Enter your zip to
find local pros.
Roofing Resources

Can You Paint Shingles?

For the past 20 years, Pantone’s color experts have released their “Color of the Year,” which influences industries across the globe— including fashion, home furnishings, and graphic design. Similarly, Owens Corning shares their “Shingle Color of the Year” for contractors and homeowners. For 2019, Owens Corning selected Black Sable, a shade described as a “timeless,” “dramatically dark,” and with “an air of mystery.”

Homeowners in need of re-roofing can take immediate advantage of these trending colors, but what about homeowners who just want to refresh or change the color of their existing roof? It is possible to paint your roof, but it is a complex project that should be researched and budgeted.

Table of Contents

Schedule A Roofing Inspection

Painting your roof should never be used as a substitute for roofing repairs. Before embarking on your paint project, Modernize recommends scheduling a roofing inspection with a vetted contractor.

It is important to consider the lifespan of your roof ahead of this project, and discuss with your contractor. Experts estimate that a painted roof will need to be redone every five to seven years. Most asphalt shingles have an average lifespan of 20 years and will need to be repainted multiple times over that period.

Purchase Specialized Roofing Paints

Interior paints that you can find at home improvement stores, like Home Depot, will not fit your roof’s needs. Roof surface temperatures regularly reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and the paint needs to be resistant to extreme weather to prevent cracking and chipping. Regular paint will also not properly adhere to asphalt, wood, or tile shingles.

Behr remains a leader in the paint industry and has created a multi-surface acrylic latex paint formulated to withstand the inherent challenges of roof surfaces. This special line of paint helps resist mildew and algae, which can be a concern with a re-painted roof. Painting can trap condensation below the outer coating of your shingles, which can create mold and damage the surface of your roof. Some experts advise homeowners to avoid elastomeric roofing paints, especially on wood surfaces, as this paint can exacerbate moisture and mold damage.

As with any project, it is important to not cut corners on materials. The size of your roof will determine how many cans of paint you need for the project. Roof paint is expensive, but cheaper coatings may cause problems for your home down the line.

As you research roof paint, you will find many articles around painting roofs white. Painting a roof with reflective or white paint is a popular green movement, which can potentially lower a home’s energy expenses.

A 2018 article published by Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies shared that fresh asphalt only reflects only 4 percent of sunlight, compared to 90 percent for a white surface such as snow. As a roof heats up over the course of a day, the interior below absorbs heat through the ceiling. While most shingles are dark and absorb this heat, a white surface reflects back the sun’s heat to keep the home cooler overall. A white roof may improve your energy efficiency, as well as the appearance of your roof.

Find a Skilled Roofing Contractor

Almost all roofing projects should be handled by a professional due to the risks involved, but it may be difficult to find a roofing contractor that specializes in painting the roof of your home. Painting shingles remains a rare request.

We recommend vetting roofing contractors and painters in your area. If you are unable to find a professional, and still want to paint your roof, you may need to complete the project yourself.

Find today's best prices for your
home improvement project.