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Can a Roof be Painted? Here’s What to Consider

How to Add Some Color to Your Roof

Is your roof looking a bit drab? Is it possible to add some brighter colors to a roof? Learn more about whether it might be a good idea or a bad one.

Your roof is not only your home’s first line of defense against the weather. It’s also an important visual element that can make an impression on guests. You might have put a great deal of thought into many of your home’s exterior features, such as paint colors, doors, and window treatments.

What about your roof? What if you want to add more color to your roof? It is possible to do so, but it might not be advisable. The following is an overview of possible options, along with some caution. If you’d like to know more, you should speak with a roofing professional who knows about Texas weather and other challenges your roof faces.

Can I paint my roof?

You have many options for adding color to your roof, but if you want something that will make a distinct impression — i.e. something that “pops” — paint is probably the only way to go. Other options, such as flags, banners, or other decorations, won’t last through high winds, which we get quite a bit here in Texas.

Image, houses with bright painted roofs
Image by Omar Medina Films from Pixabay

The short answer is that yes, you can paint your roof, but there are many catches. Painting a roof requires specialized products and skills.

Only certain types of paint are recommended for use on roofs because of the additional exposure to the elements. Asphalt shingles, which are probably the most common type of shingles in residential roofing, have different requirements than other shingles or metal roofs. Even if you pick the right paint, you may still put your roof at greater risk of moisture damage.

The actual act of painting can be quite treacherous, considering that someone has to stand on the same surface that they are painting, and that surface could be ten or more feet off the ground. Many roofing contractors do not include painting in their list of services at all, so finding someone with the right skill set could be difficult.

So yes, you can paint your roof. What you should be asking is whether painting your roof is worth it.

Should I paint my roof?

A painted roof could offer some advantages. The possible drawbacks make up a longer list, though.

Advantages of a painted roof

The main advantage of painting a roof might not align with the goal of having a colorful roof. Certain types of paint treatments can help you save on your electricity bills by reflecting sunlight. The roof doesn’t absorb the sun’s heat, and the house remains cooler than it would have been otherwise. This typically requires painting the roof white, which is not particularly colorful.

Image by Bernd Hildebrandt from Pixabay

Another advantage might simply be that it can serve as an alternative to replacing a roof you don’t like. Suppose you bought a house without realizing that you don’t care for the color or style of the roof. Painting it can substantially change its look without causing the disruption of replacing the roof altogether. It is likely to be less expensive as well.

Finally, painting the roof could have a very subjective advantage if you like how it looks. As long as you are willing to bear the risks — and the possible costs — this might be all the reason you need.

Disadvantages of a painted roof

The disadvantages of a painted roof range from relatively minor to potentially severe.

Durability: first, paint presents problems with durability and maintenance. Good shingles, when installed professionally, could last for decades before you need to replace them. It might be ten years or longer before many kinds of shingles even show obvious signs of wear and tear. Paint, on the other hand, will start to show its age much sooner

Shingles must endure an ongoing barrage of rain, sunlight, and falling objects like tree branches. They are designed to handle it. Paint isn’t. At a minimum, you could find yourself needing to do touch-up painting every few years, if not more often.

Photo by CGAphoto from Flickr [Creative Commons]

Trapping moisture: paint can also trap moisture in or beneath the shingles, which is the exact opposite of what a roof should do. Only certain kinds of paint allow moisture to escape. If you use the wrong kind, you could end up with wood rot under the shingles. The roof might still look good, but it will be in very bad shape. Paint should never be used to cover problems. Get a free roof inspection first.

Treachery: finally, as mentioned earlier, painting a roof is dangerous. Steep roofs are generally considered more dangerous than roofs with less of a slope. They require rather extensive safety equipment because of the greater risk of falling. They may also be likely to look better painted since they are more visible from the ground. There is little purpose in painting a flat roof unless you want people to marvel at it from the seat of an airplane.

Add lasting character to your roof!

If you’re looking to change the look of your roof, colored shingles, tile, or metal would be preferred to paint – especially if it’s nearing time to replace your roof anyway! RoofCrafters can help. Contact us today to get a quote for a project!

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