By: Lauren Risotto on February 25th, 2020
Best Paint For Metal Roof: SMP Paint v PVDF Coatings
- Chemical Structure
- Fading and Chalking
- Abrasion Resistance
Are SMP Panels Or PVDF Panels Better For My Roof?
PVDF coated panels are seen in the industry as being superior to SMP panels in both quality and performance. However, PVDF panels can cost significantly more than SMP.
The biggest decision between these two panels comes down to compromises between price and performance.
The key to a product’s performance is in it’s chemistry. How well a product performs is directly associated with the quality of its components.
What Is SMP Coating?
SMP coating is made of polyester and silicone intermediates. Silicone acts to improve the gloss retention and weather resistance of the coatings. The amount of silicone in the coating varies depending on the manufacturer. The higher the silicone content, the better the performance of the paint.
What Are PVDF Coatings Made From?
Also referred to by its generic name, polyvinylidene fluoride PVDF, coatings consist of one of the strongest bonds known, called the carbon-fluorine bond. This chemical structure gives it the ability to resist strong acids, solvents and reducing agents.
Areas of a roof that receive the most direct sunlight will experience fading and chalking the fastest.
Fading And Chalking
Fading refers to the visible loss of color overtime. Chalking is when the appearance of a powdery substance forms on the surface of a coating. Both result directly from the chemical breakdown of a coating’s base resins and pigments that occurs from sun exposure. The areas of a roof that receive less UV rays from the sun will fade slower than the areas in direct sunlight.
Fading and chalking are undesirable, yet unavoidable, components of a painted metal panel that keeps it from looking fresh and new.
While the silicone in SMP paint helps with resistance to fading and chalking, the exposure to UV rays will take its toll on the appearance overtime. Some colors fade faster than others, with red generally being the most susceptible to fading. Lighter colored panels make the appearance of chalking less apparent.
PVDF Paint Coatings
The strong chemical foundation of PVDF paint makes it able to withstand harsh environmental elements to provide long-term durability.
Since your roof will be exposed to environmental elements, it’s important to look at how well each type of panel can resist being scratched or worn down.
SMP resins are harder than those of PVDF, making SMP paint abrasion and scratch resistant. Even though it can take rough handling, its hardness actually makes it less flexible and tiny fractures may result.
PVDF paint is softer than SMP, making it highly formable without risk of cracking. However, this also makes it much easier to scratch.
It may be surprising when you see how much paint warranties vary in the metal roofing industry. It used to be that all warranties were just about the same. Warranties today are now a part of the marketing strategy and every company is trying to be more competitive than the next. However, you have to read the fine print. Pay attention to what they cover, and not necessarily how long it is covered for.
Paint warranties for metal panels cover 3 areas:
- Film Adhesion/Integrity
- Fade/Color Change.
Not all of these categories are covered for the same amount of time.
Even though SMP is considered to be overall lower quality than PVDF, SMP panels actually have a longer warranty. Kind of.
When you look at a warranty for SMP panels, it is very common to see a 40-year warranty. While that sounds great at first, a closer look shows that the 40-years only covers film adhesion. The coverage for fade/color change and chalk is usually always less than a warranty for PVDF panels.
The warranties generally last 20 to 40 years for film adhesion for PVDF panels. When it comes to color change, it actually depends on the color itself. It’s likely to see a warranty of anywhere from 10 to 30 years for chalking and fade coverage.
Check out a sample PVDF® warranty v. SMP warranty to compare.
The biggest advantage of SMP paint systems over PVDF is the price. However, it’s important to consider that not all SMPs are created equal, in quality or price. Not only should you consider the cost between PVDF and SMP, but also think of the cost of different SMP paint systems.
There are higher quality SMP paint systems made with ceramic pigments that help improve its fade resistance, and improvements in resins that helps reduce chalking. These are going to cost more than other lower quality SMPs because of the improved components.
Is PVDF Worth The Cost?
PVDF can cost between 15-35% more than SMP. The greater cost is the result of PVDF being made with higher quality components.
Which Paint System Should I Choose?
We can only provide different aspects to consider as you determine which panel type is best for your situation.
SMP Paint Panels Typically Fit Those Who:
Have a smaller budget and are looking for the most economical choice.
Will be roofing an industrial building or other structure where aesthetics is not a top priority.
Neutral colors such as white or tan.
PVDF Paint Panels Typically Fit Those Who:
Have aesthetics and performance of panels as a main concern.
Want the panel with the best longevity possible.
Bright and vibrant colors such as red or green.
Let Us Help You Choose A Metal Roofing Color
At Western States Metal Roofing, we offer both SMP and PVDF painted panels. We have an extensive color selection between both paint systems.
The next step is to determine the color of your metal roof. This article will help you with that decision: Metal Roofing Colors: 5 Tips To Pick The Best Metal Roofing Color
Start narrowing down your color selection by requesting free samples of your favorite colors in either paint finish.