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Choosing the Right Color Roof Shingles: How to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

By Ted Cushman

April 01, 2021

TOH Cape House Image

Shown here: The This Old House 2020 Cottage on the Cape Idea House features GAF Timberline® AH Shingles in Appalachian Sky which feature a blend of deep grays and browns for added dimensionality. Photo by Jared Kuzia.


When you're remodeling, buying, or selling a home, the character and condition of your roof can make a big difference. How much of a difference? Well, according to the 2019 Remodeling Impact Report produced by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a new roof can pay back as much as 107% of its cost when it's time to sell a house. So, unlike many home-improvement projects, a quality re-roof can be a money-making investment.

But replacing your roof opens up a whole world of decisions. The most obvious question is, which shingles to choose? And how will that decision affect your home's curb appeal and its value? You'll want to consider the type of materials, as well as the design and color options. In this article, we'll explore the aesthetic side of the equation.

Location Matters

You might want to start by taking a look at the roofs of nearby homes and considering a shingle that fits well into the neighborhood and complements the style of your home. There's a reason you may see more earth-toned roofs in the southwest and greens and light gray roofs in the Pacific Northwest. They are blending in with their natural environments. Climate may play a role, too. Light colored roofs that are typically more prevalent in regions with warmer climates naturally reflect the sun's UV rays and may help make homes less expensive to cool.* In northern coastal climates, dark roofs may be chosen to better hide stains that can appear as a result of blue-green algae. But thanks to improvements in roofing technology, shingles of many colors can be constructed with blue-green algae resistance technology like GAF's StainGuard Plus™, which has specially engineered capsules infused with copper microsites that consistently release algae-fighting copper over time. And even some dark shingles now contain reflective granules that can help reduce utility bills.* So that means your color choice options are greater than ever.

Color Compatibility: Warm or Cool?

Amy Wax is a nationally known color consultant based in Montclair, New Jersey. Says Wax, "Choosing a roof shingle is not nearly as complicated as it seems, but it is a long-term commitment. So, I think people have to do a little homework and consider the implications of the roof color they choose."

"Generally, if I'm choosing a roof color, I start with, 'Is the color of the home in the cool family or the warm family? The colors should complement each other," says Wax. If you have a house that has a lot of brick, warm-colored stone elements, or is painted in taupes or beiges, I would choose a roof that is predominantly on the brown side. But if your home is painted in cooler blue or green or gray tones, I would recommend choosing a roof that is also on the cool side, meaning more gray or black than brown."

With careful selection, it's possible to get the best of both worlds, says Wax. "The most flexible is a roof color that has both warm flecks and cool flecks in the coloring. So, it has a little bit of warm, some speckles of cool, and the shingles themselves are gradated so that you have the benefit of both warm colors and cool colors. Then you can change your house color at any time and it won't matter."

shakewood color roof and shingle

The earth tones of these GAF Timberline® HDZ™ shingles in Shakewood complement the limestone brick façade of this Tudor-inspired home in Texas. Photo: Courtesy of GAF

Architecture's Influence on Roof Color

"The roof should complement the style of the home so that they work together to create the best overall design," says Wax. "When you drive up to the home, you should notice the architecture first, and the color second."

oyster grey roof and shingle color

Monochromatic color schemes where the roof and paint color are similar shades accentuate the architectural and structural features of the home. Shown here: GAF Timberline® HDZ™ in Oyster Gray on the TOH Cape Ann TV project house. Photo by Jared Kuzia.


The massing of the roof—and how dominant it is in shape and scale as seen from the street—is another consideration. Says Wax: "For some houses there is as much roof as there is siding, viewed from the front of the house. I tend to not go with roofs that are too dark in that instance because it becomes too overpowering."

On the other hand, if you're planning on installing solar, nearly black shingles, like GAF's Timberline® HDZ™ shingles in Charcoal, complement the panels.

Pattern Play

Michelle Marceny is the lead color consultant for the Color Concierge, based in Broomfield, Colorado. In Marceny's experience, pattern is as much a factor as color when it comes to roof compatibility.

Patterns have their place, says Marceny; the trick is to avoid clashing. "Just like any design, whether it's interior or exterior," says Marceny, "you want to make sure that you only have one busy element. "If the home is sided in heavily textured or multi-colored stone or brick, I usually pick a pretty monochromatic roof color," she says. "GAF's Timberline® HDZ™ shingles in Pewter Gray is one of my favorite roofs to specify. The top of the shingles are colored a darker gray creating an enhanced shadow effect that doesn't compete with the patterns in the other hard finishes."

"Even for the pros, it's hard to get the colors right when you have two or more patterns to coordinate. But if you don't have stone or brick, then I would consider a roof with a stronger color pattern and texture."

charcoal color roof and shingle

The enhanced shadow effect created by both the texture and variegated coloration of these Timberline® UHD Shingles in Charcoal create a wood-shake look that mimics the cedar shingle siding on this Rhode Island Beach House. Photo by Nat Rae.

Trending Now

White houses with black windows and roofs are a trend that seems here to stay. But recently homeowners have begun softening the look with wood trim accents and giving them personality with colorful roofs in deep red, hunter green and shades of blue.

Hunter Green roof and shingle color

Shown here: GAF Timberline® HDZ™ shingles in Hunter Green have an architectural shadow effect that picks up the deep tones in window shutters and front door. Photo: Courtesy of GAF

While You're At It…

There's no better time to go solar than when you're getting a new roof! For solar panels with a sleek, low-profile that are designed to be installed directly onto your roof deck, check out GAF Energy. Over time, your solar can even pay for itself AND your new roof, via monthly electric bill savings and government incentives.

Want to explore your options? Check out GAF's Virtual Remodeler. Upload a photo of your house—or choose one of our model homes—and try on GAF shingle styles and colors along with siding, trim and doors to create the perfect look for your home. Keep in mind that it is difficult to digitally reproduce the full color clarity and actual color blends of these products. Before making your purchase, please ask your contractor or retailer to show you several full-size shingles so you can be sure your new roof matches your vision for your home.

* Energy cost savings are not guaranteed, and the amount of savings may vary based on climate zone, utility rates, radiative properties of roofing products, insulation levels, HVAC equipment efficiency and other factors.

About the Author

Ted Cushman attended Harvard College, served as a US Army paratrooper, and worked as a frame and finish carpenter before signing on as an editor with the Journal of Light Construction, where he worked for 25 years. Ted currently covers the building industry for publications including Builder, Architect, the Journal of Light Construction, This Old House, and Fine Homebuilding. He lives and works in Vermont.

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When communities come together, incredible things happen. That's exactly the case in the city of Seattle, Washington, where the GAF Community Contractor Program has made lasting impacts on those in need through partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and ReBuilding Together. Both nonprofit organizations focus on working with homeowners to build new homes and revitalize communities in need of rebuilding, respectively.GAF's partnership with Habitat for Humanity began in 2011. From the start, it felt like a natural pairing. Habitat for Humanity's vision of "building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable housing" aligns perfectly with GAF's commitment to building resiliency in communities across the U.S.GAF recently became involved in ReBuilding Together in the Pacific Northwest through GAF Territory Manager Donovan Gladstone, whose involvement with the board of Roofing Contractors Association of Washington created an opportunity for community partnership. ReBuilding Together's mission of "repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives" is an excellent fit with GAF's commitment to helping neighbors.Helping Contractors Support their CommunitiesGAF invests in the areas where it has manufacturing operations, aiming to lift up the communities where team members live and work. This ideal extends to the GAF Community Contractor Program, where GAF certified contractors can partner with GAF and give back through the following initiatives:GAF Habitat for Humanity Program. With over 1,500 local Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the U.S., GAF-certified contractors can partner with their local chapter to provide the labor to install fully-donated GAF roofing systems. Volunteers don't work alone. Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house.GAF Affordable Housing Reroof Program. This initiative encourages contractors to partner with any 501c3 nonprofit organization in their community for a reroof project, for which GAF will donate the shingles.GAF Roofs for Heroes. GAF-certified contractors can partner with a local 501c3 to perform roof repairs or replacements for local heroes. These heroes include healthcare workers, first responders, veterans, police, fire, and EMTs.As part of the Community Contractor Program's progress in Washington state, more than 20 GAF certified contractors were able to provide over 100 new roofs to those in need of a new roof in the Seattle region, working with Habitat for Humanity and ReBuilding Together. "Giving back is at the core of what GAF does, but bringing in and partnering with our contractors is something that makes us unique," explains GAF Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Arlene Marks.Celebrating Giving Back While Giving Back AgainMarks and Gladstone wanted to host an event to thank the contractors who donated their time and labor to install those roofs and came up with a unique and fun way to extend the spirit of giving through Welcome Home Toolkits. "This was Arlene's idea, and it was such a great one," Gladstone notes.Marks shares, "We try to make all of our events meaningful, so what was the best way that we could reach back out to these homeowners that we've already helped? The Welcome Home Kits were the answer."The contractors attending the event assembled toolkits containing basic items like screwdrivers, nut drivers, adjustable wrenches, pliers, hammers, safety glasses, and more. The kits also include a video message of encouragement from the program participants.Most of the individuals who are helped through the roof donations are first-time homeowners. Accordingly, many don't have the basic tools needed to maintain their homes. The gift of a Welcome Home Toolkit provides so much more than drivers and wrenches, it offers confidence, resilience, and peace of mind.Building Community Among ContractorsIncredible things happen when communities come together—not only for the recipients of the donations, but for the participants as well. GAF-certified contractors in the Seattle region came together to give back to the community while building new professional relationships and friendships at the same time."You're bringing together like-minded people," Marks notes. "While they are competitors in the field, they already have the compassion to help their communities. It was an opportunity to work together toward a common goal to meet, share ideas, and talk about the market in a very safe and non-competitive environment."Impacting the CommunityA representative from Habitat for Humanity attended the appreciation event in Seattle to say thank you and share how much of an impact ReBuilding Together and the contractors' work have had on the community. The Welcome Home Toolkits were provided to both organizations and have gone a long way toward welcoming and inspiring the new homeowners.Looking to get involved in giving back to your community? Visit the GAF Community Matters page to explore different opportunities and get started.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

March 01, 2024

A roofer unloads shingles on to the roof of a house prior to installing them
Your Home

How to Find a Roofer You Can Trust

Whether it's time for a new roof or a repair, you'll need a roofing contractor to help you make the right choices for your home. But if you haven't hired a roofer before, you may not know what to look for.From referrals and licenses to manufacturer certifications, here's how to find a roofer you can trust with your home.Ask for Recommendations or ReferralsOne of the best ways to find a roofer is to ask people you trust for recommendations. If you have a friend, relative, or neighbor who has had their roof repaired or replaced in the last few years, ask them who they used.Many communities and neighborhoods also have local Facebook groups or message boards. You can use these resources to get recommendations for experienced local contractors—and find out what roofing companies you should avoid.Look for Manufacturer CertificationsSome roofers become certified by one or more roofing manufacturers.If a contractor is part of a manufacturer's certification program, the contractor is more likely to be familiar with the manufacturer's products and may be eligible to offer enhanced warranties. Each program has it's own requirements so you should check the manufacturer's website to see what a particular certification entails.For instance, GAF Master Elite® contractors must be insured and licensed in states where they operate (if required). GAF also considers factors such as years of roofing experience, credit rating and overall standing with the Better Business Bureau. GAF Master Elite® contractors are the only roofing contractors who can offer the GAF Golden Pledge® Limited Warranty* with up to 30 years of workmanship coverage on qualifying roofing systems.In addition to certification programs, manufacturers may recognize certain contractors with awards. For example, GAF Master Elite® President's Club award-winning contractors demonstrate continued excellence in three key areas: performance, reliability, and service. Over the course of the prior year, award winners must have installed a minimum number of roofing systems that qualify for the highest warranties.Review the Contractor's Online ReputationWhether you first connect with a contractor through a recommendation or a quick Google search, do some online research to ensure you find a roofer you can trust.Read company reviews, see what customers say on the contractor's social media pages, and visit the contractor's website for details on their products, services, and experience. You're looking for a company with a good track record and reputation. Once you've gathered all this information, you'll be able to make a more educated decision.Check the Contractor's License and InsuranceYou want to work with a licensed contractor (in states where licensing is required). If your state requires roofers to be licensed, run a license check on your state's Department of Consumer Affairs or business licensing website.Also, make sure the contractor is insured with coverage for all their employees and subcontractors. This will help protect you if a worker injures themselves on your property or damages your home while working.Visit the Better Business BureauThe Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a database of information about businesses in different industries across the country. You can search by business name or business category (i.e., roofing), and then enter the name of your town or zip code to find companies that have BBB accreditation or a high rating. Some listings also feature customer reviews, which is another way to determine whether you want to work with a particular roofer.Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor for Your HomeWhen you find a roofer you can trust to work on your home, price shouldn't be your only consideration. Experience, quality of service, and reputation also matter.Take the time to research potential roofers. Ask for recommendations, look for contractors with manufacturer certifications, and check your state's contractor registration or licensing site and the BBB website. Following all these steps can help you pick the right roofing company for your job.Once you've selected a contractor, it's time to get ready for your roofing project to begin. Check out this checklist for your next roofing project for next steps.*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products. Your dealings with a Contractor, and any services they provide to you, are subject to the Contractor Terms of Use. Visit www.gaf.com/gaf-contractor-terms-of-use for details**Eligibility requirements, coverage, terms and restrictions apply and vary based on the enhanced warranty and products installed. For details and to view fullGolden Pledge Limited Warranty visit https://www.gaf.com/en-us/for-homeowners/warranties. Visit gaf.com/LRS for qualifying GAF products.

By Authors Dawn Killough

January 25, 2024

Contractor carrying a box of GAF Cobra Rigid Vent 3
Your Home

Why Proper Attic and Roof Ventilation Matter to Your Home

You may not automatically consider attic and roof ventilation when replacing your home's roofing system. However, it's a key part of the process. Here's why roof ventilation matters and the role proper attic ventilation can play in your roofing system. The Importance of Proper Attic Ventilation Your home generates moisture every day: cooking, showering, and even normal breathing all create moisture that can find its way up to your attic. Without proper attic ventilation, that moisture has nowhere to go. Once trapped, it can damage your interior spaces and reduce the effectiveness of your attic insulation. It can even contribute to the overall deterioration of your roof system and structural supports over time. Ventilating your attic space allows that interior moisture, along with hot air, to be exhausted near the top of the roof through ridge vents, roof louvers, powered vents, or other exhaust vents. Fresh air can also enter the attic along the soffits and eaves. This is referred to as intake ventilation. In order for that moisture and heat to escape through the exhaust vents, fresh, cooler air must be allowed to enter the lowest portion of the attic, at or near the soffits or overhangs. The key to effectively ventilating your attic lies not only in ensuring you have enough attic ventilation for your particular home, but finding the proper balance of intake versus exhaust ventilation. The U.S. Housing Authority recommends a minimum of at least 1 square foot of attic ventilation, evenly split between intake and exhaust, for every 300 square feet of attic floor space. This involves a bit of math, so the experts at GAF have developed a simple-to-use ventilation calculator tool to help you figure out the proper amount of ventilation. Be sure to consult your local building codes for attic ventilation requirements or ask your roofing contractor. Benefits of Proper Attic Ventilation Though they may vary depending on your area and the season, there are some significant benefits to having a well-ventilated attic. Helps lower attic temperature. Proper attic ventilation supports a strong roof system. A balanced and effective attic ventilation system helps exhaust superheated air from the attic, which could save your air-conditioning system from having to work as hard in the summer. Reduces the risk of ice dams. In colder climates, proper ventilation can help prevent ice damming. Allowing cold winter air to pass through the attic keeps your roof's temperature cooler, and helps prevent the cycle of snow melting and refreezing that can cause damaging ice dams. Helps protect your roof system. Heat and moisture buildup can add stress to the shingles and other parts of your roof system, potentially causing premature deterioration. A balanced* and effective attic ventilation system allows cooler, fresh air to enter the attic, forcing out superheated air, which helps protect your roofing system. What to Ask Your Roofing Contractor Most contractors today are installing some type of attic ventilation, but in some cases, they may not be installing the proper amount for the job or they may only be installing exhaust vents, such as a ridge vent. In other cases, they may simply not be installing enough to meet the necessary balance between the two—intake and exhaust. There isn't one universal solution, as every home is designed and built differently. Here are some questions to ask your contractor about your roof ventilation. Based on the size of my attic space, do I currently have enough ventilation? Do I have both exhaust ventilation at or near the ridge of my roof, and intake ventilation at or near the overhang/soffit area? Is there enough ridgeline on my roof to install the right amount of exhaust ventilation? If not, what other types of exhaust vents do you recommend (i.e., power vents or roof louvers) to provide the needed amount of exhaust ventilation? Are my existing overhang/soffit vents clogged by paint or covered with attic insulation? If I don't have any intake ventilation or enough ventilation at my overhang/soffit area, can it be added? Would you mind looking at my attic insulation? Is it in good condition, and does it properly cover the entire attic floor? If you're in need of roof repairs or replacement, reach out to a contractor certified by GAF ** in your area. Be sure to ask about proper ventilation and the options available to ensure that your roofing system will deliver the best performance and protection for your home. *Always have a balanced attic ventilation system. In no case should the amount of exhaust ventilation at or near the ridge exceed the amount of intake ventilation at or near the soffit. See www.gaf.com/ventcalcalculator for details. **Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

January 25, 2024

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