If you’re building a new home or replacing the roof on your current residence, you have several very important choices to make. There’s selecting the right roofing contractor, picking the appropriate shingle style, and selecting the grade of shingle that fits your budget and expectation. While these decisions will ultimately determine how satisfied you’ll be with your new roof for many years to come, there’s another equally important choice that may be overlooked until the last minute: Picking the right shingle color.
Why is the Right Shingle Color So Important?
For starters, the roof is one of the most prominent and noticeable features of any home. We sometimes don’t realize the difference a roof’s color can make until we see a home with a roof that just doesn’t fit. Perhaps you’ve been driving through a neighborhood searching for a new home, or maybe you were just out for an afternoon drive exploring a different side of town. You see rows of neatly designed, well-maintained brick front homes. They all fit nicely within the neighborhood because their designs are similar, but not too alike to create the “cookie-cutter” look you’ve seen in other subdivisions.
Suddenly, you see a home that catches your attention like no other. But not in a good way. It’s a tan brick, craftsman style house. It has a nicely kept yard, cream colored trim that blends well with the exterior, and a pristine lake bordering its backyard. It also has a red roof. What were they thinking, you wonder? Perhaps they simply didn’t spend the necessary time and effort choosing their roof’s color.
What Determines the “Right” Roof Color?
There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a roof color. Among them are the color of your home’s siding, the color of other roofs in your neighborhood, the look you wish to achieve, your contractor’s opinion based on past experience, and even neighborhood association requirements. Let’s look at each of these.
Matching Your Home’s Siding Color
A good rule of thumb is to compliment your siding color without overpowering it. If your home is covered with a light-colored siding, consider a medium toned roof (usually a bit darker than the house), which falls within a compatible color and tone range. In other words, for a light tan-colored home, a slightly darker, light gray or light brown roof may be a good choice. An extremely dark or brightly colored roof, on the other hand, will create a dramatic color contrast, and the color mismatch will become the home’s most prominent feature.
Match the Color Patterns Within Your Neighborhood
Take a good look at other homes in your neighborhood, especially homes with a similar design style and siding color. You will probably discover a range of roof colors that best fit homes like yours. Within that range, you can then decide which color is right for you. If you know your neighbors well, you might even ask them how they picked their color and if they remember the particular shade they selected. This process will not only help you to be satisfied with your roof choice, but will ensure your home blends aesthetically with the rest of your neighborhood.
Think About the Look You Want
It never hurts to think about what you hope to achieve with your new roof color. Perhaps you purchased a home with an existing roof that’s very nearly the color of your siding, and you want to emphasize your home’s architectural features by picking a more distinct roof tone. Perhaps you don’t believe the current roof style and color is right for the design of your home. It may be valuable to take a picture of your home, sit down, and consider how it would look with a different colored roof. You may also want to check out one of several available roof simulator websites, which offer homeowners the chance to see how different roof colors and styles would look on their house.
Ask Your Roofing Contractor
If you’ve chosen an experienced, knowledgeable roofing contractor, you’ll likely find them to be an excellent resource for roof color decisions. It’s quite likely that they’ve installed roofs on homes very similar to yours in both color and style. They’ve probably seen what works and doesn’t work for houses like yours. Many professional roofers can also provide you with shingle samples in a particular color range. And, if you’ve already whittled your choices down to a few colors based on pictures, other neighborhood homes, or web-based color simulators, show your roofer what you’ve come up with and ask their opinion. Let their experience work for you.
Check Neighborhood Association Requirements
This obviously won’t apply to everyone, but in some instances, neighborhood or homeowners’ associations may have covenants that dictate the allowable color range for home exteriors and roofs. If you aren’t sure, it’s probably a good idea to check before you make a roofing decision. While it’s true that some associations don’t enforce all covenants, and violations usually don’t require the homeowner to redo their project or re-roof their home, unwittingly violating a covenant can result in a fine or other penalty. It’s best to avoid such issues by doing a little up-front research.
The Best Strategy – Cover All the Bases
Selecting the right roof is a major investment that you’ll live with for years to come. After a roof has been installed is obviously not the time to decide you’ve made a wrong choice. There’s no easy or inexpensive way to fix a roof that doesn’t look the way you hoped it would look. The best approach is to employ all of the suggested ideas we’ve talked about. Think about your home’s exterior color, check roof colors in your neighborhood, spend time considering the look you’re after, tap into your roofer’s knowledge and experience, and don’t forget the neighborhood association. When you cover all the bases, you’ll feel more comfortable with the choice you’ve made, and you’ll be happy with your home’s appearance each time you pull into the driveway.