Standard asphalt shingles range from middle tone to dark, and some homes go so far as to have black shingles. Darker colors, however, absorb a lot of heat. White shingles, by contrast, reflect light instead of absorbing it. This can keep the roof cool, which can have significant energy saving benefits.
Benefits of White Shingles
Many homeowners who turn to white roofs are concerned primarily with saving energy and money while reducing their home's carbon footprint. According to a study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture, the plywood beneath roofs with white shingles can be anywhere from 10 to 15 degrees cooler than roofs with black shingles at the peak of a sunny day. This temperature difference can have a significant impact on a home's cooling system.
Homes with "cool roofs" (white shingles) can save up to 40% on their cooling bills throughout the summer months. Dark and black colored roofs simply absorb so much heat that it affects the interior temperature of the home. This can even impact the expected lifespan of the home's air conditioner, which must work harder to keep up with the burden of cooling the home.
In addition, darker roofs go through damaging thermal cycles faster than white roofs. This contributes to the deterioration of the roof. In essence, darker roofs may not last as long as white roofs.
Other Factors to Consider
White roofs, though good for keeping the home cool, do have downsides. Homeowners considering installation of a white roof must consider these issues before making their final decision.
- Maintenance. White is a difficult color to keep clean and shows dirt easily. In urban areas where rainfall may have soot, and on properties with many nearby overhanging trees, white shingles will show all manner of debris and may require cleaning in order to look its best.
- Stains. Rust stains, chimney soot, fungus, moss and all other discolorations are very clear when they appear on white roofs.
- Replacement difficulties. White shingles are not as common as darker colored shingles. As a result, white shingles may not be readily available in home improvement centers and hardware stores. Replacement shingles for necessary repairs may be difficult to obtain.
- Resale considerations. White roofs are relatively uncommon, and home buyers may be deterred by the unknown when it comes time to sell.
Homeowners who want the full energy-saving benefits of a cool roof should turn to white shingles. However, homeowners who are afraid to take the leap with white shingles may still reap some of the energy saving benefits by choosing a lighter colored roof over a darker colored roof. To find out all the options, speak with a representative from your roofing company before moving forward with your roofing installation.