Do Colored Metal Roofs Absorb or Reflect Heat?

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Metal roofing is available in multiple colors and configurations and provides protection from the elements to homeowners. Additionally, the properties of metal insulate less than other types of roofing, such as composite and wood shingles. While this cuts down on heat absorbed from sunlight, some shades of colored metal roofing still absorb quantities of heat.

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White and Light Colors

White is the most reflective color, and white metal roofing can actually lower the ambient temperature in the home by reflecting more of the sun’s rays into the environment. Still, the shine of bright white on a roof is imposing and can take away from the overall aesthetic of the house. Light colors such as off-white, light yellow and light gray do not reflect as much heat as white, but they reflect enough to lower the ambient temperature to a lesser extent.

Cool Neutrals

Slightly darker and muted shades that tend toward the blue side of the color spectrum are called cool neutrals. These colors, when applied to metal and other roofing materials, do not absorb or reflect a great deal of heat from the sun. This means the color does not significantly increase or decrease the temperature of the home. Still, cool neutrals such as medium and muted green, blue and gray retain less heat on metal roofing, because metal roof panels and shingles do not insulate as well as wood and asphalt shingles.

Warm Neutrals

On the other end of the spectrum, warm neutrals also feature a neutral effect on the temperature. Colors in the warm neutral category include muted tones of red, pink, beige and light shades of brown. Metal roofing painted with these colors does not significantly increase or decrease the temperature of the home.

Black and Dark Colors

Of course, metal comes in a variety of enamel colors, including dark browns, dark grays and black. These colors absorb the heat energy from sunlight and raise the temperature of the home. Unlike black tar shingles or roll roofing, however, the metal is less insulating and doesn’t retain as much heat from the absorption. Still, slight increases in temperature are possible because of the nature of the color.

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