Couple paint roof tiles of their bungalow during renovation — but is it a good idea?

A three-way image of a couple, cleaning roof tiles and painting roof tiles
Ellie and James scrubbed and painted their tiles instead of replacing them (Image credit: SWNS)

A couple who renovated their house themselves claim to have saved a fortune after spending just £400 cleaning and painting their roof tiles themselves.

Ellie Rimmer, aged 27, and James Lawrence, aged 28, came up with the idea of painting their roof tiles while strapped for cash while renovating their bungalow, which they bought for £400,000 in September 2021.

Rather than purchasing a brand new set of tiles at an average cost of £4,500, Ellie opted to clean and paint their existing tiles black using tile paint that she discovered online. 

Which raises the question — is painting tiles or any type of roof a good idea? We take a look how the couple did it and get the expert verdict on whether it is something others should consider doing to their roof tiles.

Cleaned old tiles with a wire brush

Initially, the couple had planned to just clean the tiles on the top of their bungalow to remove the moss and stains. During the extension work, they had to remove the entire roof, which provided them with a chance to replace the mismatched and discoloured tiles.

Upon reinstallation, they discovered that the size of the roof had changed after the extension, and they were a few tiles short. To address this issue, Ellie took the initiative to search for replacement tiles and came across a Facebook Marketplace listing of 500 tiles being sold by an old church for a mere £150.

However, before installing the new tiles, James, Ellie and Ellie's dad meticulously cleaned each one with a wire brush. Through this cost-effective approach, they managed to tackle the problem of marked and moss-covered tiles.

The roof tiles being cleaned by Ellie by using a wire brush to clean off the moss and stains whilst standing on a platform

Couple, Ellie and James decided to clean their roof tiles themselves using wire brushes in an effort to save money  (Image credit: SWNS)

Before painting them with specialist tile paint

Ellie and James discovered after cleaning the tiles that they were not the colour they had anticipated and, determined to finish their renovation project, came to the decision to paint the tiles as well.

With the roof already back in place, they spent hours painting tiles before finally completing the work in April 2022.

With the new paint in hand, they spent four consecutive 10-hour days coating their existing terracotta tiles in black paint twice using brushes.

Due to the windy conditions in their area, they were unable to use a spray for the painting job. To find a solution, Ellie researched and discovered tile paint, which they purchased for £400.

The couples on ladders painting the roof tiles black individually

After cleaning the roof tiles the couple decided to paint them black, which saved them over £4000  (Image credit: SWNS)

Claim it saved them £4,500 on new roof tiles

According to the couple, they managed to save £4,500 by completing the roofing work themselves instead of hiring professionals. This was just one of the ways in which they cut costs while renovating their home.

After investing £120,000 in renovations, including a loft conversion that added two extra bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs, the couple had their property valued and were pleasantly surprised to hear it was worth £630,000 – a £230,000 increase from its original purchase price.

Is painting roof tiles a good idea?

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) released a statement regarding the removal of roof moss and the application of roof paints and coatings.

According to the NFRC, methods used to remove moss from roofs involving forceful techniques like power-washing can cause damage to the roof. This is especially true when combined with unnecessary foot traffic, as it may lead to cracked or broken roof tiles.

Additionally, the statement raises concerns about claims related to the use of "thermal" roof coatings. Some suggest that painting roof tiles can improve their thermal efficiency and extend their lifespan, however, the statement advises that unless such products are accredited by reputable UK-based third parties, such as a BBA certificate or PRA approval, the public should be cautious about such claims.

Although, Ellie and James maintain that after almost a year the roof appears unchanged and that they haven't experienced any problems.

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.