The Best Roof Color Is…
The one that makes you happy every time you pull on to your street.
That said, many people are not sure how to visualize a roof color that they can’t actually see. Others don’t have a strong opinion and could use a nudge one way or another. Still others may consider selling their home in the future and want something more marketable to maximize their resale value.
There are some guidelines and concepts to consider when deciding on your roof color, but in the end you’re the one who has to live with it.
Which Roof Color Is Most Energy Efficient?
Pale colors will reflect the most heat and keep your house cooler while dark colors will absorb the sun and make your home warmer. Material composition, density, finish, insulation, ventilation, and other criteria make roof color just one of many factors effecting the temperature of your home.
Overall climate will help you decide how much color actually matters for energy efficiency. In our Pacific Northwest, the extensive tree cover and cloudy marine climate mitigates the effect of the sun during much of the year and allows for more variety and freedom of choice in roofing colors.
Some jurisdictions, like California, have energy efficiency requirements. Ask your roofing professional if there are requirements in your area.
What Roof Color Goes With My Region?
If you were to go to specific areas of the world, entire towns seem to be painted with the same brush. Exact roof materials and colors seem utterly ingrained with certain neighborhoods or villages and to choose something else would draw critical attention. In other towns, however, individuality is embraced and you have more choices.
Design cultures are highly regional and what works in one place may not be appropriate elsewhere. Roofing material companies know this and won’t even offer some colors in certain zip codes.
- Earthy roof colors like green undertones and brown are popular in forest settings.
- Nautical influences like blue undertones and driftwood browns and grays can be more common in marine environments.
- Southwestern and Mediterranean homes often lean toward cement or clay tiles, as they are best in warm, dry climates.
- Tropical regions often prefer light or bright tones.
- Urban areas may be sophisticated in black or gray.
If you are new to an area, take time to acclimate and decide what works for your current situation.
As you drive around town, get a sense of what others are using and see what could work for your property. If you find something you especially like, pull over and take a picture with your phone. After a few shots build up in your gallery you may start to see trends in the color, texture, contrast, or other elements in the photos you’ve taken.
We’ve been roofing around the Puget Sound for decades and see a massive number of material orders.
- Most popular colors: Weathered Wood and Charcoal, by far. Driftwood is also in the mix.
- Least popular colors: Light shades like pale beige or white and bright shades like orange or yellow. Red and blue are rarely used in asphalt shingles but occasionally used in metal.
Changing Roof Colors
Be aware that, with some roofing materials, the exact shade you choose now may change to a small or large degree over time.
- Darker asphalt shingle roofs tend to look new for longer while brights (especially red) and light colors seem less vibrant over time.
- Wood roofs will absolutely change color throughout their lifetime, shifting from a fresh wood color through a series of weathered grays.
Some wood can accept stain, but trying to change the color of most existing materials is likely to go very wrong.
What Roof Color Goes With My Neighborhood?
If every roof in your neighborhood has similarities, that may tell you something. Check your CC&Rs or HOA manager to see if you are required to use certain roofing materials or colors. If there are rules, you’ll want to follow them or the consequences can be significant.
If there are no rules, then you get to decide if you want to blend in or stand out! For the most part, blending in with the neighborhood has a better resale value.
What Color Roof Goes With My House?
The shape and style of your structure should influence your material and color choices. If you looked at your house with a grayscale filter then what would be it’s focal point? Sometimes it’s the roof, sometimes it’s a remarkable entrance or covered porch, sometimes it’s unique walls or a set of dormers. You would do best to honor the architect’s intent and keep the wow-factor where it is intended.
- Tall or large homes feel more grounded with a dark roof and contrasting siding.
- A small home will look slightly larger with a medium to light shingles that coordinate with the siding. (However contrast is more charming, which is often more important!)
- Colonial: Darker green or gray
- Victorian: Grey or green asphalt shingles, medium to dark slate
- Craftsman: Natural colors, especially browns
- Farmhouse: Green or natural colors
- Modern: Bold colors, like black shingles or blue metal
- Southwestern: Clay or concrete tiles (ask your roofer for alternatives in damp areas)
- Late-century ranch or split level (1970s-1990s): Asphalt shingles contrasting in color with siding
Also keep in mind roof pitch and design. The steeper your roof is, or the further it goes over your walls, the more it can be seen from the curb and the more impact it will have on the overall look of your home.
What Color Roof Goes With My Siding?
Artists and designers spend a lifetime exploring color theory, but in a nutshell, you get to coordinate or contrast to a large or small degree. This applies to hue (actual color, like brown or green), saturation (robust color vs grayed out), and brightness within that hue (pale, medium, dark).
|House Siding Color
|Matching Roof Colors
|Brown, black, dark green, dark blue
|Black, darker blue, gray, white
|Green, black, blue, charcoal and browns that are lighter or darker
|Black, dark gray, dark blue, dark green, white
|Black, dark gray
|Brown, black, green, gray, blue, red
|Dark brown, black, dark green, dark blue
Roof Color For Bricks or Stone
One thing that is very important is pattern. If your exterior walls have a pattern, like bricks or stone in a variety of shades, then your roofing needs to be very close to a solid color. Likewise if you have a solid color in your siding then you can benefit from some color variation in your roofing materials. Solid with solid is fine when you have a change of color or intensity. Mixing patterns is a recipe for chaos and strongly discouraged.
Home Exterior Color Trends
Color trends are constantly changing. In clothing it can be obvious and seasonal, but home trends change at a slower pace. Think about an avocado-colored refrigerator and a black stainless refrigerator; even if they were both in brand new condition, the color speaks of the era. Do you want your home to look more traditional, modern, beachy, or something else? A lot of this is siding, but roof color, material, and shape are also very meaningful factors.
Roofing color inspiration can be found many places. Check out our Puget Sound home gallery, preloaded and custom combinations in the roof color visualizer app, architectural magazines, and other resources.
While dramatic roofs can be stunning, be sure you are happy to live with it for the lifetime of the materials. Many people choose a roof color that is broadly accepted in their region and then upgrade the roofing materials for elegance and resale value. Then fun, trendy colors can be used for siding, trim, shutters, plants, patio furniture, or other accents.
If you are still wondering what color should my roof be, in Western Washington it’s hard to go wrong with a dark neutral brown or dark gray roof, light to medium siding, and a pop of color in the accents. For example, a Charcoal roof on a pale grey home can go with different accents as time passes (bold door or flowers?) and your reliable roof is still going strong.