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Can Rolled Roofing Be Painted? Here’s the Answer


Rolled roofing: painting options

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Rolled roofing is a common choice for low-sloped roofs of functional structures. Although it is not commonly used for residences, rolled roofing is a common choice for buildings like sheds, garages, and lean-tos. As you look into rolled roofing, though, you may notice that it usually only comes in black or green.

Regular paint typically does not work for rolled roofing, but there are options such as elastomeric coatings or solar reflective paint if you wish to change the color of your rolled roofing.

Because rolled roofing is so cheap and easy to install, you may decide that it is worth buying some coating every few years to update the material. There are specific types of coatings that you should use for rolled roofing, so it is important that you do not just use a regular can of paint.

Can You Paint Rolled Roofing?

You can paint rolled roofing, although it may be a process a bit different from the type of painting you are accustomed to. The physical make-up of rolled roofing makes it incompatible with some materials. 

Rolled roofing is often to referred to as “mineral paper,” and this term hints at how it is different from other roofing materials. Standard paint can make rolled roofing less efficient. Paint alone does not offer much additional protection for the roofing from rain and other weather conditions. 

Instead of using regular paint on rolled roofing, your best options are elastomeric coatings or solar reflective paints. 

Elastomeric coatings provide additional protection to the rolled roofing while changing the look of the roof. These coatings do not come in as many colors as regular paint, but you can often find different options at your local home improvement store.

Many elastomeric coatings come in white or other light colors that act as solar reflectors. You can also use solar reflective paint, but this will not have the added sealant benefits of elastomeric coatings.

Why Paint Rolled Roofing?

One common reason for painting rolled roofing with a coating, or special paint is to make the rolled roofing more appealing. It usually only comes in plain colors like black, green, or maybe tan, and some people are looking for more. This is especially common for people who buy rolled roofing because of its affordability. 

Another big reason for painting rolled roofing is a practical one. Black roofing absorbs light from the sun, which heats the roof and the structure it protects. This increased heat can make cooling the structure more difficult. 

Most buildings with rolled roofing are not for residential purposes, but you likely are not going to want a hot building that you work in. Even a garage with rolled roofing that is dark-colored can be a nuisance.

White or other light colors are best for reflecting the sun’s light and heat. Adding a white elastomeric coating to your rolled roofing can make a huge difference in the structure’s overall warmth. Many people additionally love the clean look of a white roof. 

How to Paint Rolled Roofing

Painting rolled roofing is generally an easy process; most things with rolled roofing are easy tasks. While the specific instructions for applying different coatings will depend on manufacturer details, the general process is easy.

Please Note: Always follow the application and safety recommendations for the specific products you use. The information here is meant only to provide a general idea of the process.

Measure the Area You Will Paint

As with any painting project, you need to determine how much paint you will need. Determine the area of your rolled roofing by multiplying the length by the width. Keep in mind that you may need more than one coat of the paint or coating that you use. It is better to have more than to run out halfway through.

Purchase a Coating

Once you have determined the area of your roof that you will be painting or coating, you need to get the material. Most home improvement stores will have elastomeric coatings or solar reflective paint to choose from.

Do not be afraid to ask store associates for recommendations or advice regarding rolled roofing. They should also be able to help you figure out how many cans of paint or coating you will need. 

Clean the Rolled Roofing

Before you apply any product to your rolled roofing, you must make sure that you have cleaned the surface of all debris, water, or other materials. These items can cause damage to the rolled roofing if they are sealed underneath paint or a coating. 

Follow the Product Instructions

The product you decide to use for your rolled roofing will determine what additional materials you will need. Most elastomeric roof coatings can be applied with paint brushes, paint rollers, or sprayers. Hand tools are best for small areas of rolled roofing, and sprayers are better for large areas. 

Each product will have specific instructions for how to apply the material. There will also be different specifications for how many coats to use, how long the product takes to dry, and how long the product should be expected to last. 

Should You Use Rolled Roofing?

Rolled roofing, like any other material, has its pros and cons. As you have already learned, it has limited color options, which can be a drawback for many people. To wrap up, we will go over a few of the benefits and drawbacks to help you make a decision.

Pros of Rolled Roofing

  • Rolled roofing is affordable. It is considerably cheaper than other types of roofing materials, especially because you do not need many other tools to install rolled roofing. 
  • Rolled roofing can often be done without the help of a professional. Of course, this depends on the size and location that you want to apply rolled roofing to, but it is generally a very easy process as it comes in sheets.
  • Rolled roofing can be a cheap option that adds protection while you decide on other roofing options. You may not know what your ultimate roof will be made of, or you may be saving up for a different material. Rolled roofing can protect your structure in the meantime without being a huge cost.
  • Rolled roofing is best for low-sloped roofs of buildings that are not residential. This makes it a great option for backyard sheds or garages.

Cons of Rolled Roofing

  • With rolled roofing, you will not have as much durability as you would with other roofing materials. Most rolled roofing will only have a lifespan of five to eight years, compared to the 15 year or more lifespan of other options. 
  • Rolled roofing is not very attractive. It does little to add to the style and appearance of a building, which is part of the reason it usually does not appear on residential homes. Some homeowner’s associations will not even allow rolled roofing because it is not appealing. 
  • Rolled roofing is more prone to damage because it lacks durability. Since the material is in a large sheet, rolled roofing is more likely to tear as it cannot adjust to subtle changes in the roof’s movement. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you have a better understanding now of how rolled roofing works. As you can see, there are definite pros and cons to this material. Ultimately, you can change the color of rolled roofing if you want to, but some people may find that it is better to just get a new roofing material that will last longer. 

Purchase rolled roofing (link to Home Depot).

Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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