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Popular Metal Roof Colors: Which Is Right For You?

popular metal roof colors laid out side by side

Metal roofing has been used in the US since the 1700s. But it wasn’t until the 1920s when metal roof colors became more commonplace, with red, green or even black metal roofs popping up along the countryside. Roofers can also have all kinds of specialties, so make sure you find a roofer with metal roofing experience when you’re ready to pick the perfect color! 

Today, there are a host of color options for metal roofing, and a number of ways in which to apply metal roof colors. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular paint systems used to apply color to metal roof material. Then, we’ll examine some of the hottest metal roof colors you can choose from today, and which type of aesthetic they’re best for. Make sure to check out our metal roof cost calculator for an accurate estimate for your roof replacement before reaching out to contractors!

What Are Paint Systems?

A paint system is a type of painted finish for metal roofing. In general, metal roof colors are made up of a pigment and a resin. The pigment is the color itself, while the resin serves as a protective element that extends the life of your roof’s color, binds the paint to the metal, and offers a durable finish. 

Below, we’ll touch on a variety of paint systems, some of which are stronger and longer lasting than others. These different types of resin are similar, but each has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin is considered the gold standard when it comes to paint systems for a roof. Made of 70% PVDF and 30% acrylic, this resin can stand up to extreme conditions and temperatures, lasting as long as 40 years with very little fading or chalking (the process where a metal roof takes on a white tinge as a result of residue caused by the breakdown of metal particles). 

PVDF paint systems are the most expensive option. To this point, it’s interesting and unfortunate to note that PVDF is used in the manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles. As more and more EV cars are produced and put on the roads, the demand for PVDF has increased, which in turn has caused a shortage of the material for use in roofing. As a result, prices of PVDF paint systems have increased even more. According to Sheffield Metals, “As of early 2022, PVDF costs about 60 to 80% more than SMP and is about 50 to 60% higher in price than [even a year earlier].”


Silicone-modified polyester, or SMP, is another quality paint system for metal roofing. SMP is made up of polyester and silicone materials, which allows for great durability in extreme temperatures or weather conditions. Considered a small step below PVDF in terms of quality, SMP roofing can easily last up to 35 years. SMP trends about 40% cheaper than PVDF, with one price comparison listing SMP at $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot and PVDF at $2.30 to $4.00 per square foot. 


This durable resin is actually a coating of liquid plastic and PVC particles. Extremely strong and durable, but limited in color choices and prone to changing the pigment of bright metal colors, plastisol is a good option for environments or situations that often lead to corrosion. Durable and dent-resistant, plastisol-coated roof sheets can be purchased in a few different thicknesses to suit most needs, and are used in both residential and commercial applications. 


Here’s a tale of “you get what you pay for.” While polyester resins are much cheaper (about $0.20 per square foot less) than SMP and other applications, they simply don’t hold up well when used to coat an entire metal roof. In fact, some estimates indicate that metal roof colors can fade within just eight to 12 years when covered with a poly resin. That’s because it simply can’t stand up to harsh weather conditions the way resins like PVDF and SMP can. 

green painted metal roof

When it comes to metal roof colors, the “trendiest” colors are often the most basic. Neutral roof tones, like tan, black and gray tend to have the highest resale value, since most people don’t want their home to stand out too much from those of their neighbors. And even if they do, they might choose a siding color, landscaping, or even decor in which to do so. Roofing typically isn’t a stand-out material. 

Regardless, there are some color trends to keep your eye on for 2024. We’ve listed a few metal roof colors to consider if you’ll be painting or replacing your metal roof this year. 

  • Charcoal gray. This timeless tone works well with both a modern or traditional aesthetic, giving your home a classy look that isn’t boastful. Pair with white for a nice visual contrast or a light grey exterior for a cohesive and elegant vibe. 
  • Black. The farmhouse standard. No modern farmhouse could be complete without a black metal roof, with or without fasteners. It’s a sleek option you’ll never get tired of. Top a white exterior with a black metal roof color for a farmhouse vibe, or go uber-modern with black on black home exterior and roof. 
  • White. The “coolest” color out there. A white roof will reflect the sun’s rays, keeping your home’s interior cooler and more energy efficient. Plus, it lends a nice, clean look to your home’s exterior. 
  • Forest green. An ode to nature, this classed-up green is right at home on a variety of home exterior colors. 
  • Tan. This neutral tone isn’t fussy, and won’t cause your home to stand out too much. Despite that, it’s distinctive and elegant as well, and lends itself to a variety of exterior colors. 

How To Choose Your Perfect Roof Color

How do you know which metal roof color to use? It depends on what you’re looking for. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal taste and what type of vibe you want your home’s exterior to give (unless, of course, you’re subject to strict HOA regulations). Here are some factors to consider when deciding which metal roof color is right for your home: 

  • Energy efficiency. Your metal roof can retain or reflect heat, depending on the color. Darker roofs will retain heat, keeping your home warmer and cozy inside, while light metal roof colors are great at reflecting heat, which can keep your home cool. 
  • Style. Are you going for a traditional look, or something more modern? Combine your metal roof color with your home’s exterior color to achieve the look you’re going for. 
  • Your neighborhood. Are you subject to a strict HOA that will only allow you to choose between a few roof colors? Does every other home on your street have a black roof? These questions can factor into your decision about which metal roof color to choose.  

Is a Metal Roof a Good Choice? 

First, we’ll discuss a few things you should know about metal roofs. If you’re looking to replace your home’s roof, you might ask yourself, are metal roofs better? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. Some advantages of a metal roof are: 

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Less expensive than high-end shingles, tile, concrete and slate roofs
  • Requires very little maintenance
  • Can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions
brush broom cleaning an aluminum roof

Cleaning Your Metal Roof

Metal roofing requires very little maintenance. But if you’re wondering how to clean a metal roof, you can do a light cleaning with water alone or water combined with gentle detergent annually. Many homeowners do this as part of their spring cleaning routine. Every three to five years, some manufacturers recommend giving your metal roof a deeper clean using substances that can clear bothersome issues like tree sap, oxidation, and pollen residue. You can use alcohol, turpentine or mineral spirits to deep-clean a metal roof, but things like wire brushes, sandpaper, scouring powders and paint thinners should never be used on your metal roof. 

Let Instant Roofer Help You Upgrade Your Home

We have hundreds of roofers in our contractor directory and will make sure you find the right roofer that has plenty of experience in metal roofing and will be sure to look for the perfect color for your home. Make sure to inquire about the types of materials their vendors can supply them, too, as those can change from zip code to zip code. 

Fact checked by Christin Perry – 3/22/2024