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Can You Paint Roof Shingles? Yes & Here’s Why

If you've wondering whether you can paint asphalt shingles, then you've come to the right place. The short answer is, yes you can indeed paint your asphalt roof shingles. However, you should be careful with the type of paints you use to paint the roof shingles and when to do it.

Some homeowners mistakenly believe they’re stuck with the same old dark grey asphalt roof shingles they’ve always had. However, painting asphalt shingles is a reality, and it’s a home improvement project that's entirely possible to do for the typical homeowner. From gabled to hipped roofs and everything in-between, all types of roofs can essentially be given a fresh new look with specially formulated roof paint. Here is a guide on how to paint roof shingles and everything you need to know about it.  

painting roof shingles

Benefits of Painting Roof Shingles

Roof painting has many benefits. Aside from boosting your equity and curb appeal in one fell swoop, there are maintenance-related benefits for repainting your asphalt shingles. These include replacing worn-out, brittle or cracked shingles while you’re up there – taking care of an annoying chore with ease. Also, some paints improve weather resistance, lockout moisture and harmful heat from the sun more effectively helping you prevent roof leaks.

Plus, since your roof will fade over time due to prolonged exposure to sunlight, using paint that reflects heat helps improve the overall energy efficiency of a home. It can lower your energy bills, as many folks usually crank up the air conditioner to compensate for rising indoor temperatures. 

Of course, you need to consider the time of year, as it’s very unsafe to climb onto a roof in wet or snowy conditions. For a high-quality paint job for your asphalt roof shingles, bear in mind that a full cleaning, repair, and priming should be performed beforehand. Doing so can help the final results – and your roof itself – last several years longer!

Painting Vs. Replacing Shingles

Painting a roof is considerably more affordable and easier than replacing it, which is why plenty of home and business owners lean towards the former. While roof paint can’t act as a magic wand and guarantee a vastly extended lifespan of your asphalt roof shingles, painting roofs can prolong wear and issues that arise with age, effectively acting as a means of putting off more expensive and extensive work.

As long as your roof is in stable, decent condition with no serious issues, a fresh coat of roof paint to the shingles is a perfectly viable alternative! Some specific roof paints are also effective at combating mildew and algae. Just buy a quality one from either Amazon, Home Depot, or other local home improvement stores.

How To Choose An Ideal Roof Color

different roof colors

Before you paint asphalt roof shingles, you need to decide on a color. Not all roof colors play nicely with the appearance of your home or business. There are several factors to consider so your property will benefit aesthetically from the work and paint color you choose. Since asphalt roof shingles are the most common roofing material, we'll cover what to consider for them:

  • The architectural style of the building in question (and the neighborhood, if there are rules you need to follow).
  • Your climate since shingle color can affect indoor temperatures – particularly in the attic – by 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Since typical high roof temperatures are warmer than your homes temperature, you also want quality roof paint that won't discolor.
  • What paint brands and colors are available in your area, and whether the paint swatch samples look good in person. As a recommendation, Behr roof paint is quite a popular option. Behr manufactures paint that is designed to help combat mildew and algae, which is great if you live in rainy areas.

Picking the perfect color means you shouldn’t solely rely on how an image looks online. You should see it in real-world lighting to get a better sense of whether it would clash or get along with your property. Warmer-colored siding will look better with an earth tone shingle color such as brown or even green, while cooler building colors look great with dark, neutral tones such as greys and blacks.

Also, bear in mind that darker tones often make a home look “tighter” or smaller, while lighter, non-intrusive colors give a more remarkable impression of spaciousness.

How To Paint Roof Shingles In 8 Steps

painting a roof
  1. It’s best to start with a visual inspection from the ground to ensure your roof is structurally sound and doesn’t show signs of bowing, warping, or otherwise. 
  2. After, it’s time for thorough cleaning of your roof, performing any essential repairs along the way. This process includes everything from removing debris such as leaves and twigs to replacing broken or missing shingles. Of course, it goes without saying that doing this without experience can be risky, and each roof and shingle type is sensitive in unique ways. Call in a professional contractor if you feel uncomfortable about going up there.
  3. Next, once your roof is cleaned and completely dry, it’s time to start painting shingles. Ensure you have water-based acrylic paint for optimal coverage and protection. Many people wonder whether you can latex paint, but you should actually avoid using latex paints at all costs when you paint asphalt shingles. Moisture can be trapped within them, which causes all sorts of problems, including mold and structural deformations. Buying the correct paint will save you loads of headaches.
  4. If you need specific equipment such as a primer, paint sprayer, and good-condition ladder (or scaffolding if that's easier), ensure you have it all ready and prepped for the job in advance. 
  5. If you’re doing the work yourself and know what you’re doing, don’t forget to wear non-slip shoes, a safety harness and other safety equipment to protect yourself while up there.
  6. Before applying the primer and first coat, check to ensure that ventilation, skylights, and other roof fixtures are covered if you don’t want them touched.
  7. Always work from the top to bottom of your roof, stepping carefully as you go with the ladder resting along the bottom edge.
  8. Wait at least two to three hours before the second coat, and don’t forget to touch up those tricky areas before you finish up and climb down.

Painting your shingle roof can be a cost-saving, longevity-boosting alternative to an outright replacement if the job is done correctly. With these tips and insights, we hope your new asphalt shingles roof color turns out to be the envy of your neighbors.

Here are our other guides on painting:

How To Spray Paint Interior Walls

How To Paint Over Caulk

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Kershan Bulsarar

Kershan Bulsara is a manager at Roofmaster. Roofmaster is a family-owned roofing company that has been servicing Ottawa and the surrounding area for over 35 years. The business is operated by brothers Kershan and Arzan who grew up in the industry and have been involved in every aspect of the roofing trade. They have grown to a team of roofing experts with a combined 200 years of experience, and have completed nearly 16,000 jobs. Through years of dedication to superior customer service, the company has won numerous awards including multiple BBB Torch Finalist Awards and Consumer Choice Awards.