There are several misconceptions about painting a roof. Here are some frequently asked questions posed to the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA) as well as general roof painting tips:

Paint and roller set.Credit by: SAPMA

Paint and roller set. Credit by: SAPMA

Will repainting alone fix all roof leaking problems?

No. If the roof is leaking and/or has become extremely porous; has faulty laps; cracked tiles; deteriorated mortar; rusting etc., just repainting the roof is not the answer to stop leaks. If the roof is very old and has considerable erosion or surface weathering, such areas will most likely need to be replaced.

Is it worthwhile to restore a roof?

Yes. If your roof is suitable to restore, it is worthwhile as – depending on the age of the roof – it can extend the life of the roof at least by a further 15-20 years and will dramatically renew its appearance.

Roof painting tips:

  • When painting a roof, make sure you can get back down from the roof without having to walk over wet paint – this can be avoided with a little planning before you start.
  • If you use an airless spray gun to paint the roof, try to avoid painting on a windy day, there is always some over-spray, and it can blow a long way in windy conditions.
  • Check the weather forecast as you do not want to paint your roof if it is going to rain. If it is going to be very hot, you should start early in the morning as standing on top of a roof is a most unforgiving setting on sweltering summer days.
  • There are diverse choices when it comes to roof paint quality, and you will need to decide what is best for you – and how much you are willing to spend. The rule is you get way your pay for – so it is not wise to be penny-wise and pound-foolish here.
  • Water-based paints can be used on iron roofs but make sure all rust is treated well or the corrosion may appear again soon after painting.

 General roof cleaning, maintenance, and removal of organic growth:

As full restoration can be reasonably expensive, SAPMA recommends the homeowner carries out a certain amount of general maintenance on any roof.

  • Poorly maintained roofs can also cause severe damage to interior and exterior walls.
  • Hose down at least once every six months any unwashed areas of the roof not exposed to natural rainfall, including fascia and spouting systems.
  • It is important to remove any organic growth such as lichen or moss build-up, as it can damage the surface of the roofing material. For removal of organic growth, a recognised moss treatment process should be undertaken.

Selecting a suitable roller / brush:

  • The brush must have a thick head of filaments to carry the paint. The filament should be 50% longer than the width of the brush and be soft and springy.  Cheaper brushes are cheaper because they have fewer filaments – so spend a little more on quality.
  • Rollers are not suitable for painting roofs. It is better to use a broad brush than a roller to achieve the correct film thickness.

 Additional equipment needed:

  • Sturdy stepladders or scaffolding
  • Masking tape to cover edges that do not require painting
  • Plastic sheets or drop sheets to prevent paint spilling onto other surfaces
  • Wire brush for removing loose paint
  • Soft dust brush and pan for brushing debris from cleaned surfaces
  • Glass jars or old 5 litre plastic bottles cut in half for cleaning alkyd brushes in turpentine or thinners
  • Overalls or old clothes to protect against paint splashes and skin contact with solvents.
  • Rubber or disposable plastic gloves to protect the hands from solvents
  • A mask and goggles to avoid contact with the eyes and inhaling solvent vapour
  • Small plastic bucket for holding cleaning solutions and other liquids. Also, choose a suitable paint kettle for hoisting paint up to the roof without spilling it or endangering yourself
  • Rope for hoisting paint buckets and other equipment and to secure yourself to the roof
  • A clean rag, dampened with water, will help clean paint spots as you work. For enamel paint, dampen the cloth with mineral turpentine
  • Paint scrapers which come in various sizes, ranging from broad to narrow

How to find and hire the right painting contractor:

Using a professional painting contractor takes the stress out of painting your home.  But finding the right one is an important decision that requires careful consideration. SAPMA has reputable paint contractors as members and can supply their contact details if required.