Light Vs. Dark Roofing: Does Asphalt Shingle Color Matter?
As roof installers, a question that comes up often during consultations is about roof color: should the client choose dark or light-colored shingles? In today’s post, Kearns Brothers discusses roof color and whether it’s worth considering when you’re buying a new roof.
Light Vs. Dark Colored Roofing
Color affects a surface’s reflectivity. Light surfaces can reflect sunlight, while dark surfaces absorb it. This is why wearing a light-colored shirt outdoors is more comfortable than wearing a dark-colored one. Roofing surfaces are not exempt from this principle: a light-colored roof will absorb far less solar heat than a dark-colored one.
A roof’s heat absorption rate is important because the less heat that’s absorbed through the roof, the cooler the indoor spaces will be, therefore the lower the cooling costs. Some roofs, regardless of color, retain radiant heat for quite some time after the sun goes down, which means even at night, it can still affect your cooling costs. So why do home improvement companies offer dark-colored roofing at all?
Many homeowners regard dark roofs as more aesthetically pleasing compared to the light-colored roof. For homeowners that live in regions that are predominantly colder, heat absorption is a good thing, as it can help reduce indoor heating requirements. This can result in savings in their heating bill. For homeowners in warmer climates, proper attic insulation can help stop the heat absorbed by the roof from leaking into the indoor spaces.
Fortunately, today’s roofing manufacturers offer “cool” roofing systems with reflective coatings. This means you can choose a dark-colored roof without worrying about how it will affect your utility bills. For example, GAF offers Timberline® CS shingles. These energy-efficient asphalt shingles are certified by ENERGY STAR® and, according to the Cool Roof Rating Council, may help you save up to 15% of your total cooling costs. Some utility companies may provide incentives for using “cool roof” asphalt shingles, which means more savings down the line.