How to Pick Shingle Colors for Your Roof
When it comes time to put a new roof on your home, there is a lot to consider. You may be tied up with your insurance company trying to figure out what they cover and what you can afford. Finding a roofing company can also be stress-inducing, especially if your insurance company is butting in. Some fly-by-night roofers offer cut-rate pricing, but is it worth it? Reputable companies are a safer alternative, and can often work with your insurance company to save you money. But when all is said and done, you will be left with a roof you have to look at every day. The shingle color you pick will be there long after the insurance company and your roofer are distant memories. So it’s important to think about how to pick shingle colors for your roof that you will be happy with for years to come.
Your Roof as Exterior Design
Did you know that your roof can cover up to 40% of your home’s visible exterior? Depending on the pitch of your roof, you may be showing off those shingles more than you thought. Even on a standard pitched roof, the shingles you pick will have a lasting impact on the look of your home. But unlike the rest of your exterior, a roof is hard to change once it has been installed. You can always paint your home. Your exterior trim can be painted pretty easily for a new look. But the color of your roof is there to stay, so don’t rush through the color selection process.
Consider the exterior of your home just as carefully as you would consider the interior. Think of it as “exterior design”. Take your whole house, as well as its setting, into consideration. Your home’s exterior includes not just the colors on the house and on the roof. It also includes your landscaping, surrounding trees or other large features, and your neighbors. Consider what it looks like to stand on the street in front of your house.
Don’t forget about your backyard, either. With the mild weather we often enjoy in Atlanta, our backyards are in use much of the year. Your roof makes up as much as 40% of what you see from your backyard just like it does form the street. Many homeowners spend many hours tending to their gardens, accenting their landscapes, and otherwise adorning their backyards. So don’t forget to include your roof as part of your design. After all, it’s a lot harder to adjust your roof than almost any aspect of your backyard.
Think About Your Geography
Where you live can have a larger effect than you might imagine on roof color choices. For instance, the same color that looks great on a desert home might look out of place in the Northeast. A lot has to do with the surrounding environment. But did you know that sunlight is actually slightly different in different geographic locations?
The color of sunlight is affected by the amount of atmosphere it has to go through. That’s why the sun looks deep orange at sunrise and sunset when you are looking at it through the most atmosphere, and bluer at midday when the sun is directly overhead. Altitude also makes a difference, as do the seasons. The amount of humidity in the air can have a significant effect on sunlight. The surrounding landscape also has a considerable impact on how light is reflected and contrasted against your roof.
All this is to say that you can’t just look at a catalog and pick a color. Colors will look different in different locations, so it’s crucial to get real samples and look at them against your home. You would never paint a wall in your home without first bringing home some swatches. So why would you do that with your roof? The short answer is don’t do it. Get your hands on real samples and check them out at home. You can even sample them at different times of day to get an idea of how the changing light will affect their appearance.
Your Roof Color Can Affect Energy Use
There are lots of factors that affect how energy efficient your home is. We all know that insulation is a large part of how well your home stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Ventilation in your attic can also have some effect. But the color of your roof can also play a role than many homeowners don’t think about.
We all know that dark colors absorb more sunlight and more heat than light colors. That’s why a black car gets so much hotter in the sun than a white car. The same thing happens with your roof. A dark roof can get up to 50 degrees hotter than a light-colored roof in the same weather. If you live somewhere where staying warm is important, a dark color might help keep things cozy. However, if your roof is routinely covered in snow, the white color will reflect the sun and the dark color beneath will have no effect. But here in the South where we mostly want to stay cool, a light colored roof can help you keep the cooling bills under control.
If you want a darker roof for reasons of style, don’t despair. You can still get a highly reflective dark roof. Ask your roofer about dark colored shingles that include special granules designed to reflect sunlight and heat. It is possible to have that bold, dark look while staying cool.
Think About the Style of Your Home
Asphalt shingle has gone through something of a renaissance. With the introduction of architectural shingles, asphalt shingles have moved beyond the flat, regularly-shaped roofing that dominated the twentieth century. Architectural shingles are layered to create a three-dimensional look. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes for a more natural look. Architectural shingles can mimic the look of shake, slate, and many other non-asphalt roofing materials. That means that whatever the style of your home, asphalt shingle can create the perfect look.
If you have a historic home or one that is made to look historic, consider a slate-style roof. Architectural shingle that comes in a variety of shapes and shades of gray is a much more affordable alternative to slate. While it won’t last as long, it can be a great way to get a traditional look at a reasonable price point.
Similarly, if your home is a classic southern style, you may want the look of traditional wood shake. Architectural asphalt shingles are up to the challenge. In fact, even if you don’t want to pay for architectural shingle, simply choosing the right colors can give an appropriately woody look to your roof.
Look at Your Neighbors
There’s no rule that says you have to pick the same roof as your neighbors. But it is worthwhile to look up and down your block for a little inspiration. If nothing else, your neighbor’s roofs are situated in the same environment as your own with similar weathering and often similar styles of homes. Take a look to see what works and, if your neighbors chose poorly, what doesn’t work.
Also, consider how your home will fit in with its surroundings. Are all of the houses on the block a similar style with a similar roof? Before you choose your own, consider how much you want your house to stick out or blend in. If you live in an area with a homeowners association, there is a good chance that you are limited in your roofing options. Be sure to check with local guidelines before you make your final choice.
Your Roofers Can Help
Roofers are primarily construction contractors, not designers. But we’ve seen lots of roofs and we know our roofing materials. Feel free to ask us lots of questions. If you’re thinking about your new roof, contact Eagle Watch Roofing and we’ll be happy to start the process. We can help you with samples and information to make your decision an easier one. And when it comes time to install the roof of your dreams, we’re here to make it as smooth and easy as possible.