New call-to-action
The Metal Roofing and Siding Blog

Helpful information for homeowners, building owners, and anyone interested in metal roofing and siding

Blog Home

Posted by McElroy Metal ● Feb 6, 2024 8:00 AM

From Black to Forest Green: Picking the Perfect Roof Replacement Color

When deciding which materials and colors to use for their roof replacement project, some people choose the same type of roofing they had before. That’s a simple solution that simplifies the decision-making process, but it’s not for everyone.

Replacing your roof is a fantastic opportunity to try something new, improve the look of your home, upgrade the materials used, and more. If you do choose to do something new, color will definitely be a factor. Here’s what you need to know about color and your roof.

Architectural Color Chip DeckArchitectural Styles and Roof Color

When selecting a roof color for your residential home, it's essential to align it with the architectural style, as it plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal. There are many architectural styles and here are a few listing the corresponding roof color considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Craftsman homes are characterized by their warm and inviting design, often featuring natural materials such as wood and stone. For these homes, earthy and muted tones like green, deep brown, or terracotta can complement the natural elements. Opt for roof colors that harmonize with these palettes, such as a rustic brown or a mossy green.

Modern homes have clean lines and minimalistic design and often showcase contrasting elements. To complement the sleek and dramatic appearance of modern architecture, consider darker and bolder roof colors like charcoal gray, deep black, or even metallic shades. These choices can add a contemporary and sophisticated touch.

Colonial homes are known for their timeless elegance and symmetry. A classic white or off-white exterior pairs well with a dark roof color, such as black, deep gray, or dark brown. This combination accentuates the traditional and stately appearance of Colonial-style residences.

Mediterranean-style homes typically feature stucco exteriors, terracotta tiles, and vibrant color palettes inspired by the Mediterranean region. To complement this style, choose roof colors like terracotta, clay red, or warm beige. These hues can evoke a sense of Mediterranean charm and authenticity.

Victorian homes are renowned for their ornate detailing and eclectic color schemes. When selecting a roof color for a Victorian-style home, consider rich and opulent options like burgundy, forest green, or slate blue. These choices can enhance the ornate features and intricate designs of Victorian architecture.

Cross-Lake-sizedContemporary homes often embrace a mix of materials and design elements. Roof color choices can vary widely, but neutral tones like light gray, soft taupe, or pale blue can complement the versatile and innovative aspects of contemporary architecture. These colors provide a clean and cohesive look.

Ranch-style homes emphasize a low, horizontal profile and simplicity. To enhance their unpretentious charm, opt for roof colors like light brown, sandstone, or warm beige. These neutral tones blend seamlessly with the laid-back and spacious nature of Ranch-style residences.

The architectural style of your home should help guide your choice of roof color. By considering the unique characteristics and context of your home's design, you can select a roof color that not only complements the style but also enhances the overall visual appeal of your residence.

Researching your specific architectural style (there are tons of home photos with metal roofs online and in our photo gallery) and consulting with local roofing contractors can help you make a well-informed decision for your roof replacement project.

The Psychological and Aesthetic Impact of Color

Most people know that colors can affect the way we feel. We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t paint your bedroom red because it’s not conducive to restful sleep or that hospital walls are pale green because it’s soothing and calming.

Color is such a big factor in decision-making that companies intentionally choose colors to evoke certain emotions in their customers. Some common color assumptions include:

  • Orange is cheerful and optimistic
  • Red is bold and exciting
  • Purple is creative, wise, and imaginative
  • Blue is a strong, dependable color
  • Green is generally associated with nature, health, wellness, and peace
  • Grey and neutral tones are usually seen as calm and balanced

Consequently, color is a big consideration in all of our decisions, including roof replacement.

It’s important to note that depth and hue make a big difference, too. For instance, a dark, deep forest green might be peaceful and serene, but lime green definitely is not! So, it’s not just the color you choose but also the shade and tone.

reflectivityRoof Color and Energy Efficiency

It's important to realize that your roof is in the sun all day, every day, and the roofing color you select can directly impact your energy costs.

Consequently, it's important to understand the terms reflectivity and emissivity. 

Reflectivity

The sun’s rays are made up of light and heat, and in this situation, it’s the behavior of light that you want to pay attention to.

Light is made up of different colors, which you probably saw in high school science when you worked with prisms.

Different colors react to those invisible colors in the light differently, with lighter colors tending to reflect more colors in any beam of light and darker colors absorbing more of them. White usually reflects the most light, while on the other side of the spectrum, black absorbs most of the colors that make up a beam of light, which is why darker-colored roofs can lead to higher energy costs.  

Emissivity

Any solar energy that isn't reflected back into the atmosphere is absorbed into the outer layer of the roofing product and converted into heat. Based on their composition, some products release this heat quicker than others. This value is referred to as the emissivity of a product.

A cool metal roof with high solar reflectivity and high thermal emittance has a lower surface temperature compared to a roof with low reflectance and low emittance, such as shingles. In the case of a cool metal roof, a lower surface temperature translates into less heat gain in the attic space or living space below the roof.  The result is a cooler living space and lower cooling/heating energy consumption.

When you are considering energy efficiency and color, consider your climate, too. Having a darker roof might not be a deal breaker if you live in a milder climate. But if you live in a very hot climate, choose a lighter, cooler option for your roof replacement project.

Roof Color Trends

The next thing you want to consider when choosing a color for your roof replacement project is trends.

If you drive around newer parts of your city or town, you’ll be able to see what’s trending in the roofing world in your area and the kinds of homes different colors tend to use.

In 2023, black was the most popular color for metal roofing; however, light and dark browns, blues, greens, and off-white shades were common choices, too.

It’s important to remember that trends come and go, and if you've chosen a product with a long life expectancy, such as metal roofing, you will need to live with your color choice for upwards of 50-60 years.  

That's why we recommend avoiding trends and following your personal style. If you love a particular color – deep red or dark grey- you should go with your gut – after all, it’s your home! So don’t be afraid to stick with classic, muted shades that will look good for years and decades to come.

Log CabinThe Longevity of Color

We're often asked if there are specific colors of metal roofing that last longer or fade quicker than others. When it comes to ensuring your roof replacement retains its color as long as possible, the paint system you select is more important than the color itself.

Just like all products, you'll find various qualities of metal roofing.  We often refer to these levels in a Good, Better, Best scenario.  Products on the mid and lower end of the scale tend to show extreme fade and chalk in just a few years, while panels in the Best category, coated with Kynar 500®, keep their like-new shine and curb appeal for decades. To learn more about these coating levels and the anticipated performance of each, give this a read.

It's also important that you commit to regular roof maintenance on your replacement roof. If you leave things like leaves or debris lying on one part of any roof for a very long time, there’s a good chance you will see a difference in fading between the two areas.

Roofs should be properly inspected, repaired, maintained, and cleaned regularly to ensure no external factors affect the color and longevity of your roof.

Technology and Choosing Roof Color

Replacing any roof is a big investment and a big commitment, so it’s not something you want to rush into.

Fortunately, these days, you can use technology-based tools to “try before you buy.” For example, check out our Visualizer feature to view different roof colors and product styles for your home.

Whatever you do, don’t rush into any color choices, and don’t let anyone pressure you into choosing a color you don’t love. You’ll be living with your replacement roof for many years, so you must choose something you love.

New call-to-action

Learn everything you need to know about Residential Metal Roofing. Check out our metal roofing resources for inspiration and answers to your questions.

About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.

Topics: Roof Replacement

Comments on this article:

Scroll down to the bottom to submit a comment and join the conversation. Need to speak to an expert? Please contact us. Looking for a distributor or contractor? Please click here to get started.