We often get asked this question as it is a concern to most people who are considering a metal roof, but aren’t really sure how it is going to look after awhile. Most of the concern probably comes from people driving around and seeing some metal roofs that have faded pretty bad, and it is definitely should be a concern. Hopefully I will be able to tell you a little bit about how paint is made and the difference between paint.
There a two main ingredients to paint and that is the pigments and the resin. Pigments provide the color, controls ultra-violet light transmission, and helps with corrosion protection. The resin is like the glue that holds the pigments together and provides the durability to the paint. There are three kinds of pigments that are used to make paint; organic, inorganic, and ceramic. Organic pigments occur naturally and generally cost less to use. Some organic pigments may have good durability but not exceptional durability. Inorganic pigments can also occur naturally but don’t contain carbon compounds. Their higher performance usually comes at a higher cost than organic pigments. The last kind of pigment is the ceramic pigment, which is made from mixed metal oxides. They are the most color stable pigments on the market today and come with a higher cost to use.
The answer to whether a metal roof will fade is yes, but by how much and to what uniformity. You see, from our discussion about pigments, you can use cheaper paints (cheaper pigments and resins) on metal roofing panels just like you can go to any home improvement store or paint store and buy paint for your walls with different price tags. Paint technology, just like other technology has definitely gotten better over the years. So what you have out there are metal roofs that have faded badly do to old technology or just cheap paint that shouldn’t be used on a building product like metal roofing that gets exposed to the Florida sun everyday.
So to summarize this discussion for you, a metal roof will fade, some more than others. A high quality paint will fade very slightly over a long time versus a cheap paint that will fade very quickly and usually not evenly across the roof.
If you are interested in researching this question further, you can read more here.