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Shingle Color - Efficiency and Performance

Updated on March 13, 2011

Asphalt shingles remain the most popular roofing material on the market today because of their ease of installation and their relatively low cost. There are different shingle types and colors, however, that effect longevity and performance.

Three Tab Shingles

These are the staple of the asphalt shingle industry. Pictured above, these shingles are roughly $50 per square (10' x 10' area = 1 square). They usually last 10 to 12 years regardless of rating before replacement is necessary. Color does not extend or hinder performance or longevity.

Architectural Shingles

These shingles are basically two three tab shingles laminated together in an offsetting pattern to look like slate or cedar shake. These shingles are roughly $80-$100 per square. They usually last their stated value. In other words, if they are a 30 year shingle, they will generally last 30 years before replacement is necessary.

Shingle Color

Even though shingle color does not affect longevity, it does affect efficiency. The closer a shingle is to white, the more reflective the surface is and therefore more efficient. The closer a shingle is to black, the more absorbing it is and therefore less efficient. Shingle color can vary the attic temperature of a house by 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit depending on your climate and time of year. This could reduce your cooling bills by 10-25% depending on current attic insulation, the square footage of the roof, house orientation, and attic insulation value and material.

Generally speaking, there is little reason to want to absorb heat from the attic so the lighter shingles will always be the more efficient choice. You will have to decide for yourself what kind of performance you want out of your roof and what look you prefer.

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      Home improvement 7 years ago

      Dark shingles should last as long as lighter shingles given that they are installed on a house that has a properly vented attic. Proper attic ventilation is the key component to a longer lasting roof.