How to Remove Paint From Your Roof in 5 Simple Steps

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated May 18, 2022
A man climbs a roof
Photo: kay fochtmann/Adobe Stock
Difficulty

Intermediate

Perfect for handy homeowners.

Time to complete

2 hours

1 to 2 hours

Cost

Up to $25

Keep it wallet-friendly

Get rid of spots without damaging your shingles

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Get quotes from top-rated pros.

What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Razor blade
  • Hose
  • Ladder
  • Cloth or towel
  • Small, stiff brush

SUPPLIES

  • Latex paint remover or rubbing alcohol
  • Tape
  • Plastic wrap

Whether you hired a contractor or did the job yourself, noticing paint overspray on your roof’s shingles after painting your home or siding can be a little disheartening. Fortunately, this issue isn’t the end of the world—and it’s actually pretty inexpensive to get paint off your roof if you do it yourself. 

Here are five steps you can take to remove paint from your roof safely without damaging your shingles … or getting any broken bones. 

Note: This guide is for roofs with asphalt shingles. However, there are some notes along the way for metal and wood roofs.

  1. Call Your Contractor

    If you hired a local painting professional, you might be in luck—especially if they signed a contract. Give them a call to let them know you’ve spotted paint stains on your roof, and ask them to come fix the issue.

    Read the terms of your agreement carefully before calling, as you may need to reference them if they balk at your request. Remember: Respectful discourse is always better than accusations.

  2. Try Lightly Scraping the Paint (But Be Careful!)

    If the paint has already dried, your next best troubleshooting option is to lightly scrape the paint away. Although, if tackling this project isn’t for you, a local roof cleaning specialist can help you get the job done.

    The key word here is “lightly.” Asphalt shingles contain tiny rocks that will get ruined if you scrape too hard or use an abrasive tool. The precision of a razor blade is preferable to a paint scraping tool, harsh brush, or putty knife. 

    This option is best for infrequent spots or splatters on your roof. Larger stains on your roof may need more drastic interventions.

    A Note on Safety: When climbing on your roof, be sure to have a spotter. Never work alone and use a roof safety harness.

  3. Apply Paint Remover or Rubbing Alcohol

    If light scraping doesn’t get the job done, making the paint wet again is your next best bet. Depending on the spot sizes, you may need to slightly alter your strategy.

    For Small Paint Stains on Shingles

    Apply small blots of latex paint remover with a cloth. Dampen the painted areas and wait. Use the same razor to remove the painted areas. A small, stiff brush could also do the trick—but remember, scraping isn’t the goal. Light, concentrated strokes to remove the paint spots aree all you should do.

    For Large Paint Stains on Shingles

    Dampen a large section of your cloth with latex paint remover. Cover the overspray spots with the rag and press it firmly a few times into the area. Remove the rag, then add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to moisten the section.

    Cover the section in plastic wrap, then tape it down for 20 to 30 minutes to prevent moisture from escaping.

  4. Gently Wipe Away the Paint

    A closeup of roof shingles
    Photo: Ratchat/iStock/Getty Images

    After 20 or 30 minutes, remove the tape and plastic wrap, then use a fresh cloth to remove the wet paint. Again, be gentle so as not to damage your roofing.

    Replacing shingles costs between $80 and $550 per square. Painting a metal roof, on the other hand, costs $2,355 on average.

  5. Repeat, If Necessary

    Depending on the amount of paint you need to remove, you may need to repeat this process a few times. If you choose rubbing alcohol or latex paint remover and it doesn’t seem to work, it might be worth trying the alternative on your roof.

    If your roof is dramatically sloped, challenging to access, or you don’t have someone to spot you from the ground, we highly recommend hiring a professional to do this job.

FAQs

What should I do if wet paint drips on my roof? 

If you’re painting your home or monitoring a job as it’s being completed, squash the issue ASAP if you notice paint is getting onto the roof. Keeping it clean is one of the keys to extending your roof’s life.

Removing latex paint before it dries is much easier and lowers the risk of damaging your shingles (more on that below). Simply spray the spot with a hose for one to two minutes to clear away the drying paint. In general, this is a good way to remove ugly stains from your roof without using chemicals.

Will vinegar hurt roof shingles?

Vinegar will not damage your roof shingles. Using vinegar to wash your roof is an effective and popular cleaning method for asphalt shingles. You can buy white vinegar with varying concentrations of acetic acid. Typically, 5% is all you need for a good roof cleaning, but if you’ve got stubborn stains or moss you can go as high as 25%.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.