dark or light roof

Is a Dark or Light Roof Better?

Choosing the right roof color for your home or commercial property can make a huge difference in how it functions inside and how it is perceived from the outside. Accounting for anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of a structure’s exterior, your roof is a significant investment, and the decision goes beyond color and aesthetics. Is a dark or light roof better?

Is a dark or light roof better

There are many factors to consider when choosing between a light or dark roof before finalizing a color. The process might seem complex at first, but we’ve provided you with a brief overview to help you make the best decision for the structure.

Ultimately, the best color for your roof is the color you most prefer, but we suggest sticking to neutral-colored shingles. A trendy color might make the building stand out, but how will you still love it in about 20-30 years? An off-beat color might also make it harder to resell your property down the road, which is why it’s best to stick to neutral tones. Shades of cream, tan, brown, gray, or black are considered safe colors that are sure to be in style for many years. 

Dark vs. Light

When choosing a roof color for your property, both light and dark-colored roofs have definite advantages in appearance and functionality.

Go Towards the Light

However, in recent years, we’ve seen more property owners opt for light-colored roofs due to their energy-saving properties.

Despite being mainly known for its ability to reflect sunlight and heat away from your home or business, there are other benefits to choosing a light-colored roof; this includes modernizing the property, prolonged service life, and a reduced cooling load.

Energy Efficiency

As mentioned earlier, light-colored roofs are known for energy-saving capabilities. Your roof significantly impacts the temperature inside the building, and a dark roof is more likely to conduct a warmer temperature on the structure below, increasing cooling efforts such as air conditioning. Additionally, dark shingles can absorb enough heat that the surface can become hotter than the temperature outside.

A darker roof might seem beneficial for structures in colder climates as dark shingles can help melt the snow and ice more efficiently. However, the reduced energy load in the winter doesn’t seem to be sizable.

White or light-colored roofs reflect heat rays from the sun, keeping the attic and rooms below it cool during warm weather. As a result, the building’s cooling load decreases, helping home and business owners stay comfortable and save money on their energy bills. 

Light-colored roofs are sometimes referred to as ‘cool roofs’ because they provide a reflective barrier, reducing the impact solar heat has on the building, which can help keep the temperature low on the inside and outside. Cool roofing methods can make a difference of 20-40 degrees, which can result in a significant reduction in your property’s cooling costs. 

is a light colored roof better

Urban Heat Island Effect

Light-colored roofs can also lower the urban heat island effect, which causes metropolitan areas dense with concrete, buildings, and people to have a hotter temperature than the areas surrounding them. This effect is known for increasing air pollution levels and heat-related illnesses such as heat strokes. The urban heat island effect can also lead to strained energy resources due to the high cooling energy demand, further contributing to global warming.

Service Life

Heat plays a major role in the service life of your new roof. Dark-colored roofs are more prone to damage due to the high level of UV rays absorbed by the shingles; this can cause materials to crack, melt, blister, and fade. 

A new roof can be very costly. Therefore it’s important to prolong the service life of your roof as much as possible. 

Appearance

When it comes to choosing between dark and light roofs, the first thing you should consider is what would go best with the color of your home or business. The colors of the bricks, sliders, stuccos, or trims of the structure should complement whichever color you choose. 

Take a look at the building’s architectural style and decide how your roof shingles can be coordinated with the exterior and the surrounding structures. Dark color roofs such as black and charcoal can execute more of a classic and traditional look. However, it can also make your property look smaller. In contrast, light-colored roofs can make a structure look more extensive and more modern. 

dark vs light colored roof

Choosing the right color that compliments the structure itself can make a huge difference in your property’s curb appeal.

Here are some classic color combinations:

Roof Color Exterior Color
Light Grey White, Grey
Tan White, Dark Red, Dark Green
White Gray, White, Tan
Black Dark Red, Gray, Tan
Brown Dark Red, Brown, Tan

 

Neighborhood Rules & Roofing Codes

Before finalizing a color for your roof, it’s essential to browse through the rules in place for your neighborhood and subdivision; this ensures that you don’t violate any regulations before you start the installation, as some bylaws might even require you to obtain a permit before construction. Also, be sure to be considerate to your neighbors as you want to make sure your new roof doesn’t clash with any surrounding properties. 

Additional Factors

Property owners should keep in mind that factors other than color contribute to the building’s conduct and appearance. The type of roof materials used can also play a significant role; Asphalt shingles tend to absorb more heat and have a shorter lifespan, while clay and concrete tiles are more energy-efficient and tend to last longer. Additionally, quality of installation, proper ventilation, and regular inspection will naturally affect your roof’s longevity and energy-saving functions. 

In the end, choosing the right roof color and material for your property can improve the appearance of your space, help you reduce utility costs, and help contribute to more significant energy-saving efforts. Request a free estimate from our team of experts, and let B&M Roofing make your roofing process easy and efficient.