As we get closer to the hottest part of summer, everyone wants to know how they can keep their home the coolest without spending too much on those energy bills. What if we told you that your roof could actually have an effect on the temperature of your home?
Believe it or not, it’s true. There are a number of different roofing factors that can change the amount of heat that’s either absorbed into your home or reflected off. It’s important to note that these factors don’t change in the winter, either. Roofs that absorb more heat in the summer will also absorb more heat in the winter, which can actually be a wonderful positive when it comes to melting snow and keeping your home toasty warm in the winter. Let’s look at the four most important roofing factors that affect the temperature of your home:
Color of your roof
As you’ve probably heard from many, the color of your roof does affect how much heat is absorbed into your attic. A federal study has shown that the plywood under dark roofs in direct sunlight is consistently 10 to 15°F hotter than the plywood boards under light colored roofs. If you think back to your elementary science class, it’s pretty easy to figure out why—darker colors tend to absorb more light, trapping heat in the roof, and allowing it to flow into your attic. Lighter colors, on the other hand, are reflective and cause much of the heat to from light rays to bounce off, meaning they hold much less heat than a darker roof.
At this point you might be thinking, then why do I see so many dark colored roofs? And the answer is because they’re still practical in a lot of areas around the country, especially in places like Michigan. In colder areas that get a lot of snow, it can often be beneficial to have a darker roof, because the heat they absorb helps melt off snow before it gets too heavy. While the color of your roof does change the amount of heat that’s absorbed into your home, there are so many other factors that can change your home’s interior temperature that you shouldn’t shy away from a darker roof color if that’s what your prefer.
The material of your roof can also have a big impact on how much heat is absorbed into your home. For example, an asphalt roof only reflects an estimated 30% of light that hits your home, regardless of if you have dark or light shingles. Conversely, a metal roof is very reflective, which means that a majority of light rays are reflected away from your home, keeping your home and attic at an even temperature year round. Though these are the top two most common types of roofing material, every option, from tile roofs to concrete flat roofs, offer a different rate of light and heat absorption. If you have a favorite roofing material that you’d really like to install in your new home, but are worried about its energy efficiency, it’s good to know that most materials do have a cool roof option.
Cool roofs are a great way to get the roofing color and material that you wanted, at a better energy efficiency rate. A cool roof is a roof that has been designed to absorb less heat and reflect more sunlight than a standard roof. Some roofing materials come in “cool roof” options, and others can be altered with a highly reflective type of paint or coating to absorb less heat. In most cases, a cool roof will stay at least 50°F cooler than a non-cool roof of the same color and construction. Though these materials often cost a bit more upfront, if you’re looking for energy savings, that’s what you’ll get. These types of roofs are sure to keep your home nice and cool, even on the hottest days of summer. They’re a great way to reduce air conditioning needs and save a bit of money on your energy bill.
Roof and attic construction
It’s important to note that regardless of what type of roofing material you end up with, roofing construction and attic ventilation are the two most important factors that go into keeping your home a comfortable temperature. Any quality roofer will tell you that proper roof ventilation is the best way to ensure that your home stays cool in the summer. If your home is well-built, and your attic has the right amount of insulation, and ventilation so that excess heat can escape, then the heat coming in from the roof really shouldn’t have a major impact on the temperature of the rest of your home. Proper ventilation should provide cooling properties for your roof’s shingles, while insulation will keep any excess heat from reaching past your attic.
In the end, it’s important to choose a roof that works best for your home first. While shingle color, roofing material, and technology all can have an impact on the temperature of your home, a good roofer should be able to mitigate those temperature differences with quality construction. If you’re looking for a local roofer you know you can trust to build you a high-quality West Michigan roof, then give the experts at Werner Roofing a call. We’ve been in the business for decades and would be happy to install your new roof, whether you prefer dark shingles, light shingles, or a standing seam metal roof.