5 Best Ways to Choose your Roof Colour

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PLEASE NOTE THE COMMENTS SECTION IS CLOSED ON THIS POST. If you need help choosing a roof colour, you can take advantage of my Exterior Colour Solutions.

About a year before I started writing this blog (in 2007), I was partners with another interior designer and we were specifying finishes for spec homes. One day we were sitting in a meeting with the builders who had hired us, discussing exterior colour and I calmly announced that “All [asphalt] roofs should be black”.  All four of them looked at me, nodding in agreement.

One of the biggest reasons why I like a black roof so much is because I have rarely seen an asphalt brown roof that doesn’t look patchy. In fact, I’m pretty convinced they don’t make one anymore. If the first thing you notice is the colour of the roof when you drive up to your house, that’s a good indication that it may not have been the best choice.

Obviously, exceptions to black would be in hot climates where it would attract too much heat or with a natural shake roof which obviously will never be black or when building a Mediterranean style home, for example. And if you have too much roof, black would be too heavy. Read on for a good example of what I mean by that.

However, every house is different and don’t assume your roof should be black just because you’ve read this post. I’m saying often it’s the best choice, but it’s still not like a pair of jeans that go with everything.

Those of you who regularly read my blog will know by now that I approach choosing permanent elements like tile, countertops and backsplash from a classic perspective and exterior fixed elements are no exception.

Here are some good guidelines to keep in mind when choosing your roof. After all, your roof, depending on what material you’re using will last much longer than a paint job.

1. For the average, traditional house, stay away from an overtly coloured roof. Here are some exceptions, notice they are very customized to the specific style of the home.

How to Choose your roof Colour

The blue green slate roof and coordinating shutters work perfectly with the look and feel of this French country exterior. If I lived in this house, I would be very happy with these colours forever.

How to choose your roof Colour

An orange clay tiled roof is usually on a spanish, Mediterranean or French Country style home. See this post for more on Mediterranean exterior colours.

How to Choose your roof Colour

The red roof with blue and white siding works with the nautical feel of this contemporary home.
How to Choose your roof colour

This cottage style house with the river rock chimney and coordinating siding colour looks great with the green standing seam metal roof. The setting suits the house. The green roof doesn’t yell ‘Look at me, look at me’, because everything looks totally pulled together including the bench in front of the window.

2. If the style of your home does not dictate choosing a colour choose a dark neutral. This is the one place where your roof colour should be neutral and not colourful. 

Black Roof

The siding on this house relates to the stone and the roof is just neutral in the background. Black/charcoal works on this house because the design is not roof heavy.

Dark Exterior

This house has so much roof that the black was a bad choice. Of course the heavy, blotchy look of the decorative stone and black trim combined, add to the bleak feel of this home.

3. If you have a stone or brick house that will never change colour, that’s when your roof colour should be very carefully chosen.

How to Choose your roof Colour

The earthy gold stone on this house combined with the creamy beige brick dictate a very custom coloured roof but this roof is reddish pink and again looks patchy. I’m not a fan of combining stone or brick in general however I think this is a better combination than many I’ve seen.

Unfortunately, the roof colour no longer blends in with this colour scheme. A solid, grayed spanish style roof to go with the French Country style of this home would have been better.

How to Choose your Roof Colour

One of my readers snapped this picture of a house being built in her neighbourhood. There are way too many high end homes that look like this. NOT classic at all with two completely unrelated colours of brick and/or stone chosen for the same house.

From what I understand from clients who I’ve consulted with, there are neighbourhoods where you don’t have a choice. It’s in the covenant that you must choose a combination. And if someone else has already chosen the best combination of brick and stone, you are left with the alternatives and there are not many.

How to Choose your Roof Colour

This house is lovely. The stone walkway relates to the solid brown standing seam metal roof which is perfect with the creamy stone.

4. If you have brick or stone or both on your home, that’s when the colour of your roof becomes the most important decision you will make regarding the exterior colours of your home. And that’s when a custom colour will most likely be required over black or brown.

Navy House

Both the roof and the stone on the house combined with the stacked stone columns create a very busy colour scheme. And the navy blue siding relates to nothing.

Patchy roof with stone

This patchy brown roof on this house only competes with the busy stone on this home and creates an overall dark looking combination.

The reason why brown roofs are the most popular is the same reason why there is more pink-beige carpet and sofas sold than any other colour.

Homeowners who are on their own choosing finishes mostly assume that they need to go as neutral as possible so they don’t make a mistake.

What colour is the most neutral? Brown seems to be the answer in my experience.

Or light brown which is actually pink-beige because that’s the colour you end up with. It looks warm and neutral on a small scale sample until it’s installed all over your house, inside or outside.

5. A general guideline to follow when choosing an asphalt roof is to choose a darker colour than the body of your house. There’s something grounded and solid about the look that I think really works and reads more classic. Unless of course your house is a very dark colour or as we saw above, there’s more roof than siding, then a lighter roof is necessary. 

If you are incorporating stone which is generally much more patterned than brick on your exterior, stay away from patchy, blotchy asphalt in general.

Asphalt roof manufacturers no longer seem to sell solid coloured roofs because they have become more focused on trying to create the ‘dimension and texture’ naturally created by Mediterranean roof tiles, shake or slate roofs, however unless you have a very plain home, the added combination of a multi-coloured asphalt roof with other textures on your home can add up to BUSY.

A well planned and coordinated colour scheme will create a sense of harmony in the colours and building materials so choose carefully because everyone will notice.

If you need help choosing a roof colour, you can take advantage of my Exterior Colour Solutions

Related posts:

Can you Mix Brick and Stone on your Exterior?

The Best Exterior Trim Colours NOT Cloud White

Why Good People Choose Bad Colours for their Exterior

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk up to the front door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  1. GREETINGS FROM KENTUCKY
    I HAVE A WHITE BRICK RANCH HOME,
    WHAT COLOR ROOF?
    PLEASE!

  2. Hi,
    I’m having a very difficult time selecting a roof for my home. I can’t believe the colours roofers suggest, and I think most are colour-blind. I have a muli-colour brick home and I want a solid colour roof but, as you say, texture’s big now and so even a black or brown shingle looks busy with my brick. What can I do? I really need a roof soon. Happy to send a photo…
    Thanks,
    Lori

  3. Choosing a roof color is mind boggling! I have an Alaskan white split level with dark blue (not navy) shutters and a lighter blue front door. The foundation, deck and fence are brown. We are going with architectural shingles and I was thinking I want brown but am afraid it will end up being too busy as I look at samples. What would you suggest for a calm, pleasing to the eye roof?

  4. Here in New Zealand I have just painted my iron roof. I wanted the classic black or dark charcoal with white siding, but it would have been far too hot in our summers. I went with Dulux ‘River Gum’ (NZ paint brand), but I am now flummoxed what colour to paint the trim 🙁

  5. This is the worst article I’ve read on shingle color choosing. Some of the pics above have the exact shingle they should have to go with the rest of the house. And using the word patchy couldn’t be more wrong! Patchy with shingles refers to having patches done where shingles have been damaged or blown off, and the new ones stand out against the old ones. Multi-color maybe….

  6. Hi Maria I need help deciding a roof color we have a brick house Orange red color brick with Siding on the peak in the front and on the two ends of our home. The siding is a taupe color. Corning is the company our roofer is using. We live in the midwest and the summers can be hot so I was shying away from black. Any suggestions would be great. We had a tree fall on our roof so it has to be rebuilt and then we can put on the new shingles. The soffit is white the gutters will be relplaced also. They are white right now. Would love your input on this.

  7. I cannot disagree with this article more. I came across this when trying to decide if I should go with a black roof for my home, or a weathered wood. I’m so glad we steered away from black. I consider myself pretty good with choosing colors and I’m not sure why you would give this advice to people. Some houses, black would clash! If they have brown features, black is not a good choice. My house has dark brown brick and natural clay siding. It has black shutters and the way my house is laid out, if we slapped a black roof on my entire house would look black and drabbish.

  8. I have a medium gray toned house(vinal siding) with red brick. Will a rustic hickory roof look good? I want something different than a traditional gray roof.

  9. I have a all white Victorian home. The porches are painted grey and overhangs on porches are light blue. I need to choose a roof color ASAP. The home is 3 stories with a lot of roof. There are some turrets and super tall hip roof. The roof color is currently brown or driftwood. I hate it. Do you still recommend black?