Questions About Bitumen Based Paints

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Smart looking barn painted in a dark grey with a semi gloss finish achieved with carbolustre 2000 barn paint

Questions About Bitumen Based Paints

Questions about bitumen based paints? We hope we’ve answered them for you in this short blog! Natural bitumen has been used, tried and tested for thousands of years and is known for its waterproofing and adhesive qualities. Natural bitumen is found in deposits such as oil sands and pitch lakes, while refined bitumen is obtained as a residue from the  distillation of crude oil. Bitumen paints and coatings are popular in many industries and leisure sectors.

Naturally occurring oil seep in California USA

What is bitumen paint used for?

Bitumen paint is suited to many different applications because of its weatherproofing, corrosion resistance and adhesive properties. It is primarily used as a protective coating for buildings, structures and items constructed from iron, steel, concrete, masonry and wood.  It is generally seen as an economical option and can be used both above and below water or ground.

Where can you use bitumen paint?

Smart looking barn painted in a dark grey with a semi gloss finish achieved with carbolustre 2000 barn paint

Bitumen based barn paint

You’ll find bitumen paints used in all sorts of situations. A versatile paint, it can be used on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals as well as concrete, wood and masonry. It’s frequently used on metal guttering, fire escapes, stairways, ladders, railings and fences. In the marine sector, bitumen paints are commonly used on boat hulls. Most people associate bitumen with roofing and it is of course commonly used as a weatherproof overcoating for flat roofs, felt roofing and industrial roofing. It is ideal for this purpose as it dries fast. A great advantage here in the UK where it fluctuates from warm to wet so quickly! Bitumen is also used in roofing compound for quick repairs, in mastic for sealing and for glueing roofing felt.

Bitumen is still sometimes used for damp proofing below-ground brickwork and concrete foundations. As it is contaminant-resistant and has no odour, the coating is also suitable for water tanks and similar applications.

How long does it take to dry? What does it look like?

Palatine’s Black Bitumen paint being applied

Most bitumen paints are dry in two to four hours. When dry, bitumen paint creates a thin black film which has the advantage of being odour free.

How long will bitumen paint last?

Bitumen paint is usually long lasting. If applied to a porous surface like masonry it will last longer than when applied to less porous surfaces, especially those subject to long hours of extremely hot sun.  Narrow boat owners tend to do their re-coating every three to four years.


Are there any disadvantages to bitumen paint?

  • For some applications, it is not the most attractive option
  • It is also generally only available in black. We offer bitumen paint in green and our bitumen based barn paint comes in several shades but they are on the darker side
  • Bitumen paint can be difficult to apply in very cold conditions
  • You are limited to what you can overcoat with it as it will bleed through certain top coats
  • While it’s generally reasonably heat and UV stable, its lifespan may be reduced in extremely hot and sunny countries.

What are the advantages of bitumen paint?

  • Usually cheaper than many other coatings offering similar weather proofing performance, it’s an economical option
  • Suited to application on multiple surface types from iron, steel, concrete through to masonry and wood
  • Anti-corrosive
  • Weatherproof
  • Odour free
  • Quick drying
  • Good adhesive properties
  • Durable

Application tips for bitumen paint

Prepare the surface well by removing dust, oil, grease, old coatings and surface contaminants.  For maximum protection of metal, prime bare surfaces with  Zinc Rich Primer or Metal Primer. Use Fast Dry etching primer for non-ferrous metals. Best results are obtained in warm (minimum 10°C), dry conditions and we recommend application of 2 coats. Use Conventional or HVLP spray, brush or roller.

What precautions to take when applying bitumen paint?

Protect skin and eyes and apply in well ventilated areas outdoors, do not inhale. Do not apply near open flames, sparks, heat or hot surfaces. sources. Dispose of any waste responsibly as it is toxic to wildlife. Do not swallow.

Our bitumen paint products

 Here are details of some of our bitumen based paints. As always, we’re available to answer any questions you have via our contact page or the online chat facility.

Carboblack is our black bitumen paint which has great weatherproofing properties. This solvent based bitumen paint dries to form a weatherproof film. It widely used in the industrial, agricultural and marine sectors. Some examples of Carboblack Bitumen Paint in use are: boat hulls; structural steel; concrete roofing, pipelines and asphalt surfaces.

Man on roof applying silver coloure bitumen aluminium paint with a roller

Solar reflective bitumen aluminium

Carbolustre 2000 Barn Paint is our flexible, weatherproof paint for sheds, barns, outdoor wood and metal. Our barn paint is a mix of high blend bitumen and alkyd resin waterproofing – not only attractive, but with great protective qualities. It can be applied directly but will perform best when coated over selected Palatine primers and undercoats. Choose from 5 subtle shades grey, olive, brown, green and black.

Carbosil Bitumen Aluminium is for over-coating bitumen based surfaces. It helps protect surfaces from heat/UV light damage, with a decorative coating and will enhance the lifespan of bitumen-type roofing materials. The flexible, heat resistant and solar reflective surface has outstanding weather resistance and durability. Ideal for use on roof structures, storage tanks, silos, mobile homes and caravan roofs. Reflects heat in the summer and insulates in the winter.

We also supply roofing mastic, roofing compound and felt adhesive.

You may find more questions relating to bitumen in our Paint Related Q and A

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Comments (9)

  • Susan Pavlou Reply

    I have put bitumen spray paint on my concrete balcony floor its been 24 hours and it’s still sticky what can I do is their a paint I could put on top any suggestions thank you

    26th May 2020 at 2:12 pm
  • David Dowding Reply

    I want to paint the inside of a water tank using either an airless sprayer or pressure pot.
    Can you advise how much I should thin the paint with white spirit.

    Also does it need sandblasting or can I just wire brush the loose paint and small rust patches.

    16th May 2020 at 11:50 am
  • Jim Blaney Reply

    Hi I am thinking about painting my concrete garage roof with bitumen as a sealant,but also paint my inside single skin brick walls which can be very damp in winter can you advise would this be beneficial.regards Jim.

    12th May 2020 at 7:36 pm
  • Lee Reply

    Hi there. Can bitumen be used to coat the inside of a vegetable planter? I. E is it safe? The planter will have a membrane liner but these are usually slightly porous.
    Thank you

    2nd May 2020 at 2:58 pm
  • tom Reply

    hi would it be possible to email me some pictures off this showing the green colour, im thinking off painting the roof off my wooden gazebo which has a feather edge roof and leaks very slighty so hoping this would fill the small cracks and seal it

    14th April 2020 at 10:04 am
  • Phil Wilson Reply

    Hi, I was thinking of giving two coats to the inside of some new timber planters I am making. Do you know if this would be ok and not effect any vegetables I intend to grow in the planters?
    Many thanks

    3rd April 2020 at 11:18 pm
  • Michael Merrett Reply

    I have a tin of bitumen paint but its gone hard can I get it useable again

    25th March 2020 at 9:49 pm
  • Andrew Barugh Reply

    I’m hoping for some advice regarding the additional protection of galvanized steel below ground level.
    We have a small canopy to a building that has two 200x200x6.3thk SHS steel columns bolted to concrete foundations circa 500mm below ground level.
    We have been asked to verify that the columns will have a design life of 60 years.
    The steel will be hot dip galvanized (120 micron) and coated with epoxy paint. However, we intend providing an additional two coats of bitumen paint taken up to 50mm above ground level (tarmac path).
    Have you any information that would help verify the design life of the steel? The backfill material is sub base type 1 recycled material but we have no chemical testing to hand. How long will the bitumen paint protect the painted steelwork?
    Any assistance would be much appreciated.
    Many Thanks

    14th January 2020 at 6:13 pm
    • jason Reply

      Hi Andrew
      We don’t have any exact figures on this except to say that a bitumen coating would increase the overall lifespan.
      We would recommend the coating be extended 100mm above the surface to further assist.

      15th January 2020 at 4:22 pm

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