Metal Roofing Colors: 5 Tips To Pick The Best Metal Roofing Color
You’ve decided to put metal roofing on your house and now it is time to answer the toughest question that most buyers face: which color should I choose for my metal roof? You want to pick the right metal roofing color to complement your house design. Picking the right color for your metal roof will make your house stand out in the neighborhood. Once your roof is installed changing the color is not an option, so choosing a color that looks appealing is imperative.
At Western States Metal Roofing we have been selling metal roofing for twenty three years. Our tagline is “Finishes You’ve Never Seen Before”. Besides your typical colors we also carry designer colors and specialty paint prints that are truly unique. You will not see colors like these anywhere else. The two tone paint system and the depth of the colors we supply, will give you a roof that is absolutely stunning.
From our experience of working with thousands of customers over the years, we’ve been able to determine the factors that will affect your decision. We can help you make the correct color choice for your metal roof. Our goal in this article is to help answer all of your questions and put them in one place to make your research simpler.
This article will explain the color options available for your metal roof so that you purchase and create a home you will love.
The following factors will assist you in choosing the perfect color:
- Choose the correct metal roofing panel
- Types of paint systems
- How to pick the right metal roofing color
- Energy efficiency
- Tools to choose the correct metal roofing color
Notice, before you choose your metal roofing color, you must first decide on the type of metal roofing panel and paint system. Both of these decisions will impact your budget and color choices available. Once you have chosen your roofing panel and the paint system, the fun of picking a color can begin. Do you want a dark or light color? Do you want the finish to be glossy and shiny? Maybe your roof would look nicer with a flat finish such as a matte color. You are going to see your metal roof every day for as long as you live in your home, so informing yourself on the details will benefit you greatly.
There are many factors that will affect choosing the right metal roofing color. Here are five tips that will help you pick out the best color for your metal roof.
Tip #1: How To Choose The Correct Metal Roofing Panel
Before you pick the perfect color for your roof you must first decide on the type of metal roofing panel. Do you want an exposed fastener panel such as ⅞” Corrugated, PBR panel, and 7.2 panel or a concealed fastener panel such as standing seam?
This decision affects both the pricing of the metal roofing and the amount of colors that you will have to choose from. The type of metal roofing panel that you choose is the starting point for determining which paint system is correct for your roof.
Exposed Fastener Roofing Panels
This is a metal roofing panel in which the fasteners are exposed to the weather. This type of panel is much easier to install and would be a much better fit for the “DIY“ installer that has very little installation experience. In addition, both the cost of the panel and the installation cost are about fifty percent less than standing seam metal roofing. This is the best type of metal roofing panel if budget is the primary factor for your project.
The main disadvantage of this type of roofing system is that the fasteners penetrate the roofing panel and each penetration is a potential leak point.
When you choose an exposed fastener panel it allows for more choices. You have different options available for the gauge of steel that will be used or for the type of paint finish
Available Gauges Of Steel For Exposed Fastener Panels
Exposed fastener panels allow for the option of using a lighter gauge steel such as 26 gauge or even 29 gauge. As the gauge of the steel decreases the cost of the panels decrease. 26 gauge steel weighs thirty percent less than 24 gauge steel and therefore costs about 30 percent less. Although 29 gauge is a possibility, we do not recommend using such a light gauge of steel.
If you’d like to learn more about this, we suggest reading:
26 v. 29 Gauge Metal: Is A Thicker Roof Worth The Cost?
SMP And Kynar® Paint Finishes
Exposed fastener panels are available in both SMP paint finishes and Kynar® paint finishes.
Concealed Fastener Roofing Panels
This is a metal roofing panel in which the fasteners are concealed. Concealed fastener panels such as standing seam are the most weather tight metal roofing panels. This type of panel is much more difficult to install and we recommend hiring a professional installer to do your project.
Both the cost of the panel and the installation cost are about fifty percent more than an exposed fastener roofing panel.
When you choose a concealed fastener panel you will be purchasing the most expensive and most weather tight metal roofing system. Due to the cost of the materials you should only use a heavy gauge steel in the best paint finish.
Manufacturer’s have to choose which gauges and paint finishes they will inventory. They cannot keep every color, every gauge, and all paint systems in stock.The best paint finish is Kynar® and 24 gauge is better than 26 gauge steel. Therefore, when you purchase standing seam roofing it will typically be both Kynar® paint and 24 gauge steel.
Available Gauges Of Steel For Concealed Fastener PanelsThe vast majority of standing seam roofs are 24 gauge steel. Once in awhile a heavier gauge such as 22 gauge will be specified. Using a 26 gauge steel or lighter is rare because it increases the chance of oil canning.
SMP and Kynar® Paint FinishesMost concealed fastener panels will have a Kynar® paint system. It does not make sense to install an expensive standing seam roof and then save a minimal amount of money using a lesser paint finish such as an SMP paint system.
Choosing a concealed fastener panel such as standing seam determines which color options will be available. If you choose a standing seam panel then you will almost certainly be purchasing a Kynar® paint system in a 24 gauge steel. If you choose an exposed fastener panel then you have lots of additional choices. You have the option of a Kynar® or SMP paint finish and then can do so in a variety of gauges.
If you are a homeowner and budget is your primary concern then an exposed fastener panel in a 26 gauge SMP paint finish would be a good choice. It would be the best product for the least amount of money.
If you’d like to learn more about this we recommend this blog:
Tip #2: How to Choose the Correct Paint System For My Metal Roof: Kynar® vs SMP
There are two paint systems that homeowners can choose from. PVDF paint is known as Kynar 500® or Hylar 5000® and Silicone-modified polyester which is referred to as SMP. The simplest way to describe these two paint finishes is with a good, better, best model. PVDF/Kynar 500® would be considered “best”, SMP would be “ better”, and Polyester would be “good”. Polyester is inferior to both Kynar and SMP and the cost savings is not significant enough to justify the lesser quality paint.
Metal Roofing With SMP Paint
SMP paint is an excellent paint choice and it costs less than Kynar 500®, but there are limitations. This type of paint system is used more often on siding applications or in the agricultural industry. As a result there are not as many colors to choose from. The colors are typically light or neutral. You will rarely see metallic or bright and vibrant colors in SMP paint.
Metal Roofing With Kynar®/PVDF Paint
PVDF/Kynar 500® is more expensive than SMP paint and is considered the gold standard for metal roofing paint finishes. You will have a greater array of color choices including metallics, bright and vibrant colors, matte finishes, and even designer paint finishes.
The single biggest advantage PVDF has when compared to SMP is that it will hold the color integrity longer. PVDF paint systems will fade less when compared to an SMP paint system. If you have further interest in this subject we suggest that you read our blog: Best Paint System For Metal Roof Panels: SMP v. Kynar®
If you decide to install a standing seam metal roof then you will nearly certainly be choosing a PVDF/Kynar 500® paint system. You will have an unlimited color selection and will be purchasing the best paint system. Bright and vibrant colors should only be purchased in a PVDF paint system.
If you choose an exposed fastener panel such as ⅞” corrugated or PBR panel you have the option of SMP Paint or Kynar 500®. SMP paint has less color choices and is available in lighter gauges, but there is an opportunity to save money. If you have an exposed fastener panel then your decision should start with the color that you want.
Is that color available in SMP paint? If so, look at the cost difference between Kynar® and SMP. Then make whatever decision is best for your project and budget.
Tip #3: How To Pick The Right Metal Roofing Color
There are more color choices available today than ever before. Sometimes the plethora of choices makes this decision more difficult. However, after speaking with thousands of customers we’ve learned what environmental factors are important.
If you have followed tip 1 & 2 then you have a good start on this decision. You have already determined the panel type and whether it will be a Kynar® or SMP paint system. If you are installing a standing seam roof then you know that you will be looking at the Kynar® colors.
Conversely, if installing the least expensive roof is the primary objective then you know that an exposed fastener panel in an SMP paint finish would be the best fit. Finally, if the budget is in the middle you could look at a ⅞” corrugated, Western Rib, or PBR panel in a Kynar finish which would allow for an abundance of color choices at a reasonable price point.
The next step is to match the color to your property. You want the color to blend in with your property and complement all of the surrounding features. Your metal roof should blend in nicely with your stucco, siding, or brick and create a balanced look.
Do you want to add a pop of color and do the fascia or gutter in a different color? What do the other houses in the neighborhood look like? What is your style of architecture? Is energy efficiency important? Maybe you want to add an accent wall in metal that looks like distressed wood?These are all factors that you should consider when you are choosing a metal roofing color.
Choose the color of your metal roof based on the complementary features surrounding your property
- The color of the stucco, siding or brick are the main features of your house. This is the starting point in choosing a metal roofing color. Compare the metal roofing color to the stucco, siding, or brick and verify that they complement each other.
- Take into account additional property features such as: doors, windows, fences, columns, railings, landscaping features, other nearby structures
Fascia, trim, gutters, and downspouts.
- Do you want the fascia and/or the gutters to be the same color as the roof?
- Add a pop of color. It would not be unusual for the trim to be a slightly different color that will compliment the design. For example, a metal roof in Country Red could have fascia and gutter in Polar White. We see this done with the gray colors quite often. A dark color like Charcoal Gray with the trim done in a lighter Slate Gray.
Dark Colored Roofs vs Light Colored Roofs
- Lighter colored roofs have the effect of making your roof look taller. If you have a shallow pitch or a low roof this could make your house appear taller than it actually is.
- Darker colored roofs will have the opposite effect and can make a high slope or tall roof look less profound.
Colors Will Look Different Depending On The Time Of Day
- Look at the main features of your house and compare the roofing samples at different times of the day.
- The colors will look different depending on the lighting conditions.
- You may notice that in the middle of the afternoon there is a really bad glare and a matte color would be better than a glossy color. Maybe in the early evening the color looks gloomy or dull.
Neighborhood trends and HOA’s
- What color are the other roofs in your neighborhood? If all of the roofs in your neighborhood are light earth tones then installing a Slate Blue roof might not be the best idea.
- Are you subject to the rules of an HOA? Does your HOA even allow a metal roof? Make sure that you verify metal roofs are allowed and get a list of the approved colors. Then submit a color chip for approval by the HOA.
- Will glossy or shiny finishes be a problem? If so you may want to consider a dark matte color.
Let Your Geographical Location Influence Your Colors
- Mountains and forest locations tend to have metal roofing colors that are earth tones and match the surrounding areas. Popular colors in these areas are: Classic Green, Dark Bronze, Medium Bronze, Burnished Slate, Charcoal Gray, Slate Gray, Ash Gray, Rusted Paint Prints, Real Rusted Roofing, Matte Finishes, Weathered Gray Paint Prints
- Deserts and the Plains often have metal roofing colors that are warm with earthy tones. Colors that match the desert sands and terracotta roof tiles. Popular colors in these areas are: Sandstone, Desert Tan, Mansard Brown, Burnished Slate, Medium Bronze, Black Ore Matte, Slate Gray, Ash Gray, Terra Cotta, Rusted Paint Prints, Real Rusted Roofing, Matte Finishes, Weathered Gray Paint Prints
- Tropical locations tend to be colors that are bright and vibrant. Popular colors in these areas are: Aged Patina, Sage Green, Regal Red, Slate Blue, Regal Blue, Zinc Metallic, Copper Penny, and Copper Paint Prints
The Style Of Architecture
- Modern Architecture has been trending to dark colors and dark matte colors such as: Matte Black, Matte Midnight Black, Matte Dark Bronze, Matte Musket Gray, Vintage, Black Ore Matte, Gray Zinc Matte, Speckled Blackened Rust, Blackened Copper, and Weathered Gray Paint Prints.
- Spanish Style Architecture will tend to play off the look of a clay tile roof or an old and rusted look such as: Rusted Paint Prints, Real Rusted Roofing, Terra Cotta, and Colonial Red.
- Barns and Farmhouse Architecture are often whites, reds, or dark grays such as: Regal White, Bone White, Almond, Regal Red, Colonial Red, Vintage.
Tip #4: Energy Efficient Cool Metal Roofing Will Lower Your Energy Costs
Choosing the correct metal roofing color will have a direct effect on the energy efficiency of your metal roof. If you live in a warm climate then the color of your roof should be a major consideration. If you want to save money on your electric bill then you should purchase a metal roof that is a “Cool Metal Roof”.
As a metal roofing company located in sunny Arizona our customers are always looking for ways to reduce their electric bills. It is not uncommon to have a summer electric bill that is three hundred to five hundred dollars. We are asked the same questions each and every month.
Does The Color Of My Roof Affect Energy Efficiency?
Metal roofing in a lighter color will reflect the heat of the sun much better than a darker colored metal roof. Lighter colored roofs will help safeguard your roof from intense heat. In fact, a lighter colored roof can decrease your energy bill.
Are Darker Colored Roofs Hotter Than Lighter Colored Roofs?
A black metal roof will make your roof hotter. When you live in a hot climate a darker colored metal roof will be hotter than a light colored metal roof. Choosing “Cool Metal Roofing” in a dark color can mitigate the difference in energy cost created by the darker color.
If you live in a cooler climate then choosing a darker color roof will have a minimal impact on your energy bill. Darker color roofs soak up the heat and will keep your home warmer. In a cooler climate a darker roof can lessen your heating bill.
What Is Cool Metal Roofing?
Cool metal roofing is not referring to the substrate of the metal roofing. It has to do the coating or paint system that uses cool pigments which increase solar reflectance and lessen the surface temperature of the roof.
A cool roof prevents heat absorption by reflecting the sun's heat and then emitting its radiation back into the atmosphere. By doing this, cool roofs allow for a more comfortable and controlled indoor environment.
The biggest benefit of a cool roof is the energy savings and according to the Green Building Alliance energy savings will range from 7%-15% of total cooling costs. Cool metal roofing that is ENERGY STAR® certified may be eligible for tax incentives.
If you live in a hot climate and want a dark colored metal roof then you should consider a “ Cool Metal Roof “ in a dark color. This will allow you to go with a dark metal roof and it will lessen the impact of the darker color versus the lighter color.
What’s More Energy Efficient: Shingles Or Metal Roofing?
One major incentive to choose metal roofing over asphalt shingles is the ability to choose a cool roof system. Metal roofing that qualifies as a “cool roof” can be 50 to 60 degrees cooler than dark asphalt shingles. This will lessen the load of your air conditioner and save you money on your monthly electric bill.
Tip #5: Tools To Select The Best Metal Roofing Color
It has never been easier to choose a metal roofing color. There are more tools that are available today than ever before. Most companies have excellent websites with extensive photo galleries or product visualizers. Color charts are available online and free color chips are even available.
Metal Roofing Color Charts
The starting point for selecting colors should be a color chart. Color charts normally are grouped by the type of paint finish. Most companies will have different color charts for SMP paint, standard colors in PVDF/Kynar 500®, special order colors, and designer or specialty paint prints.
Color charts are nice because you see all of the colors in one place. For example, you can see the different shades of gray or white and then determine which one is more appropriate for your project. Having a side by side comparison of the different shades of each color is a great starting point.
There are limitations to color charts. When you view a color chart online you are subject to your monitor settings. The color on your computer screen should only be considered as a fairly close color representation. When you see that color in person it may be completely different than what you expected. Furthermore, it is such a small color swab that you can only get a very basic feel for the actual look of the color.
Metal Roofing Photo Galleries
After you look at a color chart you will have a good idea of your general color range. The next step is to try and find jobsite photographs of these colors. Most companies will have a nice photo gallery and in many instances it will be organized by the specific color.
Roofing visualizers allow you to select a specific style of home or upload a photograph of your project. This can be helpful because you can compare different colors to the structure and even change the surrounding features. You will have the ability to pick the stucco or brick color and then select a metal roofing color. This is very helpful to see if the colors complement each other and are in balance.
Metal Color Chips
All of the previous tools will give you a fairly close idea of what the color will look like. The only way to get an actual representation of the color is to get a metal color sample. This metal color chip will actually be cut from the steel that is used to make the metal roofing. It will be the best representation of the color.
The main problem with a metal sample is that they are small. Most color chips are somewhere between 2”X3” up to 4”X 8”. When you look at a small color chip you are looking at it from hand to eye. Holding the color chip in your hand and then viewing it from an arms distance is not representative of the way it will look on your roof. It’s too close. When your roof is actually installed you will be viewing the color of your roof from the street to the roof. This is a much further distance and the color will look different.
Sometimes colors look good from close, but look completely different from afar. Sometimes the details of the paint get lost from a distance. Lighting conditions are also different on the roof versus looking at a sample from your kitchen counter. You should be looking at a color from ground to roof. This is the way the color will look on your roof.
We recommend that you request color chips in your favorite 1-5 colors. Once you see these colors in person then trim it down to your favorite 1-2 colors. Request a panel sample which is much larger. They can be placed on the roof or looked at on the ground from a distance of ten feet. Looking at panel samples from roof to ground gives you the most realistic vision of what your roof will look like.
Availability Of Metal Samples
Panel samples are difficult for a manufacturer to supply. It’s not practical to stop production and manufacture one small piece of metal. It costs hundreds of dollars to do this each time. Therefore, you have to have samples in stock and ready to ship. That would require thousands of samples which is also not practical.
At Western States Metal Roofing our sample policy is:
- Metal color chips are free of charge and readily available in all colors. You can request as many colors as you need as long as it’s a reasonable request.
- Panel samples
- Specialty paint prints/designer colors are readily available and free. These colors have to be seen in person so that you can see the detail and beauty of the paint.
- Panel samples in standard colors are available in white only. We will also send you a metal color chip in any colors that you need. Normally having a white panel sample and a metal color chip in your chosen color is enough to determine whether it’s the correct color for your project.
Take The Next Step and Download A Free Color Card
It seems overwhelming to choose the correct color for your metal roof, but we will help make it easier. Our goal is to provide you with the perfect color. We want you to be happy with your decision for many years to come. We have included a list of color cards to help you take the first step.
Metal Roofing Color Cards
- SMP Colors
- PVDF/Kynar 500® - Standard Colors
- PVDF/Kynar 500® - Special Order Colors
- PVDF/Kynar 500® - Matte Colors
- Specialty Paint Prints/Designer Colors
- Specialty Paint Print Catalog
- Real Rusted Roofing
- Vari-Cool Color Changing Paint System
- Metal That Looks Like Wood
Wrapping it all up, remember;
- Choose the metal roofing panel first. Do you want a concealed fastener or an exposed fastener panel?
- Determine the paint system. Will you purchase a PVDF/Kynar 500® or a SMP paint system?
- Factor in the features surrounding your property, such as: stucco or brick color, the surrounding geography, and the style of architecture
- Is energy efficiency important? If so, then use a “Cool metal roofing” color
- Take advantage of all of the free tools that are available, such as: color cards, photo galleries, product visualizers, and free color chips or panel samples.
Now that you know how to pick the best color for your metal roof let us help you with the next step. Color chips, panel samples, and color cards are easy to request online. Take a look at our colors and let us mail you free samples.
About Paul Rubio
Paul Rubio is the Vice President and one of the owners of Western States Metal Roofing. He has been in the metal roofing industry for 25 years. WSMR is a manufacturer of metal roofing, wall panels, and metal siding. We have colors and finishes that nobody else has with nearly 100 different colors in stock. Our selection of color options and finishes is likely the largest in the industry.