Can You Paint Roof Tiles? (Types, Cost, Method, Tips & More)

One of the most common concerns people have when decorating exteriors, especially roofs, is whether they should replace the roof tiles or they can paint them! Are you also bothered by this question? If yes, then we’re here to help!

Today, we’ll talk about painting roof tiles, the types of paints and finishes, and some cool tips for easy and quick painting! So, stay tuned until the end!

Key Takeaways

  • You can paint roof tiles, but not all tiles are easy to paint! You can easily paint rough tiles like concrete, clay, and slate, but painting polished ones is challenging. 
  • Damp-proof epoxy, acrylic, and latex paints are the best for roof tiles. You can further play with different finishes, like matte and gloss, as per your style.
  • You need to sand and prime the non-porous roof tiles like rubber and metal. So, keep some sandpaper and steel wool handy!
  • Porous roof tiles like clay and slate absorb the paint and look transparent with time. But don’t worry! You can find a quick step-by-step guide to painting your roof tiles the best way. 

Which Roof Tiles Can You Paint Well?

The rougher the tiles, the easier they are to paint! This means you can obviously paint crude cement or stone tiles easily. But which other tiles can you paint easily? Let’s find out below!

1. Can You Paint Metal Roof Tiles?

Cream House Color with Red Roof

You can easily paint metal roof tiles with enamel or acrylic paint. All you need to do is scrub the tiles with vinegar and apply cement to prep the base. Then, sand it with steel wool or sandpaper for a better grip. But be careful! You don’t want to bend the tile, right?

Now, prime the tiles with a zinc or polymer primer. It’ll be great to use thin, multiple coats to reduce fading and warping. Remember to top it all off with wax or paraffin for better results!

And the best part? You can also powder coat the tiles with enamel, chalked, or latex spray paints. But don’t forget to add an anti-rust coat to save them from dirt and debris. Or use some roof vents to reduce peeling!

Fill some foam between the tiles or add elastic sealants between the joints. These will reduce the expansion and save the paint from warping.

2. Are Concrete Roof Tiles Easy to Paint?

Concrete Roofing Shingles

Concrete roof tiles are already rough and flat. So painting them is relatively fast and easy. Just wash the grease from the surface, prime it, and you are all set. If you like, you can use a filler to seal the holes for a better finish.

And the cherry on the cake? Concrete tiles go well with all types of paint! So, you can freely use any acrylic, epoxy, or oil paint of your choice. But be sure to use a damp-proof one. After all, you don’t want termites crawling through your tiles, right?

Paint the tiles on a hot, clear day for better drying and even finish.

3. Can You Paint over Slate Roof Tiles?

You can paint slate tiles with powdered acrylic or latex paints. There might be some bumps on the surface, but you can sand it with steel in no time.

There’s another trick you could try! Grab a washer and rinse the stone. Next, apply a primer, and sand it lightly to prep the base.

Now, grab a thick nylon brush and your favorite acrylic or latex paints. Next, use an epoxy sealant, brush on 2-3 coats of color, and let it dry. Last but not least, add a roof flashing to keep the paint dry and stable.

Bleach the slate tiles and add caulk for fast curing in humid areas.

4. Can You Paint Clay Roof Tiles?

Dormer Vents

Clay tiles are tricky to paint. They start losing color near the curved edges. What does that mean? Well, it means that you must strip the tile of its gloss before painting. Then, you can start painting with special epoxy and aerosol paints or sprays.

Long story short, clay roof tiles need buffing and sanding before painting. Then, you need to create a rough base for your paint using a special ‘non-fired’ clay primer. Here, you can add a felt to reduce warping and fading due to water.

Avoid using oil-based paints as those won’t fit evenly and cause spots.

5. Can You Paint over Rubber Tiles?

It’s a common myth that you can’t paint rubber tiles. But we found you can do it! All you need is a silicone bonder and caulk. First, rub the surfaces with steel wool and prime them. Then, use a toner for a better finish, and your tiles are ready for the paint!

You can go with any epoxy spray of your choice. But chances are that your paint might come off with the climate. So, we advise you to top it with a sealer or wax for the best results.

Use 2-3 coats of paint with rubber tiles and allow them to cure for 48 – 50 hours. You’ll surely get a long-lasting finish with this hack.

6. Can You Paint Plastic Roof Tiles?

Plastic Roof Tiles

Roofing contractors always say that plastic roof tiles are tricky to paint. But mark my words! You’ll be able to paint them quickly with little priming and heavy sanding.

We all know that a buffed surface holds paint well. So, just rub your tiles till you feel the warmth, add an adhesive base, and you are set!

My experience says that acrylic paints stick well to plastic and don’t peel off. But you can anyway use any water paints from the market.

Pick heavier 120-grit sandpaper or steel wool to sand the tiles quickly.

Which Roof Tiles Should You Not Paint?

Clay Shingles Roofing

Okay, so now you know which roof tiles you can paint! But remember how we said not all tiles can be painted easily? Yes, some roof tiles are better off painting. These are:

  • Damaged or Broken Tiles: Should you paint your tiles if they have those huge holes or blobs of rust? Absolutely not! These tiles will anyway resist paint and leak water inside. You should rather replace them to save money.
  • Terracotta Tiles: Terracotta roof tiles have a shiny ceramic glaze that resists paint. So, the paint might turn flaky and bubbly with time.
  • Composite Tiles: Composite tiles have a resin film that makes painting difficult. But you can still reglaze them with oils and paraffin. 
  • Copper Tiles: It is my experience that copper tiles peel paint off in 1-2 years. So, you shouldn’t waste time and money on painting and should simply replace them.

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

Ah yes! How can we forget such an important point?

The type of paint not only makes your roof tiles beautiful but also defines their finish and durability. That reminds me, you cannot use any wall or emulsion paint for the tiles.

You’ll need special paints that withstand the weather, like these:

1. Acrylic Paint

You might be familiar with acrylic paint sets and brushes. Yes, this kid-friendly paint protects roof tiles from fungus and dust and adds a soft gloss. Plus, it’s extremely water resistant and will end all your leakage worries.

However, keep in mind that the paint dries up real quick. So, you need to paint really fast, without any breaks. We also advise using a primer, and a felt for an opaque finish.

  • Average Cost:  $2 – 3 per kg
  • Preferred Tiles: Metal, Concrete, Slate, and Plastic

Mix acrylic paint with 4-5 ml of oil for easy painting and quick drying.

2. Damp Proof Roof Paint

Modern problems require smart solutions! And damp-proof resin paint is a smart choice that saves new polymer tiles from water. These paints are bright and wave goodbye to fungus and rust! But yes, they need insulation in snowy areas.

  • Average Cost:  $1 – 2 per kg
  • Preferred Tiles: Polymer, Plastic, Resin, Slate, and Aluminum

Wash the tiles with a mold wash and dry them before applying damp-proof paint.

3. Epoxy Paint

Want something strong and easy-to-apply? Here’s epoxy for you! Thick and elastic, this matte paint saves the tiles from fungus and dirt.

What’s more? It’s incredibly water resistant and doesn’t peel or warp for 15 – 20 years. Plus, it looks even and hides any surface holes.

  • Average Cost:  $1 – 2 per kg
  • Preferred Tiles: Rubber, Metal, Concrete, Plastic, and Slate tiles

Epoxy is a flammable paint and emits poisonous odors. So always wear a mask and safety glasses while painting.

4. Latex Paint

Latex paints are those shiny ones you see on roof vents and skylights. Being reflective, they’ll repel the UV rays and reduce roof damage. Plus, they are easy to clean, cure and don’t need heavy repairs. But you must caulk them for a long-lasting finish.

  • Average Cost:  $0.2 – 0.5 per kg
  • Preferred Tiles: Slate and Clay roof tiles

Spray gloss over the latex paint and add a tile coat for high curb appeal.

How to Paint Roof Tiles Effortlessly?

Painting Roof Shingles

Believe me, painting roof tiles is child’s play if you use the right tools. But what are these tools? And how to use them? Let’s take a look at the steps to paint your roof tiles efficiently.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Extension Ladder or Harness
  • Power sprayer and Washer
  • Anchor Points
  • Bungee Cords

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Spray cans, Pumps, or Brushes
  • Paint cans 
  • Paint thinners
  • Dabbing Cloth
  • Seam Tape
  • Sanding paper or Steel wool
  • Primers and Sealants
Cleaning Roof Tiles

Step 1: Get on the roof using a ladder and support yourself using plywood and bungee cords. Next, inspect the roof for damage and replace all the broken tiles. You can also clean and scrub the roof.

Step 2: Rinse the roof with antirust solutions and dab on a fungicide. Now, cover all your vent pipes and skylights with tape or plastic.

Step 3: Scrub all the old paint with steel wool and rinse it with a washer. Now, rub the tiles with sandpaper and create a rough surface.

Step 4: Seal all the cracks with roofing cement or add a roofing felt. Next, spray some primer to create a rough surface for painting.

Step 5: Finally, mix the colors with a paint thinner, brush it on your roof tiles and dry them for 24 hours. You may seal them further with paraffin or oil for a shiny finish.

Which Is the Best Paint Finish for Your Roof Tiles?

How do you imagine your roof to be? Matte or glossy? Well, each one has its pros, cons, and efficiency with different roofing tiles.

So, let’s discuss them in detail and find the best finish for your roof.

  • Matte & Eggshell Finishes: Matte finish tiles look elegant but can be difficult to clean and reglaze. Plus, they attract pests, fungus and may look dull with time. So, use them only if you have enough light and roof ventilation.
  • Satin Finishes: Satin finishes are very smooth and soft, just like typical silk fabrics. That reminds me, they also hide the roof defects and look luxurious. So, use them if you have rough clay or concrete tiles back home.
  • Semi-gloss Finishes: Semi-gloss paints are trendy, thanks to their shades and fast drying. But I would also highlight its risk of soiling and yellowing. So, you should seal it off with top enamel. 
  • High-gloss Finishes: This finish is for all the pop-culture hunks out there! These cool and shiny finishes modernize your tiles with a lovely industrial appeal. And don’t forget that they are easy to clean and apply too. Isn’t it a win-win situation?

Tips for Painting Roofing Tiles

  • You should cover the roof valleys and skylights with tape or plastic before painting.
  • Always wear masks and safety glasses before painting the roof tiles. You wouldn’t want the harmful fumes to make you feel nauseous. 
  • Spray a bonding agent over porous tiles like clay and slate and prime them for easy painting.
  • Stick to this rule for roof tile painting. The more, the merrier! Use thin, multiple coats of paint and cure them properly for a long-lasting finish.
  • Complete the tiles with enamel or oil and say bye-bye to water damage!
  • Roof tiles are curved. So, add foam around all the joints and curves to save the paint from dripping inside.

How Long Do Painted Roof Tiles Last?

Your painted roof tiles will last 5-10 years without a silicone coating. But they can last for about 15 years if properly maintained and sealed.

Do You Need Planning Permission to Paint the Roof Tiles?

No, you do not need any permit while painting the roof tiles. But, you must inform the HOA about the color code to avoid any penalties in the future.

How Much Does It Cost to Paint the Roof Tiles?

You might spend about $700 – 900 if you DIY and $1400 – 2000 if you hire a professional painter.

Yes, you can paint roof tiles, but you must sand and prime them before you take a brush and set go. And you should also add a bonding agent for faster application and drying. Rest, you are free to explore and can choose matte or gloss finishes as per the design.

Remember that roof tiles are usually curved. And this makes them harder to paint. But is it the same case with the roof shingles? Join us as we decode the best paints, finishes, and methods to paint roof shingles!