Slate paint: 5 tips for choosing

7 min

Slate is a very common material in construction. Moreover, we are talking not only about the roof, but also various kinds of fences, and some craftsmen can even build something out of it for household needs. The wave slate familiar to many is made of asbestos cement, and therefore has an unremarkable gray color. Agree, in many cases, such an element can look extremely unprofitable, and therefore slate is often painted. This process is not that difficult, but in order to achieve a high-quality result, you need a good slate paint. Today we will talk about how to choose one.

# 1. Why paint slate?

Before proceeding with the choice of paint, it is necessary to answer the question “Do I need to paint slate and, in fact, why?” As we have already noted, this product has an expressionless gray color, which rarely satisfies anyone, especially when it is assumed that it will be in plain sight. However, in the process of painting slate, not only aesthetic intentions are hidden, but also practical. Despite the fact that in many respects the slate roofing surpasses the options from corrugated board and metal, time and weather can even spoil it.

The fact is that over time, atmospheric influences such as moisture and temperature changes lead to the formation of asbestos chips on the slate, which is one of the main reasons for the occurrence of moss and microcracks. And this reduces not only its attractiveness, but also the reliability in general. Therefore, it is recommended to paint slate, because in addition to additional protection against the listed troubles, paint gives it greater strength and attractiveness. Also, many modern slate paints have high antiseptic properties, which will also protect this material from the appearance of fungus and mold.

# 2. Advantages and disadvantages of slate

We have already understood that painting slate in general has a positive effect on its properties. However, since we said that this roofing material has a number of advantages over some analogues, it would not be superfluous to list them. And among the main ones it is worth highlighting the following:

  • high strength due to the successful connection of asbestos with cement;
  • does not rust, does not conduct electricity;
  • it resists moisture well and does not get so hot in the sun (like metal);
  • can last much longer;
  • much more affordable cost in comparison with analogues.

It has, of course, a number of other positive features, such as good sound insulation or the absence of toxic emissions during combustion, but these are not so important features for many consumers. Frankly, slate also has its drawbacks, which are worth mentioning for the sake of objectivity. Fortunately, there are not many of them, and they are expressed in a rather heavy weight (one sheet of slate weighs about 18 kg), and also in the fact that, despite its high strength, slate can be extremely fragile. It will not be difficult to damage it during careless transportation or installation.

No. 3. Types of slate paints

Great, we have dealt with the material. Now is the time to move on to how to choose a paint for slate, what to look for and what to consider before buying? By and large, nothing complicated in this process awaits you, since the main things that you will have to focus on are the type of paint, depending on the main active ingredient, as well as the manufacturer. It is these two components that are decisive, and therefore we will dwell on them in more detail.

So, first of all, as we have already found out, slate paints differ in the main active ingredient and are divided into four types:

Acrylic. Also known as water-dispersed paints, they are widely used and are often used for painting slate. Mainly also because they endow it with positive properties such as improving the sliding characteristics of the surface. The latter, for example, is extremely practical in the situation with precipitation in general, since it flows much more easily from the roof, without lingering there and not having a negative impact. Such protection against moisture simultaneously protects the slate from destruction, significantly extending its service life. The color palette of acrylic paints is varied, and you will surely find an option that suits you and your home. They also dry quite quickly.

Enamel. One of the best options for increasing the strength indicators of slate, to give it reliable protection against weathering, are paints of this type. One of the advantages of enamel paints is the formation of a coating that looks similar to enamel, which is distinguished by additional strength. If you don’t want to re-paint the slate for a fresh color anytime soon (which may vary depending on a variety of factors), then enamel paint is a great option, as it contains pigments that protect it from fading.

Liquid plastic. In most cases, they are synthetic paints based on various polymers or bitumen, although some also claim that liquid plastic is classified as acrylic building paints. One way or another, these are modern paints, the advantages of which are good adhesion to the slate surface, durability and reliability. Another advantage can be considered quite affordable cost, but they also have disadvantages. Since this is synthetics, the composition of such paints is often replete with substances harmful to health, and moisture protection, in comparison with acrylic paints, may not be so reliable.

Rubber. The latter type of paints, which is considered the most popular for use in painting slate, as it has a large number of advantages, eliminating the disadvantages of previous types. Here you also have high elasticity, which allows the paint to stretch without damage, which is especially practical when microcracks appear on the slate. However, it will take a long time before they appear, since rubber-based paints protect it from all sorts of irritants. Separately, it should be noted that it does not contain substances harmful to human health, and also has a high fire safety, not giving in to combustion.

Of course, to improve the operational characteristics of slate, many recommend using rubber paints, applying them in at least two layers. However, the final choice will still depend on your needs and budget. So, given all the information received above, you can probably choose the option that suits you best without much difficulty.

No. 4. Slate paint manufacturer

However, one should not forget that the quality of the paint itself (as is the case with many others) often depends on the manufacturer. The more popular and reliable the latter, the less chance you will encounter bad products. Although there is a downside here, since their offers often have a higher cost than their lower-quality counterparts. And here you will have to choose, since, on the one hand, slate painting is done in order to save money and not change the coating to another, more expensive one. On the other hand, you may not get the desired effect from a cheap product. That is why it will not be superfluous to get acquainted with the market leaders in this category.

In the domestic market, as in general, and always, you will find a sufficient number of options, both from manufacturers of the CIS countries and foreign brands. Among the first, special attention should be paid to paints from Unisal, Polifan and Butanit. All of them are distinguished by good resistance to weathering, UV radiation and retain their original color for a long time. Among foreign manufacturers, Germany, as always, distinguished itself with its Dachbesischichtung brand, which offers excellent paint for creating durable coatings. Also, do not pass by the Polish Polifarb and Finnish Kilpi. They are good acrylic paints with very short drying times.

No. 5. How to paint slate?

Of course, for a high-quality painting of slate, you need an understanding and appropriate observance of the main points of this process. And so that the paint is not wasted in vain, we will consider some of them in more detail, including the subtleties of the preparatory stage. And first of all, let’s talk about the new slate. Of course, before painting it, you need to get rid of possible dust and dirt, this is logical. But where is it better to paint it? Naturally below. This is what distinguishes the laying of new slate, that you can safely and at the same time paint it with high quality below, and only then lay it. Yes, depending on the complexity of the work, the paint layer may be broken. In this case, you will have to re-paint it after installation.

Old slate can be a little more complicated, since you also have to clean it first. Only in this case, this process can be much more difficult. Especially if there was no paint on it before. Removing fungal deposits and moss layers in most cases is a very time consuming task. But without doing this, you will not be able to paint the roof.

The most common methods for cleaning slate are using a metal bristle brush on a dry or damp surface. The presence of a drill with a metal brush will speed up this process a little. True, one way or another, you run the risk of getting tired. The easiest method in terms of physical effort is to use a compact pressure washer. It will be both fast and effective. True, you have to take or buy it somewhere.

After that, you just have to disinfect the surface with an antiseptic, apply a primer, and after it dries, start the process of painting the slate. Again, many people advise to apply the paint in two coats, the first time using it more sparingly.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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