You may know bitumen from its other name, asphalt.
This is a sticky, highly viscous liquid that is best described as a syrupy form of petroleum.
Bitumen comes from the residue created by the distillation of petroleum and is most often used for roofing and surfacing roads.
It’s inexpensive, durable, and flexible thanks to its semi-solid nature.
It can also stop rust from forming which is another positive attribute when used on metal surfaces.
Because of its many attributes which include resistance to ultraviolet or UV light, harsh chemicals, and water which makes it an excellent waterproofing material, bitumen is also used as a practical, low-cost paint that can be used to protect a wide variety of surfaces.
So, if you ask – what is bitumen paint?
Simply put it’s a product made of bitumen or coal tar dissolved in mineral spirit or naphtha.
What is Bitumen Paint Used For?
In basic terms, bitumen paint (also called bituminous paint or bituminous coating) is used to cover surfaces to make them waterproof, weatherproof, and resist corrosion.
Because it has strong adhesive properties, it can be used as a protective coating on different materials such as iron, wood, steel, concrete, and masonry.
Although widely used, bitumen paint is mostly associated with roofing, particularly flat roofs.
It can also be used for industrial roofing and felt roofs as well.
In addition to covering the roof as a primary paint, it can also be used to patch or seal cracks to make a fast repair.
While roofing is its most known use, bitumen paint is also used below ground for waterproofing foundations.
It works quite well in this regard because it resists contaminants and does not produce a noticeable odor once it dries.
It is even found for use in water tanks, although not the type of tanks that are used for drinking purposes.
3- Wood and boards
In addition, bitumen paint can be used on wood to seal up the porous surface.
It also can be used for the same purpose on engineered, OSB, and sterling boards as well to provide a layer of strong protection.
For those who want to add a waterproof layer to wooden plyboards, bitumen paint is an excellent choice.
However, it cannot stop a leak that is coming from a hole in the surface.
While it cannot plug up a hole, bitumen paint can help seal cracks in the surface when used with other products such as a roofing compound.
4- Places that are humid
Because it dries quickly, it is quite popular in places that are humid or experience frequent rain such as the UK or in more tropical conditions.
It should be noted that if you are going to paint over existing bitumen paint, then it is advisable to stick to a bitumen product.
This is because the underlying bitumen may bleed through and be seen when covered by another type of paint.
Pros and Cons of Bituminous Paint
There are considerable advantages to using bitumen paint.
It is quite versatile which puts it at the top of the list, especially if you need waterproofing for your roof or other outdoor surfaces.
But there are other advantages as well…
- Inexpensive: Bitumen paint is cheap and widely available
- Versatile: Can be used on several different surfaces
- Weatherproofing: It resists water and corrosion
- Fast Drying: Can apply multiple coats quickly
- Durable: Its strong adhesive properties make it quite durable
Plus, it does not generate an odor once it fully dries, which means that it can be used indoors if you desire.
However, despite its versatility, durability, and many attributes, it may not be the right paint for the job because of the following.
- Limitations: It’s not the best-suited paint for some options, such as indoor walls
- Color Choices: If you like black paint, then you have no problem. Otherwise, your color choices are quite limited
- Heat & Temperature: Under certain hot, humid conditions, bitumen paint can fade faster compared to other types of paint
- Bleed: It is recommended that you remove bitumen paint if you are going to paint over the surface with another type of paint. Otherwise, the bitumen paint may bleed through.
If the conditions are quite cold, you may have difficulty applying bitumen paint as well, although that is true with most paints.
How to Apply Black Bituminous Paint?
Before you start painting, be sure to protect your skin and eyes.
Plus, ventilate the area if indoors.
Lookout for any hot surfaces, flames, or sparks that may be present.
Step 1- Clean the Surface
The better you prepare the surface, the easier it will be to apply the bitumen paint.
You should start by cleaning the surface from all debris, grease, rust, and the like.
Be sure the surface is fully cleaned and dried before you apply the first coat.
To apply bitumen paint to metal surfaces, use a wire brush to remove any rust first.
You can also use other methods such as shot blasting or using a mechanical device, but the surface must be free of rust.
Step 2- Apply Thinner
For surfaces that have been galvanized, rough it up with an etch primer or wire brush so the paint will stick.
Then, before applying the bitumen paint, cover with an anti-corrosive primer first for maximum protection.
Once your surface is ready, apply the paint within the next few hours for maximum results.
Step 3- Apply the Paint
If the surface you are applying the paint is porous in nature, thin the bitumen paint by 20% or so which will help it penetrate and protect the top of the material.
You can use different methods to apply the paint which includes conventional, airless, or hot spray. Or you can use a brush.
Whichever method you use, you should add a top coat of more bitumen paint 24 hours have passed.
You can expect the bitumen paint to dry within four hours or less under most conditions.
Once dry, add a second coat for maximum effect and check the results.
You can expect the paint to last for several years under ideal conditions.
However, as a roofing paint, it may dry out within 2 to 3 years and need touching up to prevent cracking.
A protective coat of solar reflective bitumen aluminum paint is also sometimes recommended for extra durability.
Bituminous paint is a type of paint that is most often used for building surfaces made from common materials.
Because it dries fast and is resistant to water, alcohol, diluted acids, and salt solutions, it is often used for outdoor paint.
Also, because it is inexpensive and widely available, it is considered an economical option.
Despite all its advantages, there are things you should look out for before purchasing bitumen paint.
So, before you pick this as your paint, go through the advantages and disadvantages to know if it’s really a product you need.
Douglas Becker (aka Painter Doug) has over twenty years of experience as a painter in Adkins, Texas. At present, he resides in Florida with his family.
From painting multi-storeyed houses, condos, and apartments to large commercial buildings and small offices, he had served various customers in areas not only in Adkins but also in Southwest Florida, Sarasota, Naples, and many more. To know more about him check here.