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Choosing the Colour of Your Roof: Simulation First

Last modified: 2022-09-07 | Approximate reading time 5 mins

Cynthia Pigeon

Is it high time to reroof your house? Have you now just embarked on a major DIY project and are debating between a few different roof coverings to bring your project to fruition? It's not an easy choice, especially since it’s a long-term investment and happens to be the most exposed part of your home. At this point, making a mistake isn’t an option, and you certainly don't want to have to live with a less-than-perfect result that will nag at you for the next 20 years to come.

A trained professional should be able to help you understand the difference between the various types of roofing materials and assist you in choosing the best option for your situation. However, when it comes to colour and aesthetics, there's no way to know if the roof finish will clash with the overall feel of your home. Fortunately, there is a way to test this aspect before completing your project. You may even be able to change your mind and opt for something that you didn't even know was an option!

Roof Colour: Making an Informed Decision

To blend or contrast the roof of your house with the façade, now that’s the real question! So, are you more of a lover of all things classic and timeless? If that speaks to your soul, you might opt for neutral-coloured shingles (or other materials like steel, slate, or recycled tires) in black, gray, or tan. Not your cup of tea? How about something a little more quirky or unusual? Blues, reds, and other brighter hues might just be your thing. Perhaps you may even be tempted to add a fade or design a geometric shape.

No matter your end goal, the whole idea is to put forward your home’s architecture. However, you may think your concept is pretty genius, but once you see it all together, the surrounding landscape might not quite be what you imagined, and it just isn't as flattering as you'd hoped. Something else to consider is that some cities have a strong heritage, and these require homeowners to meet certain criteria during any renovation project so that the materials chosen are compatible with the history of the building and the overall look of the street. Make sure you know what you’re doing from start to finish before you design something a little too out of the ordinary.  

steel roof colour palette_Choosing the Colour of Your Roof: Simulation First

Source: Bernd Hildebrandt - Pixabay

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One of the perks of reroofing is that you get to start from scratch. Meaning you can create a fresh new look that'll increase your property’s market value. You can even choose colours that’ll draw attention away from a part of the house that you don't like as much or that’ll conceal a flaw altogether.

When choosing a colour, don't immediately assume it’ll look exactly as it does on any material; a light blue won’t look the same on asphalt shingles as it’ll look on aluminum. Also, if your roof has several angles, dormers, chimneys, etc., these variations may not give the desired effect and the colour that you liked so much in the catalogue may be too much of an eye sore once applied.

The best way to avoid being disappointed is to test the selected materials beforehand!

Roof Colour: Simulation Sofware

Most manufacturers will give you samples to take home to see if the colour and textures match your home's siding, in daylight and at night. However, this option is a little more complex for a property that’s under construction or even at the design stage. This is where simulation tools come into play!

Many contractors, designers, roofers, and shingle distributors offer free computer software, such as Visualizer or ROOFViewer, on their respective websites or via an app to help narrow down your choices. Similarly, you can use 3D design software (Kozikaza, Sweet Home 3D, SketchUp, etc.) to generate a mock-up, but this technique is slightly more time-consuming and mainly used when you wish to view more than just the roof.

Having tested 3 different websites in preparation for writing this article, it's safe to say that they all work the same way. You either take a basic home model that has already been conceptualized from their database or import a photo. Then, you flip between the different colours and materials to generate a preview of the result, all within the comfort of your home.

This augmented reality-like technology is a bit limited; it’s mainly an overview of the outcome. Some software struggle to detect roof edges, especially if the photo has multiple elements such as dormers or different textures (for example, shingles on the upper end of a roof slope and steel at the lower end of a flat area). In addition, the available options for structural models, profiles, and colours depend on the software provider. If it's a manufacturer’s software program, you’ll only see the products they sell.

Nevertheless, it's easy to get an overview, see the neighbours, rotate 360°, and print your mock-ups. In the end, what matters is letting your imagination run wild and validating your choice before spending big bucks.

Moreover, since the technology’s constantly evolving, some of the more advanced software will be able to include a digital model made with a drone to make the project even more realistic in its setting, if it's not already the case. It's also possible to virtually add items related to your roof, such as gutters, sealing membranes, and so on.

roofing_Choosing the Colour of Your Roof: Simulation First

Source: Flickr

Roof Colour and Eco-Friendly Choices

The number one thing you need to do to save money and reduce your energy costs is to ensure that you have good insulation. In addition to this obvious fact, one thing that tends to be overlooked is that the colour of your roof can also impact your utility bill and the way your home benefits the environment.

Darker colours retain heat and help snow melt faster, while lighter shades will keep your home cooler.

Remember to choose a colour that won't result in too many heat islands around your property, especially if you live in a heavily populated area. You may even be able to earn some LEED points/credits by considering the adverse effects your choices may have. Don’t forget to bring this up during your digital simulations!

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