As a Licenced Builder and all-round roofing guru, Greg Catton from My Home Improvements has worked on countless tile roof restoration jobs all over Brisbane and Queensland.


Restoring old tile roofs presents an intricate challenge for any roofing contractor. If not done correctly, newly restored roof tiles can lose their beauty in just a few short years.

Often times, the reason for this occurring is that the contractor didn’t know how to deal with older style tiles which need additional preparation and care.

An old tile roof can still be serviceable with a long life ahead. But prior to any restoration work, it will need correct treatment to protect and prepare it for a beautiful, long lasting top coat.

In this article, Greg explains the importance of using the right primer and taking the necessary preparation steps when restoring old tile roofs

When just pressure cleaning won’t cut it

If you’ve got a house with old roof tiles, even straight after pressure cleaning, you can still feel grittiness.

You mightn’t think it’s a biggie…it’s just a bit of loose grit, right?

Let me tell you, if there is any loose sediment, the surface will move under the new top-coat, causing it to lift.

Your newly restored tiled roof will look rubbish in a few short years. That IS a biggie!

To prevent this from occurring, a specific type of primer must always be used to bind any loose sediments down.

Not all roofing contractors are experienced in restoring old tile roofs as it’s a bit of a specialised area. They may not be aware of which is the right type of primer to use or the correct preparation steps to take prior to restoration.

The pressure of preparation can all be a bit too much

You’ve used a pressure cleaner before, right?

They’re powerful little beasts and they make the preparation part of the job so much easier.

But there’s a down side.

You may be tempted to pressure clean someone else’s poor work or try to resolve the problem of peeling roof paint that a house flipper has painted in his favourite colour of yellow!

But if not used correctly, or there’s a problem with the old roof tiles, pressure cleaning can actually pull sheets of concrete off, leaving feathered edges that curl up when they dry.  Note – this only applies to previously restored roofs where existing paint from another poor restoration is still on the roof.

When this happens, the restoration process requires much more preparation in addition to using the correct primer to stick those feathered edges down.

In some cases, a primer with an additional flexible membrane is needed to ensure the paint lasts a lot longer and to make the final appearance look super schmick

What about dealing with moisture?

Primer for older tiles needs more anti-fungicide treatment, as the likelihood of moisture being trapped in the tile is higher.

(PS did you know some Primer/Paint manufacturers don’t even use anti-fungals in their coatings? The good ones do, so keep an eye out for manufacturers that recommend a separate anti-fungal)

Moisture is one thing that can trigger a bunch of problems and not just cosmetic ones.

Mould, moss and algae, otherwise known as lichens just LOVE tiled roofs and can turn your roof into a blackish green mouldy mess before you can say “Pick me up 1000 bottles of mould spray from the supermarket would you love?”

Unfortunately, lichen are hardy folk who need a more powerful push before they’ll vacate your premises. I’ve written quite a bit about whether you need a fungicide on your roof. Have a read up on the problem and the right and wrong way to deal with it.

Worse-case scenario – what happens if the wrong primer is applied?

Pin-pricks holes can appear in the top coat making it quickly lose its ‘new roof’ appearance.

And at worst (and it’s a really bad ‘worst’) the top coat won’t ‘attach’ – it sits on top and the paint will lift. Awful!

Not to mention people pointing and laughing at your sad, lack-lustre roof as they jog past.

Oh and the immediate loss of value when it comes time to sell. And the fact that nothing much will fix it so you’re in for a complete redo.

Alright, so what primer do you use to prime old tile roofs?

I’m glad you asked!

For restoring old tile roofs, I swear by the Aussie-made SupaPrime, part of the Nutech range. It’s easy to get a nice thick build in just two top coats.

Some troublesome tile roofs may need NuPrime and to really bind that lose sediment.  There’s even a special primer just for terracotta roofs called Elite Terracotta Prime H2O.

I could bang on a bit about the Nutech range. They’re just a cracker of an Aussie success story. The product has been exported to 21 countries worldwide and used on over 800,000 roofs. And no, I might have been around for 20 years but I didn’t paint ALL those roofs!

It goes on glossy and stays that way… much longer than other roof coatings. I’ve used and it comes with one of the longest guarantees around – how’s 10 years??

It’s also drinking water safe – super important if you’re collecting rain water for use in the house.

Want to make sure your tile roof restoration is done right. Talk to us!

As old tile roofs are so intricate, they require a lot of experience to deal with them correctly. So much so, we actually get regular referrals from other roofing contractors to take over potential restoration jobs for older properties…not that we’re complaining!

We have 20 years’ experiences as roofing contractors and are experts in all types of tile roofs.

We know the ins and outs of restoring old tile roofs and will always take the necessary preparation steps and use the correct primer to ensure your tile roof looks great for years and years to come.

If you would like more information about roof restorations or roofing work in general, My Home Improvements will be happy to help. Simply click here to contact us.

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