Tips For Painting Rusted Galvanized Metal Roof

Can you do it or not? Learn all about painting rusty roofs!

If you live in a house that has a metal roof, you definitely know pretty well how good this type of roof is in collecting all sorts of debris, twigs, and moisture or water. And since any metal item that is exposed to elements is originally very predisposed to oxidation and rust, you surely faced this problem already.

However, having a rusty roof is not something everyone is dreaming about! This is why so many people keep on asking how to paint a rusty metal roof so that it remains of a good quality and decent appearance longer protecting the house and remaining good-looking itself.

So today in this article we will provide you with a step by step instruction on how to paint such a roof, and also, we will explain how to choose a proper paint. As an additional bonus, you will learn a few handy tips that will allow you to always have your roofing in the ideal state! So stay with us, it’s gonna be interesting today!

Painting Rusty Metal Roof. How to Do It Right?

You may decide that you need to paint your rusty metal roof if one day you notice that all of its surface is covered with those ugly reddish spots of rust. Since this type of roofing is extremely good not only at attracting all sorts of debris, twigs, and leaves, but also at collecting water, metal roofs tend to get covered with a layer of rust pretty soon after they were installed.

So no wonder that the owners of metal roofs are very interested in how they can fix this issue and bring their roofs that shiny and attractive look back again. Luckily, metal roofs do not only easily attract different “rusty troubles”, they can also be cured relatively easily! Of course, you will need to get certain instruments and chemicals, and some time will have to be spent on recoating your galvanized rusty roof, but in general, this is not something a person is not able to do even on his or her own!

The overall sequence of actions looks like the following if you are interested:

  1. You remove the rusty layer first
  2. Then you treat the roof with vinegar
  3. Next step is to apply the primer
  4. Then you will have to apply the paint
  5. And finish your repainting project with the final coat of paint just in case
Painting Rusty Metal Roof. How to Do It Right
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However, if your goal is to do everything right, you need to know precisely what to do at each of these stages. And also, you will have to learn what paint is the best for a galvanized metal roof. So let us provide you with a more detailed explanation.

Painting Rusty Metal Roof. How to Do It Right
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How to Get Rid Of Rust On Your Metal Galvanized Roof?

Before you apply fresh paint onto your roof, you need to delete that rusty coat that is already there. Yes, it is going to take you quite an effort and a significant amount of time! However, without this step, your further work will make no sense at all.

To fight the rust, you can opt for one of the most common and popular methods that both professionals and amateurs use. The first method will imply the use of chemicals that remove the rusty layer. Like this, you will be able to scrub it away with the brush later.

The second method, on the contrary, requires technical support, a pressure washer in particular. But regardless of the approach, make sure that the biggest flakes of rust were removed prior to starting the cleaning procedure!

How to Get Rid Of Rust On Your Metal Galvanized Roof
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Using a TSP Solution

So if you feel more like using chemicals, you will need to buy a product that is called Trisodium Phosphate. It is pretty widespread so you will easily find it in almost any home improvement store. This product is designed to penetrate the rust and make it easier to clean off. Also, it will fight the rusty stains effectively, as well as prevent the rust from spreading further.

Since this stuff comes in a powdered form, you will need to dilute it prior to applying. We recommend you follow the instructions precisely to make a solution, but usually it requires to dissolve one cup of this powder in a gallon of water. Once the solution is ready, simply pulverize it all over the rusted areas of the roof. Then let it all sit for fifteen minutes, and start working on your roof with a harsh-bristle scrub brush!

Also, be very careful when working with this product! It is a harsh chemical which is extremely efficient at what it is made for, but you surely don’t want it to end up on your shoes, clothes, or especially on your skin or face! So always wear rubber gloves, a respiratory mask, and goggles when working with it. In addition, if you put on old clothes that you can easily destroy after the usage, it will help significantly.

Using a TSP Solution
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Opt For a Pressure Washer

If you don’t feel like dealing with dangerous chemicals, a pressure washer may become your number one choice. It is safer, and besides, it requires way less physical actions.

The best would be to choose a pressure washer that is able to reach at least 2500 PSI. Only then you will be able to get rid of that ugly rust on your roofing. As for the rust-cleaning procedure itself, all you need to do is to turn the pressure up and start spraying the roof paying close attention to the rusty areas. It is important that you work on the whole roof, not just on the rusted zones. Like this, you will knock the rusty flakes loose, as well as spray off most of the oxidation color.

Since each of these methods is very effective on its own, you can boost your chances for success if you apply them together! So if your roof is badly rusted or you just want the boring work to be done faster, feel free to apply the chemical treatment first according to the instructions, and then add a pressure washer to finish the process.

Quick Tip #12 - How to repaint rusty metal objectsQuick Tip #12 – How to repaint rusty metal objects

Vinegar Application

So now that you have removed the rusty cover from your roof, it may look somewhat better than before. But this is not the end! Now you need to treat the whole roof with vinegar. It may sound like some kind of torture, but believe us, if you want to later repaint your galvanized metal roof thaty was freed from rust, you need to prep it for the paint application first.

As you probably know, corrugated metal roofs are normally made with galvanized coating since it helps to prevent corrosion. But this galvanized layer also means that such a roof will need your help before fresh paint can be applied, otherwise, the pigment will not stick as well as it should.

So what we need to do is to neutralize the zinc with an acid. White vinegar is the most suitable liquid for this purpose since it is, first of all, harmless, it is also cheap and affordable, and finally, it is completely natural.

You just need to apply some of it to a clean rag and wipe the whole roof down. There is no need to scrub like crazy, simply cover the entire roof with vinegar lightly. That will take quite a lot of time indeed, especially if you have a large house. But doing this is worth the effect.

How to Get Rid Of Rust On Your Metal Galvanized Roof vinegar application
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Primer Time

Once your roof is “vinegared”, proceed to the next step which is primer application. Since vinegar dries pretty fast, you will not have to wait long. Applying the proper primer is another nuance that must always be taken into account.

Since you’re going to paint an old and rusted surface, you need to buy a primer that will stop that rust from developing and spreading. Feel free to apply it with a roller or a paint sprayer since a spray can or a paint brush will be very time-consuming tools for you to apply.

When applying the primer, make sure you do not skip even the smallest part of the roofing! Also, ensure it is being applied as evenly as you can do it. There is one more nuance that most of us forget when applying the primer onto the roof. Be careful to not paint yourself into the corner. Literally! You need to move towards the ladder while painting since once you cover an area with the primer, you will not be able to step on it again! And remember to wait for twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the application to let it all dry completely.

How to Get Rid Of Rust On Your Metal Galvanized Roof prime
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Applying Paint

Finally, after the primer is dry, you can paint your rust-free roof. It is ok if you opt for an ordinary exterior paint since you already applied the primer. However, we would recommend you use the paint that has anti-rust properties in combination with a protective finish. Like this, you will make sure the roof will not have to be repainted again soon.

Another nuance you need to pay attention to before painting is whether the primer is already cured. If it is, then start applying paint freely. But if it is not, wait until it cures fully. If you try to paint the roof over the primer that is not completely cured, it may destroy all the painting work and you will have to redo it all from the very beginning!

As for the application method, feel free to use the same one you chose for applying the primer. A roller or a sprayer will work well for the paint, too.

Final Coating

It may so happen that your roof will need no final coating. However, we do recommend you inspect it closely in the sunlight. What shall you be looking for? Look for the darker or lighter spots where the paint was applied more or less evenly. And if you find many of those areas, our advice is to apply an extra coat of paint simply for aesthetic purposes. Once it gets dry, your roof that was once rusted will look like new again.

How to Get Rid Of Rust On Your Metal Galvanized Roof final coating
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Tips For Painting a Metal Roof With Rust

Now that you know how to paint a metal galvanized roof, you may think that no additional information is needed. However, to make sure that you do everything right and your roof is not only freed from rust and rusty stains but it is also properly and evenly painted and primed, we recommend you take a few handy tips into consideration.

  • Before applying paint, make sure that the primer is not just dry. It must be completely cured. Otherwise, the paint will not attach properly and you will have to redo all the work from the very beginning.
  • Always check the weather forecast before you begin to paint the roof! See, if it is going to rain while the paint is still wet, all hard work of yours will be destroyed. In addition, rain will turn the freshly painted roof into a total mess!
  • For scrubbing the rust off the roof, better use a stiff, wire brush.
  • When applying primer, make use of a wider sponge roller brush.

Like this, you will be able to ensure your rusted metal roofs will be properly prepared for painting and later painted.

Tips For Painting a Metal Roof With Rust
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How to Choose Metal Roof Paint?

The choice of paint for the metal galvanized roof is a stumbling stone for most of the metal roof owners to be honest. See, since this type of roof is made of galvanized metal, this kind of material does not accept paint well enough. The paint can be shedding since during the galvanization process zinc is layered on the metal to prevent corrosion.

This is why we apply vinegar onto the roof prior to painting it. The reason is that the acid that vinegar contains reacts on the roof surface, and thus the paint is able to attach way better. And this is also why we need to choose the proper paint to apply it onto the cleansed roof afterward.

The best paint for galvanized metal roof is Rust-Oleum High-Performance Protective Enamel. It is extremely durable and besides, it is also able to prevent corrosion and rust not only from further spreading but even from appearing!

How to Choose Metal Roof Paint
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What Is the Optimal Primer For the Metal Galvanized Roof?

Choosing a proper primer is the same essential as buying the correct paint and properly cleanse the roof before you even start to apply anything to it. So if you want to give your roof all the best, we recommend you apply Rust-Oleum High Performance Rusty Metal Primer.

Why this one? Its formula is specifically created for rusted metals, besides, it is able to stop rust from further spreading which means it will not be able to ruin your fixing job. Since this primer is sold liquid, you can easily cover the whole roof with it regardless of the size. Also, it dries pretty fast, so be sure you manage to start applying paint one day after the primer was used.

What Is the Optimal Primer For the Metal Galvanized Roof
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How to Maintain Metal Roof?

Once you freed your metal galvanized roof from rust and painted it with the fresh paint, it is time to think how you can protect it from weather and other external factors to make the new coating last longer.

Fortunately, with a bunch of useful and easy tips, you will cope with this task quite effortlessly. Only remember that the maintenance must be regular, otherwise, if you do it once a year, it will not have much positive effect on your metal roof!

So to keep your galvanized metal roofing like new longer after you cleaned it from rust, consider doing the following:

  1. Remove leaves, debris, and water from the roof since they can cause corrosion development.
  2. For cleaning the roof, apply a 5% mixture of sodium hypochlorite onto it and allow the solution to sit for twenty minutes. Afterwards, wash the roof with the water hose.
  3. In winter, sweep snow and ice from the roof once they accumulate but while they are not melted yet.
  4. Never sweep melted snow or ice from the roof since the water can pool the surface leading to corrosion.
  5. Clean the roof gutters at least three times a year.
  6. Seal any leaks in the roof gutters.
  7. Keep the tree branches trimmed all the time to avoid the collection of debris on the roof.
  8. Fix scratches before they spread using a touch-up paint.
  9. Keep distinct types of metal separated! Dissimilar metals, when being kept together, can cause corrosion over time. Buy and install a tarp to protect your roof from severe weather conditions.
  10. Fix any roof leaks immediately.

If you follow all of these instructions you learned about painting a rusted galvanized metal roof precisely, you can be sure that your roof is totally protected from any possible hazards and damages.

How to Maintain Metal Roof
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Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Will it work painting a tin roof that’s rusted?

Yes, it will if you clean the rust off first.

⭐ What’s the optimal metal roof rust treatment?

A TSP solution or the oxalic acid will be the best anti-rust remedies.

⭐ What kind of paint can I use to paint my rusty metal roof?

A paint that protects the roof from rust will be the best.

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