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Painting glazed terracotta roof tiles

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
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    Default Painting glazed terracotta roof tiles

    Hi All,

    I am looking for a way to paint my glazed terracotta roof tiles to match the new house colour scheme. I have read in some places that its possible, however others say its not possible to get a paint to adhere to the glaze.

    Has anyone had any experience with this? What paint did you use, and how did you prepare the tiles?

    I really cannot afford to replace the roof at this time so any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member munruben's Avatar
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    I did roof restoration before I retired and we used to paint glazed terracotta roofing tiles. The procedure was somewhat different from painting concrete or clay tiles. Firstly a warning, Terracotta glazed tiles are very slippery when damp and particularly if they have moss on them, which they usually do. You need to high pressure water blast the roof to get rid of all mold and moss that has accumulated over the years. Moss is hard to remove on the edges of the tiles and to make sure it is all removed in the cleaning process, you need to blast the edge of the tile with some caution, Water will gush up under the tile and into the roof cavity and onto the Gyprock ceiling. This is not too much of a problem but it can flood light fittings and electrical problems can result. You can opt for chemical removal of moss and fungai if you prefer but this method has strong implications and you must avoid the run off from going down the drains at all cost. In fact, when you pressure clean a roof, by law, you are not to let water from the roof go into the storm water drains. We overcame this with sandbags to block all drains to create a dam and we pumped the water back onto the property to soak into the soil. There are heavy penalties for not doing this.

    If you are pressure cleaning the roof, make sure you step on the cleaned part of the tile.. once the tile has been cleaned it is no longer slippery even though it is wet. so the rule of thumb is to clean in front of yourself at all times. and don't step onto a wet section that has not been cleaned,, it will be treacherous and you can slip very easily.
    You will need an etching solution or etching primer to create a surface that paint will adhere to. After this application, you should apply a sealer to seal the tiles and make them waterproof again. Tiles become porous over time and will absorb water and eventually seep through the tile. Sealing it will prevent this.

    You need to finish the painting with a good Acrylic roofing paint.. make sure it is a roofing paint and not just an ordinary house paint. Roofing paints are made with a great deal of elasticity to expand and contract.
    I used to apply at least 2 coats of the roofing paint. You don't need an undercoat of a different material at this stage, 2 coats of the final material will do the job with no problem and will last for many years.
    High pressure airless application is the best method for doing the job but you need to make sure the paint does not go into the gutters and into the water tank if you are using tanks. Using a good airless unit allows you to apply the paint without using a thinner to reduce it It will atomize the paint and create a beautiful finish on the tile without weakening the paint.

    It is a big job to paint a terracotta tiled roof properly but the results can be really rewarding. Some painters won't paint terracotta tiles but believe me they can be painted but has to be done properly.
    I would contact one of the big paint manufacturers and ask for their suggestions on your particular roof, they will send a rep out to you and evaluate the roof and advise you accordingly.
    and one more thing..Most people are under the impression that spray painting a roof will be cheaper because it takes less material.. don't believe it. Good luck with your roof and be careful. My business partner of many years lost his life by falling from a roof while painting it.
    Cheers, John
    Just a thought: If you borrow money from a pessimist, do they expect to get it back?
    I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

    .

  3. #3
    Old Chippy - 4K Club Member
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    So you want to replace a natural finish which will last thousands years with a coating that even if it lasts its design life will need re-coating in under 10 years?

    Hardly anybody will notice once its done except you and no-one will be concerned about it being a terracotta roof except you. It will most likely reduce the sale price not increase it as you've added an unnecessary maintenance activity and cost.

    If you sell after 8 years or so it will look ratty - IMO regardless of the prep and finish. I have seen maybe 30 or 40 over the years and not one lasted ten full years - most well under that and looked awful much earlier than that.

    But . . . you house your money - go for it if you really must, but just do it eyes wide-open. But I'd spend the $4-5 grand on a deck, or an OS holiday . . .
    Advice from me on this forum is general and for guidance based on information given by the member posing the question. Not to be used in place of professional advice from people appropriately qualified in the relevant field. All structural work must be approved and constructed to the BCA or other relevant standards by suitably licensed persons. The person doing the work and reading my advice accepts responsibility for ensuring the work done accords with the applicable law.

  4. #4
    Senior Member munruben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloss View Post
    So you want to replace a natural finish which will last thousands years with a coating that even if it lasts its design life will need re-coating in under 10 years?

    Hardly anybody will notice once its done except you and no-one will be concerned about it being a terracotta roof except you. It will most likely reduce the sale price not increase it as you've added an unnecessary maintenance activity and cost.

    If you sell after 8 years or so it will look ratty - IMO regardless of the prep and finish. I have seen maybe 30 or 40 over the years and not one lasted ten full years - most well under that and looked awful much earlier than that.

    But . . . you house your money - go for it if you really must, but just do it eyes wide-open. But I'd spend the $4-5 grand on a deck, or an OS holiday . . .
    There is certainly merit is what you say here. Painting tiled roofs of any kind is a relevantly new idea. In my young days as a painter, it was never heard of to paint a roof other than a galvernized iron roof of course. Times and ideas have changed and people come up with all these crazy ideas of decorating and designing things without any thought as to the practicality or the lasting quality of the product. Sad but true. Yes you are right, even with the best of materials being used to paint a terracotta roofing tile,or any roofing tile for that matter, ten years would be around the maximum life expectancy of the finish.
    Cheers, John
    Just a thought: If you borrow money from a pessimist, do they expect to get it back?
    I intend to live forever. So far, so good.

    .

  5. #5
    Apprentice (new member)
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    Everybody has different tastes I suppose but I was surprised, on another thread, to see a number of people say they would replace a tiled roof with a tin roof. I like both types of roof but if I had a terracotta roof I would leave it as it is. In the older suburb where I live nearly all the houses have terracotta roofs. Our roof was unfortunately bright green concrete tiles when it was installed 90 years ago now weathered to a dull grey. I would be happy with terracotta.


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