Welcome to our guide to black roof shingles pros & cons including what they are, their benefits and answers to popular questions. When building a home or replacing an existing roof, choosing the type of roof shingles includes important options such as durability and how many years the roof is rated to last.
The most common roof shingles are made from a mixture of asphalt and other materials to reinforce the shingles, such as fiberglass, cellulose, or wood.
Homeowners also need to select the roof shingle style and color to compliment the home. Black roof shingles were the most common roof shingles used years ago.
Once homeowners decided they wanted to match the look of a more expensive roof, such as wooden roof shingles, they turned to brown and multicolor brown roof shingles.
However, black roof shingles are again in style thanks to modern contemporary home designs. They’ve once again become more popular than brown or lighter-colored shingles.
Black roofs stand out in neighborhoods lined with neutral or brown colored roofs and create a bold color choice to complement a home’s style.
Although black roof shingles may be the best color for a home’s design, there are other considerations when choosing black roof shingles.
This guide includes information on the pros and cons of black roof shingles to help you make the best decision when selecting them for your roof.
What are Black Roof Shingles?
Black roof shingles are asphalt and made with added materials to reinforce them, as mentioned above. However, solid black shingles typically have fiberglass infused in them instead of organic materials, making them waterproof.
The fiberglass add-in also creates a more fireproof shingle and one that has flexibility. The flexibility helps withstand the weight of snow and the pounding of hail. Black shingles that are Energy Star certified due to the fiberglass content may allow homeowners to qualify for a tax credit.
Roof shingles protect a home from the weather and elements and work to beautify the home. Black roof shingles complement natural environments better and are used for many different types of roof styles.
Roof shingles come in different sizes and colors and come as layered or multidimensional or a single, flatter layer such as a three-tab shingle. See more types of roof shingles on this page.
Black Roof Shingles Pros
Black roof shingles help hold heat in the home in winter – The dark color absorbs heat from the sun and build-up in the attic.
The warm air provides a barrier against the nighttime cold. It allows the option for homeowners to install a system to circulate the warm air into their homes from the attic. In the summer, the hot air remains trapped in the attic, also providing a barrier to prevent losing cool air in the house.
Black roof shingles hide imperfections well – They provide a seamless look to blend any cracks, misaligned tiles or uneven surfaces.
Help Melt Snow – With the higher heat levels of black roof tiles, they can help melt show and ice from the roof in the winter. Although it may not make a significant difference in extended periods of frigid temperatures and snowfall, black roof shingles do help.
Stands Out – Black roof tiles typically highlight the home’s architectural appeal and can make exterior colors look more vivid.
Stylish – Modern home profiles include black roof shingles, popular with younger buyers.
Long Lifespan – Black asphalt roof shingles are more economical and can last from 15 to 30 years.
Black Roof Shingles Cons
Hot Attics – For homes without an attic in the home’s main living area, black roof shingles will force heat down into the house in hot and arid climates. The extra heat increases the home’s cooling bill in hot summers.
Increased Energy Consumption – Many energy companies charge not just for energy use; they charge for energy use during peak times. A black roof can cause extra energy use during the hottest part of the day.
Increased Heat – Black roof shingles reach higher temperatures than light-colored roof shingles. The extra heat can cause a breakdown of the shingles over time.
Can Increase Mold – During seasonal humid weather or in climates that are high in humidity much of the year, black roof shingles can allow moisture trapped under them to build up. The moisture can cause damaging mold to the roof shingles.
Are Black Roof Shingles a Bad Idea?
Many homeowners consider roof shingles as merely a functional task when building a new home or re-roofing an existing home. But the choice of roof shingle colors has a lot to do with the home’s appearance. A black roof on a small house can easily become overwhelming, making the house appear even smaller than it is.
A black roof on a larger home can provide a stylish accent to the home’s colors and siding. Considering how much of the roof shows in the front and the back of the house helps to visualize a black roof’s effect on the home’s design.
The stark difference compared to other elements on the exterior of the house can create a stunning look. Black roof shingles are a popular choice, and choosing a black roof is up to the homeowner’s preference.
Is a Black Roof Hotter?
As discussed, a black roof could cause issues with pushing extra heat into a house in hot, sunny, and arid climates. But the opposite is also true. The heat can be trapped in an attic, and if well insulated, the attic can act as a barrier to the cool air in the home.
An area with cathedral ceilings may need extra insulation between the roof and the interior ceiling to prevent excess heat from dropping into the house.
While many homeowners may consider a light-colored roof shingle to avoid the heat from black roof shingles, the lighter shingles do not promote heat entering the home during cold winter months.
Light-colored roof shingles also show imperfections easier than dark roof shingles. Any shingles not aligned precisely will create an uneven gap in the tiles. It can be harder to match light-colored shingles with a home’s color scheme, given they provide less of a contrast.
A home painted white or gray looks excellent with a lighter-colored roof, but many other colors are challenging to match to a light roof, such as blue, beige, cream, light green, sage, and others. Homes with wood-shingled siding do not typically look appealing with a light-colored roof shingle.
Can You Paint Roof Shingles Black?
If a home’s roof is one color and the homeowner wants to change the roof’s appearance, replacing the entire roof to change the color is an expensive project.
It is possible to paint the roof shingles another color, but there are pros and cons to this solution. And, considering the risk of a homeowner getting up on the roof to paint the shingles, it’s recommended to hire a professional.
As long as a roof is in good condition, painting the shingles to achieve a better look is a practical and economical idea.
However, painting the roof shingles does not add any waterproofing qualities and will not seal any leaks. If there is any damage to the roof, repairs must be made first before painting.
Broken or missing tiles should be replaced entirely. Before painting black roof shingles, consider the following drawbacks:
- Painted black roof shingles will show wear faster.
- Painted Black roof shingles have to be repainted every five to seven years.
- Each time the shingles are repainted, the roof has to be repaired, cleaned, and primed.
- The paint on black roof tiles is easily worn by sun, rain, hail, snow, and ice, causing the paint to fade faster.
- Acrylic paint, water-based, is a must for painting black roof shingles to allow accumulated moisture to dry from under the shingles.
- Waterproofing paint can trap moisture and cause mold and algae and is not suggested to paint black roof shingles.
- Painted black asphalt roof shingles will need to be touched up as the paint fades or peels. Black roof shingles that are painted will show through most any paint color, especially light or neutral colors.
Most roofing contractors do not receive many requests to paint roof shingles. And although they may know the basic rules to painting black roof shingles, they may not have the expertise. Many contractors will not agree to paint black roof shingles.
Acrylic roof shingle paint is applied with a sprayer and requires a professional to get the job done correctly. The asphalt shingles have a rough, raised surface requiring several coats of paint. An inferior paint job on black roof tiles could be catastrophic, causing a lot of extra maintenance.
Some roofing contractors may suggest elastomeric paint, which stretches with the roof shingles as the temperatures change. This paint will prevent early repairs, but as mentioned, water will likely get trapped under the shingles causing damage from mold or algae.
Still, there are benefits to painting black roof shingles. A lighter color will help with reducing heat in the home, and it’s better for the environment to paint instead of re-roofing.
Considering asphalt roof shingles are durable, long-lasting, and weatherproof, painting black roof shingles to achieve a custom roof color for your home is an easy and inexpensive option.
What do you think about black roof shingles pros & cons? Are there any we’ve missed? If so let us know. For more related information see our article on the types of roof styles on this page.