Painting Metal Roofs: Some Do’s and Don’ts

bigstock-roofer-builder-worker-with-pul-52436509_smallerEvery summer, we talk to a number of folks in our stores who are curious about the right way to paint an old, rusting metal roof.  They want to know what types of products to use, they want to know the steps involved, they want to know what cleaners they should purchase (and also, at least a little bit, they’re wanting us to tell them that the surface is unpaintable and should just be left as is).

Well, sadly, for many of these folks, we don’t tell them to leave it as is.  You just can’t do that.  Metal roofs, when they exhibit signs of rust, need to be painted in order to be protected.  Failing to protect and coat them properly will lead to larger and more expensive (and, of course, painful) failure down the road.

So, let’s cut to the chase:  if you’ve got an old metal roof that needs to be painted, here’s what you need to do and what you should use:


Wire Brush or a wire wheel on an angle grinder.
TSP cleaner
Power Washer
Rollers, Brushes, etc.
Met’l Clad 449 Rust Inhibitive Metal Primer
Met’l Clad or Glo-Enamel oil base topcoat in desired color
Ladders/scaffolding as needed
Scrub brush


Wire brush or grind as much of the loose, flaking rust off the roof as possible.  This is a critical key to the success of your project, so take the time necessary to do this part right.

Once the rust is removed, it’s best to still wash the roof down to remove any grease, grime, or contaminant that might be there.  Apply TSP (mixed according to directions on label) and scrub with the scrub brush.  (And this probably doesn’t need to be said, but BE CAREFUL.  A wet roof is obviously extremely slippery and potentially hazardous–so do as much of the cleaning as possible from a scaffold or a ladder.)  Once you’ve scrubbed the roof, rinse it off well with a power washer and allow it to dry.

After the roof has dried, simply apply the 449 Met’l Clad primer using a brush, roller or spray.  Allow this product to dry for at least 24 hours.

Once the primer coat has dried, we recommend that you apply two coats of your oil-based finish paint–whether it’s the Met’l Clad or the Glo-Enamel.  Products should have about 24 hours between coats.


Start early in the day and quit when the roof gets too hot to work on.  Working on a roof when it’s extremely hot can be tough on you . . . and tough on the paint you’re trying to apply.

Exercise extreme caution.  Whenever working at heights of any level, remember to take things slowly and take nothing for granted.  One slip or missed footing can result in months and months of recovery time!  So be careful!

While Latex paints are absolutely perfect for the sides of metal buildings, they’re not quite as durable for the roof.  Remember, a roof doesn’t have just the sun to deal with:  it’s pelted with driving rain and is subjected to Michigan winters and piled up snow.  All of these things will damage a Latex paint quicker than they will an oil.  So, for your metal roofs, stick to oil!

Defy Extreme: The Proof It Works

defy_samplesLast time I wrote about DEFY Extreme Deck Stain.  It’s available in several colors, but the main thing I was writing about last time was the fact that it comes in a clear.

Now, for many folks who’ve never worked with a clear, that’s no big deal.  But if you’ve ever put a clear wood protector down on your deck, you know what you usually get out of it:  typically about 6 months before it starts to look terrible.

Well, DEFY’s Extreme Clear product makes use of Nano-Technology to put, in your hands, a clear wood protector that WILL resist the harmful UV rays from the sun.  See, as we wrote last time, most of your typical deck protectors that color the wood contain UV inhibitors.  They block the harmful rays and keep your deck looking better for longer.  Clear protectors, however, don’t possess these blockers.  The sun’s rays just beat right through the coating and damage the wood.

The above picture is a perfect example.  The center squares on all of those sample boards were coated with a clear wood protector from a number of different companies.  They were then left outside to weather for about six months.  All of the boards except the DEFY board–no matter what the brand–show significant evidence of product failure and wood damage.  Only the DEFY product looks virtually unchanged.

So think about it and be aware:  if you’re interested in a clear deck coating, don’t get suckered by great advertising and slick commercials.  The best solution for your deck–the one that will give you the longest amount of time between maintenance coats–is DEFY’s Extreme.  Check it out!

Finally! A Clear Deck Stain That Does Something!

defyWell, in an earlier post, I spilled the “dirty little industry secret” when it comes to Deck Stains and Wood Protectors. I let you know that the truth of the matter when it comes to deck coatings is that you can usually expect to get 1-2, maybe (at most) 3 years out of your finish. After that length of time, it will need to be recoated.

Sure, this probably isn’t groundbreaking news to many of you, but we still run into plenty of individuals stopping in at RepcoLite who are expressing surprise and disbelief and disappointment over their “national-brand, expensive, supposedly high-end” deck coatings that have only lasted a year or two.

And while I’d be the last person to try to give these national brands an easy out, I’d still, in the interest of honesty, like to point out that these national products aren’t failing quicker than other deck coatings. They’re just performing in the manner that all deck coatings usually perform.

So, I wrote all of that to let you know not to get too over-excited by fancy, slick advertising campaigns on TV. These products take a beating and no matter what the commercial leads you to believe, you’re usually going to get a couple years max out of the coating.

However, that’s not to say that some aren’t better than others. For example, there’s a well-known, national brand of wood sealer that absolutely works like a dream. For the first 6 months or so. After that, it’s all down hill. This is probably THE brand that everybody associates with deck cleaners–it’s the “Band-aid” of adhesive bandages–it’s the name everybody knows. And yet, it’s really, in all honesty, an inferior product. It’s all show and no “go.”

On the other hand, there’s a brand that may not be as well-known, but which is breaking all the rules when it comes to deck coatings. This brand is known as DEFY® and they make a full line of deck coatings and cleaners and strippers. And these products are absolutely at the top of the deck-coating heap when it comes to quality, durability and ease of use.

DEFY’S® Clear Extreme Wood Stain is the newest member of the DEFY® line of wood products and is easily their most innovative high performance product yet. See, when it comes to protecting their decks, many homeowners express a desire to “keep that natural look on the wood.”

After all the cleaning and surface prep, folks see the beauty of their natural wood and generally don’t want to put anything on it that’s going to change it. They don’t want to put a colored sealer on it because that will deepen the wood’s color too much. So many folks lean towards the application of a clear wood protector.

However, there’s a problem. The sun’s ultra-violet rays cause wood to turn gray and become susceptible to water penetration and decay. That’s the core problem that all untreated decks face. Unfortunately, almost all CLEAR wood protectors are simply water-repellants. They will cause rain to bead up, but they won’t do a thing about the sun’s damaging rays. As a result, it’s usually not long (quite often 6 months or less) before your once clean and beautiful deck starts to show signs of graying and weather damage.

But now, all that is changing because of DEFY’S® innovative new technology. DEFY® Extreme Wood Stain effectively protects the wood from the harmful effects of the sun and protects wood from graying using state of the art nano-technology.

DEFY® explains on their website: “Extreme Wood Stain contains zinc oxide particles that reflect the damaging Ultraviolet Rays from the sun. When you reduce the size of these zinc particles down to the nano level, they become invisible to the naked eye. These nano-particles are distributed at a rate of over 30 trillion per square inch of surface area to provide protection from the sun in much the same way as they do when used in sun blockers and sunscreen lotions. This results in a “Crystal Clear” finish that when dry, will give the longest lasting UV protection on the market for a clear deck finish!”

So basically, what we at RepcoLite are excited to offer for the first time ever is a truly clear–a crystal clear–wood sealer that will not only defend your wood against water and rain . . . but also the damaging effects of the sun.

That’s the teaser information. We’ll talk more about this great product and I’ll show you some stunning samples next time.

The Truth About Deck Coatings

Port City Deck and DockWhen it comes to protecting your deck, there are a lot of options out there as well as a lot of misconceptions. And really, much of this is brought on by slick marketing campaigns.
One commercial springs to mind. It shows a guy in house on a huge cliff overlooking the ocean. He wakes up in the morning, crams his iPod headphones into his ears and jogs down his immense wood stairway leading down from his immense deck. I think he’s going to get the paper or something. Anyway, the point is that he’s oblivious to everything going on around him and he doesn’t realize that an enormous wave of epic proportions is preparing to crash down on his house.
Well, he does his thing, gets the mail or the newspaper or whatever he was after, and while he’s gone for those few seconds, the wave hits. The deck is pounded with water, the stairs are buried beneath the tidal wave. But then, as quickly as it hit, it’s gone. And the guy returns with his paper, walking back up (or down–I can’t remember) the same pristine stairs and across the same flawless deck he had traveled earlier. He only stops and realizes something might be up when he sees that in the fishbowl . . . rather than his little gold fish that had been there earlier . . . is now a piranha.
The point of the commercial is to show you the durability and strength of a particular deck coating. And that sounds great. And it looks great. It’s a very effective ad–we see the water beading up on the deck and we’re convinced. If we just buy that coating, we’ll be fine . . . our deck will last forever, right?”
Unfortunately, wrong. That’s where the misconception comes in. Deck coatings, no matter what you use, are likely going to give you 1-2 years of protection on your deck. That’s the dirty little industry secret that nobody wants to share. You’ll hear how this product outperforms that one. You’ll hear that product X will give you 2 times the industry standard in protection and durability. You’ll see commercials about tidal waves burying small houses. But you’ll rarely hear someone say, “you’ll probably need to do this all again in a year or two.”
And yet that’s the truth of it. Deck coatings are subjected–especially here in Michigan–to some tremendous wear and tear. They have to hold up to hot Michigan summer sun, torrential Michigan Spring and Fall rains, as well as everybody’s favorite . . . Michigan winters. That kind of abuse will wear a coating down quickly. And as a result, you’re most likely going to need to re-apply your wood protector every other year or so.
OK . . . so why explain that? Why let the “dirty little industry secret” slip out? Do I have a product that I’m going to claim is going to last twice as long? Do I have one of those classic tag lines used by slick advertisers everywhere? Something along the lines of . . . “yes, that’s what USED to be the case, but now, with this new product from RepcoLite, you won’t EVER have to coat your deck again!” Do I have something like that to say?

Nope. RepcoLite’s Port City Deck and Dock Wood Protector is going to give you the same durability you’re going to get from any of the other national high quality deck products out there. (Though it truly is WAY better than another, well-known deck protector that I won’t name here [insert cough that sounds like “Thompson’s”]).

No, I don’t have a super-amazing product that will blow the doors off the competition . . . . That’s not my point for explaining the limitations of all deck coatings. My reason for doing so is in the nature of honesty. So many customers we help in the stores have misconceptions as to what to expect when they coat their decks. And, as I said earlier, these misconceptions are promulgated by companies who sell deck coatings. They’re afraid that if they tell you the truth, nobody will buy the products. They’re afraid that if they confess that the product will probably last a year or two before requiring some maintenance, you won’t bother coating your deck.
At RepcoLite, we look at it from another perspective. We feel it’s worse to lead you into a sale by not making you aware of the full story. We’re not afraid that you’ll skip cleaning and coating your deck when you hear the nature of deck coatings. We’re pretty confident you’ll still go ahead with the projects. But we want you to know the full scoop–we want you to know what to expect: from our coatings AND from our competitors.
The truth isn’t something to shrink away from. It’s not something to hide. Giving a customer the full story and all the information ahead of time–before their purchase–is a much better business model. At least in our minds.
So when you get ready to coat your deck, we’d love to help you and we’d love to sell you the very best coatings at the very best prices. But what we don’t want to do is mislead you. Remember: any deck coating you buy–anywhere, from anybody–is probably going to give you 1-2 (maximum of 3) years before it needs maintenance. Keep that in mind, plan for that . . . and you won’t be disappointed!

8 Easy Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

curb_appeal_test2Increasing the curb appeal of your home doesn’t need to be a paint project that lasts all summer long–you don’t need to paint your entire home in order to bump up it’s appearance. Oh, that always helps–and really, nothing will accomplish a complete renewal of your home than a new paint job–but it’s not always necessary. Here are 8 sure-fire ways–easy ways–to increase the visual “pop” of your home:

FRONT DOORS: Your front doors can offer you a great opportunity to say something unique and interesting about your home. Many folks fall back on a safe standard–a maroon or a forest green–but don’t let that be the case with your home. Branch out a little. Be a little daring. Go with a bright green, a bold red, a warm yellow. It’s a small area in the grand scheme of things–after all, a front door is basically 21 square feet. So, it’s a drop in the bucket when you think about the entire exterior of your home. But this little drop can have some impact if you pick the right color!f

GARAGE DOORS: Another surface that gives you a great opportunity when it comes to exterior decorating are your garage doors. Take a look at yours and see if there’s a way to infuse some color into that surface. And really, don’t feel you have to paint the whole thing one big, bright, bold color. You could paint it a slightly darker color than the rest of your trim and then use either a lighter or darker color yet to accent the different raised panels in the door. There are any number of creative things you could try–our point here is to just open your mind to the possibilities. Don’t look at that door as just a big hunk of metal that hides the opening of your garage! Look at it as a canvas–a place to throw some color and increase the visual appeal of your home.

SHUTTERS: Most of our homes have shutters. And most of us have painted those shutters the same color as we’ve painted our front doors. And really, that’s not necessarily bad. But, don’t always assume that there are no other options. Look at your shutters and try to imagine what a color darker or lighter than your door color would do. What would another color altogether add? Shutters don’t take up a lot of space and so a bright, bold color that WORKS with your other colors can infuse some significant life into a boring exterior.

LIGHT POSTS and RAILINGS: This is one of my favorite ideas–mainly because its just something I’ve never really given much thought to before. See, most of us spend time thinking about the colors we’ll put on our doors or our siding that we never really give much thought to extraneous things like railings and light posts. Oh, we figure we’ll just accent them in white or maybe black depending on the rest of the color scheme, but rarely do we ever give them much consideration on their own. So break out of that mindset. Give some thought to your railings and your lightposts. What colors could you put on those surfaces that would really infuse your home with interest?

LAWN FURNITURE: The fifth item we’re going to talk about is something that’s not permanently affixed to your home: lawn furniture. Many of us have Adirondack chairs or other items like this that take up a place of prominence on our yards. They are usually more practical than decorative–they’re the places we hang out and relax over the summer months. But just because they’re practical doesn’t mean that they can’t be decorative as well. Rather than rely on the standard white, why not branch out into some bold colors, some bright colors . . . some fun colors? Because these aren’t permanent items, you can move them, put them away for the winter, etc. So, don’t be afraid to go bold with your colors.

FLOWER BOXES: Not every house has flower boxes attached beneath the windows anymore. But for those of you who have these, don’t forget that they can be used not just to carry a bunch of color in the form of flowers! They can also be painted with interesting colors to add a little excitement to the big blank exterior of your home. Because these are small, you can paint them easily and, if you put some time and thought into the color selection AND the flowers you plant in them . . . you could have an amazing summer result! So don’t overlook them.

WINDOW TRIM: This one’s an obvious choice, but again, so often, we overlook it on our own homes. So many times, we assume that trim needs to be either dark brown or white. But that’s not the case. Oh, you want to be a little careful with your color choices because painting window trim isn’t the most exciting or pleasant project out there . . . but don’t be afraid to stretch your boundaries a little. Sometimes a slightly darker or lighter version of your siding or your front door accents can really “class-up” an exterior. So don’t just settle on the standards–think bigger!

OUT BUILDINGS: One last area that we’re going to cover in this article is your outbuildings. You know, those little sheds we’ve all got crammed full of lawnmowers and kids toys. Most of us paint them very conservatively. We turn them into little tiny duplicates of our homes–same colors, same look. Or, we branch out a little and coat them with a nice, safe white. Or, maybe a wood-colored stain. Well, I’m not saying it’s the right answer for everybody, but for some of us, a bold color on a building like this can create a huge splash of visual interest for the exterior of your home. And by “bold”, I don’t mean it has to be red or bright green. It could be a deep, navy blue. It could be a charcoal building with lime-green highlights. It could be anything. Think about it!

Well, you get the idea. The point is this: think big! Be bold with your color choices and be creative with the surfaces you decide to paint. Small surfaces on and around your home can be painted quickly and easily for very little money. But these same surfaces, when coated with the perfect color, will slow traffic and walkers as they pass your house. They’ll take a look. And they’ll go home and they’ll start looking for ways to add interest to their exteriors!