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Tips for Choosing a Color for Your Roof

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re choosing a color for your roof, especially when you realize you’ll be living with your color choice for a long time!  

Maybe you’ve noticed a home in your neighborhood with a roof that looks awkward against the rest of the house. Or maybe you’re at your lake house and you look across and see a roof color that stands out like a sore thumb in an otherwise serene view. Some of the things to consider when you’re selecting a residential roof color have to do with the specific structural and aesthetic details of your home. Some have to do with the environment your home is in.

In this guide we’ll give a brief overview of some of the things you may want to consider as you select a color for your new or remodeled home.

Let’s Start with the Basics

If you think about it, your roof represents a large percentage of your home’s exterior. The more it’s pitched or sloped, the more it can be seen from the ground. If your house has interesting architectural features – a knockout front entrance, unique brick or stonework – you’ll most likely want to downplay the roof. If the interest lies with your roof – dormers, gables, interesting contours – consider choosing a color that draws the eye upward, toward the feature you want to showcase.

Dark Tile Colors

Dark colors tend to absorb light, making objects appear smaller. So dark roof tiles can be overpowering on a single-story home, especially if the roof is tall, steeply pitched or a hip roof. Multi-level homes, on the other hand, often feature darker tiles to make the roof look more substantial to balance the height of the house. Dark colors are often chosen for Colonials and similar stately architectural styles. 

Light Tile Colors

Lighter colors tend to reflect light, making an object appear larger and more airy. Single-story homes look a little larger with light or medium- color roof tiles. Light-colored tiles on a multi-level house may look off-balance compared to the rest of the exterior.

Complement Other External Features

All of the colors on your home’s exterior need to work together to achieve a look that’s visually coordinated and appealing. The style, design, size and colors of the exterior elements (siding, roofing, trim, shutters, stone) are all important features that need to work together.

Choose a roof color that will enhance and complement the other exterior colors of your home. If you’ve got a particular color scheme in mind, remember it’ll be easier to update paintable surfaces (siding, shutters) than fixed ones (stone, brick.) Choosing a roof color that matches your shutters, front door or trim can help tie the look of the house together.

Roof matching exterior home features

The Majestic Slate tiles in Midnight Gray on this roof complement the stonework in the facade.

 

If the stylistic features of your home already make a statement then you’ll probably want to select a roofing color that lets those features shine. 

Roof highlights architecture of home

The custom blend of Federal Gray and Smoke Gray (Seneca Shake) is a great fit
for the 90 triangular panels of this unique Geodesic Dome.

 

Roof that harmonizes with features of home

On the home above, all of the features (siding, trim, landscape, roof)
make a statement by working in harmony together.

 

A general rule of thumb is that the less busy your siding, brick and trim are, the more interesting the color and pattern of your roof can be. 

Consider Your Home’s Architectural Style

Some home architecture styles tend to lend themselves well (or not so well) to certain roof tile colors. Though not hard-and-fast rules, here are some generalities to keep in mind.

Ranch style

If your single-story home is small, you’ll want to avoid choosing a color for your roof that is too dark, as this can make the house appear even smaller. For wider, more rambling ranch homes, a slightly patterned color scheme could help add visual interest. 

Roof on single-story home

This Empire Slate roof, in Hampton Harbour,
lets the interest of the bricks really shine, and doesn’t overpower.

Bungalow/Craftsman

The term “bungalow” often refers to homes built in the Arts & Crafts or Craftsman style. Often, they feature a lot of woodwork, large comfy porch, sloping roof, and 2nd-story dormer windows. Choose a roofing color in shades of medium to dark brown or grey, to blend well with any natural woodwork. 

Roof on bungalow home

The designer series tile shapes of this single-color Majestic Shake roof makes a dramatic statement,
yet it’s in perfect harmony with the home’s architectural style.

Spanish Style

Often constructed from stucco or adobe brick, these homes feature light, natural colors, giving a nod to the sand, wood and clay they were originally derived from. Rusty reds, oranges and terracotta are great color choices for homes with a Southwest or Floridian flare.

Roof on Adobe style home

This Seneca Shake roof above in a Cedar Brown blend
is the perfect complement to both the siding and the landscape.

Colonial

Colonial style homes are often solid and symmetrical. You’ll want the color of your roof tiles to be a bit on the darker side.  This coordinates with the sturdiness of the home and allows the visual emphasis to be placed on the front door or brick work.

Roof on Colonial style home

Sometimes a roof is selected for its ability to enhance the beauty of a home in its entirety.
This house was complemented by the addition of an EcoStar Majestic Slate 12″ Traditional tile roof in Midnight Gray.

Victorian

Selecting a roof color for a Victorian home can unleash the creative genius within you. If you’re going traditional, be sure to choose a somewhat unobtrusive roof so the iconic turrets, gingerbread accents and detailed moldings can really pop. Conversely, you can have a lot of fun with eccentric, bright-colored tiles since so much of the roof is visible from the ground.

Roof that matches Victorian home

The Majestic Slate tile roof in Smoke Gray is clean and crisp,
allowing the standout features of this house really shine.

Tudor 

Tudor homes, known for their combination of stucco, brick and timber, feature lots of architectural details. And, lots of colors. Choosing a color for the roof of a Tudor home is therefore a bit challenging. Shades of brown usually work well, but remember to take in the entire scope of architectural nuances when making your decision.

Roof on Tudor style home

This Tudor style home features a Majestic Slate 12″ Traditional tile roof in Chestnut Brown.

External and Environmental Considerations

Location, location, location

Consider your surroundings. You’ll most likely want a roof that looks like it belongs in that environment. For example, a red metal roof might not look as comfortable on a mountain lake lodge as it might on a farm. Opting for deep brown or green or a blend, however, may be the perfect match for that weekend retreat. 

A roof needs to fit a home's environment

The siding and roof of this lakeside home blends beautifully with the natural surroundings.
A combination of Federal Gray and Stone Red Majestic Slate tiles was used to create the custom color.

 

Your Neighborhood 

Consider your neighbors. What color and tile types are on the homes in the area? While we’re all for individuality, we don’t recommend taking a hit on the resale value of your home because you were overly creative with your roofing color choice! Choose a tile color that harmonizes well with the houses around yours as well as with the natural surroundings and your landscaping.

The visual effect of roof and home

Consider the entire visual effect of your home: siding, stonework, trim,
landscaping and of course, roof!

 

On the other hand, if your home’s a bit more remote, then by all means, have a little fun with your roof!

Roof color can be fun

Is this Victorian style home fun, or what?
A custom-color blend of Empire Slate fit the bill perfectly!

 

Snowbelt or Sunbelt?

Dark colors absorb heat, and light colors reflect it. While proper insulation is the best protection against heat absorption or loss, the color of the roof tiles can affect attic temperatures by 40 degrees.

In cooler climates, consider using dark tiles; the heat they absorb can facilitate the melting of ice and snow.

Lighter tiles help keep air conditioning bills under control in warm climates, especially those with plenty of sunshine too. You might also want to consider a bolder color if you get a lot of bright sunshine; sometimes light neutral colors can appear washed out or a bit ho-hum. 

It’s Your Move

Ultimately, you want all of the colors on the exterior of your home to mesh well together – you want to pull into the driveway and think, “That really looks great!” Remember that your roof accounts for a large portion of your home’s exterior style and should be a thoughtful decision.

If the choice of a roofing color seems overwhelming, then a safe choice would be a dark neutral color in gray or brown. But don’t be afraid to have a little fun – as long as you keep your home’s style and location in mind, a new roof can be a creative way to make your home welcoming to both your family and your guests. 

For help in selecting the color for your new composite shake or slate roof, contact us here. 

 

 

 

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