"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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More about choice of colour. A badly worn or aging roof can make even the tidiest home look unkempt. But few homeowners recognize the dramatic impact of roof color and style.
If the color of your home's siding, stone or brick is permanent or can't be changed easily, be sure to select a complementary roof color. In general it's best to avoid mixing brown and gold tones with grays or blacks, and to keep blue and green hues away from red and rose tones.


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Dark or Light Coloured Shingles?
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The asphalt in roof shingles retains heat and heat breaks down the shingle and shortens its lifespan. Therefore a nail-over (new asphalt shingles installed over the old ones) is an absolutely no-no. With a nail-over there is more asphalt, more heat retention and more deterioration. A nail-over will shorten the life expectancy of the shingle by up to 30%. Having said this lets go back to to determine what is better, light or dark coloured shingles.
It is a well known fact that dark coloured shingles absorb the most heat while light coloured shingles reflect more heat. Light shingles will lower the attic temperature and may help you save on cooling costs. Dark shingles may help heating the home in cold climates and also will assist with snow melt. If you insist on having dark coloured shingles in a hot climate make sure that you have more than adequate attic ventilation. To learn more about ventilation click here.
During my 25+ years of inspecting homes I have seen many many bad roofs and almost always it was the dark coloured shingles that showed the worst for wear and tear. Have a look at the photo. The shingles are curling and in many places worn down to the felt with almost no granules left.



I'm pretty sure that this roof would be in much better shape if a light coloured shingle would have been used. By the way, all asphalt shingles are made of black asphalt, it is the choice of granules that determines the colour.
The verdict. Use light coloured shingles in hot climates and dark coloured shingles in cold climates.

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