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Choosing a Roof Shingle Color

Choosing a Roof Shingle Color

The color of the shingles on your roof may not be top-of-mind most of the time.  But, rest assured…if you ever build a new home or have to put a new roof on your current home, shingles will become a big issue in your world!  Read on for a few tips on how to select the best color for your home…

Shingles come in many different styles and qualities.  They are rated according to how long you can expect them to last.  For example, a really good asphalt shingle is a “40-year” shingle.  You will also find versions that can be expected to last 20 or 30 years.  Choose your shingle according to your budget, and buy the best you can afford.

shingle shapes

Photo courtesy GAF

Next, you need to consider the style of shingle you prefer.  While most folks see a standard “tabbed” shingle style, you can also find shingles with a scalloped or octagonal shape or an “architectural” look that has a three-dimensional quality to them.  Architectural or standard tabbed shingles work on homes of nearly any style.  More specialized styles like scallops are best on specific home styles including Victorian homes.

Once you’ve selected the quality and shape of your shingles, the only remaining selection is the color.  How to choose?  Typically, you will find at least 8 colors available in your chosen style; sometimes, you will have more than a dozen colors from which to choose.

shingle color

In most cases, the roof should blend into the exterior design of the home.  While it is a major design element on the home’s exterior, we don’t want the roof color to distract from the rest of the design.  In general, darker roof colors blend away and become less noticeable than their lighter counterparts.  However, consider the other colors on your home’s exterior before choosing a shingle color; going with basic black isn’t always the best choice!

If your home is awash in rich, warm, neutral hues of browns or taupes, choosing a dark brown shingle may be your best bet.  It is dark, but warm…unlike a black shingle that can sometimes take on a gray or bluish hue.  Dark brown shingles are also softer than black, which can be a bit harsh against many house colors.

If you have a gray home, consider a charcoal or dark gray shingle.  Black could also work, depending on the style of your home.  Farmhouses and modern homes can often pull off a black shingle that may be too harsh on other home styles.

If you live in a very hot climate, you may want to choose a lighter shingle color such as a light gray or cedar hue, to cut down on the heat absorbed into your home during the hottest part of the day.  Again, choose a color that will blend with the other colors on your home; warm colors with warm shingles and cool colors with cool shingles.

Think, too, about the other homes in your area and your home’s setting.  A wooded setting may call for darker shingles that will blend into the woods, while a city lot may call for a lighter hue to blend with nearby buildings and homes.

colorful home exterior

Colored shingles, such as a deep forest green or brick red, often look best on very neutral homes.  They can be a stunning addition to a log home or cedar-sided home; the contrast with the natural wood is lovely.  Keep in mind, though, that choosing a colored shingle will definitely give you fewer options for changing the color of your home in near future.  After all, your shingles will likely last 30 years or so, while you may repaint your home several times within that lifespan!

Shingles may seem mundane, but the color you choose can have a huge impact on the overall look of your home.  Make your choice very carefully, taking into consideration your home’s colors and surroundings, and you will be much happier with the result.

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2 Responses to Choosing a Roof Shingle Color

  1. Texas Roofer says:

    Good blog! Making the right choice on a roof color is VERY important! They don’t make a substance that let’s you instantly change the color as you please, careful consideration needs to be made. Instead of choosing from a brochure, make your contractor bring sample boards which will give you a better idea as to what to pick.

    • Teri says:

      Absolutely! Seeing actual samples is so important – pictures are often quite different from the real thing. For many shingles, seeing a whole shingle is important, too, since the shading and color variations can make a small sample look different from the entire piece.

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