Many people choose metal because of their durability, strong materials and ability to withstand extreme weather but some worry about how to protect their metal panels from rust. Once metal comes into contact with moisture or condensation, corrosion starts and eventually causes rust to form.

Rust can compromise the structural integrity of metal panels but these steps below will help prevent any future issues.


Once the metal panels have reached the destination, the first step to take is to check any signs of damage, rust, or discoloration. Be certain to check your panels on-site for any early signs of corrosion, such as black discoloration or white rust/residue on them. It is an industry best practice to conduct pre-installation meetings with everyone involved with the project to make sure proper steps are taken.


Choosing a trusted company for the installation job will reduce the risk of improper installation. It’s also important for you to keep a check on the following:


First, drilling the screws for the metal roof panels will generate metal shavings that must be removed immediately. If not removed properly, they will stain the roof with rust and corrosion. The shavings are uncoated/raw metal with no corrosion protection that can and will rust quickly.

All cutting should be done with proper tools, such as electric nibblers, hand snips or electric shears. Any other type of cutting can cause the edge of the base material to become unprotected since the protective coating may be compromised.

Another thing to focus on is to ensure no writing is done on the roof panels with pencils. Graphite can react and damage the protective layer the panels have been coated with.


Once your metal panels have been installed, it’s important to maintain them too.

Post-installation, the most important thing is to make sure you are not adding something to the panel that’s going to react negatively with the finish/coatings. For instance, mechanical units will produce condensation that upon contact with your roof panels over a period of time will cause them to rust.

Panels must not come in contact with or be exposed to the runoff from the following metals: copper (lightning arrest systems, flashing, roof jacks, HVAC drainage); lead (roof jacks, pipe flashing); iron (pipes or soil); and, as previously noted, metal shavings.


In case you do receive rust, how can you safely can attempt to repair it or remove it without causing more damage?

Heavy solvents that are meant to remove paint or stains can/will adversely affect the metal and most likely could make matters worse.  You might remove the stain along with the finish entirely, leading to bigger problems. Make sure to check your finish warranty and manufacturer maintenance documentation supplied to you by your builder/installer for guidance on cleaning and repairs.

The key is to identify if the rust is just a stain /discoloration or it’s more systemic.

Don’t break out any steel wool and/or metal grinders and start trying to get the rust off the panel that way. If it looks to be more than just a stain—perhaps you clean it and a few weeks later it comes back—that most likely means that the panel has actually been damaged and you’re not just going to get rid of the “stain” by cleaning it as it’ll return.

It may require touchup paint or even a panel replacement. It depends on the severity of the damage. If this is the case, be certain to check with your installer, maintenance manual, and panel supplier for further instructions on how to address it.

About Metal Sales

Metal Sales Manufacturing Corporation is the premier nationwide provider of metal panels for the construction industry. Metal Sales works with architectural specifiers and commercial construction professionals to create inspirational design solutions. With the industry’s largest and most knowledgeable sales and technical support team, Metal Sales has the expertise to address today’s challenges in high-performance, sustainable and Net-Zero building. Metal Sales has outreach around the world. Delivering outstanding roof, wall and fascia metal panels from its 21 facilities throughout the U.S.

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