Do Light Colored Shingles Last Longer?

Opinion is mixed about color affecting shingle longevity, but unanimous about the importance of good ventilation under the shingles.

Huntstock/Getty Images

Dark vs. Light Shingles

Lighter-colored shingles reflect more light and stay cooler in sunlight. And lighter-colored roof shingles help keep attic temperatures—and your air conditioning bill—down.

Some shingle colors have been shown to lower attic temperatures, but whether this means light shingles will last longer than dark shingles is more problematic.

Plus, a broken shingle is both ugly and a leak waiting to happen, here’s an easy fix for shingle repair.

Be aware! Here are some silent signs your roof might be failing:

Testing the Difference

But when it comes to comparing the life spans of dark vs. light, all bets are off. One major shingle manufacturer we spoke with said its tests showed no difference. Its position is that a properly ventilated attic provides enough cooling to offset the increased heat retention of dark shingles. Here are 21 things to consider before replacing your roof.

But some studies dispute that. They claim that since heat always increases molecular activity, and since dark shingles always run hotter, the heat factor alone dictates a shorter life for dark shingles. Yet another study suggests that the sun’s UV rays play a much bigger role in shingle degradation than heat.

Our Shingle Advice

Just about all the experts agree on the importance of proper attic ventilation for longer shingle life. So our advice is to make sure you have more than enough roof and soffit vents and pick whatever color you like. Unless you want to save money on cooling—then you should choose a lighter color. Up next, here are 10 sensible ways to save money and still keep cool this season.