The rusty tin-roof shotgun shack is a dated photograph -- vintage, antique, picturesque -- seen from a contemporary perspective. Metal roofs today are durable steel, aluminum or patinated metals, made to look like shingles, slate, clay tiles or stone.
These roofs can be any color you choose, and the natural metals that develop a protective patina over time will weather and color more richly, a factor that could influence your selection of siding and trim colors.
Sleek Gray Steel Roofing
The vertical coated steel roof panels are a dull glimmer of gunmetal gray, very distinguished, topping your personal castle. Do what you would for any gray roof -- knock yourself out picking a house paint you love, as long as it passes muster with your homeowners' association, the town housing ordinances -- and the neighbors.
- A warm color will offset the cool tone of the roof -- parchment, apricot or adobe are low-key and harmonious.
- White can work, if your front door and trim are red and glossy black.
- In a subtropical climate, pastels like sky-blue, pale peony or creamy honeysuckle add a little verve to the staid gray.
Steel is usually coated with zinc -- galvanized -- or a mix of zinc and aluminum to protect it, so your gray roof should stay gray and not wander off into rusty orange, necessitating a rethinking of your curb appeal.
Barrel Shaped Metal Roofing
Metal roof tile in barrel shapes mimics classic clay and terra-cotta roof tiles, minus the weight and breakage factor.
- Have yours powder-coated with a colored protective finish that looks like red, brown or orange clay.
- Then paint your home like the graceful hacienda it is. Stucco walls in cream, ochre, mushroom or peach work for Spanish Colonial homes in sunny climates.
- Darker colored roofs in more temperate climates could top slate-blue, cappuccino or dove-gray painted siding or real brick.
Metal Shake Roofing
Metal shake roofing looks like that corrugated-style wood roofing that typically rots. The metal shake clone won't rot, and you won't be able to tell the difference once it's on your roof.
- Wood-toned metal shake is charming over faux stone and harvest gold siding.
- Light and dark gray is fabulous with the opposite shade of gray on the house walls.
- Dark green metal shake is classic over white paint and over traditional brick. The same goes for barn red shake.
Weathered-looking "wood" shake should be a shade lighter or darker than the weathered wood siding on your Gilded Age summer mansion.
Shingle and Slate Metal Roofing
Shingle and slate-style metal roofing that resembles slate pavers will top your personal cloister for as long as the stone walls stand, if you take care of it.
- Faux bluestone over variegated gray stone siding is timeless.
- Charcoal slate is sharp over straw, chalk or muted celery paint.
- Green stone, a jade hue, over almost-white mint just needs a touch of black enamel on the front door to set it off.
- Red shale is a dynamic topper for limestone, dove gray or brick paint.
- Silvery "gneiss" metal shingle is elegant on a pale celadon shingled house.
Copper and Verdigris Roofing
A copper roof will outlast your heirs -- and so will the bill for installing it, if you can score the material. Copper is far more scarce and expensive than it was in its roof heyday, but its appeal is timeless.
Looking into salvage might be one way to find old copper roofing to repurpose.
- Natural metals, like copper and bronze, are left uncoated on the roof because they weather into a protective patina.
- Your cooper or bronze roof will gradually turn verdigris, a variegated greenish finish that is more interesting than any color you paint on the walls.
- Mute the walls to highlight the roof with slightly grayed white, ivory, unbleached linen, sand, tan, camel, stone, fog, pewter, artichoke or moss.