Metal Roof Touch Up Paint: Do's and Don'ts

There are many different types of touch-up paint options out there that are marketed to match your

metal roof, however, before applying anything to the factory coating of your metal roof it's important that you understand how that product will interact and perform differently than your factory coating. The goal of this article is to highlight which of these options will work best, and the capacity in which you should use them. Depending on the product and application method, touch up paint can turn a barely noticeable scratch into an unsightly focal point for the entire roof.


When should I apply touch up paint to my metal roof?


The answer to this question is almost never. Most scratches that occur to your metal roofing panels during installation only affect the surface of the panel. If you purchased your metal roofing panels from a reputable manufacturer like Best Buy Metals, then your panels have multiple layers of protection under the paint system (click here to learn more information about substrates). If the scratch on your panel is only a surface scratch and has not scored the material past the Galvalume® substrate, then the panel is better off left alone and not touched up. Remember, your roof is on top of your house and on a slope. When you're close to the panel the scratch may seem more significant but once on the roof it will likely be far less noticeable. If the scratch is severe enough that it has damaged the substrate or is just too unsightly, you're better off replacing the panel than trying to apply a touch-up coat.


If I do use touch-up paint, what should I use?


If you do decide to utilize touch-up paint for your panels, then you should use a product that is approved or recommended by the manufacturer of your factory paint system. The company that manufactured your metal roofing panels should be able to assist you with this information. The most effective touch-up options come in the form of a paint pen (similar to the touch up paint pen you might find at an auto body shop for your vehicle) or a brush-top can. The idea of a paint pen or brush-top can is to limit the amount of non factory paint that comes in contact with your metal panel as much as possible.


Should I use spray paint on my roof?


The short answer is no. This is not a good idea. As you can see in the picture above aerosol products like spray paint will not perform the same way your factory applied coating does. It will quickly fade leaving chalky splotches wherever it was applied. You likely will not notice this for several months or longer once the spray paint has been applied.


Can I get touch up paint that is just like the factory applied coating?


You'll never be able to touch-up your metal roofing panels the exact way that it is applied at the factory. Quality metal roofing panels are coated with a baked on powder coating like Silicone Modified Polyester (SMP) or Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF). Because of this, you should always expect touch up paint of any kind to perform differently, and age more rapidly than your factory applied coating.


I have splotches on my roof from touch up paint, now what?


In some cases there are steps that can be taken to remove air dry materials from your factory applied coating. You may first try washing the affected area with mild soapy water or a mild household cleaner such as Fantastic. Sometimes a minimally abrasive pad can help succeed in removal. This should always be tested in a non-visible area before attempting it on a larger portion of the roof. It should also be noted that repeated rubbing with abrasive cleaners and/or pads will likely result in a scuffed surface. This can be unsightly and also may lower the service life of the coating and void warranty coverage.


In conclusion, the best thing you can do is to try to prevent scratches as much as possible during installation. Coatings like HD Crinkle Finish can offer increased scratch resistance and limit the amount of abrasions that occur during installation.


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