Having a lot of problems researching painting my steel roof here in Maine. I've had the paint folks at Home Depot and Lowes and Sherwing Williams all give me contradicting advice...LOL

The roof is black and the paint is streaking off. It's not practical to strip the roof. I'm planning on power washing, priming, and paiting.

For the life of me I can't find a primer recommended for roofs (all the primers for metal I'm told are not recommended for roofs). The few that I think would work are crazy money $200+ per gallon (I'm thinking $50-60 per gln).

Killz, Rust-O-Leum, Zinser - I'm told no.

As for the paint, Behr has one in a Google search but the people at Home Depot have never heard of it so they can order it, but they can't advise on the best primer for it or even if it will be okay for a roof.

Can anyone help out?

I have about 700sqf of steel roof to paint. Needs to be black or tintable to black. I'm using an Avanti AV-Aps1. I've also seen lots of "coatings" but not sure if they're the best or if they'd work with my sprayer.

Thank you all for your time! Rob

  • 2
    I imagine most steel roofing uses baked on paints for long life. Not recommended and does not work can be two different things. The difference between lifetime and a few years. As with all paint jobs the preparation is about 90% of the job. You want a good base to start with.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 15:44
  • Is this a galvanized steel roof? Can you walk on it without damaging it? What is the contour of the roof? Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 17:35
  • Generally, if a black steel roof has paint "streaking off" that's a failure of the roofing and should be replaced under warranty, unless it's quite old. If you don't strip it, any new paint that's over old paint that's prone to "streaking off" will leave when the paint under it lets go. If the roof is galvalume you don't need to paint it at all. A suitable paint is more likely to be found via an industrial supplier than home supply stores, but without proper preparation it's not going to last.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 17:42
  • Maybe try a boat repair place. They might know of some paint/primer that will last.
    – crip659
    Commented Aug 9, 2023 at 19:25
  • Do you have foam insulation on the roof deck? Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 2:26

1 Answer 1


These types of coatings would not typically be found in consumer paint stores. As a primer, I would suggest researching coatings like Sherwin Williams DTM acrylic. Note that not all stores will carry this product, as some specialize in more industrial coatings.

I’ve personally used dtm on doors, it works well, but still isn’t on par with a factory baked paint.

  • DTM is "direct to metal" in paint, by the way.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Aug 13, 2023 at 18:49

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