Should You Use Dark Shingles or Lighter Shingles for a Roof?

By Mark Soto 05-11-2023
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If you're thinking about replacing your old roof or installing a new one, one thing to consider is whether you should choose darker or lighter shingles. Appearance isn't the only factor this choice affects. Depending on your home and where you live, choosing darker or lighter options might also be more beneficial and efficient. Here's what you need to know about selecting between light and dark shingle colors for your roof.

Do Dark Shingles Make Homes Warmer?

Your location can play a significant role in choosing the right shingle for your home. The color of the shingles can impact your home's temperature, especially in the attic, as darker shingles absorb heat more easily.

If you live in a cold area, dark shingles can help your home's energy efficiency by helping keep the temperature higher during the colder months. On the other hand, if you live in a warmer area, light shingles can help the house stay cool and therefore potentially lower cooling costs.

While darker or lighter shingles can affect your home's energy efficiency, it's not the end of the world if you get dark shingles in warm weather areas or vice versa. More importantly, the right amount of insulation can have a greater impact. Plus, certain shingles like GAF Reflector Series, which come in both light and dark colors, can keep the roof cool regardless of their color.

Highly reflective shingles can reduce the level of heat in your attic and lower your energy bills. They give you the ability to choose the appearance you want for your roof without worrying about the impact on your home's temperature.

How Does House Color Affect Your Choice?

Your roof color affects how your home looks and the right choice can help your roof withstand the test of time despite changing trends. Your existing home color should influence your decision, depending on whether you want your roof color or your or wall color to stand out the most. At other times, it might look best if they are both a similar shade.

Typically, light-colored shingles draw more attention to the roof and visually distinguish it from other parts of the home. If you want your other parts of your home exterior to stand out more, it's best to go with a darker roof so it blends in and lets your home siding pop. For example, black roof shingles look great on white homes.

That said, it doesn't always work this way. For instance, sometimes if the roof and rest of your home's structure differ significantly in look, the overall effect can seem out of place. You may also prefer to match the colors, so if you have a home with a darker shade it might be best to use the same color pattern on the roof.

Do Either Darker or Lighter Shingles Last Longer?

Many mistakenly believe certain colors might make the roof last longer, but this is a common myth with no data behind it. It's difficult to create a test to show that one shade of shingles lasts longer than the other and many roofers find that this difference isn't significant. When it comes to a longer-lasting roof, ensuring you have proper attic ventilation is a much more critical factor. The right ventilation will keep cool air inside and let warm air out, which reduces moisture buildup that can cause roof deterioration.

What Shingle Color Makes Your Home Look Bigger?

Typically, lighter-colored shingles will make a home look bigger than it is. The material you choose can also affect its appearance, as a light-colored clay roof might look slightly different than a light-colored shingle roof.

While darker shingles might make your home look smaller, they can highlight certain features. If you add lighter-colored paint around the windows or porch, they'll stand out. A sleek color design that uses a dark-colored roof and light-colored features on your home can significantly enhance curb apparel.

Once you decide what color to use for the roof, ensure you use the best quality shingles for your home, regardless of which option you choose.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Soto is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has comprehensive knowledge of home improvement projects based on his previous work. Mark comes from a family of DIYers and has worked with landscapers, plumbers, painters and other contractors. He also writes about camping and his enthusiasm for the outdoors.
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If you're thinking about replacing your old roof or installing a new one, one thing to consider is whether you should choose darker or lighter shingles. Appearance isn't the only factor this choice affects. Depending on your home and where you live, choosing darker or lighter options might also be more beneficial and efficient. Here's what you need to know about selecting between light and dark shingle colors for your roof.
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