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Can Roof Tiles Be Painted?

Many homeowners wonder whether they can paint roof tiles because they’d rather save money with paint than replace the entire roof for a cosmetic reason only.

Can roof tiles be painted?

Some roof tiles can be painted, and others can’t. Painting the wrong roof tile can cause a world of pain. In addition, the paint will slowly chip off and make your house’s exterior look messy.

Concrete, slate, and clay tiles, on the other hand, can be painted as long as you use the right type of paint.

If you’re looking for a different color when you buy a house or remodel it, painting can be a good solution if you have the right kind of tiles.

Detail view of house rooftop covered with brown metal tile sheets

Here’s some helpful advice on what you need to know before trying to paint your roof tiles and what to do about it once you know that you can safely paint them.

What Type of Tiles Can Be Painted?

The type of tiles you have on your roof is the most significant factor in whether you can paint your tiles. Unfortunately, most roofing tiles can’t be painted because they have a glazed coating, making it very hard for paint to take hold.

At best, you’ll have a temporary coat of paint that will start to disappear as soon as the first rain comes, or it sits for hours under direct sunlight.

Professional worker painting roof tiles using spray paint high pressure equipment

There are essentially two types of tiles you can paint: clay tiles and concrete roof tiles.

Clay tiles are fired in a kiln before they’re ready for your roof. They’re typically more expensive than other manufactured tiles, but they’re also very fire-resistant and will last for decades before replacement is necessary.

Concrete roof tiles are made of sand, cement, and water. They’re incredibly sturdy and easy to maintain and replace.

Both types of tiles come in various shapes and colors. Concrete tiles are generally much easier to paint. They’re porous, so the paint soaks into the tiles and sticks.

Clay is OK to paint unless it’s glazed. Glazing prevents the paint from getting into pores, making it more likely to peel or chip over time.

Painter painting roof tiles of a japanese house

What’s the Best Paint for Roof Tiles?

Once you know you can paint your tiles, the next step is choosing the right paint. Anytime you paint your house’s exterior, you will need high-quality paint made for outdoor use.

Usually, latex paint or some types of water-based acrylic paints are best suited for the job. If possible, talk to someone who works at your local hardware or paint store about the best paints to use. They’ll know how local weather conditions like humidity and heat affect your roof and certain types of paint.

Most of all, you want weather-resistant paint that will maintain its vibrancy for years once it’s on your roof tiles.

Should You Paint Roof Tiles?

Painting roof tiles can save you a lot of money. Tile roofs are usually more expensive than asphalt shingle roofs, even though they last much longer than the average asphalt roof. Still, not everyone has the budget to replace a tile roof, and why replace it if all the tiles need is a bit of color?

It’s important to note that painting your roof will drastically change the look and feel of your house. So, choose the color wisely, or you could get complaints from the neighborhood. But, done well, a new coat of paint on your roof is a cost-effective and efficient way to update your house.

Painters paint the old roof tiles using red paint and brush

Can You Do It Yourself?

Sure, you can paint your roof tiles yourself if you have the right equipment and take proper safety precautions. Painting is hard enough work, but now you’re going to be doing it up high on an uneven surface where mistakes can ruin your work or injure you.

If you have the budget and are worried about how well you’ll do painting, make things easy by hiring an experienced crew to do the work for you.

hand holding Spray paint, painting red roof tiles

How Long Does Roof Paint Last?

You can expect a new coat of roof paint to last anywhere from five to ten years.

The paint’s lifespan will depend on local weather conditions and what type of paint you use. The tiles you’re painting also matter. Some tiles will interact with paint better than others.

Repainting every five years can be a hassle, which is why so many people leave their tiles in their natural colors. If you drive around California, you’ll see plenty of red tiles on roofs everywhere.

That may not be a good option for people with concrete tiles on their roofs, but paint on concrete tends to last longer, so you may not have to paint as often.

new red tiles roof and blue sky

Other Things to Consider

Before you start painting, you need to check the weather to make sure the next few days are clear. Rain on your roof when your paint is still wet will ruin the paint job, and you’ll have to start from scratch.

Then, clean your roof to remove any debris, rust, and anything else you don’t want to paint over. Cover flashing, soffits, and anything else you don’t want to paint with tape and plastic sheets.

We’ve mentioned safety equipment, but it’s worth repeating. Buy some roofing shoes because you’re going to be up there for hours walking from side to side. It’s worth the money to avoid any slips.

If you can, ask for some help before you start painting. The goal is to get the paint on as quickly as possible once you start so that it can dry evenly, and you can avoid things like leaves and dirt falling into wet paint.

Finally, it’s wise to hold onto any extra paint. After you put on multiple coats on each tile to the point you’re satisfied, you could see spots you missed in a few days when you’re walking out to get the mail. DIY roof tile paint jobs frequently require touch-ups, so store the extra paint in the shed or down in the basement for when you’ll need it again.