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Understanding Paint Warranties for Metal Roofing

October , 2023 | 10 min. read

By Nicole Corson

When you make a big investment, like getting a metal roof for your home, it's important to protect that investment. That's why a paint warranty for metal panels is so important. 

Yet, like any other contract, it's important to pay close attention to the fine print.

In the metal industry, false marketing is sometimes used, especially for warranties. Homeowners can be misled if the wording is confusing and they think something is covered, but it's not. No one likes getting duped!

We get it. This is why for 3 decades RoofCrafters has taken a straightforward approach. By educating homeowners on the ins and outs of paint warranties. Now we want to do the same for you.

In this article, we’ll help you gain a better understanding of paint warranties and what they cover by discussing the following:

  • What is covered by a paint warranty
  • What a paint warranty does not cover
  • Warranty length
  • SMP vs. PVDF warranty
  • Registering your panels

And hopefully, by the end, you’ll be the most educated homeowner around on paint warranties for metal roofs. And you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision about your metal roof investment.

Let’s dive right in.

What Does a Metal Roof Paint Warranty Cover?


Paint warranties cover key elements, including:

  • Fading
  • Chalking
  • Film adhesion (peeling/cracking)

Fading refers to the gradual loss of color over time, caused by the breakdown of chemicals in the paint's resins and pigments. Factors that contribute to fading include atmospheric chemicals, moisture, pollution, and UV rays. Fading is most noticeable in darker colors, as the lighter color becomes a duller version of its original shade.

Chalking refers to the appearance of a powdery substance on the surface of the coating, often due to the breakdown of resins. Sun exposure can also increase the rate of chalking, resulting in some areas with heavy chalking and other areas with minimal impact.

Film adhesion, also known as film integrity, refers to the paint's ability to adhere to the metal panel. This warranty guarantees that the paint will remain in place for a specified amount of time. This type of warranty is usually covered for the longest period compared to the other elements covered by the warranty.

Color Fading on Metal Roofing


Color fading is a gradual loss of color that occurs over time due to the breakdown of the chemicals in the paint's resins and pigments. This can be caused by various factors, including:

  • chemicals 
  • pollution
  • moisture
  • UV rays 

Impact of Fading on Metal Roof Paint Colors


As the roof fades, its color will become lighter and duller than before. Lighter colors are less likely to show signs of fading compared to darker colors. For example, a white roof will show fewer signs of fading than a green roof. Fading can cause a roof's color to look uneven if one side gets more sun.

Measuring Fading on a Metal Roof


Note that a claim will only be covered if a metal roof is faded to a certain extent. Just because your roof looks a little lighter doesn't mean your claim can be approved. Fade is measured using Hunter Lab's Delta E (∆E) unit. This unit is a mathematical computation of three scales. L, A, and B are used to measure lightness and darkness, the presence of red or green, and the presence of yellow or blue. 

L = Lightness and darkness

A = Amount of red or green present

B = Amount of yellow or blue present

Each manufacturer has different criteria for how many Delta E units of the color must be from its original color to be covered by the warranty.

The Phenomenon of Chalking on Metal Roofs 


Chalking is a powdery substance appearing on the surface of a coating. It is more noticeable on darker-colored panels because the contrast between the dark paint and the white chalk makes it stand out. If chalking is present, touching the roof surface will leave a white, chalky residue on your hands.

Chalking occurs due to the breakdown of resins in the paint and is exacerbated by sun exposure. If one side of the roof gets more sun than the other, the roof may have areas with heavy chalking and other less affected areas.

Evaluating Chalking on Metal Roofs 


The extent of chalking on a metal roof is determined using the ASTM-D4214 standard. A range of techniques, along with photographic references, are used to evaluate the level of chalking. The amount of chalking is rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst level of chalking.

Each warranty will specify the amount of chalking that is required for coverage. For example, one warranty may require a numerical rating of 7 or higher, while another may require a rating of 5 or higher.

Film Adhesion on a Metal Roof 


"Film adhesion" or "film integrity," which encompasses cracking, peeling, and flaking. It's a crucial aspect of a warranty that ensures the paint will stick to the metal for a specified period. This aspect of the warranty is often covered for the longest duration. 

Measuring Film Adhesion 


The assessment of film adhesion on a metal roof is performed using the ASTM-3359 standard. The specific testing method used depends on the thickness of the paint film.

What Isn't Covered By A Metal Roof Paint Warranty? 


The following events or conditions typically fall outside the scope of coverage for a paint warranty provided by a manufacturer for metal roofing:

  • Fire damage
  • Wind damage
  • Improper installation
  • Damage from solar panels
  • Exposure to animal waste
  • Proximity to the ocean

However, these incidents may be covered by other warranties. For instance, a contractor may offer a workmanship warranty. Which would cover damage resulting from poor installation. So, it's important to inquire and learn about workmanship warranties

Warranties generally do provide coverage for issues caused by factors such as:

  • UV rays
  • Air containing salt
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Moisture (rain, snow, condensation, etc.)

The Duration of the Paint Warranty for a Metal Roof


The warranty offered for metal roof paint can be divided into three categories: 1)film adhesion 2)fading 3)chalking. The length of coverage for each aspect varies among manufacturers. Hence, the length of a metal roof paint warranty is not standardized. 

In the metal roofing industry, there is intense competition and warranties have become a marketing tool. Each manufacturer strives to offer a longer, more attractive warranty to set their metal panels apart from others. It's important to read the fine print, as the wording of a warranty can sometimes be misleading. 

For example, a metal panel may be advertised as having a "40-year warranty." Closer inspection might reveal that only the film adhesion is covered for 40 years, not fading or chalking. Typically, film adhesion is covered for the longest period compared to fading and chalking.

Metal Paint Warranty Length


Paint warranties come in varying lengths, and the length of the warranty will depend on the type of metal panel and coating used. Generally, the length of the warranty will be indicated in the contract, and you'll want to understand what is covered and for how long.

When investing in a metal roof, unless you want a mill finish roof(Galvalume) you're buying a paint warranty. The popular metal roofs are aluminum, steel, or galvalume. Aluminum and steel come with a painted finish. If the paint lasts the metal will surely last!

SMP vs. PVDF Paint Warranties


SMP (silicon-modified polyester): A basic coating that protects against fading, chalking, and peeling. 

PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride): A high-performance coating that provides additional protection against fading, chalking, and peeling. However, it also includes other elements like atmospheric chemicals and UV rays.

PVDV paint finish is going to be better if you live in or around coastal areas. (saltwater)

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3 Factors That Affect Metal Roof Warranties 


When it comes to protecting your metal roof, understanding the terms and conditions of your paint warranty is crucial. After choosing the perfect color for your roof. Here are three important factors that can impact the validity of your warranty: 

  1. Required maintenance
  2. Mixed metal sourcing
  3. Corrosion

Required Metal Maintenance


Owners of metal roofs sometimes misunderstand that metal roofs require maintenance. Despite metal being a low-maintenance roofing material. Most metal panel paint warranties require that the roof is cleaned at least once a year and that there is documentation to prove this. This is not only to keep the warranty valid but also to keep the roof in good condition and functioning properly.

Mixed Metal Sourcing


It is common for metal roofs to have a mix of metal grades and paint systems, but this can also be a problem. For example, you may have 24 gauge metal on your roof and 29 gauge metal on your trim, or two different paint systems on your roof panels and trim. The issue with mixed metal sourcing is that different metals weather differently, and some weather faster than others. To ensure the validity of your warranty, it is important to have a consistent metal throughout your roof.

Metal Corrosion 


It is important to note that a paint warranty only covers the paint on your panels. If there is rusting or corrosion that is affecting the adhesion or appearance of your metal panels, the warranty will not cover it. Corrosion is not a paint issue. To ensure that your roof is protected from corrosion, it is important to take steps to prevent it and to address it as soon as it appears.

Registering Your Metal Panels


It's important to register your metal roof to take advantage of the warranty coverage. The registration process is straightforward. It’ll ensure that you have a record of your panels and the warranty that covers them.

In conclusion, when evaluating a paint warranty for your metal roof or siding, be sure to consider all of the factors mentioned above. Knowing what is covered, what is not covered, and for how long will help you make an informed decision and ensure that your investment is protected.

Our family at RoofCrafters has 30 years of experience installing all types of metal roofs. By helping educate our clients we've been able to help guide them to make an informed decision for their metal roof investments. Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand metal roof warranties. We've also listed 10 questions below to ask your potential metal roof contractor.

10 questions to ask about your metal roof warranty.

Buying a metal roof is a large investment. As a consumer, asking the estimator or salesperson difficult or complex questions is recommended and expected. So make sure you do your due diligence by asking these questions:

  1. What is covered by this warranty?
  2. What is not covered by this warranty?
  3. Are there any special conditions or limitations that do or don’t apply to the warranty?
  4. Do I need to re-enroll or have inspections done during the duration of the warranty?
  5. Is there anything I can do to help maintain the condition of the roof?
  6. Who do I need to contact in the event that I need to use the warranty?
  7. Will there be any fees associated with the warranty?
  8. Will you replace the product or provide a refund for the roof covered by warranty?
  9. Is this warranty transferrable?
  10. Do you have a cleaning and maintenance guide?

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Nicole Corson

At RoofCrafters, our mission is to provide job opportunities for others to thrive and grow while making a meaningful impact within our communities.