How to Choose a Metal Roof Color

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A man in a blue shirt working on a metal roof with a power drill.

Jun 30, 2022

How to Choose a Metal Roof Color

A new metal roof adds to the aesthetics of your home resulting in eye popping curb appeal! Metal roofing systems come in a vast array of styles, varieties of colors, and beautiful finishes, making it easy to find a roof that will compliment any home.

You’ll want to pick the metal roofing color that will best compliment your home’s design. Once your metal roof is installed, changing the color is not an option, so choosing the right color from the start is incredibly important and the right color will make your home stand out from other homes in your neighborhood.

There are a number of custom colors and unique specialty prints that are available for metal roofing systems. The sheer amount of color choices ensure that you will have a stunning metal roof that will showcase your home. There are several factors that will determine the best color for your metal roof.

In this article we will discuss what we have learned over the years while helping our clients choose the right color metal roof for their home. First, you’ll want to choose the correct metal roofing panel for your project, then decide which paint system you prefer. We’ll also cover important factors to consider when selecting your metal roofing color. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing your color will be how important energy efficiency is to you. Finally, we’ll discuss home styles and environments that may impact your color choice. Keep reading to find out more in depth information about how to choose the right color metal roof for your home.

Choosing a Metal Roofing System for your Budget

Before you can choose the color of your metal roof, you need to decide on the type of metal panel and your preferred paint system. These choices will greatly impact the cost of your metal roofing system as well as the color choices that will be available.

After you’ve chosen your roofing panel and paint system, you can begin considering colors and finishes for your roof. You’ll need to think about whether you want a dark or light color and whether you want your finish to be glossy and shiny? As an alternative, there are flat, matte finishes available that complement certain colors and styles. There are many factors that will influence your color choice for your roof, but most important is the fact that once the roof is installed you cannot change the color. Investing the time and effort into making your choice will pay off since metal roofs are so durable and long lasting that you’ll likely have to live with the color for as long as you live in the home.

Choosing the Correct Metal Panel for your Roof

Before choosing a color for your new metal roofing system, you need to decide on the style of the metal roofing panel that you will use for your new roof. First, you’ll need to decide if you want an exposed fastener system or a concealed fastener system. If you want an exposed fastener panel you’ll be able to choose from corrugated panels, R-panels, PBR panels, and 7.2 panels. If you want a concealed fastener metal roofing system, such as a standing seam metal roof, you’ll need to choose whether you want a snap lock system or a mechanically seamed metal roofing system.

These decisions will affect both the pricing of your metal roof and the number of colors that will be available to you to choose from. Once you choose the type of metal roofing panel that you want for your home, you can determine which paint system will best protect your new roof.

Exposed Fastener Roofing Panels

In an exposed fastener roofing system, the metal roofing panel fasteners are exposed to the elements. This type of panel is easier to install and is more affordable than a standing seam metal panel. This type of metal roofing panel tends to be the most budget friendly and lends itself to a more rustic aesthetic.

It’s important to note that in this type of roofing system, the fasteners penetrate the metal roofing panels. Every time a metal panel is penetrated, a potential leak point is created but it does allow for more options when you are considering steel gauge and the type of paint finish that you want.

Exposed Fastener Panel Gauges

With exposed fastener metal roofing systems, you can use lighter gauge steel, such as 26 or 29 gauge. As the gauge of the steel decreases, so does the cost of the panel. This is because 26 gauge steel weighs thirty percent less than 24 gauge steel. Less material equals less cost. Although 29 gauge steel is available, we don’t usually recommend using such a light gauge. If you’d like to learn more about metal gauges, we suggest reading our guide to metal roofing panel gauge.

If you do choose an exposed fastener metal roofing system, you will have both SMP and PVDF paint finishes to choose from. Keep reading to learn more about paint systems and what they can do for the life of your metal roof.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

In a standing seam metal roofing system, the fasteners are concealed and cannot be seen on the surface of the roof. Concealed fastener metal roofing systems are the most weather tight. These types of panels take more training and experience to install than exposed fastener metal panels, so we recommend hiring a local metal roofing company to install your standing seam metal roof. Both the cost of the panels and the cost of installation account for the higher price of a standing seam metal roof.

If you choose to invest in a concealed fastener metal roofing system for your home, you will be purchasing the most weather tight metal roofing system. It’s important that when you purchase a metal roof, each component of the roof be of like quality for your investment to stand the test of time. Using a heavy gauge steel such as 24 gauge, and the best paint finish, which is PVDF, will ensure that you have a durable roof that will make your investment worth it.

Standing seam metal roofs are available in snap lock and mechanically seamed profiles. Each of these is long lasting and durable, but depending on where you live, you may want to invest in a mechanically seamed metal roof. To understand more about the differences between snap lock and mechanically seamed roofing systems, read our article on mechanically seamed and snap lock metal roofing panels.

Standing Seam Panel Gauges

It’s important that a standing seam metal roof retain its sleek appearance for as long as possible. The gauge of the metal panel used attributes to this. Most standing seam metal roofs are 24 gauge steel. Sometimes a heavier gauge, such as 22 gauge will be necessary, but using a lighter gauge steel is not recommended. The lighter the gauge of the steel, the more prone the roof will be to oil canning. Oil canning is a visible, wavy distortion that can be seen in the flat areas of the metal panels. Once again, using high quality materials throughout the roof will ensure a finished product that will look beautiful for many years.

Metal Roof Paint Finishes

The most commonly used paint finishes or metal roofing are SMP and PVDF. PVDF, polyvinylidene fluoride, is commonly considered the best paint system. SMP, or silicone modified polyester is also a very good paint system. Polyester paint systems are available but are inferior to both PVDF and SMP. We don’t recommend polyesters because they don’t hold up well against UV rays, are not often used for roofing, and the cost savings is not significant enough to justify the lesser quality.

SMP paint is a great choice for a metal roofing system, and it costs less than PVDF. It’s important to note that SMP is less resistant to fading and chalking over the lifetime of the metal roof and are available in more limited color options. Due to fading and chalking, SMP paints work best with earth tones and light colors, which are less likely to show fading and chalking than more vibrant colors.

If you choose an exposed fastener metal roofing system, you’ll have the option of choosing an SMP or a PVDF paint system. With an exposed fastener system start by asking yourself what color you want, then find out if it is available in SMP paint. If it is available in SMP, then you can look at the difference in cost between SMP and PVDF and determine which paint system is right for your project and budget.

PVDF is more expensive than SMP paint, but it is also considered the gold standard for metal roofing paint finishes. It retains its color longer when compared to an SMP paint system. Due to PVDF’s high performance and ability to withstand fading and chalking, it is available in bright, vibrant colors, metallic colors, matte finishes, and custom colors and finishes. In fact, bright colors should only be purchased in PVDF due to their excellent color retention.

If you choose a standing seam metal panel, it’s almost certain that you’ll also want to invest in a PVDF paint system and a higher gauge steel. Most concealed fastener metal roofing systems are only available in premium colors and will utilize a PVDF paint system. Making the choice to install an expensive standing seam metal roof only to use an inferior paint system does not protect your investment. The money saved by using a less expensive paint system is minimal compared to the effect it will have on the longevity of your metal roof. When you purchase a PVDF paint system for your metal roof, you will have a virtually unlimited color selection and will be purchasing the best paint system available.

For a more in depth discussion of the benefits and possible limitations of paint systems, read our article on PVDF vs SMP coatings.

Selecting a Color for your Metal Roof

When it comes to metal roof colors, there are seemingly endless amounts of options. The vast number of choices can make the decision seem more difficult. From earth tones to vibrant colors, to custom colors or showcasing the color of the metal itself, you will be able to choose what suits your style and your home’s design the best. If you’ve already determined which type of metal panel you will be using and whether you’ll be using a PVDF or SMP paint system, you’re well on your way to choosing the right color for your metal roof. If you are installing a standing seam metal roofing system, then you already know that you will be looking at PVDF paint colors. If you are choosing an exposed fastener metal roofing system, an SMP paint finish will be a great fit for your project, but you can definitely get a PVDF color if that is what suits your style best.

No matter the type of metal roofing panel you choose, the color of your roof needs to compliment your home. You’ll want the color to fit into your neighborhood, the environment the house is in, and your property as a whole. Ideally, the color of your metal roof should complement all of the surrounding features of your home and should blend in nicely with your home’s cladding, be it stucco, siding, stone, or brick.

In a general sense, you will want to choose contrasting or complimentary colors. A contrasting color will stand out from the other colors used on your home’s exterior. This will have the effect of making your roof pop visually, making your home notable. Complementary colors will blend with your other exterior colors, giving your home a more classic look.

Complimentary and Contrasting Colors

The main features of your home are the color of the cladding, or the stucco, stone, siding, or brick. This is a good starting point for determining the color of your metal roof. Take the time to compare the metal roofing color to your home’s cladding and also any additional features of the property, such as doors, windows, fences, columns, railings, landscaping, and even nearby structures.

Ask yourself whether you want your fascia and gutters to be the same color as the roof. Often times the roof is a different color from these items for a pop of color. This can have a dramatic effect and make your house stand out, without looking out of place.

Dark Colors vs Light Colors for Roofing

Lighter colored roofs can have the visual effect of making your metal roof look taller. This works well if your roof has a shallow pitch. A lighter colored roof tricks the eye into thinking that your house is taller than it actually is. A darker colored roof can have the opposite effect. A highly sloped roof, or even a mansard style roof will look less tall with a darkly colored metal.

Time of Day

It’s important to look at your metal roofing samples and compare them to the main features of your home at different times of day. Depending on the lighting conditions, the colors will look different. For example, you may notice that the color you love suffers a very bad glare in the middle of the afternoon and may look better in a matte finish. In the evening, the color could look dull or gloomy. Find a color that you love and that you are happy looking at in all lighting conditions.

Trends and HOAs

It’s a good idea to walk or drive around your neighborhood and notice color trends. If all of the roofs in your neighborhood tend to be earth tones, then installing a brightly colored roof may not be the best for your home.

You’ll also want to note any rules that your HOA may have regarding roof color or metal roofing. If you find that there are rules in your neighborhood regarding roofing materials and colors, they should have a list of approved colors and finishes available to you. It is a good idea to submit a color chip for approval by your HOA before you make your purchase.

Location, Location, Location…

The environment surrounding the location of your home can greatly impact your color choice for your metal roof. Homes located in more natural settings near lakes and trees tend to have corresponding metal roofing colors, such as earth tones which match the surrounding areas. Greens, bronzes, slates, grays, and matte finishes tend to be very popular. Coastal locations tend toward bright, vibrant, or even metallic colors. Homes located in drier or desert like settings tend to have metal roofing colors that are warm, or earth toned. Warm terra cotta colors, slates, bronze tones, weathered colors, or rusted colors tend to look great in these settings.


Your home’s architecture can be one of the markers you use for choosing the right color for your metal roof. Current trends in modern architecture lean toward dark colors, especially dark matte metal roofing colors such as matte black, dark gray, dark bronzes, and even dark or rusted metallics. A home with Spanish style architecture tends toward colors that mimic a clay tile roof or rust colors. More rustic architecture, such as a barn house or farmhouse designs benefit from whites, reds, or dark gray colors.

Energy Efficiency

The color of your roof will have a direct impact on the energy efficiency of your home. Lighter color metal roofing will reflect the heat of the sun better than a darker colored roof and potentially decrease your energy costs. This is an important consideration in central and south Texas where summer temperatures are in the triple digits. If energy efficiency is a great concern to you, you may want to choose a cool metal roof.

Cool metal roofing refers to the coating or paint systems that use cool pigments that increase solar reflectance, decreasing the surface temperature of the roof. By preventing heat absorption and reflecting the sun’s heat, emitting its radiation back into the atmosphere, the roof helps your home maintain a more comfortable and controlled environment inside.

If you want a darker colored metal roof, it’s important to note that cool metal roofs are available in darker colors, too. This allows you to get the dark color you want, while lessening the energy impact of the darker color.


When choosing your metal roofing color, remember to choose the metal panel first. Decide between an exposed or concealed fastener panel. Then determine which paint system you’d like to utilize, SMP or PVDF. The paint system you choose will impact the color choices you have available to you. After you’ve chosen a paint system, consider your home’s features, the surrounding environment, and your home’s architectural style. Then ask yourself how important energy efficiency is to you to help you determine the best color possible for your home’s style, your priorities, and your budget.

At Gravity Metal Roofing we love the process of helping our clients choose the right metal roofing system and corresponding color for their home. Call us at (844) 352-7663 to discuss your metal roofing project!

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