What's the Best Color for Asphalt Shingles?

Asphalt shingles, whether three-tab or architectual, come in a variety of colors. They range from black to white and include many shades of greys, tans, and browns. There are even a few reds and greens.

So which one is best? The best answer is: it depends.

A Roof for All Seasons

Various studies have shown that roof color can have a dramatic effect on plywood temperature, attic temperature, heating and cooling bills, and a zillion other things.

The bad part about that is, many of those some studies contradict each other.

In general, lighter colors reflect heat and darker colors absorb heat. Lighter is good in the summer to help keep cooling bills down, while darker is good in the winter to keep heating bills down.

Unfortunately though you can't change your roof with the seasons, so another way to look at it would be to consider the other side of the calendar.

A light roof in the winter won't help melt ice and snow, nor heat your attic. While a dark roof will bake in the summer and keep your cooling bill sky high.

So it comes down to the lesser of two evils. Well, not really. It depends on where you live.

For instance, if you live in Florida, you might not care about a light roof in the winter. Or, if you live in Alaska, you might not care about a dark roof in the summer.

What About the Rest of the House

Another thing to consider is the rest of the house. Unless you're trying to make a statement, stick to complementary colors.

Try not to match the rest of the house exactly though. That gives it a depressing monotone feel.

In general: lighter shingles can help make a house look larger and brighten up an otherwise monotone house; and, darker shingles can help hide the angles of a steeper roof and help tone down an othewise busy house.

And finally, you can't paint brick. Well, you can, but it's probably not a very good idea. For everything else though, the colors of siding, shutters, and trim can all be changed.

Things You Probably Didn't Think About

Member of a Home Owners Association? Better check with them first. They might already have your new color scheme picked out.

What about your neighbors? Of course you don't want your house to look exactly like theirs, but you also don't want yours to stand out either. Just step back and picture the neighborhood as a whole before doing anything.

Whichever way you go, just remember you'll be looking at your decision for a hopefully long time.