Consider the climate and energy saving possibilities. One study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Research Paper FPL–RP–543) found that the plywood decking of black roofs were 10°-15° warmer on sunny days than white roofs. In darkness, the roof temperature was the same. Typically, other colors show little to no difference in temperature. A more significant factor, however, in roof temperature is proper ventilation.
Coordinate with the existing color of the home’s exterior. While other exteriors and features can be changes, brick is permanent. Roof color should work with the brick color first then consider the other features. Don’t try to match the roof to the exterior exactly. This will result in a boring, monotone look. It is nearly impossible to match the colors exactly and one or the other may fade with time. Go with colors that complement each other. Gray or black shingle colors work well with gray and blue homes. Homes that are shades of brown look best with brown, tan or a mix of the two. If the home is white a gray or black roof gives it a traditional look. Other colors can be more flexible and leave more options for personal taste. If the existing or new exterior is varied in colors and shades, a less varied roof will prevent the overall look of the home from being too “busy”. If the home exterior is plain, a multi-dimensional color adds interest. Dark colors also tend to make the house look small where light colors make the house look larger or taller.
Get real life shingle samples and compare them at the actual home. Look at them in different lighting, time of day, shade, and weather as these can change the tone of the shingle color.
Don’t just consider colors. Complement the architecture of the home. Be sure to match the shingle style with the architectural style of the house. There are many different shingle styles available, simple 3-tab traditional, architectural or dimensional styles and luxury styles. Some of these premium shingles mimic the look of other roofing materials such as slate or clay.
Will the home be on the market in the near future? Neutral colors such as tans, browns, black, or gray tend to appeal to more potential buyers. Choose colors that complement the neighborhood and neighbors houses. Don’t match so they all look the same unless that is the norm for the neighborhood. If there is a Homeowners Association, check with them to see if there are any restrictions or guidelines. A new roof may increase the value of your home.
Other options to consider are special materials created for specific needs such as algae or impact resistant. If the home’s location makes it more apt to have algae grow on the roof or is in an area that tends to get severe weather and hail, these types of roofing may be a valuable option.
Take a drive and look at other homes in the neighborhood to see what is appealing. Browse magazines and pictures for ideas. Ask the contractor’s advice. They have done hundreds of roofs and have experience to know what looked nice and what did not. Most roofing manufacturers have software and tools on their website that allow the homeowner to virtually try different options on their homes.
Taking time and consideration to make a choice on the best roofing style and color is worth the effort. Try the Owens Corning Design tool and virtually try out different shingle colors on your home.
Craig Gouker Roofing has been installing quality residential roofing in South East Pittsburgh since 1991 and is the expert in shingle roof replacement.
For more tips on roof replacement, check out our Roof Replacement Buyers' Guide on our Resources Page.