Why are Roofs Black? (What You Need to Know)

You may not have thought about it before, but why do you suppose roofs / roofing shingles are black in color? The simple reason is that black attracts the rays of the sun (heat), while lighter colors reflect it. This means that black roofs are the ideal choice for cooler climates, as they help retain heat inside.

The opposite is true of course in hot climates, which is why you may see roofs that are brighter in color in countries with nice warm weather.

Roof Color and Temperature

In the case of heating your home, a darker roof helps you to lower your home heating bills, as a greater amount of light absorbed by the dark roof increases the temperature of your house more than lighter colors.

The opposite is the case if you live in a hot country – lighter roofs will lead to less demand on cooling systems such as air conditioners, and will help you sleep easier at night.

While some people may prefer a darker roof as it blends into its surroundings a lot more, a black roof may reach temperatures of over 150°F (65 degrees Celsius) on a hot day, which is going to mean your attic or upstairs bedrooms are going to feel particularly warm, especially in the late afternoon and evening.

sun's rays hitting roof with solar panels

What Else to Consider?

When choosing a roof color, consider the climate you are living in and what your needs are. You may need to look at cooling systems if you do want that darker colored roof and you live in a hot climate.

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In addition to roof color, the type of roof and material used also affects temperature. Metal and rubber are less reflective than white thermoplastic roofing, for example, which can reflect more than 80% of the sun’s rays.

Of course, design preferences will play a part too. You may want a darker roof to make your home look more snug, or for a more subtle feel. Lighter roofs will make a house look bigger and more imposing and striking.

Whatever you choose, I feel the biggest factor is how hot it gets where you live. Choose wisely!