If you’re building your own shed, one of the things you might consider is a metal roof. Metal roofing can last up to 50 years, which is a much longer lifespan than some other choices. Asphalt shingles, for instance, last only 20 to 30 years, depending on quality. However, metal roofing does produce concerns among those considering it.
For instance, metal roofing comes in many colors these days, as people usually want it to match the roofing on their homes at least somewhat, even if the house isn’t roofed with metal. At the very least, you don’t want an unsightly clash. But are there some colors that last longer than others?
Depending on how much sun and adverse weather your roof gets can affect the life span, but lighter colors of roofing will last longer because of their reflecting abilities.
There are other factors, however, including the type of pigments used to color the roofing, whether organic or inorganic. The concentration of pigment in the paint has an effect as well. Light, natural colors such as beige, tan and sand are usually your best bet.
How Long Will the Color Last on Metal Roofing?
The general rule of thumb is that metal roofing will need to be repainted every 10 to 15 years. This can vary due to the type and quality of the original paint and variations in weather conditions and exposure to high temperatures in various climates.
How properly the paint was applied is a factor too, although any finish done at the factory level is usually dependable. If you wonder whether or not your roof needs repainting, many companies that repaint metal roofs will offer free or low-cost inspections.
Most fading occurs due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays causing the color pigments and oxygen in the air to ionize the roof’s paint, causing fading. These rays have more effect on darker colors and colors made from organic pigments. Check out my article Can You Paint a Metal Roof? if your looking for information on repainting a metal roof.
One good way to help keep your roof in good shape is to examine it any time a vigorous thunderstorm comes through that might knock tree debris down on your roof or decides to insult you with hail. Any scratches or gouges that go through the paint to the metal should be repainted to prevent rust from setting in. This won’t prevent your roofing finish from fading, of course, but it can add longevity to your roof’s lifespan in general.
Will a Metal Roof Make My Shed Hotter in Summer?
This is a common worry among those considering metal roofing. After all, the hood of your car sure gets hot when it stands out in the sun. Actually, metal reflects sunlight and the heat energy it produces. Asphalt, on the other hand, absorbs heat and holds on to it, both contributing to the gradual deterioration of the shingles and keeping whatever building is underneath hotter.
With this factor as well, light metal roof colors are your best bet. White is the best at reflecting the sun’s rays and heat, but other attractive colors such as beige, peach, light blue, light green, light gray and light bronze are also good at this. These are referred to as cool roofing colors, so you might ask a company what they offer in cool colors.
In addition, some paint coatings have reflective properties, which further help keep your shed cooler. There are separate reflective roof coatings available to go over your roof’s factory paint, but these come mostly in white, with a few silver choices. There are a few that allow the underlying color to be seen, although not as vividly as an uncoated roof. Some brands also offer tinting.
What are the Main Colors Available for Metal Roofs?
Gray – One of the most popular metal roof colors is gray, usually a sort of charcoal gray. It’s hard to find a house color that a gray roof clashes with, thus its popularity. It can also mimic a slate roof from a distance. Of course, the darker grays come with the danger of quicker fading, so it’s best to stick to the lighter shades.
Patina Green – This is a lighter sort of green. It’s desirable because it mimics the look of an aged copper roof. Green can go with many home siding colors, and since this green is on the lighter side, it can reflect sun damage better than darker colors. The drawback is that it usually doesn’t provide much contrast with most home siding colors, which negates the effect somewhat.
Colonial Red – This is a little more intense than brick red, but certainly isn’t fire engine red. It looks great on colonial-style homes or any home with white or gray siding. Of course, red does tend to fade more than some other colors, but this red shouldn’t fade as quickly as a brighter red.
Mansard Brown – This is a popular color for roofs in wooded areas or on houses covered in siding with beige tones. Of course, it is a dark color, inviting fading sooner than lighter colors. An alternative might be a lighter shade of bronze.
Metallic Copper – Metal roofing can be coated with a metallic copper finish. This not only makes your neighbors think that you spent a lot on a real copper roof, but the metallic finish helps to reflect harmful sun rays. This color doesn’t provide much contrast with the usual siding colors except for whites and pale colors such as yellow or very dark colors such as darker greens or browns.
Finishes – Metal roofing also comes with a choice of looks, coming in a glossy, shiny or matte finish. Many homeowners prefer the matte finish, as the shinier looks tend to get dull looking as dirt and grime tone down the shine. The matte finish also can add a touch of class.
How Does Color Affect a Roof’s Durability?
The metal roof colors don’t actually affect the durability of the metal itself but do have a great deal to do with how long the finish will resist fading with age and how often it will need repainting.
The one way that certain colors can impact the actual durability of the roof itself is when the paint finish is allowed to deteriorate to the point that it cracks and peels or flakes off, exposing the metal underneath. This exposes the metal to the possibility of rust creeping in, which of course will deteriorate the metal itself. Of course, any color metal roof can have this problem with neglect.
Paint colors that reflect sunlight better or those with reflective qualities will help make your paint finish last longer. The type of pigments used to color the roofing is important. Pigments made with organic substances such as carbon tend to break down more quickly, leading to less time before fading starts. These types of pigments are usually found in more vivid or dark colors, such as blue, red and black.
Pigments made with inorganic compounds such as natural minerals are harder to break down and last longer before fading, especially the lighter colors. The concentration of pigment in the paint has an effect as well, as the more pigment, the more protection.
Light, natural colors such as beige, tan and sand are usually your best bet. They usually are better at reflecting heat as well. On the other hand, the light colors are harder to keep clean, while the darker ones don’t show dirt so quickly. This is something to consider if your area is prone to dusty winds.
There are two main grades of colors, regular and premium finishes. As you might expect, metal roofing with premium finishes costs more, but those colors are more durable. If you want more information on installing metal roofing check out my article Step By Step Metal Roof Installation Guide.
Are Metal Roofs Louder When It Rains?
Fifty or so years ago, this was a real concern. These roofs consisted mainly of metal sheets attached directly to the rafters with no underlayment. Installation methods have changed greatly in the meantime, meaning that this isn’t such a problem anymore. The installation of insulation underneath the metal not only provides insulating qualities but also helps to deaden sound.
In addition, many metal roofing installers will install furring strips, also called strapping, purlins or battens. These are small strips of wood nailed into the rafters through the underlying insulation and roof sheathing. They follow the width of the roof. The metal roof panels are attached to these and then down to the rafters.
This provides some airflow underneath the metal, which also provides some sound-deadening qualities. Not all roofers use these, but they are especially used to provide an even surface for the roofing panels when the roof surface is a bit uneven, such as installing a metal roof over old asphalt shingles.
If you want even more soundproofing, you can install soundproofing insulation or other soundproofing material between the rafters on the inside of your shed roof. This will also provide more insulation for your shed.
When choosing a metal roof color, probably the easiest way would be to decide on three or four possibilities that would go with both your shed siding color and your home’s color, sticking to the lighter shades.
When you go to a supplier to look at possible colors, they may have other colors in the same color family that you like even better. Don’t forget to ask how well your favorites reflect heat. You’ll ensure that not only will the paint finish last longer, but your shed will be cooler as well.