Galvalume Vs. Painted Metal Roof: What Are The Major Differences?

Gary Evans
by Gary Evans

The roof over your home takes a beating on a regular basis. Protecting it with some kind of coating can prolong its life while also enhancing its appearance. Coating your metal roof with either Galvalume or paint are among the options you can consider.

One of those options is likely more familiar to you than the other. But are there reasons to choose one over the other?

Galvalume makes sense if you want an affordable and long-lasting coating that requires minimal maintenance. However, certain characteristics of Galvalume make it unsuitable for some homes and the lack of color options is a drawback too. Painting your metal roof allows you to carefully choose colors and other benefits, but it will cost more.

Choosing the right coating for your metal roof is not that simple. There are so many factors you need to weigh before making a final decision. Make a more informed decision on that front by reading the rest of this article.

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Why You Should Consider Painting Your Metal Roof

Painting your metal roof enhances it in a number of ways. For starters, painting allows you to change the color of your metal roof. That’s a huge help if you’re going after a specific look.

The coating of paint over your roof also effectively reduces the impact wear and tear has on it. Your metal roof will last longer if it has been painted over.

Don’t discount the type of protection that painting can provide as well. One of the best things about painting your metal roof is that you have an opportunity to customize your protection. That’s possible because different types of paint are available and they offer different benefits.

Homeowners can address a lot of issues if they decide to paint their metal roof. Keep it in mind as you decide how to improve your home.

What Is Galvalume?

Galvalume is not something that all homeowners are familiar with, but it’s been around for a while. It’s actually been around since the 1970s and those involved in the construction industry know it very well.

So, what is Galvalume? Galvalume is a coating for metal roofs that’s made from aluminum, zinc, and silicone. The aforementioned coating is prized for its corrosion resistance. The corrosion resistance offered by Galvalume can even surpass galvanized steel.

There are also other benefits that come from Galvalume. We’ll get to those as we continue through this article.

Comparing the Galvalume Coating and Paint on a Metal Roof

You want the best possible enhancements and treatments used for your home. To find out which protective coating suits your home better, we’ll compare Galvalume and paint directly to one another. We’ll highlight specific points of comparison so you can gain a better idea of what a specific coating can do.

Protection Provided

Let’s start the comparison by focusing first on the protection provided by both coatings. They both have strengths and weaknesses in that regard.

Starting with paint, what we really like about it as a coating for a metal roof is its versatility. As we noted earlier, you can customize your protection if you’re using paint. That should come in handy depending on where you live.

You’re getting adequate corrosion protection from paint. On top of that, you can also use the paint to shield your home better against water or pests.

Galvalume is not as versatile when it comes to protection. It works really well against corrosion, but that’s about it. Galvalume can leave your roof lacking in other areas.


When you choose a coating for your metal roof, you want to know how long it will last. This is the area where Galvalume can really shine.

The Galvalume coating on your metal roof can last for several decades. That coating can last for up 60 years with minimal maintenance. Once you install a Galvalume-coated roof over your home, you won’t have to worry about it for a long time. Even constant exposure to sunlight is not going to affect the Galvalume coating that much. You cannot necessarily say the same thing about paint.

Paint that is consistently exposed to sunlight will only last for a few years. Expect the paint to last for about five years, although some coats still look good for up to seven years. Still, even the most optimistic projection for that coating of paint falls way short of Galvalume in terms of longevity.


Galvalume is capable of lasting for 60 years. However, there is a caveat to that. You see, Galvalume has to be used in the right conditions if you want it to last as long as possible.

First off, you shouldn’t use Galvalume if you live in a coastal area. That means owners of beachfront properties in states like California or Florida cannot use it. The salt that fills the air in those areas will just damage the Galvalume coating too quickly.

You should also avoid installing a Galvalume roof if it will be in constant contact with either copper or lead. Both copper and lead can speed up the deterioration of the Galvalume coating and you obviously don’t want that.

Also, avoid Galvalume if you need a roof over a structure that you will use to house animals. Fumes that come from animal waste can pose a threat to the durability of the Galvalume coating.

As you can see, there are many limitations to keep in mind if you want to install a Galvalume-coated roof. You don’t have to worry about those restrictions if you want to paint your metal roof. Homeowners won’t be caught off guard by the paint wearing down earlier than expected due to the conditions in their area.

Color Options

It’s always tricky to evaluate how an addition to your home will turn out in terms of appearance. Your opinion of how a new addition looks will depend on your preferences after all.

Knowing all of that, let’s focus on your color options instead. You simply don’t have a lot of color options to choose from if you want a Galvalume coating. Galvalume coating looks fine, but it doesn’t offer you a lot of design flexibility.

Things are obviously very different when it comes to paint. Use whichever paint color you need to achieve the look you want for your home.

Energy Efficiency

Your roof can have a significant impact on how energy efficient your household is. Thankfully, installing a Galvalume-coated roof and painting your metal roof can both help in that regard.

Galvalume is actually an Energy Star-rated product. It excels at reflecting UV rays and preventing your home from getting too warm. That should help you cut down on energy expenses since you won’t have to use the air conditioner as much.

It’s possible to get the same benefits from paint. You can find paint that reflects UV radiation and apply that on to your metal roof. Doing so will also help you reduce your reliance on your air conditioner.


Understanding the maintenance demands of the roof coating you’re using is very important. You may only have a limited amount of time to spend on roof maintenance. It’s best to ensure that the amount of time and attention you can provide will suffice for the coating you choose.

The good news is that both paint and Galvalume coatings aren’t that demanding when it comes to maintenance. Cleaning is still required, but that’s pretty much it.

You will have to apply a new coat of paint eventually. That won’t be necessary for a while though so you will have plenty of time to prepare for it.


The cost of whichever coating you’re choosing should obviously factor into your decision-making. You don’t want to choose one and find out later on that you cannot afford it.

Note that there is a sizable gap in pricing for paint and Galvalume coatings. To be more specific, applying a Galvalume treatment is significantly more affordable than painting your metal roof. Depending on how big of a structure you need to cover, you can save a lot of money by choosing Galvalume.

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Related Questions

Is Oil Canning a Concern with Galvalume?

Oil canning is what happens when air gets into your metal roof and causes a spot to expand. That spot may expand to the point where it almost looks like an empty oil can.Unfortunately, oil canning is indeed a possibility with metal roofs that are coated with Galvalume. You don’t have to worry about it too much though.All oil canning really does is change the appearance of your roof. It doesn’t necessarily damage the roof itself. If you can live with that bump being present on your roof, oil canning will be the least of your worries.

How Do You Prepare a Metal Roof for Painting?

Before painting your metal roof, you should let it sit for a while first. Give it six months to rest on your home before you think about painting. Once those six months are up, you should then clean your roof. Clean it thoroughly and remove as much debris as possible.From there, you can follow instructions for using the paint you have on hand. Use a primer if needed and apply the paint as directed. Applying a sealant on top of the paint will also help it last longer.

Gary Evans
Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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