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How to Paint a Shingle Roof

Roe Paint expert applying finishing touches to a residential painting job

If you want to make your home look better, cut your heating and cooling costs, and/or preserve your shingles, painting your roof is a possibility. Some people might tell you that asphalt shingles cannot be painted or it’s not worth the hassle, but you can paint them if you want to. Here’s how. 

The Primer

Primer is not always necessary for painting an interior wall or even certain exterior walls. Some might opt for paint with primer already included. However, paint with primer is actually just paint that’s thicker than the usual paint. That won’t suffice for your purposes. If you are going to paint your asphalt shingles, you are going to need an actual primer. 

So, pressure wash your roof to make sure you’ve gotten all of the loose dirt and grime off the roof. Wait for it to dry completely. Once that’s done, apply the primer to the roof with a roller. You could use a paint sprayer, but a roller is likely an easier solution. Work in vertical strips so that it goes with the lay of the shingles. 

Allow the primer to dry for as long as recommended. 

Choosing The Paint

You can use a simple acrylic latex paint to paint your asphalt shingles. Once the shingles have been primed, that will suffice for a few years. However, for best results, you should probably use a paint designed for asphalt shingles. Some of them are multi-surface paints, and others are specifically for shingles. These paints tend to be thicker and more viscous than the standard acrylic paint. That means they won’t seep into the cracks and crevices of the shingles as easily. Instead, they’ll sit more on top of the shingles as a protective coating. 


So, many people will tell you that you shouldn’t paint your roof or that it’s not worthwhile because it will fade over time. Paint doesn’t adhere to asphalt shingles as it does to other surfaces. Furthermore, the elements will really hammer your roof. The roof takes direct sunlight and direct rain. That will wear away the paint much faster than it would on the walls. When you need to change the shingles, your new ones won’t match the painted ones. You’ll then have to repaint them, and the new paint will be brighter than the old, faded paint. If none of that bothers you very much, have fun painting your asphalt shingles. 

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