Did you know that a roof accounts for up to 40% of the visual exterior of your home? That means the shingles you use for the structure deserve as much consideration as what you put into the interior design of each room. One of the decisions that you must make involves the color of the shingles that get used.
When you compare black roof shingles with lighter shades, the goal is to complement the look of the structure while absorbing or reflecting sunshine. Some of this issue is based on personal preference.
Several pros and cons of black roof shingles must also come under consideration when evaluating this product. The darker colors can harmonize more with your natural environment, but they can also cause your cooling bills to skyrocket. You will also want to evaluate what construction and building materials are available so that you can achieve the final result you want.
List of the Pros of Black Roof Shingles
1. The color helps to retain more heat in the home.
Black roof shingles do an excellent job of absorbing the heat from the sun each day. Even the thermal energy with cloudy skies gets picked up with this installation. That means you can circulate more natural heat from your attic or ceiling to the living areas of your home in the winter to reduce your bills. During the summer months, the trapped heat stays at the top of the structure so that you aren’t overworking your air conditioning.
2. Most black roof shingles are made from asphalt.
If you live in the Northeast or the Northwest, then asphalt shingles are an excellent choice to consider. The black roof shingles are made with organic materials, reinforced with fiberglass, and sold in multiple sizes and thicknesses. You can then layer each shingle so that you receive an almost three-dimensional look for your house.
Asphalt shingles tend to be the least expensive of any type, and they are widely available. You can expect to pay about $90 per square. Then you’ll get a roof life of somewhere between 15 to 30 years. You can also opt for the three-tab shingle to save up to 50% on the cost.
3. Black roof shingles are typically waterproof.
If you choose asphalt black roof shingles that have fiberglass infusion instead of organic materials like cellulose, then you’ll have a product that is waterproof. It’s also more fireproof than some of the other options that are available on the market today. You will receive enough flexibility to withstand snow, moderate protection against hail, and there’s even a chance for some consumers to qualify for a tax credit when using an Energy Star certified product.
4. Several home colors work with black roof shingles.
If you decide that using dark shingles is the best option for your home, then you should also start thinking about the exterior color of the structure. Several different colors are complementary to this product, but the most popular option tends to be red brick.
The combination of black roof shingles and red brick home is a classic look that tends to build in value for most communities. You can go with a contrasting look if you prefer, or you can keep things to deeper hues if that’s your preference. Just remember to check with your HOA rules (if you have one) to make sure that you’re staying in compliance.
5. Dark roof shingles can hide imperfections in the structure.
If there are imperfections in the structure of your roof, then black shingles can help to create a seamless visual aesthetic. This product does an excellent job of blending away imperfections so that the structure looks newly built. If you are replacing an old roof with a new one, then you’ll see this advantage begin to take shape right away. You’ll see the best results when you choose a product from a manufacturer with a proven history of success and a reputation for only using the highest quality materials.
6. Your roof could help ice and snow melt in the winter months.
Because black roof shingles have a reputation for maintaining higher heat levels, you may not have as much snow accumulate at the top of your home. An extended cold spell can negate this advantage over time, especially if there isn’t much sunshine available. You will find in most situations that during the initial days of snow, your roof might not have as much accumulation (if any at all) compared to those with lighter tones to their shingles. The effect isn’t large, but it can be enough of an advantage that it saves you a little money each year.
7. Black roof shingles blend in with the rest of the neighborhood.
You want your home to stand out for all of the right reasons, especially when it is time to sell the property. If you choose black shingles for your roof, then you’ll have a product that blends in well with a variety of colors. It will also help your house harmonize with the rest of the environment, your immediate surroundings, and your landscaping so that a potential buyer can enjoy a warm and welcoming experience.
8. This product can work with a variety of patterns.
When your home’s exterior has a variety of colors and patterns, a black roof shingle can help to draw all of those different elements together. You’ll see this benefit most often on homes that include stone, brick, and natural siding. By keeping the roof to a single tone, the visual aesthetics of the home remain focused on the individual elements to ensure the correct first impression occurs.
This advantage also works with other shingle colors. You can pattern black squares with slightly lighter tones to create visual variety at the top of the structure when your exterior is a solid tone all around. It works especially well for homes that have steep peaks that require protection from the elements.
9. Black roof shingles work with a variety of installation options.
You can install black roof shingles on almost any structure. Your outbuildings need a roof to protect an investment, and this product can do an excellent job of providing that advantage. It is an appropriate choice for barns, sheds, gazebos, guest houses, and detached garages. If your dog has a home outside, then this color choice will help to keep the interior structure warmer. It’s even suitable for chicken coops.
As long as the color choice you make enhances the variety of structures you have on your property, then it is an appropriate option to use. If your black roof shingles make one structure stand out from all of the rest, then a different choice might be better.
10. You can try the color choice before you buy it.
You don’t choose paint colors without taking samples home to look at them first. Trying a roof color first by using an actual sample at different times of the day will let you know if a black tone is appropriate for your home’s elements. You can then compare the different roofing options found in your neighborhood to confirm what choices have the best chance to work for your property.
Some roofing contractors can take a picture of your property and superimpose a new roof color onto the image. This action can give you another level of visual confirmation about the pros and cons of black roof shingles for your house.
List of the Cons of Black Roof Shingles
1. You don’t have the option to reflect sunlight.
Since black roof shingles absorb the energy from the sun, you lose the option to reflect the sunlight to create a cooler attic. That’s why you don’t often see darker roofs in warmer climates. It can lower a homeowner’s heating bills in a northerly climate, but it raises the cooling bills of someone who lives closer to the equator. If you have concerns about how much you’re paying to stay comfortable already, then you’ll need to compare the light vs. dark option to see which one would work best for your home.
2. Some black roof shingles might not have a longer lifespan.
Although some manufacturers say that their comparative studies of light vs. dark shingles saw no difference between the two for the product’s overall lifespan, there is some information that disputes this notion. Heat does increase molecular activity, so that means the hotter temperatures that black roof shingles run at play a role in lifespan reduction. If UV rays play a bigger role in the length of your investment, you come out behind there still too.
If you want to maximize the lifespan of your new roof, then a correct level of attic ventilation is necessary to support your shingles. If you have enough soffit vents, then you can pick whatever color you prefer.
3. You lose the heating benefit in the winter months.
If you install black roof shingles because you want to retain more heat in the home, then you must be proactive about removing snow from the structure. Once enough of the white fluffy stuff adheres to your roof, it will reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them, which means you lose all of the benefits of this product. Since it can be dangerous to be climbing ladders in snowy or icy conditions, you might find that the monetary benefits you expected from this installation don’t appear if you have a year filled with several heavy snows.
4. The roof could contribute to indoor air quality problems over time.
Black roof shingles do a great job of absorbing heat, but that also means any moisture problems found in the structure are going to be problematic over time. The extra warmth can contribute to mold and mildew growth, which can become a health hazard if allowed to continue without treatment.
If you have black mold in your home, then you might experience chronic sneezing, coughing, and irritation to the eyes. Some people develop persistent headaches and chronic fatigue issues. There isn’t any information about these contaminants causing cancer or life-threatening illnesses, but you can be less comfortable at home with this problem.
5. Black roof shingles may not meet local environmental codes.
Because darker colors absorb more heat from the sun each day, you may not have a product that meets the environmental codes that some states have for energy efficiency. You will need to speak with a local contractor experienced in these matters to determine what tones are appropriate for your specific needs. You might have the option to choose a dark material, but it might also require you to make an upgrade to your home’s ventilation system.
California is one such state. If you are going to be compliant with Title 24 to reduce the home’s carbon footprint, then you’ll need to choose a shingle with special, highly reflective granules embedded into the product. You can’t choose black with this new building code, but there are some darker shades of brown and gray from which to choose.
6. It can make the size of your home appear smaller.
You would want to use black roof shingles if the goal of your work is to reduce imperfections or create a focus placement. This action reduces the visual size of the structure, making the home seem smaller than it is on the inside. If you have a small house already, this issue could become a problem when you’re ready to sell the property.
Smaller houses almost always benefit from lighter tone roofing shingles. The brighter colors help the structure appear larger as it draws attention to the positive features of the home.
If you don’t want to use asphalt shingles for your roof because you want a specific look, then there are some different options to consider. Homes in the Southwest like to use tile for the roof because it reflects more heat while matching the Mediterranean architecture that is popular in that region of the United States. You’ll find slate roofing in the Northeast, especially in places where Gothic or Victorian architecture is common.
Metal roofing is a choice that’s growing in popularity across the United States since the product can last for up to 50 years. A well-installed slate roof could last for over a century with the right levels of upkeep.
If you have reviewed the pros and cons of black roof shingles and feel that asphalt is the best option to consider, then there are several brands to review. GAF, Owens Corning, CertainTeed, Atlas Roofing, and others can all make a product that will help your roof. Speak with a local installer or product supplier to discuss which options would work well for your home.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.