Home Life Make shingles black or white

Make shingles black or white

Is the roof on your house past its’ prime? Did it get damaged during the hail storms that blew through here a few months ago? If so, you might consider replacing your roof instead of just patching it again and again.

My advice: Buy the highest-quality roof you can afford. And then, turn your attention to color.

In fact, the question I get most often from readers who are thinking about replacing their roofs isn’t about quality. It’s about color.

Considering that your roof is one of the largest parts of your home’s exterior and it’s one of the first things people see when they walk past your house, that’s not a frivolous question.

The color and the texture of your high-quality roof are the two things you should pay the most attention to. And of the two, color can make the bigger difference in the way your roof looks.

Sure, a roof covered in metal or cedar shakes is gorgeous. It can also be expensive. In fact, the more textured the roofing product is, the heavier and more costly it is. So most homes in our area have shingles on the roof. I recommend “architectural” shingles because they are sturdier and have more texture than standard shingles. Plus, they last longer.

Once you’ve settled on a good-quality shingle, consider these guidelines for choosing a color:

  • Black is best. You can find shingles in almost any color: green, blue, gray, red. But black is a good “default” color. It goes with almost any color of siding, shingles and porch. It doesn’t steal the attention away from the rest of your home’s exterior, but it definitely creates a bold appearance for the building. After black, the most popular shingle colors around here are brown, gray and brownish-gray.
  • Shutters should coordinate. Just as a black roof makes a “statement”, so do dark-colored shutters. They frame your home’s windows and create a focal point. The “default” color for shutters around here is a dark, forest green. However, there are plenty more color selections to choose from.
  • Think about resale. Don’t go crazy with your roof and shutter colors. It might be fun to spice up the look of your house with fire-engine red shutters and shingles, but you might deter potential buyers who would rather have something more subtle on top of the house. Darker, more muted shingles will make it easier to sell.

Now that I’ve sold you on the aesthetic value of a dark-colored roof, I have to mention that dark colors are not as energy efficient as light ones.

White, in fact, is the most energy-efficient choice in roofing, and black might be among the least.

But a white roof is hard to keep clean and attractive. We get so much rain that any roof is bound to grow a little bit of mold and mildew. Even if your roof looks great the day you install it, streaks and stains will become obvious.

The good news is that shingle manufacturers have introduced products embedded with reflective granules in a variety of light and mixed colors, not just in white.

“Cool” roof shingles reflect solar energy so less heat gets into your home through the roof. The less heat that gets into your house, the less air conditioning you need to keep your home cool. A “cool” roof could reduce your air conditioning use by as much as 15 percent on the hottest days.

The solar-reflecting granules can also extend the life of your roof because they keep the shingles themselves from getting so hot.

Last but not least, before you replace your roof, find out if the shingle you’ve chosen is Energy Star rated.


Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build, an Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner, in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.Jeb.net.

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