Roof flashing is used to prevent water leaks and roof damage on areas of the roof that are difficult to shingle over, such as where chimneys or dormers meet the roof surface. Flashing is also used around skylights and pipe and vent penetrations and along the roof's edges. While flashing is essential to a roof's watertightness, its shiny, metallic finish often clashes with the roofing materials or with the trim or other decorative elements of your house. While you can't do away with roof flashing to make your home look better, you can paint it to blend in with the neighboring materials.
The Best Paint for Roof Flashing
Painting roof flashing is no different from painting other metal objects, but as a roofing material, flashing is subject to the ravages of moisture, heat, and sunlight. The paint you use must be designed for these harsh conditions. A high-quality roofing spray paint is the best option. It goes on just like standard spray paint, and it's highly heat- and UV-resistant. Most can also be used on hot surfaces, like metal furnace and fireplace flues.
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How To Paint Aluminum Roof Flashing
Step 1: Clean the Flashing
Clean dirt, cobwebs, dust, and other debris from the aluminum flashing using a rag and warm, soapy water. If your flashing is particularly dirty, you may need to use a hard-bristle cleaning brush to ensure that all the dirt and grime are fully removed. Rinse the area well.
Your flashing is likely located in an area that requires a ladder. Practice ladder and height safety by ensuring your ladder is securely placed and that you're working with a partner to help you remain steady.
Step 2: Remove Old Paint
If your flashing has been painted in the past, you'll need to remove what's left of the previous paint job. Using a putty knife and/or a wire brush, scrape away any peeling paint from the surface of the aluminum flashing. If your aluminum flashing has never been painted, you can skip this step.
Step 3: Sand the Flashing
Sand the flashing with 150-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining loose paint and to roughen the surface slightly to improve the paint bond.
Step 4: Mask or Cover the Surrounding Area
Protect surrounding areas from overspray by covering them with a piece of cardboard, a painter's tarp, or newspaper and painter's tape.
Step 5: Paint the Flashing
Shake the paint can vigorously for a few minutes. Apply a thin coat of paint to the aluminum surface using side-to-side sweeping motions and holding the can about 10 to 12 inches from the surface. Don't worry about fully covering the metal; it's better to apply several thin coats rather than a couple of thick coats. Let the paint dry and repeat as needed to apply three or more coats until the flashing is fully covered and the paint color is consistent.
Step 6: Finish the Project
Remove any protective coverings you used. Let the paint fully cure as directed before letting other materials touch the painted parts.