How Can You Paint Roof Shingles? (Best Paint Types & Steps)

Roof shingles are the most unprotected and discolored areas of your home. That’s why they need a top coat to reduce weathering, brighten them and maximize the house’s curb appeal. But can you paint roof shingles? Let’s find out!

Key Takeaways

  • You can paint roofing shingles, but the workability depends on the material. Wooden, Asphalt, Metal, and Concrete shingles are easy to paint. But Copper and Terracotta shingles resist paint altogether.
  • Waterproof epoxy, latex, and acrylic paints provide a durable finish on the roof shingles. But they might need a primer and bonding agent underneath.
  • High-gloss and semi-gloss finishes are easier to clean and look more modern. But, you must pick matte finishes for coarse shingles like Slate and Asphalt.
  • Porous Slate and Rubber shingles are tricky to paint. But you can easily paint them by following our tips and step-by-step guide. So, hop onto the details and know it all!

Which Roof Shingles Can You Paint Efficiently?

Although you can paint roof shingles, not all roof shingle types are easy to paint! Some shingles stick to paint, whereas others resist paint altogether. So, let’s list the roof shingles that are easy to paint!

1. Can You Paint Wooden Shingles?

Wood Shingles for Roofing

You can paint wooden shingles with acrylic, epoxy, or latex paint. But first, you must sand the surface and prep it with a latex bonding agent. Then, simply fill all the gaps with roofing cement, paint them, and add an enamel coat for protection.

Moreover, you must rinse stained wood shingles with bleach and scrub them to peel the lacquer. After that, you can sand them a little and paint them with any color of your choice!

However, softwood shingles are challenging to paint and might absorb the coats. So, you must create a solid foundation by rubbing the surface with a wired brush. Then, you can simply spray the paint with an aerosol can for a smoother finish.

Apply an underlayer of acrylic paint, and then finish it with 2-3 latex coats for a brighter finish.

2. Can You Paint Asphalt Roof Shingles?

Colored Roof Shingles

Asphalt shingles are easy to paint and have a rough matte finish that sticks well, even without a primer. And since they are flat and low-pitched, you can easily paint them yourself with any wide or flat brush.

However, since asphalt is elastic, you must first seal it with rubber to reduce its expansion. Then you can paint the asphalt with stretchy elastomeric paint to protect it from the sun.

NEVER use regular acrylic or enamel paint with asphalt as it might lead to blotchy areas after 4 – 5 years.

3. Can You Paint over Metal Roof Shingles?

Roof Shingles

You can paint the metal shingles, but you’ll need some prep work to fix the paint on its glossy surfaces. Start by rinsing the galvanized finish with a power washer and vinegar. Then, spray a good zinc chromate primer and paint it with waterproof masonry paint.

But metal shingles are thin, easy-to-dent materials. So, it is advisable to paint them with brushes rather than high-pressure aerosol paint.

Alternatively, you can coat the shingles with powder coats and add foam to reduce peeling. Or, you can even add a ridge vent or turbine vent to circulate air and keep the paint dry.

Coat the shingles with a rubber paint sealer and add a caulk for better paint adhesion.

4. Are Concrete Roof Shingles Easy to Paint?

Yes, concrete shingles are easy to paint and have a rough surface that adheres well to paint. Plus, they are also thick and non-porous. So, you can finish them with any water-based latex, oil-based acrylic, or epoxy paint.

Moreover, concrete shingles don’t need much prep work before painting. Just remove the dust and mildew with a cleaner, sand it, and you are good to go.

Additionally, you can even use a PVC filler or roofing cement to mask the shingle gaps and have a smooth finish.

Paint the shingles on a sunny day to save the paint from absorbing moisture and peeling.

5. Can You Paint Slate Shingles?

Slate shingles are difficult to paint because of their porous, bumpy surfaces. But you can still paint them by scrubbing with a nylon brush and using 2-3 coats of acrylic or latex paint. Lastly, cure the paint for 24 hours and top it with enamel.

Clean the slate shingles with hot water to reduce dust and paint absorption into the surface.

6. Can You Paint over Rubber Shingles?

Rubber shingles are tricky to paint and might peel or warp the paint finish with time. So, you’ll need to fix them with a bonding agent and rub some steel wool to strengthen the surface. Then, you can prime it and finish it with any self-leveling acrylic or epoxy spray.

Caulk the edges with liquid rubber and use seam tape to help the paint last longer.

Which Type of Roof Shingles Cannot Be Painted?

Painting Roofing Shingles
  • Damaged, Warped, or Chipped Shingles: Rusty shingles are challenging to paint. They will not only resist paint but might need heavy repairs to reduce paint leaks through the gaps. So, it’s better to replace them altogether.
  • Copper Shingles: Copper’s green patina does not stick well to paint and might peel off after 2 – 3 years. So, it requires heavy maintenance and continuous repainting to maintain the finish.
  • Terracotta Shingles: Terracotta shingles have a shiny ceramic glaze on the top. Hence, the paint won’t stick evenly, resulting in a bubbled texture.
  • Solar Shingles: Solar shingles are thin, ceramic-coated glass shingles. Painting these shingles might reduce their energy absorption and electricity generation. So, these are the best if left unpainted and unglazed.

What Kind of Paint Should You Use for Painting Roof Shingles?

Waterproof masonry, acrylic, and epoxy paints are the best for roof shingles and form a durable, stain-free finish that withstands the climate. But, you should avoid chalk, cement, or distemper paints as they might peel and warp with heavy rain or sun exposure.

1. Masonry Waterproof Roof Paint

These paints are a mixture of latex, ceramics, and a plastic film that gives a shiny look to the coat. Being reflective, these paints repel pests and remain free of fungus, even in humid areas. But, they might warp in snowy regions and need a sealer for a smooth finish.

  • Average Cost: $0.6 – 2 per kg
  • Preferred Shingles: Metal – Steel, Aluminum, Slate, and Concrete

Apply masonry paint in short, side-to-side strokes instead of longer, vertical ones for a smooth finish.

2. Epoxy Paint

Epoxy is a commercial grade, thick resin paint with a rough, matte finish. Being water-resistant, the paint cures roof shingles from rust and keeps fungus at bay. And since it’s thicker, it doesn’t peel or warp easily and lasts 15 – 20 years.

  • Average Cost: $1 – 2 per kg
  • Preferred Shingles: Metal, Concrete, Wood, Rubber, and Asphalt

Epoxy paints emit toxic fumes and might burn the surface on application. So, paint in a well-ventilated area and use gloves for protection.

3. Acrylic Paint

Acrylic is an easy-to-dry, elastic paint with a semi-gloss finish against different roof shingles. It resists water and UV rays but needs a primer to mask all the roof imperfections and dust. Plus, it’s slightly transparent and might need 2 – 3 coats for an opaque finish.

  • Average Cost: $2 – 3 per kg
  • Preferred Shingles: Concrete, Wood, Slate, Asphalt, and Rubber Shingles

Coat the shingles with an oil-based alkyd base layer, and then use 2-3 thin coats of acrylic paint for a better finish.

4. Latex Paint

Latex paints are simple, semi-gloss paints with a contemporary look. They have high workability and are easy to clean, cure and maintain. Plus, they come in both oil-based and water-based finishes that suit both porous and non-porous shingles.

However, latex paint might take a lot of time to dry and needs proper priming before painting. And you must also seal all the gaps with roofing cement and add some caulk for a better finish.

  • Average Cost: $0.2 – 0.5 per kg
  • Preferred Shingles: Concrete, Wood, Faux-wood, and Slate

Prime the shingles with some roofing cement, and scrub the surface with hard, steel wool for more durability with latex paint.

How to Paint Roof Shingles Efficiently?

Asphalt Shingles for Roofing

Painting roof shingles is relatively easy and can be finished in 4-5 hours if you follow the steps below.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Extension Ladder
  • Pressure washer or power sprayer
  • Harness
  • Anchor Points

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Spray cans, Pumps or Brushes
  • Paint cans 
  • Dabbing Cloth
  • Sanding paper or Steel wool
  • Primers, and Sealants

Step 1: Get on the roof with an extension ladder and inspect all the shingles properly. Clean all the debris and replace any damaged or broken shingles.

Step 2: Use proper anchor points and rinse the screws and plates with anti-rust solutions. You may also spray a fungicide to resist fungus and harden the surface.

Step 3: Scrub off any old paint and sand the surfaces with 100-grit paper or steel wool. Now, wash all the dirt with a pressure washer and allow it to dry.

Step 4: Apply a primer to the surface and finish all the cracks with roofing cement or caulk. You may apply a bonding agent to porous shingles like slate or asphalt and seal them before painting.

Step 5: Finally, paint the shingles with a paint and finish of your choice, cure them for 24 hours and apply a top coat.

Which Is the Best Paint Finish for Your Roofing Shingles?

Painting Roof Shingles

Semi-gloss or high-gloss finishes are the best for bright and modern roof shingles. But rough shingles like slate or asphalt look more refined with matte finishes.

So, let’s explore the main features of different paint finishes and decide on the best:

  • Matte and Eggshell Finishes: These finishes tone down glazed shingles and look formal. But, they are difficult to clean and might catch fungus with moisture. So, use them sparingly, or seal them with enamel.
  • Satin Finishes: Satin finishes are neutral and add a smooth, silky texture to the shingles. They mask the roof’s irregularities and dents and do not peel off easily. So, they are the right tap for porous materials like slate and asphalt.
  • Semi-gloss Finishes: Semi-gloss finishes are bright and eclectic. They are more workable and easy to dry but might attract dust and stain easily. So, adding a top sealer is advisable.
  • High-gloss Finishes: These finishes are shiny and reflect most on the incident light. So, they are cooler and add a crisp modern, or industrial aesthetic to the roof. They are also more workable and easy to apply but need some priming beforehand.

Tips for Painting Roofing Shingles

  • Repair or replace any damaged shingles and wash and dry them properly before painting.
  • Use lighter, reflective colors like white and beige in tropical climates. But prefer darker browns and blacks in temperate regions. You can also check some trendy shingle colors here!
  • Always paint the shingles in multiple, thin coats instead of a single thick coat that might peel easily.
  • Prime the porous shingles and spray some oil-based bonding agent for a brighter finish with fewer paint coats.
  • Seal the shingles with enamel or install a roof flashing to protect the paint from water damage.
  • Spray 2-3 coats of ‘thin-mil’ top coat to glaze the spray paints and improve their weather resistance. 

How Long Does Roof Shingle Paint Last?

Home-painted shingles usually last for 5 – 7 years, but professionally painted and reglazed shingles can last for 10 – 12 years. And you can also coat the shingles with enamel or wax for more durability.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Shingles?

You’ll need about $700 – 800 if you decide to paint the shingles yourself and $1000 – 1200 if you hire a professional painter.

Does Waterproof Shingle Paint Stop Roof Leaks?

No, waterproof shingle paint won’t stop the leaks completely. But they will drain the runoff and reduce the penetration. But, you must seal the gaps with different sealants or flashings for better leak control.

Which Is the Best Spray Paint for Roof Shingles?

Airless, epoxy, 2k enamel, and urethane sprays are the best spray cans to protect the roof from moisture and fungus. In contrast, emulsion and chalk spray paints are not durable and might peel with time.

You can paint roof shingles, but you’ll need to clean, seal and prime them beforehand. You must also add a bonding agent to reduce absorption and maintain the paint’s shine for long! And you can even use matte or gloss finishes depending on the climate and maintenance.

Alternatively, you can put galvanized metal panels over the shingles to save the painting and all the hard work. But is it a good idea? Jump to our blog on ‘Metal Roof over Shingles’ to know it all!