Tin Roof Rusted: Show Your Shack Some Love

By HomeAdvisor

Updated November 9, 2017

Tin roof

The tin roof is, for many people, a symbol of times past. However, for those who live beneath one, a tin roof is hardly a piece of history. Depending on its condition, this can be a blessing or something else entirely.

The Historic Tin Roof

A roof of any material that has fallen into disrepair can be a nightmare. This is especially true when that roof is metal. No one can say that these roofs haven’t stood the test of time—many are still functioning a hundred years after their instillation. The problem is that when these roofs were first constructed, the technology didn’t exist to properly seal them from the elements. A lot of tin roofs were eventually replaced with a different type of roofing material. Today, original metal roofs are few and far between. Their scarcity alone might make the job of tin roof repair worth the time and effort.

Tin Roof Repair

Restoring a tin roof that is in fairly decent shape is a straightforward, though tedious, job. First, any existing debris must be cleared. This includes moss, rust, roof cement, old paint, or even tar. Most of these will need to be carefully scraped off by hand; chemicals can be used to help with the rust. After all debris is removed, the roof should be scrubbed and rinsed or power washed to prepare for painting. The first coat of paint should be a rust resistant primer. After that, the roof should be covered with at least two topcoats of acrylic paint.

Tin roof repair is a more involved process when a significant amount of rust is present. In addition to the steps above, a few extra steps will be necessary if the roof is in poor shape. An acrylic base is applied after the primer coat. Strips of meshing are embedded into this acrylic base and the wrinkles are smoothed out. After this dries, a coat of acrylic primer is applied. This is followed by at least two acrylic topcoats.

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Tin Roof Replacement

There comes a point in the life of a tin roof where the damage is too great and one must say goodbye. Most would say that if a person cannot walk across the roof without fear of falling through it, that point has already passed. Some attempts have been made to patch holes in metal roofs by soldering cut pieces of metal over them. The degrees of success have varied greatly.

Keeping the charm of a metal roof might mean having to replace the whole thing. The good news is that technology has come a long way. A new metal roof will be durable and energy efficient. It will also be resistant to the leaking and noise problems that are commonly associated with their predecessors. Though it will probably not be made of solid tin, it will still have the air of history you desire. The cost of tin installation will be more expensive than a conventional shingle roof, but statistically should last 2 or 3 times longer.


  1. ALLEN SIRMONS, August 30:

    Currently I have tin roof over my front porch it has crack by the drain pipe. It not a long crack about 4 to 5 inches long seems like a real easy task to under take. What would you suggest on how to repair this part of the roof?

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