Red Metal Roofing & Walls: Pros, Cons, & Project Photos

If you’re looking for a bold and eye-catching exterior for your home or building — choosing a red metal roof or wall could be a good option. Learn more about the pros and cons of red panel systems.

Red is a striking and eye-catching color — which is something that many property owners want for their buildings and even homes.

Plus, with its traditional use in agricultural structures and on businesses with similar color palettes, red metal roofs/walls are more common than you think.

So why should you choose a red metal roof or wall system? What might make red a good option for your project?

Download the Your Guide to Metal Roof Design e-book here!

Sheffield Metals and our valued partners at Sherwin-Williams continuously monitor color trends and track which metal sheet and coil colors are most frequently purchased. Plus, SMI’s full-time Architectural Department is comprised of individuals with extensive experience in the architectural metals industry, and we often provide helpful design assistance for roof and wall projects.

Let’s review the options, advantages, disadvantages, and project examples for red metal roof and wall systems.

Red Color Options Available From Sheffield Metals

Before we examine the pros and cons of choosing a red metal roof or wall system, let’s look at the red sheet and coil color options offered by Sheffield Metals. 

As of 2023, we offer three shades of red on our standard 24-gauge color card:

  • Colonial Red
  • Regal Red
  • Burgundy

We’ll dive into the differences between each red in the next section.

Advantages of Choosing a Red Metal Roof or Wall System

Several Different Color Shades

As mentioned, there’s a range of red shades offered by Sheffield Metals, which gives home and building owners several options to choose from:

  • Colonial Red
    • Colonial Red is a medium-dark red that is between Regal Red and Burgundy in terms of color and vibrance. Colonial Red is the most popular of the three red shades.
  • Regal Red
    • Regal red is the closest to a standard red on the color card, as it’s vibrant and brighter than the other two.
  • Burgundy
    • Burgundy is the darkest red and resembles a cross between red and dark brown. It’s the least popular of the three options.

If you know that you want a red metal roof or wall for your project, you’ll be happy to know that there is more than just one red color option.

Well Suited for Specific Environments & Architectural Styles

If your roof or wall project is located in a region with a lot of agriculture or in a warm, southern environment, utilizing a red color as the roof or wall system is commonplace. 

Plus, red lends itself well to several different architectural styles, including:

  • Agricultural (barns, sheds, etc.)
  • Spanish
    • Some darker reds, like Colonial Red or Burgundy, can mimic the look of Spanish clay tiles, which can be useful for properties that want to adhere to a Spanish architectural style.
  • Craftsman
  • Colonial
  • Cape Cod
  • Bungalow
  • Victorian

Common in Agricultural Applications

As mentioned, reds are commonly used in agricultural applications. However, where did the tradition of red for barns get its origin?

According to the Almanac Publishing Co.:

Hundreds of years ago, many farmers would seal their barns with linseed oil, which is an orange-colored oil derived from the seeds of the flax plant. To this oil, they would add a variety of things, most often milk and lime, but also ferrous oxide, or rust. Rust was plentiful on farms and because it killed fungi and mosses that might grow on barns, it was very effective as a sealant. It turned the mixture red in color

When paint became more available, many people chose red paint for their barns in honor of tradition.

The tradition of using red continues today, so many agricultural property owners choose red metal panel systems (especially because metal can be engineered to high standards, which provides extra protection for a building and its contents). 

A couple of examples of standard agricultural building designs include: 

  • A red metal roofing system with white, gray, or beige siding.
  • A red metal wall system with a gray, black, or brown roof.

Bold & Unique Color Option

Even if you don’t have an agricultural, barn, or Spanish-style home or building, red might be the color you want for your property.

Red is bold, unique, and makes a statement. Plus, the psychology behind red points to it being a color that evokes richness, royalty, and strength. 

If you want your home or building to have that eye-catching and bold appearance, red is a good choice for the right design and application.

Mid-range SRI (Solar Reflective Index) Option

As you read on, you’ll notice that there are benefits and drawbacks relating to SRI because our red colors are different and have differing SRI values.

One of our reds has a mid-range SRI value: Regal Red, which has an SRI of 45.

For a bit of background, cool metal roofing is painted or coated metal products that reflect the sun’s energy to dissipate heat. Cool roofs help reduce the heat transferred into the building, resulting in total cooling cost energy savings ranging from 7% to 15%, according to the Green Building Alliance.

One of the primary measures of cool metal roofing is the Solar Reflective Index, a surface’s ability to reflect the sun’s solar energy (solar reflectance) and emit heat (emissivity). SRI is measured on a scale from 0 to 100. An SRI value closer to 0 indicates a darker or black surface, and a value closer to 100 indicates a brighter or white surface.

Regal Red has a mid-range SRI value, likely resulting in medium energy savings. 

Corporate Color Similarities

Regal Red, or bright reds in general, are common in retail — especially the fast food industry. If you think of some fast food brands, many have a bright red in their color scheme, i.e., McDonald’s, Arby’s, Pizza Hut, Chick-fil-A, etc. 

These brands often try to incorporate the bright reds from their logo into the architecture of the physical restaurant. Even though the chalk and fade of Regal Red can be less than some standard items, the shorter coverage often aligns with many retail brands’ updating/”facelift” cycle (many of these franchises update their stores within 20 years or less).

Disadvantages of Choosing a Red Metal Roof or Wall System

Potential Color Fading & Chalking Concerns 

A potential drawback to choosing a red roof is that it might not carry the same timeframe for chalking and fading as other not-as-vivid or pigmented colors.

For a little bit of background on the topic:

  • Fading – Fading on painted metal roofs occurs when substances like water, pollution, and chemicals in the atmosphere and specific environments react with and change the paint’s pigment. Fading usually lightens the color, but it is known to darken or completely change particular colors.
  • Chalking – Chalking is the whitish residue that can become visible on a painted or coated metal surface over time. As a panel is exposed to sunlight and UV rays, the resin begins to break down, loses adhesion to the surface, and begins to turn white. These particles will eventually become visible to the naked eye on the metal’s surface.

Remember that vivid colors could fade more “noticeably” than a lighter or duller pigment (like Ash Gray, Sandstone, etc.) and, depending on the supplier, could have reduced chalk and fade coverage. Unfortunately, that is just one of the drawbacks of choosing a more pigmented color for something regularly exposed to weather events and sunlight. 

Note: All Sheffield Metals’ red colors now have the same chalking and fading coverage as most other stocked colors.

Low SRI Options

As we discussed before, Regal Red has a relatively good SRI, but the other two reds have lower SRI values:

  • Colonial Red has an SRI of 30
  • Burgundy has an SRI of 25

The lower SRI values will translate to lesser energy savings in the long run than colors with higher SRI values. However, remember that metal is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly roofing materials (especially when compared to asphalt shingles), so despite the slightly lower SRI value, you’re still using a smarter building material.

Not Suited for Every Architectural Style or Region

Red is not a neutral color and is specifically designed to stand out.

While a red color can complement several exterior architectural styles of today — both as a roof and as a wall — some styles usually don’t feature a burgundy or red in their traditional color palette, including:

  • Modern
  • Contemporary 
  • Tudor

Additionally, red as a roof or wall can be very regional, meaning it’s more prevalent in specific areas of the country. For example, you’re more likely to find a red roof or wall in an agricultural region, such as the Great Plains or the Heartland, or a desert region, such as the Southwest U.S. It’s less likely that you’ll find a red roof in a mountainous or forested area.

Design Flexibility Concerns

The last drawback to choosing a red metal roof or wall system is that it locks you into that specific color for many years. Standing seam metal roof and wall systems can be engineered to last for four or more decades, so you should choose a color you will still like in a couple of decades.

Also, red does not have the versatility of a color that matches or complements various other colors, such as black, white, gray, brown, etc. So, if you want to change up your exterior building look five or ten years down the line, a red roof or wall system gives you more limited design options.

Red Metal Roofing Project Examples

Historic Residential Property | Georgetown, Texas | Color: Colonial Red

Bellstores | Ashland, Ohio | Color: Regal Red

WNC Agricultural Center | Fletcher, North Carolina | Color: Burgundy

Final Thoughts on Red Metal Roofs & Walls

Is Colonial Red, Regal Red, or Burgundy the best color for your metal roof or wall project? 

It depends on several design elements, including your building type, architectural style, likes and dislikes, geographic location, SRI requirements, etc.

If you’re on the fence about whether you want to choose red or another color, here are some helpful methods to narrow down your choices:

  • Explore exterior color palettes, photo galleries, and examples of homes or buildings similar to yours.
  • Look at manufacturers’ color cards and compare/contrast with your expectations.
  • Use a Color Visualizer to upload a photo of your actual structure and explore how different colors look.
  • Request physical metal color chips from manufacturers.
  • Discuss the options with your architect and/or contractor and ask for their professional opinion.

For over 25 years, Sheffield Metals has been a leading supplier of metal sheet and coil products (including red) in the architectural metal roof and wall panel industry.

So, are you weighing your color choices or feeling overwhelmed by your options? Our dedicated Architectural Team can provide you with the design assistance you need; contact us today!

Choose a Color for Your Project with SMI's Color Visualizer!