Buyer Beware: Picking Your Roof Shingle Colors

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Picking your roof shingle colors deserves as much thought as the exterior colors of your home! Your roof color will affect curb appeal, utility costs and even the value of the property. A roof expresses the style personality of your home.  Depending on the color of roofing shingles, your home can give a cozy, welcoming feeling or an impressive, dramatic statement. Because the roof is making up roughly 40% of your home’s visual exterior, the choice you make with the shingles can make your home look coastal, urban, traditional, or a number of other styles.

Different color palates of exteriors need different shades of roof shingle colors – and below I am sharing exactly what color houses go with what roof shingle colors.

Picking Our Roof Shingle Colors

Our home is all white – white brick, siding and trim. We chose Sherwin William’s Extra White for everything, giving our home cooler tones. Our shutters are Uncertain Gray.

a White House with uncertain gray by Sherwin Williams

(Read about painting our shutters and door Uncertain Gray here).

When it came time to pick shingles, I saw a lot of crisp white homes with dark black roofs. But with our coastal looking shutters, I wanted cooler, lighter tones. After speaking with our roofing contractor and doing a little research on our own, we did the opposite and chose very light gray – almost silver – roof shingles.

a White House with silver roof shingle colors

Our shingles are made by Certainteed and the color is called “Silver Birch.” We did a silver metal roof to match.

a blue house with roof shingles certainteed silver birch

This home also has Certainteed “Silver Birch” shingles, a silver metal roof, and a blue and white color scheme.

Some Roof Shingle Colors Are More Energy Efficient Than Others

Climate and geography are everything!

A light-colored roof absorbs less heat through the roof during the summertime. Here in North Carolina, we have long hot summers that start in April and often don’t get relief until late September. Light colored roof shingles allow our air conditioner to run better, use less energy and lowering our summer’s utility bills.

Dark-colored shingles will attract and absorb heat into your home’s highest rooms, generally making them 10 – 15 degrees warmer on a typical sunny day. Since we finished our attic out into a playroom (you can see it here) and gave the whole 3rd floor its own HVAC system, we paid special attention to this!

In the highest rooms in your house, the cooling system is forced to work hardest to compensate for heat that rises and gets trapped. In the south, a dark roof could stick you with a higher bill during the long summers. But – and that’s a big but – if you live in a colder climate with long winters, it’s more of a priority for your roof to absorb heat.

Don’t ignore your location!

That being said, the most important factor in determining your home’s energy efficiency is the quality of your home’s insulation and how much ventilation your home has. The color of the roof will certainly have an effect, but not as much as other factors. 

House and Roof Color Combinations: How To Coordinate – Not Match – Your Roof Shingles Colors to Your House 

It is as simple as combining a warm shingle color with a warm siding color, or a cool shingle color with a cool siding color. Your color palette for your roof and siding should fall under the same tone (cool or warm), and a similar – but never the same – color.

Here are some popular house and roof color combinations. My roofing contractor told us the most popular colors of roof shingles are all made up of variations of:

  • blacks
  • grays
  • browns
  • sometimes reds
  • sometimes greens

House and Roof Color Combinations For Brown, Stone or Earth Toned Houses

Choose roof shingle colors between brown or blacks. Opt for browns and tans to pair with a natural, earthy toned house. Make sure they contrast enough! This would work for green painted homes as well.

stone house with brown shingle colors
via: source

Shingle Colors For Beige, Tan, or Cream Houses

Choose roof shingle colors between brown or blacks. Use of copper with a brown roof gets you bonus points. Kidding, but copper is a great way to get your house to pop and stand out!

tan house with brown roof
via: source
tan beach house with a brown roof
via: Home Bunch
white brick house with brown roof shingles
via: Source

Shingles For Gray or Blue Houses

This is the easiest one! Use shingles that are black, or gray. If your home is gray, make sure to go lighter or darker than your siding.

gray house with gray shutters and roof shingle color

The house above is painted all Sherwin Williams colors: the shutters are Peppercorn, the siding is Network Gray, and the trim is Ice Cube. I don’t know the color of their roof but it sure works well!

gray house with brown roof shingle color
via: source
navy house with gray roof shingle color
via: source
navy house gray roof shingle color
via: Michael Muller

Roof Shingle Colors For White Houses

White houses should opt for shingles that are gray (don’t forget about silver!) or black. If the white siding is on the warmer side, as in almost a cream, consider brown shingles. Red or green shingles actually work with a white farmhouse, a period style house, or very specific styles homes (as in a red roof on a spanish style home).

White House with medium gray shingle color on roof
via: source
White House with black shingle color on roof
via source
a white brick house with black shingle color on the roof
via: PCC Group

a White House with red shingle color on the roof

Shingle Colors For Red Brick or Yellow Houses

Choose shingles for red brick or yellow homes that are black, dark brown, and darker gray shingles. I have seen green on red homes (scroll below!) and sometimes that can work really well, especially if the red brick has flecks of green in them.

yellow house with a silver metal roof color
via: source
yellow house with dark roof shingle color
via: source
red brick house with brown roof shingle color
via: source
red brick house with green roof shingle color
via: source

But How Do I Narrow It Down to Find The Exact Shade of Roof Shingle Colors?

Look for accent colors in your home to give you hints for your specific roof shingle color. The exact house and roof color combination is not always obvious – perhaps your bricks or stone have green or gray flecks in them – pick up on this color with the same color shingles. Or use the same color from an accent – a color that is in the shutters, door, or the trim.  

Remember when you are looking at a sample (physically- you must do this!) that the sun will make everything different. When choosing a shingle color to match your home, take your roofing sample outside, and place it next to your siding to see how it looks in the daylight. Make sure to look at actual samples in different light conditions (cloudy, sunny, etc.) and during different times of day.

The exterior elements will dictate house and roof color combinations.

If you hate your wood siding or your ugly brick, of course by all means paint them before you choose a roof so that it all coordinates together! But many elements of your exteriors cannot be changed and should not be. In this case, it’s much better to work with them than against them.

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