The roof accounts for as much as 25 to 40 percent of your home’s visible exterior and plays a key role in how your home is perceived from the street.
That’s why it is crucial to pick the right shingle color, especially if you want to enhance your home’s overall curb appeal and present it in the best possible light.
What to expect: This guide offers practical and proven tips for choosing the right asphalt shingle color to achieve that WOW effect in highlighting the beauty of your home.
The advice provided below will help your achieve visual harmony with respect to how well the roof color integrates with the rest of your home’s exterior and its surrounding environment. Let’s get started.
Coordinate with Siding and Shutters
Interior designers don’t randomly pick pretty colors for flooring, cabinets, countertops and walls without regard to the big picture.
All colors have to work together to achieve a whole that is visually coordinated and appealing.
The same is true for your home’s exterior. First, the roof color should be dissimilar enough to provide contrast.
A dark brown roof would be boring with wood siding stained dark. Brown shingles would work with beige siding, a mild contrast, or with white, a more distinct contrast.
Also, when the roof color picks up tones in window shutters, the front door or accent trim, it nicely ties together the exterior look.
The table below shows roof colors that integrate best with siding colors.
|House Siding Color:||Best Matching Roof Colors:|
|Red||Black, dark gray, dark brown, dark green|
|White||Brown, black, green, gray, blue, red|
|Gray||Black, dark gray, dark blue, dark green, white|
|Beige/Tan||Brown, black, dark green, dark blue|
|Brown||Green, black, blue, charcoal and browns that are lighter or darker|
|Blue||Black, brown, gray, white|
Know When to Use Color Blends
Asphalt shingle lines are produced in solid colors and blends. For example, CertainTeed Landmark shingles in Hunter Green show no variation. They’re just deep green.
By contrast, Landmark Heather Blend shingles are a mix of several brown tones and rust too.
Owens Corning Duration Designer shingles in multiple blends are even more varied.
Now, here’s the blending principle: The plainer the siding is, the more a blended color pattern is needed to make your home interesting.
A solid black roof on a home with dark brown wood siding creates a boring combination.
The same home with shingles that have a charcoal base but flecked with greens, tans and browns is much more appealing.
On the other hand, if your home’s siding is varied – perhaps brick featuring multiple shades or an elegant stone front with varied colors – then color-blended shingles with clash.
You wouldn’t wear a patterned shirt with a patterned skirt or pants, right? Go solid on the roof when the home shows variation.
Here’s an example of Landmark Driftwood shingles that fail in this regard. The result is a busy clash. The colors aren’t coordinated either.
The stone veneer on the house above is arguably quite busy, and so is the roof. The plain white color on the rest of the house helps to balance the appearance, though.
Achieve Visual Balance with Light or Dark Shingles
Did you know? Dark colors draw more attention than light colors do. You can apply this principle to your shingle color choice to give your home the desired balance in its appearance.
Multi-level homes often feature darker shingles to make the roof look more substantial in order to balance the height of the house.
Ranch homes are better served by medium colors.
Dark shingles can make a single-story home appear to be “all roof,” especially if it is a tall, steeply pitched roof or a hip roof.
This roof threatens to dominate the home, though it does make the dormers “pop” visually.
Light-colored shingles atop a two-story can look out of balance too, especially if the roof has a lower pitch such as 4/12 or 6/12.
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A Color consultant Maria Killam agrees and adds this insight about light and dark colors:
A general guideline to follow when choosing an asphalt roof is to choose a darker colour than the body of your house.
There’s something grounded and solid about the look that I think really works. Unless of course your house is a very dark colour or there’s more roof than siding, then a lighter roof is necessary.
Speaking of tones, medium and dark colors draw attention to stylish roof dormers. If you’ve got them, you might as well show them off. Just keep the principle of balance in mind when choosing to go with a medium or dark color.
Complement your Home’s Architecture and Setting
Some home styles demand a certain “look” for the roof.
Stately, traditional homes are roofed in black or very dark blends consistent with their grand appearance.
A wood-sided home set among trees blends best with its surroundings when deep forest green shingles or a green/brown blend are used.
A white beach house with red trim topped by a blue roof completes the nautical theme.
Those are just a few examples of how a home’s style and setting influences roof color.
Be Consistent with Neighborhood Standards
For home-selling purposes, it’s not a good idea to have the most unique house in the neighborhood.
Choose a color or blend consistent with what others in your area are using. This is especially true when homes are close together, near the road and/or have few large trees in front or around them.
In many neighborhoods, this means conservative, darker colors. Where homeowners are freer to express themselves in flamboyant house colors, your options are unlimited.
Is there a homeowner’s association in your neighborhood? If so, check the bylaws regarding exterior home colors. Some rules are very strict.
You certainly don’t want to be taken to court for your brick red roof where bylaws say grays, browns and blacks only.
Consider Climate Characteristics
Dark colors absorb heat, and light colors reflect it. While the best protection against heat loss and gain in your home is sufficient insulation, the color of the shingles can affect attic temperatures by 40 degrees.
Dark shingles are better suited to cool climates because the extra heat facilitates melting of snow and ice.
Lighter shingles help keep AC bills under control in warm climates, especially those with plenty of sunshine too.
Here’s another tip about sunny spots: Use bolder colors where the sun shines bright.
Think dazzling blues or rich reds. Light neutrals appear bland and washed out in sunshine.
Know Whether CoolRoof rated Shingles are Required by the Local Building Code
California’s Title-24 requires residential roofing that meets the cool roof standards.
CoolRoof rated shingles are usually highly reflective, light-colored shingles. While Title-24 is the most prominent cool roof code in the country, a few select areas have similar requirements.
View Homes Like Yours
Learn from the successes and failures of other homeowners. It’s a great way to ensure a shingle color choice you’re happy with.
This can be done by driving through the nearby neighborhoods or by browsing house pictures online.
If using a search engine, type in the style of your home and the type of siding you have.
Examples are “2 story house with beige siding” or “ranch home with stone veneer.” Choose “images” and browse from there.
Filters for the images might be offered that will be helpful.
You’ll find ideas that will work for your home and others you should avoid.
Try a Shingle Manufacturer’s Visualizer Tool
Many shingle brands have online tools and apps that allow you to choose a home similar to yours from a large collection of images.
You can then try different shingles and colors on the home. Many allow you to select a siding type and color too. Here’s four resources we like.
Owens Corning Design EyeQ: Select roof, siding, accessories such as trim and railings to see how colors work together.
The Color Palettes section pulls colors together chosen by designers to blend beautifully.
The Design EyeQ also allows you to upload a picture of your own home, so you can change it’s looks.
IKO Roofviewer: Select an image of a home like yours or start by picking a home type – Colonial, Ranch, Tudor, Two-story and others.
Once you’ve chosen a home, the tool allows you to change every exterior component including roof, siding and shutters. The Roofviewer is also available as an app.
CertainTeed ColorView and others:
CertainTeed has prepared a suite of design tools including ColorView, which is most like the tools listed above.
ColorCoach is “a virtual swatch book” designed to “give you more confidence in your color choices. TrimIt is all about trim. CurbAppeal is a visualizer app to take with you.
Menards Design-It Roofing and Siding visualizer: Upload a picture of your home or choose from the gallery. Then change its appearance to coordinate roofing with siding and other exterior components.
You can save your project too. The materials you’ve selected will be saved for easy reference and ordering later. There’s an app, too.
GAF has similar tools including the handy GAF Colors app that’s almost as good as taking home dozens of shingle samples.
Get Samples and Try Them with Siding and Trim
Just like flooring, upholstery and other interior materials, individual shingle samples and sample boards are available from some building centers.
Many roofing contractors have them too. The samples allow you to see what the shingle looks like next to your siding, gutters, shutters and house trim.
Default to Dark Neutral if Unsure
If you get stuck in your deliberations, then dark neutrals – browns and grays mostly – work on a broad range of home styles and colors.
These Owens Corning Oakridge shingles are a good example of a dark neutral palette – except perhaps for Chateau Green and the few light grays.
If still stymied, the order charcoal gray. It works with everything.
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