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FrankyTheHammer 04-28-2014 04:01 PM

color of roof shingles
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Hey all, getting my roof redone in a week and getting to the color picking point. My roofer gave me this swatch of samples to choose my color from. I really like how weathered wood compliments my house, but am worried it will make my house too hot in the summer.

What would you say the difference is between white, tan and weathered wood as far as what I would feel inside of the house? My roofer says it won't be noticeable but I just want to be sure!!



FrankyTheHammer 04-28-2014 04:08 PM

forgot to mention - in LA area, SoCal

joecaption 04-28-2014 04:16 PM

If the roof is properly vented, attic air sealed, proper amount of insulation it would not matter what color you pick.

Gary in WA 05-02-2014 11:36 PM

A lot of of research has been done over the years, oldest first;
"Side-by-side roof research tests, one with dark gray shingles (solar absorptance of 92%) over a vented attic compared with dark gray shingles over a sealed attic, have shown 9% cooling energy savings for the sealed attic with typical attic duct construction. Tests of vented attics comparing the dark gray shingles with white shingles (solar absorptance of 76%) found savings of 4% for the white
shingles. This indicates that combining white shingles with a sealed attic is likely to produce greater cooling energy savings. In addition, these tests found significantly greater savings (17-23%) for white tile and white metal roofing systems. Measured energy performance savings of 9% have also been reported in separate field tests for attic radiant barrier systems in monitored homes (Parker, et. al., 2001)."

And; "Other tests comparing white and black shingles have shown that shingle color makes a greater difference in peak shingle temperature than the presence or absence of attic ventilation or an attic radiant barrier system. These tests, accomplished at the FSEC Flexible Roof Facility (FRF), showed peak temperatures for black shingles (solar absorptance of 97%) to be almost 25F hotter than peak
temperatures for white shingles (solar absorptance of 76%). Thus, if elevated temperatures can result in composition shingle failure, then the problems are likely to be much more pronounced for darker shingle products, especially in climates with large quantities of solar radiation." From;

Also; "The cooling effect of ventilation on shingles is 2.7% in the
base case comparison. The cooling effect of ventilation on two
layers of shingles is similar. The reduction in shingle temperature
attributable to color is 22.7% in the most comparable
case and similar for other cases." From;

And an article your roofer should read;

PS. Welcome to the forums!

Windows on Wash 05-03-2014 06:39 AM

Both Gary and Joe are correct.

An overwhelming majority of cooling happens to outside via convection on the roof deck and orientation, pitch, and roof color have much more to do with peak temperatures of the roof and decking.

That being said, as long as you insulation levels are up to proper levels and the home is ventilated, the fact is that we don't really care what attic temps are (with the exception of ductwork and other sensitive items).

At the end of the day, get the color roof that you will want and Weathered Wood isn't that dark at the end of the day either. It isn't like its Moire Black.

Gary in WA 05-03-2014 10:40 PM

Well Franky, there you go, heck with the temps being almost 25* hotter in the attic, permeating down to wet your insulation in contact with the cold drywall ceiling... at least use a housewrap on top of any blown/batt fiberglass insulation. FG makes a great filter, think "furnace".

Pick a "cool shingle" as you may have to meet CA's #24, or increase your insulation level; Ask your roofer about meeting that minimum code requirement... if needed.

PS. I'd call the "weathered wood" (next to/below white) a medium dark with light colored sprinkles, may need to switch brands. And Joe is still wrong about color... read the links and tell me you still think so, WoW.

Windows on Wash 05-07-2014 10:51 AM

We need to change your avatar.... :yes:

I have read all your links in triplicate from time to time and various others that you do not provide as well. Don't get me wrong, I am sure they are on the master list somewhere that you have on your desktop but I have read them till I am blue in the face.

Seeing as the poster didn't discuss his ventilation set up, I was making general commentary for the future folks that might peruse this and other threads.

I agree with you that ventilation in coastal environments is certainly a different animal. The reality is that most of the shingle cooling still happens to outside and as demonstrated in your articles and countless other articles, orientation, pitch, and shingle color have much more to do with peak temperatures.

I continue to tell folks to, within reason, get what they want in terms of color and make the home work for that. Would I recommend a Black shingle in Southern California, not a chance.

Is something in the medium range going to make the home that much more inefficient if their insulation is up to snuff and the envelope and ductwork tight, not really.

As always...good chatting with you.

Gary in WA 05-08-2014 10:11 PM

" Would I recommend a Black shingle in Southern California, not a chance. '--------------- ah, you do agree for the poster in his location (Joe was wrong). That is my whole point, why cook your shingles at 25* higher than a white colored roof, as insulation/ventilation won't help reduce the extra attic temperature as shown in the side-by-side tests. The heat will still be there as an added "negative" when using darker shingles. Your cat made me laugh, very professional. I know there are some readers that appreciate my links, even if they prove one wrong once in a while... so I will keep supplying them. 15-20 minutes on an answer -- mostly due to finding the correct/pertinent link to add. I wish I had a "Master list", it would greatly cut down on my answer time, just giving my opinion is much faster.


Windows on Wash 05-09-2014 11:20 AM

Hence the reason that I said both of your were right.

I did not downplay the impact of shingle color and I stated its impact in the second sentence of my post....

"An overwhelming majority of cooling happens to outside via convection on the roof deck and orientation, pitch, and roof color have much more to do with peak temperatures of the roof and decking."

I clearly stated that pitch, orientation, and color have everything to do with peak temperatures.

If the client doesn't have ductwork in the attic and the attic is properly insulated, air sealed, and vented, I also know that the impact on energy usage will be minimal.

The fact that the OP was looking at a non-black color will further mitigate those temperature differences. Hence my other statement.....

"At the end of the day, get the color roof that you will want and Weathered Wood isn't that dark at the end of the day either. It isn't like its Moire Black."

I am glad you like the cat....Gary. You do know that it was a joke...right?

HomeSealed 05-09-2014 12:15 PM

Good points made above by all. Certainly the darker the shingle color, the more detriment you could see in multiple areas, but in terms of your question Franky : "how much difference will you feel"-in the living space, it should be negligible provided that your home is up to par in the other areas (insulation levels, ventilation, air sealing, etc). Certainly your geographic location as well as the design of your home should play into that as well. For instance, if you have a large area of vaulted ceiling where ideal insulation levels are not feasible, you may be more susceptible to notice a difference.

jeffnc 05-09-2014 09:01 PM

You can debate all you want to, but there is no way the lightest color isn't going to be better than darker colors. To what extent, we can debate, but it's not debatable that it's a cooler color.

Windows on Wash 05-11-2014 11:04 AM

Where was that ever in question?

Pretty sure that people aren't living on the surface of the roof or in the attic either.

I think HomeSealed pointed out some additional considerations as well (i.e. vaulted ceiling/hot roof).

Gary in WA 05-11-2014 08:59 PM

Franky, the first link I gave also mentioned the energy savings using the same insulation,ventilation, slope, etc., just a color change;

“The true white roofing types (> 60% reflectance) clearly show their advantage. Both the white barrel and white flat tile roofs averaged a consumption of 13.3 kWh/day or a 22% cooling energy reduction, while the white metal roof shows the largest impact with a 12.2 kWh/day August consumption for a 28% reduction.” That was a FL test, your results may be different. More importantly, check the calculator here with the color you want;

"Just as wearing light-colored clothing can help keep you cool on a sunny day, cool roofs use solar-reflective surfaces to maintain lower roof temperatures. Standard or dark roofs can reach temperatures of 150F or more in the summer sun. A cool roof under the same conditions could stay more than 50F cooler.
Benefits of Cool Roofs

A cool roof can benefit a building and its occupants by:
Another calculator for the emissivity rating (includes major roofing brands), based in Oakland, CA;


Windows on Wash 05-11-2014 09:49 PM

It would be helpful if Frank could post back and tell us more about the home (pitch of roof, orientation, construction, etc.).

Keep in mind that there plenty of "cool" shingles out there that will let you run a color that is closer to right for the home while minimizing the energy savings delta between a white roof and colored roof.

At the end of the day, the house might suffer greater impact in terms of property value if you put on the wrong color roof.

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