View topic — How to paint a Metal — Tin Roof Old House Web Forums Page 1

View topic - How to paint a Metal - Tin Roof Old House Web Forums Page 1

How to paint a Metal — Tin Roof

by HB Sat Aug 18, 2007 6:56 pm

Ok — here it goes.

Our house has a raised seam metal roof. When we bought it it needed to be painted.

I decided to do it myself so save money, gain experience and because I prefer to spend my money on buying the tools to do a job instead of paying someone else to do the job.


First I bought a safety harness. The kind that wraps around both your legs and goes around your shoulders and clips in the front. The rope attaches to the back between your shoulder blades. If you actually fall off the roof, this is the only way to properly stop yourself. If you just have the rope tied around your waist, you’re going to hang yourself; get sliced in half by the rope ; or snap you’re back in half while inflicting major internal injuries to yourself. Do yourself a facor and purchase a fall rated D-Ring clip so that you can easily remove yourself from the rope. Those carabiners that the sell for you to use as a key chain in Home Depot WILL NOT WORK.

I was fortunate because my roof was set up with a nearly flat roof on the back half of the house so I only needed the fall protection when working on the front of the house. I was also fortunate to have large trees in the back yard to tie myself off to so I didn’t need to invest in anchors that attach to the roof in order to secure my rope. I did not use a fall arresting approved rope, but I did purchase one that would support more than 3 times my weight and I tied a series of loops along the rope about 1 foot apart so that I could adjust how far the rope would let me go. This minimized the distance that I would be able to fall at any given time. This also meant no chance of free fall, only short slides down the roof could ever happen.

I also took apart an extension ladder and draped one part over each side of the roof with a rope holding them together in the center. This, I was informed, is called a chicken ladder. I didn;t care what they called me I knew I wasn’t likely to fall off the roof using the ladder like this.

Here’s a shot of the chicken ladder on the roof:

I prepped the roof using a 4 inch wire wheel on a drill. I just locked the drill trigger into place and let the wheel spin and take the heavy rust and paint off the roof. It took a long time and was DIRTY work. I wore a cartridge style respirator.

If I felt that it was necessary to scrape anything I used one of those cheapo ALL PLASTIC scrapers. A metal scraper would put a hole through the tin roof in a second. Then you have another patch to make.

Once a section is brushed off, I would broom clean it and them use a garden sprayer to spray a solution of TSP over that area to rinse away the dust and remnants of lead paint.

Then I would brush the seams and ridges with a rust inhibitive primer and finally brush the flat areas in between. I used a brush because I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any spots. Here’s a shot of the roof showing the rust inhibitor going on. the wire wheeled areas and the roof as it was before work started.

After I was done working for the day I scraped all the paint chips out of the gutter, sealed them in a plastic bag and disposed of them (properly) so that they wouldn’t contaminate the soil around the house.

I Primed the roof with the manufacturer’s recommended primer after the rust inhibitor was on the roof and then I applied two coats of the final paint.

I used red as the first coat of paint and then put the final color (bronze) over that. Using two different colors for the final coats ensured that I would be able to easily see that I hadn’t missed a spot. This was important because at this time I was working strictly off the scaffolding using a heavy knap roller on an extension handle. The red will also be a visual indicator that it’s time to go up and paint again.

My roof was in pretty good shape — no pinhles and only a couple of places that neded to be patched. Patching consisted of putting down a very heavy layer of the paint on the area, followed by a layer of heavy polyester reinforcemnt fabric sold by the paint system manufacturer. I was able to remold standing seams into the roof in areas where they had been removed and repatched with flat metal in the past. Once the fabric is set in place, coat over it a cople of times with the paint to complete the patch.

Simple and effective.


Don’t start too early in the day. let the dew evaporate before starting.

View topic - How to paint a Metal - Tin Roof Old House Web Forums Page 1

Wear soft shoes on the roof so you don’t damage the metal. Like running shoes.

Stop painting several hours before dark. Like about 3 hours. Otherwise theres a chance that the paint won’t set and it will run.

Avoid painting in the sun. That tin heats up quickly and it cooks the paint before a good bond can form. Try to always paint on the shaded side of the roof, or at least the side that’s not in direct sunlight.


Enrust — rust inhibitive primer

Acrymax roofing paint systems — primer, paint and reinforcement fabric

Scaffolding — WACO RED scaffolding — used scaffolding supplier.

To purchase a safety harness search on google for "safety supplies" and narrow the search to "fall protection"

Good Luck.

HB — been there — done that — what’s next!

HB Posts: 1641 Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 12:24 pm Location: Reading — PA

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