After withstanding chilly winters and scorching summers, many West Michigan homeowners want to know how they can keep their homes at a comfortable temperature without spending too much on energy bills. What if we told you that your roof actually plays a big role in that process?

Believe it or not, it’s true. There are a number of different residential roofing factors that can change the amount of heat that’s either absorbed into your home or reflected off of it. We’ll take a look at a few of them below. 

4 Roofing Factors that Affect the Temperature of Your Home

It might seem impossible to have a house that feels cool and refreshing on a hot August day and feels warm and cozy during a January snowstorm. But it’s not. With the right roof, you can enjoy moderate temperatures within your home throughout the whole year. Here are four of the factors that play into it. 

1. Roofing Material

Your roofing material has an incredible impact on how much heat is absorbed into or reflected off of your home. Take asphalt vs. metal roofing materials for example: 

  • An asphalt roof reflects an estimated 30% of the light that hits your home, regardless of color.
  • A metal roof is highly reflective, which means that a majority of light rays are reflected away from your home, keeping it at an even temperature year-round. 

These are just the top two most common types of roofing materials — but every option, from tile to wood shakes, offers a different rate of light and heat absorption. So if you have a favorite roofing material that you’d really like to install in your new home, it’s good to first understand how it will perform. That way, you’ll end up with both a roof style you like and a comfortable living experience. 

2. Roofing Technology

If you really like a certain roofing material’s appearance but aren’t thrilled about its performance and energy efficiency features, there is a solution: cool roofs. 

A cool roof is a roof that’s 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 — allowing you to get the roofing style you want, but at a better energy efficiency rate. 

Although cool roof technologies cost a bit more upfront, you’ll make that money back in no time with energy savings. 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.

3. Color of Your Roof

Yup, even the color of your roof can affect the temperature of your home. In fact, 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 more heat in the roof, and allowing it to flow into your attic and down through your home. Lighter colors, on the other hand, are reflective and cause much of the heat from light rays to bounce off, meaning they hold much less heat than a darker roof.

All of this may lead you to wonder, “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 the snow before it gets too heavy. 

The bottom line here? Roof color affects home temperature but it isn’t the most prominent factor — especially in our climate. It’s more important to get a roof color that suits your home, and that you like. 

4. Roof Construction & Attic Ventilation

So what is the most important factor in how your roof affects your home’s temperature? The combination of roof construction and attic ventilation.

Any reputable roofing contractor 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.

Install a High-Performing Roof with Werner Roofing

In the end, it’s important to choose a roof that works best for your home first. While roofing material, technology, and color can all have an impact on the temperature of your home, a good roofing company should be able to mitigate those temperature differences with quality construction techniques. 

If you’re looking for a local West Michigan roofing company you know you can trust to build a durable, well-performing roof, get in touch with our experts at Werner Roofing. We’ve been in the business for decades and would be happy to install your new roof — no matter what your style, performance, or cost preferences may be. 

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