How to Prevent a Tin Roof from Rusting

  • 8-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-1,500
What You'll Need
Zinc-rich primer, liquefied zinc or elastomeric coating
Wire brush, disc grinder or sandblaster
Old towel or rag
Rubber and/or work gloves
Safety goggles

One of the problems you are likely to encounter with a tin roof is rust. Tin roofs have been around for ages. They have several benefits. They are durable, withstand weather extremities, are resistant to fire, mildew, and insects. Besides these attributes, tin roofs are affordable and easy to install. Rust may be your biggest challenge when it comes to maintenance of a tin roof. Rust is created when oxygen and moisture interact. It oxidizes the metal causing it to become weaker. If left unattended, rust can result in serious damage to your roof. In order to prevent the occurrence of rust, follow these 3 preventative measures.


Painting protects your roof from corrosion and rust. Paint your roof with a primer that contains at least 80% zinc. Zinc is an excellent rust preventive. A zinc-rich primer works best if you prepare your roof well before application. This will necessitate a thorough cleaning of the roof to remove all dirt and any rust that may have set in.

Remove any rust and paint that is peeling off then use a hand wire brush, disc grinder or sandblaster to get rid of the rust. Wash the roof thoroughly with a detergent and water, then rinse the roof well and allow it to dry completely.

For quicker drying, you can wipe away residual water with a rag or old towel. You can then proceed to paint. It is important that you paint on a clean surface. This will prevent dirt from being driven into the tin roofing material as you paint. A clean surface forms an ideal foundation for paint application and is vital to a successful painting job. Paint your roof every 3 years to prevent tin rust from developing.


Elastomeric coatings are excellent rust preventives. They are an acrylic sealing system that is applied onto the roof in layers. Once it sets it forms an effective barrier on the roof against corrosion and rust. Like with painting, it is important that you clean your roof well before you apply the coating. This will ensure a more satisfactory result. Elastomeric coatings are available in various colors. You can enjoy doing a color change to your roof if so desired to give it a new look while extending its durability. A single-layer coating can last up to 5 years. If you do a multiple coating, you need not re-apply for another 10 years.

Galvanized Roofing

Treat your roof with liquefied zinc to create galvanized metal. The zinc forms a coating of several layers over the tin and effectively protects it from corrosion and rust. When you galvanize your tin roof with zinc, you will extend its longevity as the tin will remain effectively protected underneath the zinc for several years. It toughens the roof from extreme weather such as hail, snow, and excessive heat, all of which can facilitate rust. A galvanized tin roof does not require any other chemical treatments to prevent rust so it is cost-effective. Once galvanized, there are no maintenance procedures necessary except for general cleaning as the need arises.