that need attention – lightly apply it everywhere until its dries afterward, so no more stains appear.

3. Apply the primer

Anticipation is tangible. You can feel it in your bones, like an electric charge that gets stronger by the minute. Finally! You can start watching the roof change!

The time has come for this next step to be done with all its vinegary goodness and priming magic, so we might get some hint at what our house will look like when everything’s said ‘dumped’.

This is an important stage because it will prevent the rust from returning and ensure the paint adheres to the metal surface, giving us an even and consistent finish.

To do this, mix one part white vinegar with one part water in a bucket. Apply the mixture to the roof with a brush or roller, then let it dry.

If we want our metal roof paint to last, it needs the right supplies. What are those?

Luckily, there are special formulas available that do precisely this. They’ll prepare the surface for repainting and bring out all its shine again! The right primer will stop the rust from ruining your project.

Pro Tip:

When applying the primer, make sure to cover every inch of surface area and don’t miss any spots! Once you’ve painted yourself into a corner, there is no turning back.

Follow the instructions

Be sure to follow the can’s instructions for priming and waiting periods before painting. Most allow 24 hours, but some might need more time depending on their ingredients; don’t wait too long, or you may end up with an uneven coat!

4. Time to put some color: Apply Paint!

After the primer has dried, it’s time to start painting!

And don’t even think about painting while the primer is still wet! You might ruin your beautiful new paint job and have to start over. That would be such a waste of time and patience.

You can choose any standard exterior paint since your roof is now rustproof. But to be on the safe side, use rust-preventing paint.

Let me tell you something–I learned this lesson firsthand when my friend told me she was getting married (again) in 6 months; his family had also asked us along as +5 guests…so naturally, curiosity got the best of me, and I started to ask around about what color schemes, table settings, and centerpieces would be popular this season.

I was so excited that I came home and started painting our old, rusty roof without waiting for the primer to dry first.

It looked like a complete disaster. I was so frustrated that I had to start over from scratch, and I vowed never to make that mistake again!

Now that we know the importance of letting things dry let’s move on to applying the paint!

To do this, you’ll want to use a paintbrush or roller specifically designed for metal surfaces. These can be found at your local hardware store.

It’s always best to use a paintbrush for metal roofs since rollers might leave an uneven finish.

Proper roof maintenance is the key to a long-lasting and durable home. Make sure you protect your investment with an extra layer of protection by adding some new paint!

Start by painting the corners and edges, then work your way down.

Be sure to overlap each stroke, so you don’t miss any spots.

Using a paint sprayer for larger projects is also a good idea.

Follow the same process as before, starting with the corners and edges and working your way down.

Keep the paint can moving so you don’t miss any spots!

When you’re finished painting, ensure the whole roof has been covered with even application. You don’t want areas where thicker paint or thinner coverage will show because this could give a glare when light reflects off it differently, depending on what time of day we’re talking about!

5. Finally, put the final coat

It’s time to add a final coat of protection! This will help the color last longer and keep your roof looking new for years to come.

Once you’ve applied the final coat, you’re done!

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones with their roof already covered in primer and protective enamel, meaning it’s safe from almost anything!

But if you find darker or lighter spots on your roof, it might be worth applying an additional coat of paint for aesthetic purposes. Once dry-it will look like new and might even surpass what was originally installed!

Depending on your preference, you can use a clear sealant or a colored one. If you choose a clear sealant, apply it evenly, so there are no streaks or missed spots.

For a colored sealant, follow the same process as before.

Tin Roof Fact

Tin roofs are not actually made of pure tin. Priming and Painting Regular exterior house paint will not protect your tin roof from the rust. You need to apply a rust-retardant primer to protect the roof from developing rust

Tips to consider when painting rusty metal roofs

There are a few things you should keep in mind before painting:

Don’t forget to wash the roof

A major key to doing your paint job is ensuring the roof is clean before you start painting. This will help the paint adhere better and allow you to inspect the roof for any problems that might need to be fixed before you start painting.

You can pressure wash the roof or use a garden hose to rinse it. If you’re using a pressure washer, be sure to use a low setting so that you don’t damage the roof.

Once you’ve rinsed the roof off, let it dry completely before you start painting.

If you’re painting in direct sunlight, it’s best to start early, so the roof has to dry all day.

Remove any loose paint or rusted metal roofs

Before you start painting, you’ll need to remove any loose paint or rust.

You can scrape it off with a putty knife if there’s loose paint.

For rust, you’ll need to use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove it.

You can probably just sand it off if the rust is only on the surface.

But if it’s deeper, you might need to use a rust converter before you start painting.

Wait for the paint to dry

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important to let the paint dry before adding a second coat.

If you don’t, the new paint will end up peeling off.

Sealant is a MUST

This is one of the most common mistakes, but it’s also a big mistake. You’ll regret not taking this extra step if you don’t care now!

Sealant is a must-have when painting a rusty roof.

It will help the paint last longer and protect the roof from the elements.

Use a sealant that is safe for your roof and will withstand the temperature where you live. Make sure it has sustained durability so not only does one application suffice, but multiple applications are possible depending on how often snow builds up on top

Consider weather conditions

most people will overlook this one, but it is crucial in getting the most out of your paint job – consider what the weather conditions are like!

If it’s too hot, the paint will dry too fast and won’t adhere properly.

If it’s too cold, the paint will take longer to dry and might not cure properly.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly.

You might need to reschedule if the weather isn’t cooperating.

What kind of paint do you use on a rusty metal roof?

Anti-rust paints with rust-retardant primer. Regular paints alone can’t prevent rust from spreading to a rusted roof. It would help if you combined your paints with a good primer. Acrylic acid paint is one of the most popular paints for roofs. It can act as both paint and primer.

You’ll want to use a paint specifically designed for metal surfaces. These can be found at your local hardware store.

It’s always best to use a paintbrush for metal roofs since rollers might leave an uneven finish.

When you’re finished painting, ensure the whole roof has been covered with even application. If you want to get the job done right, use paint and primers from matching companies.

How often should you paint a metal roof?

You should repaint your roof every 3 to 5 years or as needed. If your roof is already in bad shape, you might need to repaint it sooner rather than later.

It’s a good idea to check the condition of your roof regularly and repaint it before the rust starts to show.

Will the metal continue to rust after the paint?

Painted metal can still rust, but it will take longer for the process to occur. The paint acts as a barrier against moisture and oxygen, the two elements that cause the metal to rust.

However, if the paint is scratched or damaged, moisture and oxygen can still reach the metal and cause it to rust.

That’s why it’s important to regularly check the condition of your roof and repaint it as needed.

Pro Tip

Sometimes, the best way to get rid of rust is by removing dirt and other substances from its surface. This will help prevent future corrosion that could cause major problems for your roof structure!

Best rust converters in the market

There are many types of rust converters available in the market. Some of the best rust converters are:

Corroseal Rust Converter

The Corroseal Brand is the market leader in converting rust into useful products. It has an impressive track record of effectiveness, durability and cost efficiency sets it apart from its competitors!

Evapo-Rust ER012

Evapo-Rust ER012

The Evapo-Rust ER012 is a safe and effective rust converter that works differently from other products on the market. It does not use acid, so it’s one of our favorite brands because you can’t get any harm done to your car!

Permatex 82180 Ultra

Permatex 82180 Ultra

Black Maximum Oil Resistance RTV Silicone Gasket Maker

The Permatex 82180 is a great rust converter because it’s a silicone-based product. This means that it’s resistant to high temperatures and won’t dry out or crack over time.

It can be used on all types of metal surfaces, making it a versatile product for your needs!

Rust-Oleum Metal Prime

Rust-Oleum Metal Prime

It is always a good idea to protect new paint jobs from the dangers of rust. The Metal Prime formula by Rust-Oleum will stop any budding beginnings on your metal surface, giving you peace knowing that it can’t spread and ruin other parts in its path! It stops rusting before it can ruin your new paint job and leaves no residue, so you don’t have to worry about ugly patches of black or brown on an otherwise beautiful vehicle!

Seymour 16-045 Rust Converter & Primer Spray

Seymour 16-045 Rust Converter & Primer Spray

indeed, Seymour makes a superior product that will change the way you look at rust forever! It stops the current progress of rust and prevents future corrosion on metal surfaces.

This product is a two-in-one rust converter and primer that leaves behind a smooth, paintable surface. So, it saves you time by stopping rust in its tracks and gives you a head start on your next painting project!

Final Thoughts

Although it may seem daunting, painting a rusty roof is not as difficult. With the right preparation and products, you can have your roof looking good as new in no time!

Be sure to take your time and go slowly; rushing will only lead to mistakes. Take your time and go slow, so the paint has plenty of time to adhere to the metal and form a protective barrier against the elements.

And most importantly, have fun with it! After all, what’s the point of this guide if you don’t enjoy yourself along the way?

Phew! We hope this article was helpful in you figuring out How to Paint Rusty Metal Roof. We will lovingly pat you on the back for a well-done job if you make it to the end!

Share this guide with a friend who might need it, or leave us a comment below if you have any questions. Rust never sleeps, but with this guide, you will be able to put up a good fight!

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