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Is Plain Black Just Not Your Style? Here's Everything You Need To Know To Paint Your Rubber Roof

Rubber roofs can provide excellent protection from water and weather damage, but plain black doesn't always work with your home's color scheme. You can paint your roof a new color, luckily, but it's important to understand the process. Painting a roof isn't at all like painting a room in your home.

Filling In The Seams

Before you can start painting, you'll first need to clean off your roof and seal up any open seams in the rubber. First, sweep the roof clean of branches and leaves, then give it a good power washing. If you don't have a pressure washer, it's a good idea to rent one -- a regular garden hose just won't get the roof clean enough to paint.

Once everything is clean, you'll need to use liquid rubber to fill in any cracks. Silicone caulk won't work for this job because the roof will naturally pull away from the silicone as it expands and contracts throughout the day. Double check that every seam is filled in when you're finished, since the paint you'll be using can damage your home's waterproof membrane if it gets under the roof. Depending on the liquid rubber you used, you'll need to give the roof a day or two to cure.

Choosing An Appropriate Paint

Because of the aforementioned expanding and contracting nature of rubber roofs, typical latex or normal acrylic paint won't last very long. Instead, you'll need to look for urethane elastomer paint, which is made specifically for roof applications. This modified acrylic paint is flexible, even when dry, and forms a strong weatherproof seal on the roof. Some brands may not say they are for rubber roofs on the packaging, but all urethane elastomers are safe for this application unless stated otherwise.

Painting The Roof

The day you actually paint your roof should be one with a mild weather forecast and temperatures that don't get very high or low. Be careful of painting on humid days, since this can cause the paint to dry more slowly. Urethane elastomer will wash off with plain water while it is wet, so be absolutely certain no rain is on the horizon.

When painting, be sure to avoid trapping yourself on the roof. Always start on the opposite end from your ladder and work back towards it. If the roof is very large and you can't paint it all in one day, use painter's tape to mark off desired sections. Remember to remove this tape before the paint is dry or you might end up having to cut it off with a roofing knife. Your roof with likely take multiple coats to finish, since you ideally want the paint to be about as thick as a quarter.

Adding a coat of durable paint can lengthen the life of your roof and make your house look beautiful, but it's important to be careful while you do it. The last thing you want is to paint unevenly or damage your roof. For advice on products best suited to your rubber roof, contact the manufacturer or a company like B & B Sheet Metal And Roofing Inc.