Colorful, cool roofs

It was clear at the International Builders’ Show that color is a big trend this year – even in the roofing category. As the industry experiences stricter energy efficiency guidelines and a higher demand from homeowners for “green” products, it’s no surprise that homeowners want both. Residential Design + Build magazine spoke with roofing manufacturers about their color and cool roof product options and where trends are headed. Continue reading as they share their thoughts.

Boral Roofing

Industry: “For the past five years or so, several national organizations such as U.S. Green Building Council and Energy Star have pushed to lower the surface temperature of roof decks to increase energy efficiency in America’s buildings. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by starting on the exterior building envelope with cool roofs,” says Mike Vogel, product manager, Boral Roofing. Vogel is also on the technical committee of the Cool Roof Rating Council.

Product Offering: “Boral Roofing has an extensive range of vibrant colors and styles of clay and concrete tile listed by the CRRC and Energy Star.  We have a vast selection with a Solar Reflectance Index value of 29 or higher.  These colors help reduce the urban heat island effect and can contribute to points for USGBC LEED projects.”

Where is it going:  “The concrete and clay industry is being driven by USGBC, Energy Star and CRRC working with leaders in the roofing industry to continually develop and write building code for cool roofing tile products, along with the pursuit of innovations such as smog-eating tile technology,” Vogel adds.

CertainTeed Roofing

Industry: “With growing concerns about rising energy costs and increased demand for environmentally friendly products, building professionals need to meet the requests of homeowners who gravitate toward more efficient options such as cool roofing, but don’t want to sacrifice curb appeal by integrating cool roofing technology,” says Maria McDonough-Forde, director of marketing communications, CertainTeed Roofing.

Product offering: “CertainTeed’s newest cool roofing shingles, an expansion of the Solaris collection, Landmark Solaris Platinum is offered in fresh earth-toned color blends and has an industry-leading 40 percent solar reflectivity.  The all-new Energy Star-rated Presidential ShakeSolaris line-up features 25 percent solar reflectivity and is offered in rich, dark hues (burnt sienna and weathered wood) to replicate the look of authentic, traditional asphalt or wood shake shingles,” McDonough-Forde says.

Where is it going: “Since the original introduction of Landmark Solaris, the demand for cool roofing shingles that boost the curb appeal and improve the energy efficiency of a home has skyrocketed. Now, it’s about more than just a robust color palette,” McDonough-Forde says. “Newer shingles, such as Presidential Solaris, replicate the look of authentic, hand-split wood shakes. While aesthetics continue to drive the selection process, performance will always be of critical importance.”

Custom Bilt-Metals

Industry: “I have been noticing lately that people are starting to catch on. We have been promoting designing with darker colors for years. People thought to have a cool roof, you had to have a light color. It really amazes people when you can have dark colors and it can also be a cool roof,” says Joe Chiovare, director of sales and marketing, Custom-Bilt Metals.

Product offering: “Cool pigment is put into the paint [of the products]. Every color has this cool pigment in the paint. We offer black on up -- about 30 colors. And all are listed with Energy Star,” Chiovare says.

Where is it going: The difficult thing with designing the cool pigments and putting them into colors is making sure these are colors  the market wants. The trick will be to have higher solar reflectant value with the same color tone [that the industry and consumers want],” Chiovare adds.

 DaVinci Roofscapes

Industry: “A combination of manufacturers and builders [are driving the color/cool roof trend]. The builders, though, are the ones who give the product a home and this is where consumers see it most often. The consumers’ desire for these new products/colors/styles are what adds fuel to turn something new into a trend,” says Kate Smith owner, Sensational Color and national color consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes.

Product offering: “In January we added eight new individual colors creating a palette of 49 colors. We also introduced eight new color blends as a result of research and homeowner requests over the years. DaVinci now offers a total of 28 color blends in our standard offerings. Cool Roof colors are available in our EcoBlend Weathered Gray and EcoBlend Castle Gray cool roof colors,” says Wendy Bruch, marketing manager, DaVinci Roofscapes.

Where is it going: “Global sustainability, lower maintenance and product longevity will continue to drive developments in the homebuilding industry,” Smith says. “While this isn't new it has become mainstream rather than a demand of only the most eco-friendly folks. Products like those offered by DaVinci fill the consumers’ desire for all three and look great plus come in a wide variety of colors and color blends.”


Industry: “As building codes and standards become more stringent, metal roofing becomes an ideal choice for builders and contractors. A roof is often the least energy-efficient part of a building envelope and energy costs are on the rise. A cool, metal roof offers the ability to add a sustainable building element to the home while lowering energy costs,” says Mark Robinson, president and general manager, Follansbee Steel.

Product offering: “KlassicKolors comes in six stock colors with many others as special order. KlassicKolors uses Energy Star-qualified Valspar SR coatings that provide solar reflectance and heat emittance,” Robinson says. “Our KlassicKolors product is considered to be a ’cool’ roofing material, and can be specified to deliver impressive energy savings, because of its solar reflective paint designed to cut energy costs. A Follansbee Steel roof can help to reduce building heat and cooling loads, keeping them cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.”

Where is it going: “We will see growth in the cool roof trend as more and more people adapt to developing environmentally friendly habits and utilizing sustainable materials,” Robinson says.


Industry: “Consumers in general are more aware of environmental impact. Green is the next big thing and people are more cognizant of Energy Star products. The energy tax credit is another influencer,” says Nkechi Okwumabua, marketing product manager, GAF.

Product offering: We have four colors that we offer in our Timberline cool series: antique slate, barkwood, weathered wood and white,” Okwumabua says. “Because of advances in granule designs we have been able to utilize roof granules with dark colors. We do plan to offer more colors – and darken the color.”

Where is it going: The trend will extend beyond California to across the U.S because people are more knowledgeable about green. People are better informed. Because of that, people want functionality but also appearance. People are going to want more color offerings. You will want to increase the color offerings and reach more segments,” Okwumabua says.

Owens Corning

Industry: “There is a growing appetite for something new and different. We relate it to generations. Each generation is more adventurous. There is a difference between what my mom and daughter would select,” says Sue Burkett, marketing leader, Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt. “Since the roof is such a big part of the face of a house, it’s almost like, ‘why wasn’t this a big deal before.’ People want color but they’re not all color experts. You have to show them what works.”

Product offering: Owens Corning Duration Premium Cool Shingles are offered in four colors, of which Sunrise; Harbor Fog and Frosted Oak are Energy Star-rated. “Our colors are available nationwide,” Burkett says. “Traditionally cool roofs meant white or washed out. In Florida, they like the lighter colors. They know a dark color will retain heat. In the north, they like the dark colors. So it’s geographic. We pay attention to color available in our cool line. We are always evaluating the line and if the demand is there, we will do our best to deliver.”

Where is it going: “No one thinks this is a passing phase. It is here to stay and it will get more important. Technology may change. We may be able to use a dark roof and keep it cool. Not everyone wants a subtle color or light color,” Burkett says. “Either the marketplace will accept those [offerings] or technology will change.”