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Can I Paint Roof Shingles? [& How To]

If you own a home with roof shingles that look worn even though they're only a few years old, you might want to update them without doing an unnecessary replacement. You may wonder if you can paint the shingles and how to go about it. We have done research regarding this topic, and here is what we found.

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You can paint your roof shingles. Make sure to choose the right paint for the job based on the type of shingles you have. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to paint the shingles:

  • Thoroughly examine the roof
  • Replace any damaged shingles 
  • Lay down a drop cloth or tarp
  • Clean the roof shingles
  • Apply primer
  • Paint the roof shingles

Painting roof shingles has its share of challenges. Read on to learn what kind of paint and preparation are necessary before executing this task. We have also included other important information relevant to this topic, so be sure to read until the end. Without further ado, let’s get into it!

A men with protective clothing spray painting the roof, Can I Paint Roof Shingles?

What Paint Should I Use On Roof Shingles?

Before you start, choose the appropriate paint for the job. You’ll want to make sure that the paint you will be using is designed specifically for this type of surface. With their rough, porous surface, shingles are very different from smooth walls or wood surfaces.

Asphalt shingles take acrylic latex paint quite well. This paint is formulated for rough surfaces and can be also applied to wood and clay shingles.

In general, roof paints are designed to be flexible, water-resistant, and able to withstand the elements. Typically, they contain solvents that allow them to blend with the shingles and create a smooth surface.

What Materials and Tools Are Needed?

The following are the materials and tools you need to paint roof shingles:

  • Roof paint
  • Primer
  • Pressure paint gun/paint roller
  • Ladder
  • Roof anchor and body harness

How To Paint Roof Shingles?

First, check for weather updates. You want to do the job during fine weather conditions. Also, before doing the actual job, prepare yourself by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks and a body harness. Then follow these steps:

Thoroughly Examine The Roof

Asphalt shingles roof damage

Before painting your shingles, you’ll want to make sure your roof is ready. Your roof shingles may have experienced some wear and tear caused by storms and heavy winds, so be sure to check for damage.

Replace Any Damaged Shingles

Applying roof shingles

After thoroughly inspecting your roof, replace any damaged shingles. Do not neglect this step or paint damaged roof shingles. After painting, these problem shingles may be even worse. If your roof shingles are brand new, you should be able to skip this step.

Lay Down A Drop Cloth Or Tarp

To protect your roof during painting, you may also want to lay down a drop cloth or tarp to catch any paint drips or spills. You may consider covering your gutters with a tarp to prevent paint from getting inside them.

If paint does get inside your gutters, it can clog them and make them less effective at draining and cleaning water.

Clean The Roof Shingles

Painter pressure wash spray to clean roof shingles

 

As a precaution, you’ll want to clean your roof with a mild solvent that will remove dirt and grime without damaging it. You can use a pressure washer if you have access to one.

Be sure to remove all the dirt buildup on the roof shingles. Wait for the area of application to be completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Apply Primer

After cleaning the roof shingles, roll on a coat of water-based primer and sealer. Before painting, allow the primer to thoroughly dry.

Check out this roof coating primer on Amazon.

Paint The Roof Shingles

You should use a paint sprayer or pressure paint gun to paint the roof shingles. These tools will allow you to apply the paint evenly across the entire roof surface. If you don’t have a sprayer or paint gun, you can use thick rollers to coat the shingles.

Start painting from top to bottom for a neat, even coating. You can apply at least two and as many as three coats to your roof, as necessary. Wait for the roof to completely dry between each coating.

Check out this paint sprayer on Amazon.

What Are The Advantages Of Painting Roof Shingles?

The following are the advantages of painting roof shingles:

  • Enhances the appeal of your home
  • Prolongs the roof's serviceability
  • Can lower energy consumption
  • Relatively affordable

Enhances The Appeal Of Your Home

One of the best reasons to paint your roof shingles is for the appeal it can provide. Painting your shingles is one of the easiest and quickest ways to make your home look newer and fresher without needing to do major renovations.

Of course, you’ll want to choose a color that complements your home’s exterior, so keep that in mind when shopping around for paint samples.

Prolongs Roof's Serviceability

Painting the roof shingles will prolong the serviceability of the roof. You should apply at least two coats of paint for enhanced resistance to radiation. The paint also acts as a protective coating against falling debris and can slow down deterioration.

Can Lower Energy Consumption

Painting your roof shingles can also do wonders for lowering your energy consumption. This is because some colors reflect sunlight. 

For example, the best approach to avoiding summer heat is to paint your roof a lighter color, such as white, since it reflects light and reflects heat as well.

Black, however, absorbs colors. A roof with black shingles will reflect only 4% of the heat of the sun. This can make your home very hot.

A white roof can reflect up to 90% of the sun's heat, so that your home's air conditioning system will work more efficiently.

Relatively Affordable

The typical way to update a roof's appearance is to reshingle it. However, painting the shingles is a much more cost-effective option. Replacing your roof would be much more expensive than buying paint, renting a paint sprayer, and painting the shingles yourself.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Painting Roof Shingles?

The following are the disadvantages of painting roof shingles:

  • Repainting may be necessary
  • Can cause damage
  • Not intended for repair
  • Time-consuming

Repainting May Be Necessary

If you paint your shingles, you will need to perform more routine roof care than you would with unpainted shingles.

Because paint doesn't withstand the outdoors as well as bare shingles do, you might see it fading or chipping and need to reapply it. The paint that makes up the top layer isn't impenetrable, but it does prolong the lifespan of the roof as a whole.

Can Cause Damage

It is very important that you know what kind of paint you should use and how to apply it. Be sure to use acrylic latex paint designed specifically for roof shingles and to wait until the sheathing, underlayment, and shingles are entirely dry before painting.

Otherwise, the paint could trap moisture inside the layers of the roof and cause mold and mildew to grow.

Not Intended As A Repair

While a simple color change is a terrific method to help your home look better, keep in mind that painting a roof does nothing to address any damage that already exists. It is not intended as a repair.

The paint is not a reliable barrier against significant types of roof damage. It can't be used to repair leaks in the roof or patch cracks in the shingles. If it's damaged, your roof should be properly repaired before you paint the shingles.

Time Consuming

Painting roof shingles is a time-consuming project that requires a lot of preparation and effort. Also, working on a roof pitch is risky and necessitates the use of safety gear. Because of these reasons, some people may not choose to paint their roof shingles.

What Are The Different Types of Roof Shingles?

Placement of asphalt shingles

There are different types of roof shingles, and they come in a variety of colors, styles, and textures.

These roof shingles are classified mainly by the materials they are made of, such as asphalt, metal, concrete, and others. These classifications are further categorized into 16 types. These include:

  • 3-tab asphalt shingles
  • Luxury shingles
  • Asphalt architectural shingles
  • Standing seam metal
  • Aluminum shingles
  • Copper shingles
  • Corrugated steel
  • Concrete tiles
  • Wood shingles
  • Wood shake shingles
  • Clay tiles
  • Rubber shingles
  • Slate tiles
  • Solar shingles
  • Composition shingles
  • Impact-resistant shingles

In Conclusion

Two men painting a roof of a house

Painting your roof shingles is an excellent way to achieve the look you want without having to replace the shingles. It can also help prolong the life of your roof.

Painting roof shingles is undoubtedly possible and a must-do for many homeowners. Before painting, be sure to prepare all the tools and materials needed. Carefully follow the step-by-step procedures mentioned above to get the job done.

If you liked this post, be sure to check out these other related articles:

What Color Siding Goes With A Flat Roof?

11 Roof Shingles Color Ideas And Options