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Can You Paint Roof Shingles?

A collage of roof shingles.

Yes, you can paint roof shingles. No, you can’t paint roof shingles.


You Can’t Paint Terra Cotta Tiles

As noted by home improvement expert Bob Vila, the type of roof your home or business has decided whether or not you can paint it. If your structure uses terra cotta roof tiles, then you can’t paint them.

That type of roofing uses a glaze that won’t hold paint. You can re-glaze them, but you’ll only have available the colors of the glaze.

Roofing Tiles You Can Paint

A house with roof shingles.

For all other options, you can paint. That means you can paint:

  • asphalt shingles,
  • sheet metal roofs,
  • concrete roofing,
  • slate shingles,
  • other types of clay tiles.

You will need a special type of roofing paint specifically designed for this purpose. You can’t use exterior house paint or interior paint.

Besides roofing paint, you can also use roofing sealant, which also comes in a variety of colors. These products help your roof increase reflectivity. You’ll obtain the greatest reflectivity by using light-colored or white sealants. These sealants also come in dark colors, such as grays and black.

How Long Does Paint or Sealant on a Roof Last?

Typically, roof sealant lasts for between 10 and 20 years. It depends on the brand of sealant or paint. The thickness of the application of liquid sealant decides its longevity, in part.

The difference between a 20-millimeter application and a 30-millimeter application equals about 10 years. Thicker coats of sealant definitely extend a roof’s life.

Facts of Shingles and Maintenance

A worker constructing the roof shingles of a house.

The typical roofing product lasts about 20 years regardless of the shingles or shakes type. Metal roofs last much longer than that – up to 50 years. Those figures refer to unpainted but weather-sealed shingles.

When you paint a roof, you instantly change the appearance of the home. You can update its exterior quickly. It looks new. You might brighten its look or restore its grandeur without great expense.

As far as bang for your buck curb appeal goes, you obtain a fabulous return on investment. With little expense, your home looks newer. If you combine painting the roof with painting the exterior of your home, you’ll make the home look new by only spending a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars.

You’ll increase the maintenance on the structure, though. Paint peels. It fades. It wears off. This means once you’ve painted the roof, you’ll need to upkeep the paint job.

Who Ya’ Gonna Call?

A professional roof shingles installer.

It turns out that roof painters and actual ghostbusters share a common trait – a rarity. Most roofers and roofing repair companies don’t receive many requests for roof painting, so most don’t offer the service.

Finding a roofing company that accepts this type of assignment can provide tough. This doesn’t fall under the heading of a do-it-yourself job either. Your roofing shingles come with a warranty. You must hire contractors that qualify under warranty, or you’ll nullify the warranty. That can hurt you if anything happens to your roof.

That means don’t try to paint it yourself, and also, don’t hire from the local want ads for an all-around handy person who does odd jobs. Neither of those options protects your warranty. Those individuals also won’t have access to the professional-grade paints and sealants your roof needs.

How Do You Find a Contractor for Roof Painting?

Start with a local search on Google or Bing. Use the keyword phrase “roofing painters” and the name of the city and state in which you reside. For example, roofing painters in Oklahoma City, OK returns five options in a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) of 1,008,000 residents. That’s how rarely professional roofers get asked to paint a roof.

Benefits of Roof Sealant and Painting

A professional roof shingles painter.

Besides the aforementioned instant curb appeal boost, having the roof painted or sealed offers other benefits, too. Its weather-proofing capabilities ensure your roof better withstands storms and normal weather events, including the summer sun and winter snow.

Sealants can also close up small leaks and cracks. Its bond creates a solid 20 to 30-millimeter covering over the roof shingles. You can’t patch large holes with it or large cracks, but your local roofing company can repair some small items with this sealant.

You can use this type of product on other metal roofing besides the house and commercial roofs. If you want to extend the life of the roof of your recreational vehicle or mobile home, you can coat it with the same type of roofing sealant or paint that you would use on a metal roof for a residential home. This helps protect against rust and corrosion.

What Colors Can You Paint a Roof?

You can paint a roof in nearly any color. The four most popular colors include paints:

  • Slate black,
  • Charcoal,
  • Gray slate,
  • Natural brown.

Despite those popular colors, you can also obtain roof paint in yellow, green, blue, red, orange, and many shades of a mixture of these colors. You can order custom colors mixed from manufacturers like Behr and Sherwin Williams. Remember to specify that you need roof paint rather than any other type.

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