How to Pick the Best Roof Color for Your Home

While extremely dark or light shades of shingles have shown to have an affect on roof temperature, other gray and brown shades have a lesser impact and may be a good choice for your roof, Mallory says. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Mark B. of St. Louis)

While extremely dark or light shades of shingles have shown to have an affect on roof temperature, other gray and brown shades have a lesser impact and may be a good choice for your roof, Mallory says. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Mark B. of St. Louis)

Picking a roof color is not always easy. Whether metal, slate or asphalt shingles, there are a lot of choices. And for each color choice available, there's a multitude of shades and color combinations. Remember, you have to live your roof the next 20 to 30 years, so choose wisely!

Here are some good things to consider when choosing the color of your roof: 

Dark vs. light roof colors

I have had many people ask me about dark colors versus light colors when it comes to roof heat retention. One study concluded that the plywood sheathing under black shingles was 10 degrees warmer than an identical white shingled roof on a sunny day. However, there is found to be less difference between other shades of roofs (grays and browns). My advice is to choose the roof color you like. You are going to have to live with it for a long time. 

Pick based on your brick 

shingles with multiple roof colors
This homeowner says he picked a roof shingle color that coordinated with his brick and siding. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Brad K. of Chisago City, Minnesota)

When choosing a roofing color, remember that paint and shutter colors can always be changed, but bricks are permanent. Start by comparing sample colors to the brick, then move to the siding or paint colors.

Compare exterior paint colors

If you are planning to make a change to the outside color of your home, compare the new paint color to the shingle or roofing samples. Go to the local hardware store, buy a 2-by-6 foot board and paint it the new color. Put the board next to the roof materials you're considering and next to the permanent colors on your home.

Complementary choices add dimension

Some of the worst roof color mistakes I’ve seen are when a homeowner chooses a hue that almost perfectly matches the siding or brick. It winds up being a monotone, boring, almost lifeless color scheme. Always try to complement your colors instead of matching them exactly.

Tone down your exterior

Rule of thumb: if the rest of your home is busy (multi-color brick or stone facades, multiple paint colors), you will want to choose a toned-down shingle color. Too many patterns and colors overwhelm the eyes. However, if your home has a monotone feel to it, a vivid color can add tremendous curb appeal.

multi-colored slate roofing materials
Slate roofing comes in a variety of colors, adding depth and texture to a home's overall look. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Nina S. of Cleveland, Ohio)

Look at roof samples in all lighting

When using samples to match or complement your home's exterior colors, look at the sample both in the sun and in the shade. Put the roofing sample in a sunny place where the brick colors meet the paint and siding colors, then wait and check the same sample area when it's shaded. Make sure the colors work well together in all lighting.

Consider resale value

A bold, bright roof color may be great for your taste, but it's not everybody’s cup of tea. If you are thinking about selling your home in the near future, go with a more neutral roofing material to protect your reseale value. I have seen homes where the buyers love the inside of a home but are turned off by the roof.

I think green shingles are a great look on the right home, but if it does not appeal to the majority of your buyers, you may have a harder time selling your home. However, if you're planning on staying put, a bold, rich color on a roof can really add character and charm to your home.

 RELATED: 6 Questions to Ask Roofing Companies When Hiring

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on June 24, 2013.


About this Experts Contributor: Tim Mallory has been in the roofing business for over 25 years and is the owner of Advantage Roofing located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company specializes in providing Cincinnati-area homeowners roofing replacement and repairs and earned the 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award.

As of Sept. 26, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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On thing to takeinto account is that if homeowners started replacing their shingles with the lightest color available, it would decrease energy consumption in the house and also decrease the heat sink effect of their town - if enough of us do it, it could slow heating of the atmosphere. We have a responsibility to our big home, the earth.

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