How to Identify and Prevent Metal Roof Fading and Chalking


Metal roofing has considerable advantages in comparison to other roofing systems such as asphalt, tile, or cement. Boasting several environmental advantages, a speedy and easy installation process and a lifespan of 40+ years, metal panels have quickly become the most practic coastal metal salesal option for both commercial and residential use. Metal panels come in a robust assortment of colors and finishes, and having the option to choose is a major selling point. When deciding on the color for your metal roof, something you should always consider is fading and chalking – different paint colors can have different benefits and identifying your needs is imperative before selecting a color. Rule of thumb when it comes to fading/chalking is that lighter colors tend to fade slower than darker, deeper hues. This can be tied to several unique factors, including pigment concentration, whether the pigment is organic or inorganic, and whether the finishes are matte or glossy. There are several factors that can contribute to the discoloration of your metal roof which we will explore:

What is Metal Roof Fading?

The fact is anything exposed to harsh elements long term such as UV rays, water/humidity, chemicals, pollution etc., will eventually fade in color. When talking about metal panels “fade” occurs when pigments in the metal’s paint coating break down, resulting in a washed out or lightening of the once-vibrant, original color. Organic pigment-based colors on the bolder side tend to fade the quickest. While earthier tones or inorganic, metallic colors such as silver and copper, will fade the least over time.

What is Metal Roof Chalking?

By definition, metal roof “chalking” is the formation of a whitish residue on painted or coated metal panels. Metal roof chalking occurs through a similar process as metal roof fading—as the paint on the exposed metal wears down, it will turn white and appear chalky. Luckily, chalking isn’t always indicative of roof damage but rather an aesthetic issue. However, since the paint is what’s actually protecting the metal, unaddressed chalking can ultimately shorten a metal roof’s lifespan over time.

What Colors are Best to Avoid Metal Roof Fading and Chalking?

Simply put, lighter colors fade slower than dark colors. However, the most important thing to consider when selecting a color is the quality of the paint being used. At Coastal Metal, we only use Sherwin Williams paint.

“Choosing the correct paint and primer can definitely help prolong the life of your metal roofing system” says Mark Macdonald, sales and marketing manager at Sherwin Williams. “Backed by a 10- & 40-year warranty, Sherwin-Williams is a leading provider of metal roof paints, finishes, and coil coatings that will preserve the aesthetic of any metal roofing system—guaranteed. If your heart’s set on a darker, or more uniquely colored roof, my advice it just make sure that you’re using high-quality paint.”

coastal metal

How to Prevent Metal Roof Chalking and Fading

Chalking and fading is a natural reaction to the elements, but there are a set of steps that you can take to lessen their effects.

  • Ensuring you select an appropriate color and paint system for your project environment

  • Lighter, inorganic paint colors will chalk and fade slower, and it will be less apparent when they do.

  • High-quality metal paints, like Sherwin Williams will make a difference when it comes to protecting your roof from fading/chalking.

  • Make a concerted effort to avoid overexposure to sunlight, moisture, and other harmful chemicals and pollutants. For example, studies have shown that roofs facing north are exposed to less direct sunlight than roofs facing south.

  • When purchasing a dark color roof, consider tacking on a roof warranty that covers chalking and fading.