Building Tips

Five Things to Consider When Choosing a Roof Color

GAF Timberline HD Charcoal on our current house

From the beginning, Henry and I had in our minds we were for sure going with cedar shake roofing. After comparing prices, on cedar vs composite, and learning more about the upkeep and cons associated with cedar, we quickly decided to go the composite route.

Then we started looking at the designer composite shingles, but after much thought and research, decided that even though they look really cool, we couldn’t justify the price difference.

Since we had finally decided the type of shingle we were going to use, all we had to do was choose a color. Easy, right? Well, not for us. We have changed our minds so many times throughout this process. It didn’t help that we had lots of extra time to make our decision. As our new build progression has been going a little slowly due to weather, we had a few extra weeks to make up our mind.

Throughout all of our crazy mind changing, considering these five things ultimately helped us choose a roof color.

Neighborhood Restictions

The very first thing to consider is neighborhood restrictions. Some neighborhoods have guidelines and restrictions that only allow you to choose from certain exterior roofing colors and materials. This will for sure give you a starting point or even make for a quick decision in some cases.

If your neighborhood doesn’t have any restrictions on roofing, you may want to ask yourself if you are going to stick to the overall look of the neighborhood or be different.

Where You Live/Climate

This is one I didn’t even think about until we started looking for shingles this go around. The color of your shingle can make a huge difference in the heating and cooling of your home. Due to the color, it can change your attic temperature anywhere from 20-40 degrees.

I guess this makes sense, but I just never thought about it. So, if you choose a darker roof, your home will stay warmer and absorb the heat more. Choosing a lighter shingle will allow for your home to stay cooler.

This would be a huge factor if you were living in an extreme climate area. Because we live in an area with drastic season change, this wasn’t a huge issue for us.

Your Home’s Architectural Design

Example of designer shingles. Home by: McCown Design

Choosing a shingle should compliment the design of your home. For instance, if you are building a modern farmhouse, a cedar shake shingle would not normally look the best with this type of design.

Also, choosing a darker roof tends to make the home look smaller, while a lighter one makes it look a bit larger. But, the overall look and feel of the roof needs to flow well with the design of your exterior.

Color Availability

Color availability within your area can be a huge factor. This is important to check on upfront before you start narrowing it down. Some colors and styles are not in stock and may take lots longer to arrive, that is if they can even get. Lots of companies offer websites that will allow you to check this upfront. That makes the choosing much easier.

View What it Looks Like

Much like paint, I always suggest going online and looking up inspiration pictures of homes with the same shingles your interested in. This is also available on many company websites. Some even offer a visual tool to see different roof color and styles on a variety of homes. This is not only fun, but very helpful!

I would also highly recommend driving around and seeing first hand different shingle combinations with different exteriors. Find some of your favorite neighborhoods, grab a coffee, and make a date night out of it. Well, maybe not a date “night” since shingles are hard to see in the dark.

So now that I have went on about the things you should consider while choosing a roof color, the ultimate question is: what color did we choose for our new build? We chose Owens Corning Duration Onyx Black.

We loved the bold color and deep contrast. We also felt like with either brick option we choose, painted brick or a lime wash look, the Onyx Black would look great. It is very versatile and we truly feel like it will compliment our black windows and the overall style we are going for.

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  • Reply Julie Gordon

    Hi and sorry … but this post has me confused. The pic at the top says ‘our house in GAF Timberline HD charcoal’, yet in the blog text you say you chose Owens Corning Onyx Black. Can you possibly clarify? I am just trying to make a similar decision.


    October 7, 2019 at 4:49 pm
  • Reply Brooke

    Hello Julie! The top picture is our current house in which we built and currently live in…it has GAF Timberline HD Charcoal shingles. We are in the process of building another home and we chose Owens Corning Onyx Black shingles. This one is under construction and is not pictured above, but you can find it on our Instagram Page under story highlights. I hope this helps!

    October 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Julie Gordon

    Yes! Thank you. One more question… if you don’t mind. Is there any particular reason you are using the OC and not GAF this time? I am considering both, but have only been able to view the GAF on a house in my neighbourhood…. But my roofer prefers OC. I just want to feel confident it will have a similar look.

    Thanks again and I will check out your IG now.


    October 7, 2019 at 8:22 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hey Julie! There really wasn’t any big reason we decided to go with OC. It does have a little of a different look, but Im sure both are great quality.

      October 8, 2019 at 12:01 pm
  • Reply Julie Gordon

    Thanks again Brooke. I also should have said this earlier — your home is stunning. Beautiful choices. Thanks for sharing your progress!

    October 9, 2019 at 2:22 pm
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