Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
When it comes to designing your house, the color of your roof shingles is usually not on top of your priority list. Roofs are generally perceived as more of a functional component of a home. However, the color of the roof can not only affect visual appeal but can also play a role in energy performance.
Are dark-colored roof shingles a bad idea? It depends. Aesthetically, dark shingles look great when coupled with an attractive color scheme. But if you live in a climate that is typically hot with no winter, dark shingles may not be the best option due to heat absorption.
Heat absorption may not seem like a problem in the long run, but it is a factor that will serve to drive up your utility bills over time and cause you to spend more of your hard-earned money. In the age of energy-saving developments, even the color you choose for your roof is going to play a part. The more heat that is drawn into your home in hotter climates, the higher your air conditioning setting will need to be, thus leading to a higher electric bill.
Great Climates for Dark Shingles
Living in an area with an equal amount of cold and hot temperatures usually provides a good case for choosing dark shingles. When you have just as many cold days as you do hot, it will inevitably balance out the issue of driving up energy costs. It’s somewhat of a double-edged sword. In the summer, the dark shingles can serve to draw heat into the home, leading you to turn up your A/C.
On the other hand, in the winter, your utility costs will drop for the same reason. The darker colored shingles will still draw in heat, thus creating an environment where not as much gas will be needed to warm the home. Living in an area with more cold days than hot gives us a greater reason to choose dark shingles. In these cases, it can actually serve to drive the costs of utilities down because not as much energy will be needed to keep the home comfortable.
The good news is that dark shingles aren’t the only option that exists. There are plenty of different colors and materials that are utilized for roofing shingles. So, if you live in a state that is all heat all the time, choosing a lighter colored shingle for your roof may not be a bad idea. And it’s always a solid point to make that roofing material is something that will also play a part when it comes to shingle color affecting your home’s interior temperature.
As time moves forward and the business of roofing evolves, newer, more efficient ways to install a roof are coming in to play. Energy efficiency continuously becomes a hot topic, and it should! Energy efficiency means more money saved and more resources conserved. It is a winning situation for any homeowner. Next time your roof needs to be replaced, or if you happen to be starting from the ground up, always explore your options, so you know what is available to you, the homeowner.
Are Dark Roof Shingles Hotter?
To put it simply, yes. Darker colors (especially when the material is asphalt) are going to easily absorb heat when it is consistently exposed to the sun without any shield from it. In the summer months, this is one of the factors that drives up energy costs. When the dark shingles absorb heat, they push that heat down into your home, thus creating a necessity for a higher A/C setting. Aside from the fact that heat rises from the lower parts of your home, you’re also getting the heat that’s making its way into your home from outside due to the roof.
As mentioned, living in an area that is constant heat all-year-round will cause those dark shingles to constantly absorb heat. A lot of roofing contractors will recommend going with a lighter color and a material that is going to help reflect the heat away to be more energy efficient. One of the benefits of living in these areas is that there is a typical color scheme in a lot of cities that make a lighter roof more palatable to the eyes. Because, let’s face it, you want to save as much money as you can. That’s a given. But you want your house to look amazing, too.
If you live in a region with a typically cold climate, you’re in luck. Dark shingles are the way to go because they are hotter. Even if the temperature outside is cold, if the sun is shining, then those shingles are still going to absorb heat. And as we’ve gone over, that heat then makes its way inside your home. So, the necessity for higher gas usage will go down in the process.
Even in climates where temperatures are split, it provides more choices when it comes to the color and material of your roof. Since the issue of energy consumption is essentially split between seasons, any roof color or material can be chosen to satisfy your need for the best roof. There will be plenty of options to choose from, and you can pick the perfect new roof!
A lot of homeowners believe that snow is a factor when it comes to the roof that they choose for their homes. Since dark shingles absorb heat, there is a belief that they will help to melt the snow if there is a significant downfall. But this is not quite true. On a snowy day, there will be no sun to provide heat to the shingles for absorption. Therefore, when the snow accumulates on the roof, the shingles aren’t going to be heated.
When snow accumulates on a roof during a downfall, those shingles aren’t going to be heated as many people would like to think. And the reality is counterintuitive to the notion that shingles are going to help melt the snow. The issue is that once the snow has accumulated atop one’s roof, then the snow will also shield the roof if the sun decides to come out afterward. The snow will actually serve to reflect the heat away, thus keeping the sun’s heat from even getting to the shingles.
The logic seems sound on the surface, but when we do some digging to really find out the facts about snow melting on a roof, we simply find that the shingles do not play a part. The snow will have to rely on just the good old sun itself, and above freezing temps to melt.
In conclusion, there are a number of options out there when it comes to installing your next roof. The biggest factor will be where you reside and everyday climates when it comes to the color of your roof. Roofing materials again will also play a role, so be sure to find a reputable contractor with plenty of positive reviews.
Beautiful aesthetics and energy-saving materials are possible in roofing. It’s just a matter of doing some digging, talking to a reputable roofer, and having a good idea of what you would like for your next roof.
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