If you’ve decided it’s time your tiled roof needs a face-lift, then take a moment to find out why it’s critical that the roof restoration service uses the right type of primer.

My Home Improvements’ MD and Licenced Builder Greg Catton shares from experience and explains the best primer paint to use on your tiled roof.

Ever wondered why some tile roof restoration jobs look great? And others look, well… pretty awful? 

After spending 20 years repairing, restoring and replacing roofs, I can tell you I’ve seen some shockers.

A big part of creating a beautiful, long-lasting finish comes down to a critical phase that often gets overlooked with a tiled roof, (or short-cutted, if that’s even a word!) — and that is the primer that is being used.

 Use of the wrong (read: cheap and won’t last) primer for a tiled roof restoration is an easy way to cut the cost. And it might just explain that ‘bargain’ price you were offered from ‘Dodgy Brothers Roofing!’

You don’t see it once the top coats are on your roof, but the PRIMER being used is very important. It can make the difference between a brilliant tiled roof restoration, and one that quickly loses its ‘glamour’ and before long is looking even more manky than before.

There are two things to know with primer for tiled roofs:

1. It must be a penetrating primer.

2. It must have the right viscosity.


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Why a tiled roof restoration needs a penetrative primer

The first thing to understand is that, unlike a metal roof, your tiled roof is made of concrete.

And concrete is porous.

And so, a penetrating primer has to be used. That’s the type that seeps into the pores of the concrete tiles and lays a sound base for the actual finishing paint.

If it isn’t a penetrating primer, it will just sit on top, and it won’t get a grip.

And if the primer doesn’t grip, then the top coat is going to part company with your tiles in record time, and you’ll be an unhappy camper.


Why a tiled roof restoration primer needs high viscosity

Unlike a metal roof, the surface of your tiled roof has lots of small pits, bumps and lumps.

If you’ve ever looked at a roof tile up close, you’ll have seen that the surface is rough. And if it is an older tile where the factory coating has gone, it will also be porous, as discussed above.

To get the beautiful finish you want when your tiled roof is restored, those lumps, pits and bumps need to be smoothed out BEFORE the top coat goes on, and that’s where a high viscosity (or ‘high build’) primer makes a world of difference.

The dictionary can explain what viscosity means better than I can… 

The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance to deformation at a given rate. For liquids, it corresponds to the informal concept of “thickness”

So why the fancy word and why is it important in tiled roof painting?

The primer must be ‘high build’ enough so the top coat doesn’t seep into the pores of the tile.

If the viscosity is low, it will be runny, or more ‘fluid’, then it won’t build up that smooth-yet-protective coating you need before applying your top coats.

Having said that, there are times when you need a more fluid consistency which I’ll tell you about next.

Do older roof tiles need a different primer during restoration? Yes! Here’s why…

If you have an older tiled roof that is needing restoration, things can get really tricky — and there are other issues that a reputable roof restoration company will also consider when planning which primer to use to prepare for painting.

Before you decide which primer to use on your older roof tiles (and remember, there’s more than one) you need to have a look at:

  • The age and condition of your tiles…
  • Whether they’ve been previously coated or never coated…
  • Even the brand of tile.

For example, the factory coating on old tiles like Monier 100s that have been around 30 or 40 years will have well and truly deteriorated, and need to be flooded with primer.

In some cases with old-but-serviceable tiles, we use low viscosity GP primer to seep into the pores and fill them up.

This creates flat substrate so microscopic that all those tiny pores and bumps don’t show — and when the roof is restored, it will look so lovely that no one will even know that your roof was built before concrete was even invented!

So now can you see why viscosity (or consistency) is important?

Bottom line: if the roof restoration company you hire uses the wrong primer, it just creates runs.

And nobody like the runs!


Hope that’s all been a help in knowing which primer is best for your tiled roof restoration.

The right primer can really make the difference between years of pleasure and increased value for your home — or years of disappointment and money down the whatzy!

We are passionate about getting it right, and I’d love to have a chat about your best (lowest cost option) to repair, restore or replace your tiled roof.

You’ll find loads more information and tips in our Repair, Restore, Replace – What are your options? or contact us and we’ll be in touch to see how we can help.

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