Metal Performance: How to Finish Strong

For homeowners looking for serious low-maintenance performance and durability for the roof over their head, it’s hard to beat metal.

Quality metal roofing finishes and coatings up the ante even more, by delivering a wide range of benefits and style. The right coating can help achieve a desired look, address a particular issue and even add years of life to a roof.

Yet sorting through all the choices and considerations for metal roof coatings can be confusing. There are also specific performance characteristics that span the variety of available finishes. For example, certain coatings labeled as “cool” utilize special pigments which reflect infrared radiation and UV rays. These cool coatings can help alleviate heat build-up and reduce air conditioning requirements.

According to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), the leading nonprofit organization representing the residential metal roofing industry, here are the basics homeowners should keep in mind when it comes to selecting among the wide variety of metal roof coatings available on the market:

Painted Finishes for Metal Roofs

Modern high-performance metal roofing paints not only protect the roof but also substantially increase the energy efficiency and longevity of a roof. In addition, high-performance paint systems offer a wide range of different looks and colors to satisfy homeowners’ aesthetic desire. Quality metal roofs come with a baked-on factory finish, which also makes maintenance a snap. Most manufacturers recommend simply rinsing them with a hose and at most, using a solution of gentle soap and water to clean them.

High-performance metal roofing paint systems can provide a durable finish with improved gloss retention, superior weather resistance, and reduced color fading. These paint systems should be applied to a metal substrate at 0.2-0.3 mil thick prime coat and 0.7-1.2 mil thick topcoat.

Stone Coated/Granular Metal Roofs

For homeowners who love the look of traditional shingled roofing materials, yet want the long-lasting performance benefits of metal, stone coated metal roofs are an excellent choice. Starting with a base layer of metal (typically steel), the specially-primed roofing panels are first coated with an acrylic polymer adhesive and then the granular stone coating is applied, bonding the two. Finally, a clear coat sealer is applied over the top for extra protection. This type of finish offers homeowners all the benefits of metal roofing, in addition to exceptional curb appeal for their home.

Stone coated metal roofs also can be a solution for homeowners who live in areas where homeowner associations (HOAs) may not allow for standing seam metal roofing styles. Because stone coated metal roofs mimic traditional shingles so closely, they can fit within certain neighborhood design requirements while offering far better protection and performance as compared to asphalt.

“As represented by our manufacturer members, homeowners have plenty of industry-leading options for quality metal roofing coatings to select from,” said Renee Ramey, MRA executive director. “From outstanding curb appeal to long-term performance, there’s no doubt that choosing the right finish for your metal roof can make a world of difference for your home.”

For more information about metal roofs, download the free MRA Metal Roofing Buyer’s Guide at

About the Metal Roofing Alliance

Representing the residential metal roofing industry in the United States and Canada, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) was formed to help educate consumers about the many benefits of metal roofing. For more information about MRA membership, residential metal roofing resources and tools, visit MRA at