Dark vs. Light Shingles – Which Are Better For Your Home 

When designing or improving your home, the smallest color choices can feel impossible to decide between. And when selecting roofing shingles, it can be confusing to understand which is best for your home. With so many options available, it is best to know the key differences between dark and light shingles. 

Dark shingles are the most common and affordable type of shingle for your home. Light shingles are perfect for homes in hot climates as they reflect the sun’s heat. Dark shingles are ideal for cold climates and can help snow melt off your roof. However, shingles do not have a huge effect on the temperature of your home and mostly affect the aesthetic appearance.

If you want to be intentional about each decision that goes into your home, it is best to have a good understanding of every element of the choice. Dark and light shingles are pretty similar, but knowing the few differences can help you decide which is best for you. Follow along to learn about these shingles and the key components you should pay attention to.

Introduction to Dark Shingles 

Dark roof shingles are some of the most popular shingles found in U.S. homes. They come in a large variety of colors, but most houses opt for shingles somewhere on the grey color scale. Since they are so popular, many manufacturers make dark shingles making them very easy to find and affordable to buy.

People in extremely warm climates tend to stay away from dark shingles, as they can absorb heat and transfer it to the home. Opposingly, they are ideal for winter homes as the extra heat keeps the place warm. Although this is mostly true, the actual heating factor depends largely on how insulated the home is.

Whether you live in a warm or cool climate, if your home is well insulated the heat absorption from the shingles will only have a minor impact on your home. So if your home is well insulated the heating of these shingles is nothing to worry about. As it will not drastically degrade or improve your home.

The main reason people like dark shingles for their homes is for aesthetics. These shingles contrast well with light-colored homes and can help highlight features you want to be shown on your walls. Additionally, if there are imperfections on your roof the dark color hides them. To summarize, here is a small pros and cons chart for the use of dark shingles on your roof.

Keeps house warm in winterMore expensive
Pairs well with white paintHeats up home in summer
Many shades to choose from

Introduction to Light Shingles 

Light roof shingles are slightly less common for homes but have a lot of great qualities that make them worth considering. There are no material differences between light and dark shingles. Only differences in the pigment used for the outer layer. The light color makes a great aesthetic contrast to darkly painted houses.

One of the biggest possible perks of light shingles is that they can help cool your home in the summer. The slight pigment naturally reflects the suns heat rather than absorbing it. Which could lead to lower cooling bills and more comfort during the summer months. 

However, this largely depends on the insulation and ventilation of the home. If your home is well insulated, the color of the singles will not have a significant effect on the heat in your home. It is still something to consider, as it might make your home more environmentally efficient.

Some people thing that light-colored shingles last longer since the pigment does not get sun bleached as easily as dark shingles. This is not exactly proven, but could certainly be the case depending on the quality of the shingle. Light shingles could also reveal imperfections in the supporting structures on the roof. So you may want to consult with a roofing contractor before selecting these shades.

Keeps house cool in summerDoes not warm home in winter
Pairs well with dark paintsDisplays imperfections on roof
Lasts longer

Comparison of Dark and Light Shingles 

There are many things to compare with light and dark shingles in order to find the best one for your home. There are many companies and types of singles available to you, but knowing which side of the color spectrum you should get will help make the decision easier. Here we will look at the major differences between these shingles to find which is best for you!

The Temperature

The color of your roof can have a major impact on the temperature of your home, depending on how well-ventilated it is. More securely insulated and ventilated homes will moderate temperatures well on their own. So the color of the roof will not necessarily have a noticeable effect. But if you live in a very hot area, it can change those few degrees to make you more comfortable!

Depending on the color of the shingles, the temperature of your attic can fluctuate between 20 and 40 degrees. The heat in your attic will circulate through your house, changing the overall temperature. If you have no shade over your home and constantly high temperatures, a light-colored shingle is best for you. 

However, if you live in a particularly cold area, dark shingles can absorb light and move it into your home. The cooling effects of light singles are far more noticeable than the warming effect of dark shingles. The dark shingles will also help melt the snow off of your roof. These make it ideal to have dark shingles for homes in cold locations.

If you live in a climate that experiences extreme high and low temperatures, getting a grey-colored shingle may be best. That way some extra heat is reflected in the summer and absolved in the winter. The quality of your insulation is the major determinant of how your home moderates inside temperatures. But different colored shingles can help just enough to make your home more efficient against the weather.

The Longevity 

In your hunt for the perfect roof shingles, you have probably come across this statement. Dark shingles break down from sunlight faster than light singles, due to their absorption of light and heat. This is a logical assumption to make, but unfortunately, it is not true. Lots of testing have been done to prove the color of shingles does not affect their lifespan.

The only thing that truly affects the lifespan of roof shingles is the material and quality of these items. If the longevity of the shingles of your roof is important to you it is better to look into the type of shingles you want rather than the color. Durable shingles are cost and energy efficient, keeping your house comfortable and preventing the need for constant repairs.

Your home’s ventilation is important for the longevity of the shingles. If your roof or attic gets very hot very often, you can see damage evolve quickly. Poor ventilation can also lead to moisture build-up which can cause certain shingles to rot with mildew. Consulting roof contractors can help you determine which shingles would be best for your home in these areas. Getting good quality shingles is the best way to ensure they have a long lifespan.

The Appearance 

The most major element of shingles and what they can do for your home relates to their appearance! Especially if you are building a new home, the color of your shingles can help you customize the outward appearance of your house. Matching shingles with your paint color can help the whole aesthetic come together.

Generally speaking, light-colored shingles are a fun contrast to dark-colored homes. The contrast is appealing to the eyes and makes for an interesting overall look. From there it is a matching dilemma. Light grey or tan colored shingles tend to go with any color of the house. You will also find many variations to perfectly match them with your home.

Now dark shingles are more popular than light ones as they tend to match much better with any kind of paint. It is certainly a safe choice, but you still will have a ton of options to choose from. For example, dark green tiles are uncommon and give a fun pop of color to a beige-colored house!

The Cost 

If the cost of shingles is what concerns you most, the price difference is practically none between the shades of light and dark. Both light and dark shingles run between $1 and $4 per square foot, and this price mostly sets on the quality of the shingle.

This is great for buyers, as you do not need to pick a color based on its expense. So no shade is really more expensive than the other, and you should mostly focus on the quality for the price!

Final Decision: Dark or Light Shingles?

Picking the best shingle for yourself mostly depends on your environment and the quality of the shingle you are looking at. Dark shingles are best for cold environments and houses painted in a light color. Light shingles are best for houses in hot climates and are a fun contrast to darkly painted houses. 

If your house is poorly insulated the color can help with the inside temperature, but well build houses will not see a large temperature difference.

The cost of the different shades is practically the same between light and dark shades, so you can worry more about the quality of the shingles. In summary, you will want to make your selection based on how well it matches your home and environment!

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