When considering the color of your roof shingles, you might only be thinking about how good they would look alongside your wall siding and the rest of the landscape. While roof shingle color does affect the aesthetics of a property, it also has an impact on the energy and temperature of your home, especially on the higher levels of your home.
The easiest way to tell the difference is to observe attic temperatures in homes with lighter or darker colored shingles. Attics can have temperatures that vary between 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the color of the roof. In most areas, having darker colored shingles makes the attic, and the rest of the home, warmer during days which are sunny and bright.
However, dark-colored shingles also lose heat faster than lighter colored shingles, especially during the evening. Hence, the color of a roof shingle does not necessarily mean that a home will be cooler or warmer – it also depends on the season.
How Roof Color Reflects or Absorbs Heat
Shingle roof color does affect room temperature. More specifically, it affects how your roof absorbs or releases heat. It is actually quite simple: lighter colors reflect heat while dark colors absorb heat. The same principle applies to the color of the shirt you wear. Wearing dark-colored clothes in the summer makes you feel hotter while wearing white or lighter colored apparel makes you feel cooler. When your roof has a dark or light roof, the amount of heat absorbed causes either a hotter or cooler internal room temperature from the attic and continues down to the rooms of each floor.
However, it isn’t just the color of the roof that has an effect on your home’s temperature. The type of roofing material you use can also affect how reflective your roof is. Asphalt shingles are less reflective than other roofing materials, such as metal or EPDM. Thus, you can expect a metal roof, although usually being lighter in color, will usually make a home warmer than a home with black roof shingles.
Light-Colored Roof Shingles
In warm climates, light roof shingles have a tendency to absorb less heat from the sun. This is great for homes in sunny areas where you would want to keep your home cooler. In these places, light-colored roof shingles are more energy efficient because you no longer need to keep the AC on to keep your home cool.
Dark-Colored Roof Shingles
In cooler areas, dark-colored roof shingles have the advantage of releasing heat faster which can be an advantage in cooler climates, especially in areas where snow piles up on roofs. Black shingles help the snow melt faster, preventing pooling and flooding of water on the roof.
One way to compromise between using either dark or light colored roof shingles, especially if you live in a place that experiences both extremes of the climate, is to use shingles that exhibit a blend of both. Using gray roof shingles is becoming a popular option in many areas.
Choosing the Color of Your Roof
Picking out the color of your roof is like making a long-term commitment. Getting a new roof can be costly so making sure that you make the right choice in terms of aesthetics and energy efficiency is important. One way to determine what the best options for your home are is to contact a roofer and get a professional opinion on what the common roofing shingles colors and types are being used in your area. Another way is to go and look around your neighborhood; you are likely to see a trend of roofing colors.
Which Is Better: Light Roofs or Dark Roofs?
While light roofs may seem like the best option for many homeowners, it may not always be the case. As discussed, choosing the right roof color depends entirely on where your home is and what you need. Since you can’t go and switch between light colored roof shingles in the summer to dark colored roof shingles in the winter, you’ll have to make a decision eventually.
You get different benefits from both roof colors. The best way to make your decision is to consider the factors surrounding your home. Getting a local roofer’s opinion can also help since you can get to know more on the benefits and disadvantages of a specific roof color in your area.