Can You Paint Roof Tiles?

can you paint roof tiles

by David Tamplin on 1 Feb, 2017

This is a question I have asked myself and never found a straight answer. So, after some research and talking to various roofers and roofing merchants I started to get some sort of overall answer which was NO. However, I wasn’t convinced and if you read on, you will see my thinking and then my personal experience, which may help you too.can you paint roof tiles

I own (well I have a big mortgage too) a house which needed a fair amount of tidying. The mortar between the bricks had gradually been eroded over the years and my front brown uPVC windows had mainly blown sealed glazing units so you could hardly see out. Finally, there were a lot of unsightly cables dragged across the front for broadband, phone and old redundant cables that had never been fully removed. I had the idea of pimping the house in a similar fashion to many other houses in Hove and giving it a modern look.

The idea was to install dark grey double glazing at the front with no transoms (the horizontal lines) – so only vertical lines. Secondly, render the whole house with sand and cement mix. This was achieved on a much cheaper than normal cost as my son was a plasterer so he did me a great job and a good price! Then the rendering was painted a very light grey colour. Many houses went for brilliant white but it can be too bright, especially in the high summer days.

can you paint roof tilesAll this work went ahead but the problem once it was done was that the roof tiles were a dull greeny colour and just didn’t suit the dark and light grey colours of the new house. I knew that if I were to have all the tiles changed to a dark grey slate effect, this would cost about £10,000.00. So, I started investigating if you can paint roof tiles.

I started by asking any roofer on the side of the road who was working on a house in the street what they thought. Nearly always they said they would never recommend it but said you could buy some roof tile paint in the normal DIY retail outlets. When I visited about 4 different specialist roofing suppliers, I got an even stronger opinion. They all said you should never paint roof tiles. So there was my answer.

However, I still couldn’t see why and here was my reasoning:-

  1. You see various houses with tiles painted red (or other colours) where the tiles are on the front of the house, often on 1930’s properties between the upstairs and downstairs bay windows.
  2. You see tiles painted on the steps of houses at the front.
  3. You paint all the walls of your house in masonry paint and it lasts a good 15-20 years so why not tiles?
  4. My house tiles were originally a green colour and that had virtually washed off or eroded over the years and now they were the underlying colour of dull green.
  5. And finally, whilst I was painting the walls with masonry paint, I quickly noticed that the slightest drop of paint on the concrete blocks on the drive was virtually impossible to remove, even after you tried to do this within seconds. Infact, a few drops had been on the block paving for about 5 minutes and I tried to remove them and couldn’t so I took a wire brush and scrubbed them for quite a while and still could not get the pigment out of the blocks.

So having taken all this into account, I thought it must be ok to paint the roof tiles. And so I did!can you paint roof tiles

The paint was a good quality Dulux masonry paint tinted to the exact ‘RAL’ colour of the dark grey windows. I used 6 x 5litre pots to do the roof in just one coat. Total cost of paint was about £200. I think I should have done two coats but when I had finished, one coat had covered perfectly and to keep the cost down and save another 2 full days work on the roof, I decided to leave it at one coat. I should say that I spent a previous two days scraping off the moss with a small scraper. The whole 4 days work was very hard and back breaking but it wasn’t helped by it being the height of summer and it was about 85 degrees and extremely hot. However, I think it would have been even worse if it was not very warm and there was a wind blowing.

I think from the photos, you can see what it looks like and I am very pleased with the outcome. I have been complimented by many people in the road since I did this and they said it looks great. I recently had a broadband engineer come to my house to fix the broadband router and he honestly thought the house was a new build!

It is some three months now since the roof was painted and I have to say that there is no sign of fading or peeling. Infact the occasional rain we have had has seemed to clean the tiles nicely and make it all look perfect. I hope you have found this helpful and this comes from someone who has actually painted their roof tiles. A scary, brave step but one I am personally pleased with. If you want to get in touch and tell me you have done this or ask a question, there are no comments activated on Uk Money Market but you can contact me via the ‘contact us’ email and I will reply to you.

About the Author

David Tamplin


David Tamplin has been writing for Uk Money Market for 3 years and is the current editor of the site. He has an insurance background and achieved his ACII professional insurance exams in 1993.