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I get it, looking up at your roof scratching your head thinking is this asbestos and if so how do I paint it to make it look better?

When you’re building your own home, the last thing you want to think about is whether or not you can paint an asbestos roof.

But it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration before construction begins and a decision has to be made. 

Asbestos roof coatings have a uniquely durable finish that will last for years or even decades to come.

This means that you can be assured of protection for many years to come, and all that while saving yourself from the hassle of having to do any maintenance whatsoever.

This is perhaps why you should consider keeping it rather than putting a new roof coating on your home.

So to answer the question, yes you can paint an asbestos roof but with some caveats as we’ll explore below. 

  • What is Asbestos and why is it dangerous?
  • How to tell if I have an asbestos roof?
  • Tips for painting an asbestos roof
  • What to use to paint an asbestos roof

We’ve got all these questions answered for you below in this blog post!

What is Asbestos and why is it dangerous?

Asbestos roofs are extremely dangerous due to the fact that if asbestos-containing materials are damaged, small amounts of asbestos fibres can be released into the air.

Due to its heat and fire-resistant properties asbestos was added to many roofing products including roofing tiles.

That’s why it was seen as an attractive choice for building materials.

Asbestos became popular in construction between 1930 and 1980. However, due to its health risks, asbestos use has been banned.

Asbestos roofs are extremely dangerous due to the fact that if asbestos-containing materials are damaged, small amounts of asbestos fibres can be released into the air.

Inhaling these airborne asbestos fibres can lead to serious health problems such as mesothelioma (fatal cancer), lung cancer and asbestosis. 

These days most people know about the dangers of asbestos and how bad it is when you breathe in asbestos fibres.

Everyone knows that you should treat an asbestos roof as dangerous, but not everyone knows exactly why or what to do about it.

Although Asbestos sounds very concerning you shouldn’t be worried if it is located on your roof.

If your tiles are in good condition then there is no need to go near them and in fact, you can paint them to make them look new again.

How to tell if you have an asbestos roof

If you suspect that your roof might contain asbestos, there are a few things you can do to check.

Check the documents

The first is to look for the “Warranties and guarantees” section of any documents pertaining to your home or building: if asbestos was used in the construction or renovation, it should be listed here.

However, if like us you don’t have this then you can move onto the next step.

Bring in the Pros

The next step is to haul out the heavy artillery: a professional inspection of your property.

Bringing in a professional to determine whether you have asbestos or not on your roof is an obvious way but an expensive way to determine if your roof is in fact made out of asbestos.

What some experts also do is break a piece off and send it to a lab to be tested.

There is a possibility that you will be able to do this yourself to send to a lab but you need to make sure that the proper precaution has been taken first.

Test Kit

A simple way to test if there is asbestos on your roof is with a home test kit.

You can buy them at most hardware stores or building suppliers. You can also buy online via Amazon.

Click here to see the kit including PPE.

And Click here to see one without.

This test kit offers quick, same-day results to find out if you have asbestos or not.

Just make sure to read the instructions, adhere to the guidelines and follow the necessary precautions.


One of the easiest ways to identify asbestos is just by looking at it. If you know someone that knows what they are looking at then great but if you don’t here’s what to look for.

General colour of the tile. It doesn’t look like your average slate or tile. It’s greyer in colour.

It looks similar to the picture below.

You can check any tiles or sheeting that has broken already to see what is inside it.

Just a visual inspection is fine.

What you are looking for are asbestos fibres.

They look something like this picture below.

If you have sheeting also then the same applies.

If you are still uncertain as to whether you have an asbestos roof or not then I suggest calling in the pros or use a testing kit.

Use precaution

If you need to remove asbestos for any reason, make sure that it is disposed of in a safe and legal manner by contacting an accredited asbestos removalist company that can safely handle the material for you.

Your local council should also be able to provide contact details of approved waste disposal companies so that you can dispose of your debris legally.

However, if you are thinking of leaving it as it is and painting it then that is perfectly fine also.

Tips for painting an asbestos roof 

One of the main concerns people have when thinking about painting their roofs is that they are worried about exposing themselves or their families to airborne asbestos fibres.

You can use several appliances for painting such as

A hand brush can be used for painting these materials if cutting and sanding are not required.

This will take you quite a while but if your roof is corrugated and not flat then this might be the option for you.

Using a sprayer will not emit asbestos fibres from an asbestos roof, as long as you do your prep.

It is still important to wear the correct respiratory protection such as a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter mask when doing this, as the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres is very high.

Using a roller is your best option if your roof is flat and also if it is safe to do so.

The most important point is that you should assume that any asbestos materials are hazardous, and exercise extreme caution when working with them.

What kind of paint to use?

As a general rule, exterior masonry-type paints (like most water-based paints) cannot be applied to asbestos sheets.

Everbuild Black Jack 905 All Weather Roof Coating is the best paint to use to coat an asbestos roof.

This is a black coating that is used to seal and cover all asbestos materials thoroughly without creating any dust or offensive smell. It is waterproof and will make your home not much more attractive but also cleaner. It is said to last for up to 20 years.

The best thing about BlackJack paint is that its formula has been perfected over a long period and has thus gained confidence from both consumers and building inspectors who have tested it in various conditions.

It can be used on roofs, interior walls, ceilings, exterior surfaces…anywhere you find asbestos.

To Conclude

Asbestos roofs are often a concern for homeowners.

While the roof may not pose any significant health risks, there is still some risk of exposure to asbestos fibres during installation and removal procedures.

It’s important you know how to safely paint your asbestos roof before tackling this project on your own.

With these tips, you’ll be able to paint your roof safely and professionally.

Now that you know how to do it correctly, don’t wait any longer!

Get started today so that your asbestos-covered roof can look new again soon.

Remember to always take the necessary precautions when painting an asbestos roof.