The finishing.com Hotline: Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing. Ted Mooney, Webmaster
Painting or sealing asphalt shingles
An ongoing discussion from 2001 through 2016 . . .(2001)
Q. I've searched 'til I'm blue in the face for a site that even remotely approaches my question and this is as close as I've gotten. My question is, can you paint or use a tinted sealer of some type to change the color of asphalt shingles? I've never heard of this being done (maybe because it can't be done), but my roof is only 9 yrs. old and I really can't afford a new roof just so my new paint job on the house has a matching roof. If you could give me some insight into this query, or know of someone who can, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanking you in advance,James B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Reflective Roof Coating
Q. Dear Sirs,
I had been wondering about this myself, and stumbled across a manufacturer's Web site that claims to have "coatings" that will adhere to and prolong the life of asphalt shingles. The impression it gave me is that the product is a rubberized paint that is supposed to be very weather-resistant and tough. The company is called [company name deleted; see editor's note below]. They had an 888 number and a street address posted. I intend to contact the Florida Better Business Bureau and inquire about them before contacting the company directly. Good luck with your projects.Cynthia M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Jackson, Michigan
Ed. note: Gentle brand name suggestions can degenerate to suspicious "testimonials" and finally to long aggressive ads from companies about why their product is better than the one their competitor just suggested. That happened here, and further down we had to delete a half dozen such responses, as sales people raced to the bottom.
To be fair we had to come back to the beginning and edit or delete postings that offered testimonials to specific products because there's no way to know genuine customer satisfaction from phony plants. Sorry, we can't print company names, links, or contact info; please keep the focus technical rather than commercial. If that means the thread has lost some of its value to you, we apologize.
Q. Looking for follow-up on reliability of roof paint products.G.p Lobel
Q. Has anyone successfully painted their asphalt shingles and can you email photos? I live in a historical district and CANNOT change the ugly black asphalt shingles on the roof or gable front. However, the historical commission suggested painting them. Anyone with experience doing this?Alicia D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
homeowner - Nashville, Tennessee
Q. I would really like an update on painting an asphalt roof. My roof is only 3 years old, not ready to be replace (even if I could afford it) I too want to change the color of my house, but my roof would stand out like a sore thumb. I've read a few answers on other sites, one thought the heat from the sun and the tar from the roof was the reason it's not done. I can't imagine that that you can paint an metal roof and cover it with a type of leak proof paint and not paint asphalt shingles. There has to be a product out there.Cat A [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
homeowner - Henryetta, Oklahoma
A. I painted my asphalt shingles about 6 or 7 years ago. They are fading now and need another coat. I had added on to the house and the old shingles didn't match up to the new (exactly), so I matched up a close color and painted the old part of the roof. It worked fairly well and I think it may be extending the life of the roof. The old shingles are 26-27 years old. The neighbors stopped by and commented on our "new roof" about a week after painting. I would like to paint it blue at some point. The only thing is, it will wear more than paint on the house since it takes a direct hit from the weather. Just means it needs to be repainted more frequently. I had to really thin the paint when putting it down. I now have a sprayer that I will use this time.Ron S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lawrence, Kansas
Q. What type of paint did you use when you painted your asphalt shingles?Linda K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Sanford, Florida
A. I recently purchased an old house, about 100 years old, that has painted asphalt siding on the top half and asbestos shingle on the bottom half. It has to be the worst looking exterior of a house I have ever seen. I cannot wait to rip all of that crap off. The seller I believe used [brand name deleted, see editor's note] paint. To my knowledge It has been on there for 2 yrs.
It seems to be holding up, However some folks have warned against it drying out the shingles thereby lessening the lifespan of the tile. That would only be a better reason to rip it off and put something better up. Anything would be an improvement.
- Nutley, New Jersey
Q. Does anyone have pictures they can post of painted asphalt shingles? especially if you went from light to darker....as I would like to do.April G [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lake City, Florida
Insulating Paint Additive
A. Re: painting asphalt shingles. I have researched this and have part of the answer but am still investigating. I can tell you this: WARNING, ELASTOMERIC PAINT IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR ASPHALT SHINGLES BY ONE PAINT MFGR [brand name deleted]. REASON: (and I called them and talked to a tech person) "in 10 or more years experience we found that rubberized (waterproofing type) elastomeric paint can LOCK MOISTURE IN UNDER THE SHINGLES AND CAUSE THE PLYWOOD SHEATHING UNDERNEATH TO ROT OUT." You would have to tape (seal off) every shingle seam prior to painting to keep the rain from leaking in . . . and that water would be trapped underneath the shingle, eventually rotting out the wood via the nail holes thru the tar paper....
My feeling at this time is that if you want to paint asphalt shingles, use a good grade of white acrylic latex paint which "breathes" - tint it a light color if you want color, and that should work.
BUT DO SOMETHING ADDITIONAL IF YOU REALLY WANT TO CUT YOUR AIR CONDITIONING BILL - ADD CERAMIC GLASS BEADS TO THE PAINT (32 oz. of them per gallon, and it will do wonders to keep out the radiant heat from your attic or crawl space.
My next move is to talk to shingle manufacturers.Karl Heilman
- Jensen Beach, Florida
A. You can paint asphalt roof shingles with any acrylic (water-based) paint. I tested part of my roof and it's holding up fine. You need to water it down a bit so that it covers the texture more easily without brushing over and over. I'm about to paint my entire roof using 5 shades of green, and painting each individual shingle. Don't know how long this will take, but my stone cottage needs a jewel-like roof to crown it properly. The part I tested is on top of a sun porch, which I painted gloss white so the summer sun will reflect off of it. I've painted a whole lotta things in my life, and I've come to the conclusion that people worry too much... just go ahead and paint. I've even painted some of the corner stones on my cottage with flat "terra cotta" colored paint, and it looks like that's what they are made of. Life is short... just do it.Dave Fisher
free lance illustrator/cartoonist - Parker, Kansas
Hi, Dave. Thank you for your fine reply! This site is directed primarily at industrial metal finishers, where manufacturers of coatings and the factories that apply them come to talk things over. Before painting, shipping, and selling ten million warranted items, or a critical aerospace component, they need to investigate things in stultifying depth.
But the internet is a gigantic one-room schoolhouse, so the site also attracts individual consumers and home owners, some of whom fret for two weeks about how to paint a birdhouse -- and for them your closing sentence is priceless :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
A. Well I'm with Dave I think you can paint almost anything that will stand still. I don't represent anyone but myself
I understand specialty products and higher tech things cost more too. Anyway I'm frugal and very self reliant so with that being said there is no way I would pay 1/2 or even 1/3 the cost to coat my roof as replace my roof. not that it needs either one at present. But I will coat it just to cut heat gain from the dark brown it is now to a white.
For my own econobox here in the sunshine state I fully intend to use elastomeric paint over the asphalt shingles. no worries here
another good choice IMHO is . . . a semi roof coat that is fibered but silver only and it works very well for sealing around openings like toilet vents, skylights, ridge vents and such. a little goes a long way. comes in caulk tubes, 1 gal. and 5's. it is priced reasonably and does not leak, user friendly too.
www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/html/FSEC-CR-670-00/ will give you some insight on what color is best for you and your wallet. I'm not the Donald so the 30 dollar or more per gallon space age super coatings I will never purchase BUT I will purchase 10-15 dollar per gallon of something that will do what I need to do.
April 2, 2008
A. Why not try light pressure cleaning to increase the longevity of your roof. Many people make the mistake of getting a new roof when it only needs a professional cleaning.Nick Avsec
- Palm Beach Gardens Florida
June 19, 2008
I'm working as a roofer in Norway. I guess asphalt shingle is the same product here, and you should NOT paint the shingle. You could get in big problems since the paint will close the shingle. If any water would get under the shingle it will have no way out since the paint will stop it. The result could be a lot of pockets with water UNDER the shingle. Hope this answer your question.
- Oslo, Norway
August 28, 2008
Q. I'M LOOKING FOR AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE BLACK ASPHALT SEALERS THAT ADD TO THE HEAT LOAD AND CRACKING OF ASPHALT. I'VE NOTICED THAT UNSEALED PARKING LOTS DON'T CRACK NEARLY AS MUCH...
I PLAN TO ADD "GRANULES" TO THE WET COATING TO SEE HOW IT BONDS TO GET RID OF THE "PAINTED ROOF" LOOK. YOU CAN BUY GRANULES FM. COMMERCIAL ROOFING SUPPLIERS. GOOD LUCK....
- COLUMBUS, OHIO
A. Here is my answer based on experience. Burger Kings across America use latex paint every 5 years to paint their lower overhanging roofs a royal blue color. They can afford any mistakes i.e. water damage. However I don't see the water damage.
Vent the roof properly for a interior attic temp of 120 deg. No more streaks. Hot shingles get soft and tar underneath streaks when rained on. That's why a solvent will clean the streaks. Add a caustic and it brightens the grains...sand or whatever the aggregate is.
Just my two cents.
25 years painting and power washing in Fla and Ohio
- Marietta, Ohio
November 14, 2008
Q. I had been wondering about this myself, and stumbled across a manufacturers Web site that claims to have "coatings" that will adhere to and prolong the life of asphalt shingles. The impression it gave me is that the product is a rubberized paint that is supposed to be very weather-resistant and tough. I would like to put something on my 10 year old roof. What do ya thinkc...thanks ... JoeJoseph Britz
- Big Pine Key, Florida
A. I used a [brand name deleted] elastomeric white coating on my shingle roof to reduce the heat gain. Everything was fine during the sunny season, but when the rainy season hit, for some reason, the elastomeric coating trapped water in, and caused major leaks in my roof. I had to replace the entire roof. Very expensive lesson -- do not paint shingles with white coating as it prevents the shingles from properly shedding water. Also, I researched the product, and apparently their technical office says NOT to use elastomeric white painting on shingled roofs.Norman H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Honolulu, Hawaii
Ed. note: Gentle product name suggestions sometimes later lead to suspicious "testimonials", and then to long ads from companies about why their secret formula is better than the ones their competitors previously mentioned. That happened here! Further down in this thread we ended up having to delete a half dozen such responses, as sales people raced to the bottom.
To be fair we then had to come back to the beginning and edit or delete postings that recommended specific products. So we can't print company names, links, or contact info; please keep the focus completely technical rather than commercial. If that means the thread has lost some of its value to you, sorry, we apologize.
July 17, 2009
Q. Thank you to everyone I found this very helpful as I am looking to change the color of my roof. My roof is only 5 years old but I have put in new Pella windows, siding, soffit, fascia, gutters,etc. The shingles matched the old siding but not the new. I had a feeling the paint would cause problems with breathability of shingles has anyone tried a stain I think that would allow the roof to breathe. They sell concrete stain I was thinking something along those lines.Thom Carpenter
- Wenonah, New Jersey
July 18, 2009
Q. I have shingles and want to make them lighter. I am interested in using a whitewash or lime wash to coat the roof. I believe that this should only help the longevity of the shingles and would further cement the stone particles in place on the asphalt shingle. Shingle failure is often due to sun and weather damage of the asphalt, so perhaps a coating of lime which converts to limestone through carbonation would protect the asphalt from oxidation and would keep it cooler, preventing melting. No problem with sealing in the water, since lime wash is breathable.
This only helps if you want white- I want less solar gain. Can lime wash be tinted? Could I add titanium dioxide to lime wash for even more reflectivity?
- Cedar Creek, Texas
A. I painted my 1st shingle roof about 10 years ago. At that time the roof was 16 years old and beginning to shed granules (which made it dangerous to make my annual inspections). I used 2 coats of [brand name deleted] Roof Paint.About 5 years later I went over the roof with white elastomeric. Later that year we had 2 hurricanes ( category 1 and 2)-no tabs were lost on this 21 yr old roof, yet 30 and 40 tabs were lost on my nearby 10 and 13 yr old shingle roofs. I patched these roofs and 1st coated each with roof paint then top coated them with 2 coats White. One important note-I roll on the 1st coat (with 3/4 in.roller) then laboriously brush paint (to fill and seal)between each tab. This stops water from getting under the tabs.Then roll on the 2nd coat.
On my 1600 sq ft home I used 5 buckets at $75 each for the 2 coats and maybe 20 hours of labor.The result is a roof that I believe will withstand category 1 and 2 hurricanes (maybe a cat 3) plus savings in my AC costs as well as extending the life of my roofs. I have inspected my attic roofs and have not seen any moisture damage .
- West Palm Beach, Florida
May 9, 2011
! I have been considering a white elastomeric coating for a very dark (dark grey to black) and somewhat old (at least 10 years old) asphalt composite shingle roof. I'd like to know more about Barry R's method for brushing paint to fill and seal between the tabs. Did you attempt to lift each "tab" (shingle?) up to paint under it, or did you paint over the space between each shingle and its neighbor? Thanks for any additional info, and for the great tips already provided!Masi Jay
- Redlands, California, USA
September 29, 2009
A. My sister-in-law painted her shingles in the Bahamas with a white elastomeric coating. It has held up well to the sun and wind. Her house is directly on the Atlantic so she gets strong winds.
I don't understand the concern about moisture rotting the plywood. Any moisture that penetrates under the shingles and tar paper should quickly evaporate. Plywood is not a vapor barrier.
Retired Engineer - Columbia, South Carolina
October 22, 2009
Some of the things I've read on this site are untrue. I've done plenty of research on the subject.
If you want to seal your shingles use a product with a high permeability, which allows them to breathe. There are companies out there who have products like this with colors. You also want a high elasticity. Avoid the ceramics if you are looking for energy savings as they are a scam and overpriced. Look for reflective pigments like IR or Kynar or just plain white for energy savings. [Brand name deleted by editor] has a great product.
- Wilmington North Carolina
October 23, 2009
Hi, Dax. You're certainly welcome to your preferences and your opinions of which products are overpriced. You can also make claims of most any sort without any obligation to prove them. But when you call a product a "scam", that implies a deliberate attempt to cheat people -- so you really should quote a state attorney general, a better business bureau, or Consumer Reports when doing that :-)
Further, to make "scam" claims against others while hiding behind a fictitious name yourself ... :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 25, 2010
A. We have a single wide older mobile home that I built a deck around and then roofed over the decks. I've always coated the metal roof with white elastomeric coating with great success. this year I coated the shingles on one side and within two months had leaks all over the place. Additionally, the leaks are starting to rot and mold. No more roof painting for me.david hunt
- pass christian, Mississippi
February 23, 2010
A. If anyone has stained/moldy shingles and didn't want to "damage" your shingles by bleaching and removing the gravel with spraying, you can stain your shingles. It works. I've done it. Just use an exterior quality stain. It's thin and absorbed easily by the shingle. I did my whole roof with about 7 gallons. It looks like new. Hey, it's just an exterior stain. It doesn't compromise the shingle at all. In fact, you can go right over mold and mildew because it's absorbed right through into the shingle. I used an extension roller for stretch areas and sprayed it on the easy spots. I used a darker color. Might be difficult to stain it lighter. Good luck. It was easy and looks great!Brad Bahret
- Marietta, Georgia
March 24, 2010
A. The concern about moisture being trapped under sealed shingles if coated with an elastomeric acrylic coating is largely misplaced providing the underlying roof was properly constructed to begin with.
I tried an elastomeric about 15 years ago to see how well it performs and coated half of the test area with the product and half was left as was. The roof has a direct exposure to the south, is subject to extreme weather conditions and underwent some really tough seasons.
The coated section worked fine and is actually able to be left in place for some time to come. The uncoated area is ready to flake off (mostly because I am too lazy to go out and remove it)
Elastomerics work fine, most if not all "breathe" to permit water vapor to escape and resist standing water very well. Just be sure to use a water based product, make sure to clean the roof to be coated very well, remove any broken sections, replace any loose nails, and apply at temperatures above 50 degrees F on a day when it won't rain within 4 hours or so of application. No big deal...
Better if applied about a year or so after initial shingle installation.
Better yet, install a metal roof, white being the best choice for heat reflectivity.
- Alberta, Canada
July 18, 2010
Q. This post is very interesting. I have a similar situation. I would like to know if it is possible to paint asphalt SIDING. I have a cottage that is sided with this stuff, probably dating to the 50's and it would look a whole lot better if it could be painted. Sounds like a latex primer and top coat might do it but I wonder about the pitch bleeding through; thoughts?
- Flemington, New Jersey, USA
A. I painted my roof with roof paint from a big-box store recently. It looks good and have had no problems so far. It's advertised as algae and mildew resistant. There is a primer and a finish coat. My roof had a few good years left I was told but by the looks of it I believe it will now have several good years and matches my house trim.Gerry Morgan
- Spring Hill, Florida, USA
January 31, 2011
Q. What do you all think about painting a roof with hydrated lime such as someone did in this article?
- Vinton, Virginia US
March 19, 2011
Q. I have searched and searched manufacturer website, over 100 blogs and internet Q&A websites and STILL have not found an answer to this question. UNBELIEVABLY FRUSTRATING!
Here it is:
I understand the vital importance that IF you are going to coat your asphalt shingled rood with an elastomeric coating, that you MUST get into each crack and crevice with a generous amount of the coating to make sure the entire roof is sealed properly to protect against continual moisture entrapment. However, if you do this and you live in a neighborhood where having a bright white coating is not an option because of neighbors and association, can you do one of the following two things to elastomeric coatings:
1) Can it be colored (mixed with paint, tinted, etc.) to match a particular shade of color you want?
2) If it can't be colored, can you wait for the elastomeric coating to dry and then paint over it? Will the paint adhere to it and if you do paint it, does it have to be elastomeric paint so that the paint can also expand and contract?
Thanks to all of the experienced experts that know the answer.
- Clearwater, Florida
March 26, 2011
Q. I have spent a couple hours talking to Technicians at two different major manufacturers of Elastomeric Roof Coatings and also to the paint departments of big box stores to find more answers. I found out that Elastomeric Roof Coatings normally only come in bright white color, but if you order (might be a little differences in the quantity between manufacturers) 100 gallons or 20 - 5 gallons containers or more of elastomeric roof coating, the manufacturer will allow you to call them directly and request a tinted color and they will mix it at the factory and drop ship it to Lowe's or Home Depot, depending on who they market their product through. As it stands now, the manufacturer is telling me that in order to tint it form me, I have to order the 15 year warranty version of the roof coating because the chemical properties allow it to be tinted, whereas the 5 year and 10 year roof coating that they make does not have the necessary chemical make-up (silicon level) to allow for tinting. I find it a bit hard to believe and have the impression it is simply because they want their most expensive product sold. The only good thing I suppose is that it is guaranteed for 15 years which is good, but I really didn't want to spend almost $90 per 5 gallon container times 20 containers! Ouch!
They told me, the tint can not be very dark. For instance I am getting a medium tan color. The alternative would be trying to mix it myself inside my garage with a drill and stirring bit. With 20 containers, I would probably burn up 4-5 drills doing it that way since you have to stir it for over 30 minutes each and the roof coating is very thick. Seems to me that the only way to go is have the factory tint it for you so you have exact matching of color between each container. They told me there would be a slight surcharge per container for the tinting.
I'm told, when using this on your roof with a desire to have it a particular tint, only the top coat needs to be tinted. You can apply one or two coats of the regular bright white color and then put the tinted coasts on top of that so that you don't get stuck paying for all 20 gallons of your order to be tinted. Order tint just for enough of the order so that you can do the top coat as the tinted coat.
I would like to know if 10 - 15 years down the road if a roofing company is going to try and convince me that because of the roof coating on the shingles, there will be a large surcharge to removing the shingles so that a new roof can be put on. Even if it is not harder to remove elastomeric coated asphalt shingles, they will probably try to convince me it is.
Any feedback from experts in response to this?
- Clearwater, Florida
April 21, 2011
A. I am not an expert but I am part of a team of attorneys which has filed a class action lawsuit in Miami on behalf of thousands of Florida homeowners who have had their asphalt shingle roofs coated with elastomeric as part of an energy conservation program.
An asphalt shingle roof is a discontinuous roof system in which the shingles are designed to shed water and moisture. Elastomeric is a highly adhesive rubberized (reflective) coating which can turn a discontinuous shingle roof system into a continuous one.
Our expert witnesses believe that when you apply elastomeric to an asphalt shingle roof it can have the effect of sealing (gluing) down the edges of the shingles,thereby trapping in water and moisture, causing accelerated nail rusting, rotting wood and leaks. Applying elastomeric to a shingle roof can also "curl" the shingles, change the roof's fire rating, may violate the local building code as well as void a shingle manufacturer's and the roof installer's warranties. And while it may be theoretically possible to thickly coat and "membrane" a shingle roof to such an extent so as to turn it into a continuous rubberized watertight surface, extreme caution should be used as well as contacting both the shingle and the elastomeric manufacturers for technical advice before applying any coating which may alter the basic design and functionality of an asphalt shingle roof system.
- Miami, Florida, USA
May 10, 2011
A. It is true that you need to coat the shingle edges before coating with an elastomeric. The only problem is that there are no materials designed to do this. I created a sealer (combination of an elastomeric with crumb rubber, resins and other chemicals) that I have applied in my own roof to seal the edges and then applied the elastomeric on top. Crumb rubber will re-coat weathered shingles. This material needs to be applied with a brush and the elastomeric with an airless sprayer.Antonio Lopez
- El Paso, Texas
May 29, 2011
A. I'm a painter and have coated old shingles with regular exterior house paint. These were on rental units so color didn't matter. I bought up the cheap mis-tints at several paint stores (all the grades and sheens will intermix) and mixed them together, usually getting a mid-tone mud color. After cleaning the roofs I rolled on two good coats. That stuff held up for eight years until a big hail storm beat the shingles apart.
My own roof was stained when new. The previous owner used "shop certified" shingles from a builders' surplus store. That means they're defective in some respect, perhaps the granule color wasn't even so the factory stained them charcoal. 18 years later they're a light grey. I'm considering using an acrylic driveway sealer mixed 50/50 with exterior paint to create a stain/granule glue. I think that could extend it's service life for 6-8 years if not more.
- Longview, Texas, USA
June 14, 2011
! Like most middle-class homeowners in my region, I have an asphalt shingle roof (the cheap, default option) in a medium brown color. To reduce heat transfer to the interior of the house (which is significant), I've considered painting the roof a light color. But after reading about all the potential hazards here (esp. trapped moisture/decay/mold), I've decided first to install a radiant barrier on the UNDERSIDE of the roof, between the rafters. I'm hopeful that the effect will be satisfactory. When the time comes to replace my roof, I'll research affordable reflective options.Andrew Behrens
- Yukon, Oklahoma, USA
A. I painted my asphalt shingle roof several years ago with elastomeric white roof paint and have been very pleased. The cost was less than half as much as a new roof, no shingles have been lost in windstorms and the temperature recently was 100 degrees outside but only 86 degrees inside despite the air conditioner not having been on for over 24 hours.
There have been no leaks and no damage to the underlying plywood. A couple at my suggestion painted their roof the same way but with a different brand of elastomeric white roof paint and they have been very pleased as well. Drove by three or so other houses in this city with similarly painted white roofs, and assuming it's elastomeric white roof paint but it might be some other kind of paint so others are doing it as well.
Suffice it to say that any elastomeric white roof paint should work, especially if it doesn't say not to use it on asphalt shingles.
I and the couple smeared the paint on in several coats with a conventional 9" paint roller on a stick until all gaps were pure white. I used the same paint to paint the drip lip where the shingles meet the bottom of the roof and did not overcoat the drip lip with a different color. For aesthetic reasons, the couple painted the drip lip with colored non elastomeric paint. The big deal is get a good seal on the shingles and/or drip lip so no water can get under any shingle.
A neighbor, from whom I got the idea to use white roof paint, originally had a rock roof consisting of a base plywood layer, then tar paper, then rock. He pushed the rocks off and painted the tar paper directly. Later, workers on the roof dropped a heavy object, denting the roof down to the plywood. He just painted over the dent in the plywood with the same elastomeric white roof paint and you can't tell where the dent was.
After 10 years, on a long weekend and by himself with a 9" paint roller on a stick, he repainted his roof with a different elastomeric white roof paint that says to not use on asphalt shingles. He needed less paint than when the roof was painted originally as the surface was smoother. After a couple of years, it shows no wear and should continue to stand up fine for an estimated life of about 10 years between paintings. Just repaint every 10 years.
- El Paso, Texas
September 24, 2011
A. In Texas it gets hot so I applied one coat of white elastomeric paint on my asphalt roof a couple of years ago to cool a shallow attic. As far as I can tell there is no problem with moisture retention under the shingles.
The problem I have is ingrained dirt and smoke from a neighborhood fire. The mix of dirty whites look terrible. Power washing didn't work and only made it worse.
So I'm looking to paint again but this time with a grey exterior stain. I should have installed more roof vents instead of the elastomeric. That I'll do after fixing the cosmetics.
- Houston Texas
February 2, 2012
Q. I was interested to see so many posts from TX. I live about 75 miles north of Joe in Houston. My house is old, no idea when it was last roofed but the addition used to be the roofed porch, covered with rolled roofing. Considering other mistakes made around the place I can't trust that the rolled roofing was applied with roofing felt first.
Hurricanes Rita and Ike took their toll on the roof (all of it). I was only here for Ike and I bought the house from the landlord with the understanding that the addition roof leaked and I have been trying to find and patch the leak(s) for 4 years. I had no luck and since I suspected that the actual leak could be up on the sloped shingle roof I sealed down each and every shingle on that side but it didn't help, and Ike made the leak more like a waterfall and mold farm. In desperation I finally ordered a super-heavy-duty 30'x 40' tarp and covered the entire roof with it, screwing battens in 12' lengths. It worked like a charm for 2 years before the sun rotted the tarp.
Now the addition roof is a waterfall again and the drywall ceiling was in danger of falling so I tore the soaked panels down. Then I was able to see that it is the addition that is leaking and I am going to coat it with the elastomeric (sp?) white coating.
Here is my problem: By screwing battens all over the roof I ruined the entire roof - my bad, but as I said, I was desperate. I still can't afford a new roof and my only choice is to coat the entire roof. This website has been very educational but confusing in its differences of opinion. I'll research roof paint but my inclination is to take my chances with the elastomeric coating and hope that I'm not making another stupid mistake.
Just as a side note - my insurance company noticed the tarped roof in the agent's photos and they are dropping me in a couple of months when the policy would have been up for renewal.
- Livingston, Texas, USA
February 16, 2012
Q. It is a long story. Many people have defective stone coated metal roofs. The warranty issues are very difficult. I may have to find a solution on my own, and pay for it. Lesson learned -- stay away from stone coated metal roofing.
My question is : Can I have an experienced painter apply an elastomeric coating system to this tight metal paneled roof with success? I am worried about adhesion, and how long it will last. I have been told that it will last 20 years by one salesperson, and perhaps 2 by another! I know the surface has to be clean and primed. My painter has used it with good success on old metal barn roofs. It has lasted at least 10 years there.
Has anyone else used it for a stone coated metal roof that has lost much of its stone aggregate ? These roofs tend to shed the stone first on the south side, and where snow load is heavy sliding off. I plan to start with a test area in the worst part, and maybe leave it there for one or two years to see how it performs before I do the whole roof. My roof is tight, and does not leak, so I think it would be most cost effective to re-coat, rather than re-roof.
Any advice would be appreciated. I am a senior citizen, and this has been very stressful. These roofs were expensive, and supposed to have a 50 year warranty.
- Kingston, Ontario, Canada
A. I painted my roof shingles and they look great! They look brand new, I had to use a sprayer, two coats, I am really happy how it looks. Don't be afraid, use the best exterior paint available it will change your home completely!David Leon
- Vallejo California
Ed. note: Thanks David. If you get a chance, email a pic to email@example.com for posting here.
May 2, 2012
A. The debate (or difference of opinions) over elastomeric paints, might be due to the weather before the painting. Those who have had success might have been blessed with a long dry spell before painting, allowing time for the roof to completely dry; thus, no moisture sealed under the shingles.
Any support or opposition to this idea?
- Jacksonville, Florida, USA
September 4, 2012
As an insurance adjuster, I strongly urge you not to paint you shingles. This will cause blistering, cracking, and the shingles will lose their dexterity (making them more prone to wind damage). In addition, the man that talked about tar streaking could not be further from correct. You'll note that most streaking is on the northern slope of your roof, which is the slope that receives the least amount of sunlight. The streaking you see is algae. Please, people ... don't post info unless you are correct.
- charlotte, North Carolina, usa
Ed. note: Thank you for your input, Rashad. It is welcomed, and you are probably right that painting shingles causes more problems than it cures in most cases. But your request that people who disagree with you should shut up rather than reporting their successes seems a bit extreme :-)
September 16, 2012
I used stucco paint on my shingles. Works great and looks great. Also seems to extend the life of the shingles. The original shingles on the roof are 32 years old. Roofs are replaced way too frequently and prematurely. This is expensive and drives up homeowner insurance premiums. It is also wasteful because all of those old shingles go to the landfill. Don't like the color of your roof? Paint it.Ron Smith
- Lawrence, Kansas
April 15, 2013
Q. Can anyone give some information on coating asphalt roofing shingles with white cement?John Ellingson
Home owner - Mesa, Arizona
Ed. note: See also Letter 22486, "Changing the color of an asphalt or fiber coated roof"
October 3, 2013
Q. I'm like the first question and would like to know what can go over my shingles. There has to be something out by now. I also can't afford a new roof. Please help!Mike Rose
- PORT ST LUCIE Florida
February 12, 2014
A. Hello group, here is what I know about comp shingles and painting them. Wow! It really is a great alternative to just letting the sun break down the shingles. I've seen roofs that were at the end of their lives go another 15+ years. What I do is get all my dump-stock materials, anything laying around the shop. Mix up plenty of it and start pumping the material on like there's no tomorrow. I can easily put 30 -40 gallons on a 3 bedroom 2000 sq.ft. house. Runs do not matter. After that I go over the roof again with about 5-10 gallons of the color I want to use. Usually black or tan or gray. This is a great side business and the clients love it. Think about it- a comp shingle roof is exposed all it's life. The acrylic coating seals and protects. Water-based over the oil based roof. It's crazy not to offer this to your clients. It doesn't peel -- how could it? It just beefs up the roof. I think there's a killing to be made doing this.Joe Cullen
- Berkeley, California USA
October 28, 2014
I have painted my shingles with the solar protection white to insulate the house. It really made a difference with the temperature of the house. I was very pleased. HOWEVER, My roof started leaking in several places, three years later. A professional roofer came to look at the roof and showed me that the paint doesn't allow the water to dry under the shingles. The entire roof is ruined. The wood underneath is soaked in stagnated water and rotting all over. The nails are rusted. I have to completely redo the roof. The whole thing is rotten. I am livid. The roofer told me that it happens to everyone who paint shingles with this white coat. I hope I can save some of you from making the same mistake. Don't paint your shingles unless you are ready to redo your roof. I wish someone had warned me. Now I have to spend a fortune to change the roof. Damn White Paint!Katia Omahung
- Hallandale, Florida
October 4, 2015
A. Let me start by saying that this is my experience with painting an asphalt singled roof with elastomeric paint. The reason that no manufacturer will recommend it for asphalt singles is a bunch of them are getting sued by people that did not apply it properly. The keys to getting it to work right are as follows:
1 Buy enough for the job and about 10% more.
2 Clean roof with bleach a soft broom and lots of water (to wash loose granules off)
3 Start this process well before your rainy season (I live in the Caribbean so we get a ton of rain)
4 DO NOT DILUTE it's thick for a reason!
5 Do a scratch coat (what I call a thin coat)
6 Paint between all tabs with a brush till there is no gaps between the tabs and the roof.
7 Put a heavy top coat on with a deep pile roller.
8 let dry for a least 2 days in full sun (check your weather forecast before starting the job)
9 After the next good rain go into your attic and inspect very carefully
10 If you see a leak go back up to the roof after a couple of days of sunshine and find what you missed (most likely an unsealed tab and reapply.
11 Repeat steps 9 and 10 until there are no more leaks.
The roof on my house was 12 years old and starting to fall apart. I have seen no further damage to the roof since this was done 4 years ago and expect to never remove the shingles as I will simply repaint every 8 to 10 years. I hope this helps people who are trying to decide. Of course the question is to paint or not to paint, wrong the question is to coat or not to coat with elastomeric coating, it worked for me and if done right I think it will work for you too! Small side note I don't work for any paint or coating company just want to help out.
- Utila, Honduras Central America
November 28, 2015
A. While looking into this I found a FAQ from a Canadian asphalt shingle manufacturer:
Q: Can I paint my roof?
A: Yes. The affect of paint on shingles if very negligible. Technically, it could be argued that the paint will help the shingles weather longer. Some roof coatings that are advertised to extend product life are simply premium quality latex paints.
Q: Do I have to use a certain type of paint on my roof?
A: Yes. Latex paints must be used. Latex paints will do nothing more than color the shingles. On the other hand, oil-based paints may soften the shingles slightly due to the solvents that they contain. These solvents will evaporate quickly so if used carefully, there should not be any lasting effects. Generally regardless of paint used, paint weathers off of the shingles within five years. How long the paint lasts depends on the quality of the paint, the pitch of the roof, climate, etc
As far as the elastomeric coatings and rot, it's because water was already under it and sealed in, and/or water is getting under it. Tab shingles release water that has gotten under it. It is almost always improper water proofing - flashing or sealing around jacks, chimneys, or windows, etc. If there is a wall, dormer or any structure above a portion of the roof, that can add several points of entry depending on how it was constructed or waterproofed. For example water gets behind the stucco or siding and when it hits the lower roof it can't release if sealed at the roof to wall.
I've seen and repaired just about every mistake a contractor can make in waterproofing. Just because he's licensed doesn't mean something wasn't layered or lapped incorrectly. Especially on older homes I've never failed to find a defect that is causing or will cause a leak. Some leaks are very difficult to find, unfortunately even some "experts" think they can just slap mastic on a roof and never find the real entry.
Bottom line, nothing wrong with elastomeric coatings. But you're taking a chance on coating "tab style" roof unless you know it's waterproofed and flashed correctly. It may be working fine for years because it was properly releasing water that shouldn't have been getting under it in the first place. But then it's coated and holds it in, causing leaks and rot.
I hope this has been helpful.
- San Clemente, California USA
March 2, 2016
A. I believe elastomeric roof coatings were designed to be used on low slope roofing that has few seams, such as trailer homes and roll roofing. The stuff doesn't cover much per gallon when rolled on plus weighs a ton per gallon so can take forever to coat a large roof since half of the time spent will be toting up gallon cans or refilling the 5 gallon work bucket on the ground.
A quality exterior acrylic paint applied to asphalt shingles will hold up for quite a few years since those have greater weather resistance. The granules can be a combination of natural rock, slag and semi-ceramic tinted granules so you're basically painting semi-porous masonry. The shingles will need to be absolutely free of any discoloring microbial growths or that mess will continue to grow beneath the paint coating and come to the surface and continue to spread. The easiest way to clean the roof and eliminate the growths is to apply a bleach & detergent solution, let the rain rinse it off then repeat the process to eliminate any remaining growths and their spores. A good mix for that is 2.5 gallons regular bleach, 8 oz. of borax and 8 oz. TSP substitute with 2.5 gallons of hot water. applied at 100 sq. ft. per gallon. Spray the stained areas first then spray the entire roof. The bleach will provide the initial whammy to start breaking down the biofilms and killing the growths while the borax and TSP substitute will provide a residual effect that'll keep eliminating the growths when reactivated by high humidity or dew which also brings the dormant microbial growths back to life. Once the stains are gone or mostly removed after a few good rains then spray the entire roof again. The granules will absorb some of the borax and TSP substitute so you won't have to worry about any regrowth beneath the coating.
The easiest way to apply the paint is by using an airless spray gun attached to a roller pole with an attached roller frame with a 1/2" cover. The gun is set near the frame so it sprays in front of the cover and a rope used to pull the trigger. Since you're rolling out the paint, the pump pressure is reduced and a larger tip used to get more material on the surface. You can rent an airless rig with 100 feet of hose which may be long enough to reach the entire roof without having to move the rig. Most are set-up to pump out of 5 gallon buckets so have a ground man to keep it filled. Rent it on a Friday afternoon so you get a free day of use on Sunday. You can brush around stacks and next to flashing before starting on the large areas or do those when you reach them. I always applied three coats and didn't agonize over filling the cracks. The first coat should be like painting a wall where you don't want it too thick nor too thin but just enough to block out the previous color. By the time you have one coat on the entire roof you'll be able to start applying the second coat from where you started. The second coat will go on faster with greater coverage since the first coat has the porous surface sealed. Now let it dry overnight and do the third coat on Sunday. Instead of thinning the paint with water use an acrylic water repellant since that will enhance the coating's moisture resistance yet allow the coating to breathe.
If you buy paint premixed in a standard color then you won't have to intermix or 'box' all the custom tinted pails together to ensure an uniform color when dry.
painter / roof treatments - Longview, Texas
July 23, 2016
Q. This is a great thread I am retired and don't mind putting personal time in to maintain my roof. It seems from your discussion that I could have the best of all worlds by painting my roof and after a few days going back up and breaking the seal at the bottom of each tab to allow air to penetrate and water to escape? Thanks for any feedback.Keith Ainsworth
- Spokane Washington