Darker vs Lighter Roof Colors

The color of your roof can have a major impact on its performance and energy efficiency.  Roof replacements come at no small cost, so it’s essential to do your homework before making the decision of whether to invest in a light-colored roof or a dark one.  The biggest factor in deciding your roof color choice will depend on where you live.  The climate and weather of your home’s geographical location plays a key role in UV exposure and how your roof protects and functions with it.

black roofing shingles

Light Colored Roofs

Light-colored roofs are slightly more energy efficient than dark ones.  Light colors are more reflective, so a roof with a light gray, light tan, or white surface will reflect UV rays back out instead of absorbing them.  For homes that experience plenty of sunshine and heat, a light-colored roof is a good choice to keep the inside cool and energy bills lower.

Dark Colored Roofs

Dark-colored roofs will absorb the sun’s rays.  The difference is slight but it’s important to consider the climate.  If your home is in an area with intense year-round heat, then choose a light-colored roof to keep your home cool and energy efficient.  Homes that are located in a four-season climate can perform just fine with a dark-colored roof because cold winters won’t bring as much heat or demand to keep the internal temperatures cool.

Which is More Energy Efficient?

Although your surrounding climate does play an important role, the overall science tells us that at the end of the day, light-colored roofs will be the most energy efficient.

light grey roofing shingles

If you live in a place that gets lots of sun and stays warm throughout most of the year like in the south and southwest regions, you’ll definitely want to opt for a roof color that’s lighter.  Choose a light gray, light tan, or white to optimize energy efficiency.  Climates that have four seasons, including harsher winters, can safely go with black and dark color roofs and still be relatively energy efficient so long as proper ventilation is integrated within the roofing system.

Reflectivity ratings of your roof’s materials will also translate to its energy efficiency.  Roofs with higher reflectivity ratings (those with ratings over 65%) perform better at reflecting UV rays.  Lighter-colored roofs tend to possess these higher reflectivity ratings and thus are better at keeping a home cool.

Keep in mind that a dark-colored roof won’t jeopardize your home’s energy efficiency.  Factors like reflectivity ratings and color do have an effect on your home’s energy usage, but they aren’t the end-all-be-all.  Dark-colored roofs may not be as energy-saving as their light-colored counterparts, but the difference is minimal.


No matter which color roof you choose, you can rest easy knowing that your color choice won’t affect your roofing system’s longevity.  Experts agree that there’s no correlation between a roof’s lifespan and its color.  Manufacturers confirm that what makes a roof last for decades is proper care and maintenance as well as good, reliable ventilation.  Whatever heat your roof is absorbing, whether it be a light-colored roof or a dark-colored roof, the heat needs a place to escape.  Trapped heat can damage shingles, underlayment, and your attic.  Heat that is ventilated keeps the system in check, ensuring it will last for years, as its designed to.

Roofing Materials

The actual color of your roof does affect overall energy efficiency, but it’s not as significant as the material of the roof.  Roofing systems can be made from numerous different materials.  Popular roofing options are asphalt roofs (perhaps the most common), composite roofs (which are comprised of recycled materials and usually designed to look like slate), and the increasingly popular choice, metal roofs.

Metal roofs have one of the highest reflectivity ratings.  With a light color to go along with the naturally reflective material, metal roofs can be one of the most energy-efficient among roofing systems.

green metal tiled roof

Still, despite its growing popularity, metal roofs aren’t as ubiquitous as asphalt roofs.  Nearly 75% of homes in the United States sport asphalt roofs, making them a traditional and classic choice.  Asphalt roofs, as you’ve probably noticed, are typically darker in color.  Dark asphalt roofs aren’t as energy efficient as metal roofs but there are some specially manufactured shingles that have increased UV reflectivity.  You can also ask your roofing contractor to install shingles that are much lighter in color, which can drastically help with reducing UV absorption.

Meanwhile, composite roofs can be manufactured to varying degrees of energy-efficient types.  Much like asphalt roofs, choosing a lighter-colored composite roof can aid in reducing heat and UV absorption.  Darker composite roofs won’t dissipate heat as much as lighter colors.

Light versus Dark

While the color of your roof does matter in the way the system dissipates or absorbs heat and UV radiation, there are other factors to consider that will ultimately have a greater impact on your home’s energy efficiency.  Roofing materials and proper ventilation are arguably more important than shingle color, so if you have your heart set on a traditional black asphalt roof, go for it!  You can achieve energy efficiency still with a good ridge vent and reflective shingles.

Replacing your roof can be an expensive upgrade to your home. Let us help you in making that decision. At Feldco, we provide a breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof healthy for what mother nature decides to throw at it.  For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced, and professional to get the job done right. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote today.

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