6 Things to Consider with Metal Roof Finishes

Metal roof various styles, finishes and colors

When it comes to metal roofing, the details are key to getting the most value out of your roof. We know the importance of choosing the right panel type for the project, but choosing a fitting finish is crucial, too. Different metal roof finishes provide distinct benefits for the longevity, aesthetic appeal, and quality of a roof. Depending on the project’s specs, the finish can even make or break the overall impact of the metal roof, so choose and make recommendations wisely! Below, we’ll review the different options for metal roof finishes and aspects to consider when choosing and recommending a finish for your next project.

6 Things to Consider with Metal Roof Finishes

Deciding between the different metal roof paint colors is a process all on its own (see our recommendations here). But after deciding on a paint color, it’s time to decide on a finish. The right finish can not only enhance the color of your panel but boost its longevity and durability, too.

1. Chemical Composition

The type of finish on a metal panel is called its paint chemistry, and each type of finish has a different chemical composition. These differences in paint chemistry add to the finished panel’s advantages and disadvantages. Below are several of the main types of paint chemistry used on metal roofs, and each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks.


Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) finishes are considered the leaders in the metal roofing industry. Commonly referred to as Kynar™ and Hylar™, PVDF is known for being one of the best protective coatings around. It’s well-known for being resistant to fade, chalk, extreme temperatures, humidity, sun exposure, and even pollution. Because of its durability, PVDF is slightly more expensive than other options.


While not as high in performance as PVDF, polyester is another popular metal roof finish category. Polyester coatings come in a variety of forms, but the two most popular are polyester-resin and silicone-modified polyester (SMP). Polyester-resin finishes are the least expensive options, but they typically only last 5 to 7 years and warranties only cover around 3 to 5 years. If you do not choose PVDF, SMP can give you a high level of durability and protection, as reports show it provides good gloss retention and chalk resistance. SMP finishes can last between 10 to 20 years depending on how high the silicon content is (the higher the silicon content, the more durable the finish).


Also known as stone coated metal roofing, aggregate coatings provide a beautiful finish at a lower price point than PVDF finishes. Performance-wise, aggregate coatings are not as long-lasting as PVDF finishes. They can be similar to asphalt shingles, in that they can be prone to mildew, biological growth, and easier wear down.

Clear Acrylic

For those who enjoy the “mill finish” look, a clear acrylic coating can help you achieve this aesthetic. Acrylic is a cost-effective, durable finish that provides UV protection in an easy-to-install form. However, clear acrylic can be negatively impacted by ponding water and can lose mil thickness due to weathering and environmental exposure.

2. Color

Color plays a major role in your roofing decisions, whether it’s aesthetic appeal, price, or energy efficiency. Color also has a huge part in the type you finish you choose, as well. Lighter-colored roofs are less prone to aging than darker colors, so lighter roofs with complementary metal roof coatings will not only last longer but retain their beauty longer, too.

3 . Metal Roof Gloss vs Matte

Choosing between gloss and matte for your metal roof comes down to a few factors. Many homeowners choose a matte finish because of its aesthetic appeal. However, higher gloss tends to be more durable and has a dramatic appeal some clients appreciate. Consult with one of our experts on whether matte or gloss might fit your project best.

4. Resistance

The main purpose of metal roof finishes is to protect a roofing system from damage in a range of forms. When choosing a metal roof finish, make sure to choose one that offers superior resistance from the following:

  • Moisture
  • Pollution
  • Rust
  • Corrosion
  • Peeling
  • Cracking
  • Discoloring
  • Fading
  • Chalking
  • Scratches
  • Chips

Generally, PVDF is considered the most durable option on the market, but consult with one of our Montana metal roofing experts for a more in-depth look at the available options.

5. UV Protection

Paint fading due to UV exposure can reduce the efficiency of your metal roofing system. Metal roofs are supposed to offer superior heat reflection, and that quality is boosted by your choice of a metal roof finish. Typically, white or light-colored roofs give better energy efficiency than darker colors, but many cool-toned metal roof finishes feature special pigments that help reflect the sun. Consider what would give your roofing system the best level of UV protection when choosing a metal roof finish.

6. Metal of Choice

Whether you choose zinc, aluminum, or a combination of aluminum and zinc, each metal finish is very distinctive. In galvanized steel, a special, anti-corrosive zinc coating is used to improve the roof’s energy efficiency and durability. Aluminum finishes act as an extra physical barrier for the metal roof panel and protect the roof from rust. Galvalume steel is a roof coating made of aluminum, zinc, and silicon that makes a roof highly resistant to corrosion. For more information on metal coatings, speak to one of our metal roofing experts today.

Consult on Metal Roof Finishes with Our Team

If you need a second opinion on your choice of finish for a roofing project, we’re here to help. At Great Northern Metal Company, our team has decades of combined experience in the metal roofing industry. We go above and beyond to provide you with the best options for your metal roofing and siding needs. To speak to a professional or get a quote, drop us a line or give us a call at (406) 624-0435.

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