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Making Your Roof Colour Work for You

If you’re redesigning the exterior of your home, pay attention to more than just how the colours work together. Choosing the right shade for your roof – whatever the material – could save you thousands over its lifespan in heating and cooling costs.

Fundamentally, dark colours absorb more solar radiation than light colours. The amount of solar radiation absorbed directly affects how hot a roof and – depending on the level of insulation – the house below gets. Keeping this in mind is especially crucial in a country as hot and with as many sunny days as Australia.

The trend in the market at the moment is toward much darker colours. A report by the Fifth Estate suggested that 70 per cent of tile sales in Victoria and New South Wales were for grey or black, greatly increasing the homeowner’s cooling costs. On hot days and during heat waves, it’s not uncommon for a black tile roof to reach 80 degrees, literally hot enough to fry an egg. Assuming an average level and quality of insulation, the ceiling directly below the tiles could be as hot as 50 degrees, grilling anyone inside.

Following this trend can be extremely expensive for Australian home-owners. Especially in sunny Sydney, installing a black roof is throwing good money after bad as you then have to either up your cooling costs dramatically or invest heavily in insulation.

Smarter, lighter roofs

The good news is there are a wealth of light-coloured options out there that look good and save you on cooling in the long-term. A key element of passive design, using light shades for the exterior of your home can reflect up to 70 per cent of the summer heat according to the Your Home sustainability guide.

The best part is, these less harsh shades work perfectly with the bright, sunny environment they’re protecting you against. Harsh, dark and heavy design look out of place in beautiful, sun-drenched Australia. This is a case where you’ll be making the smart choice for your home while improving its appearance.

A place for everything

Parts of the country do benefit from darker coloured roofs. Canberra and some properties in Melbourne where the heating is on more than cooling may enjoy the additional heat trapping properties of the colour. However, north of Brisbane the choice should be obvious and automatic. A lighter coloured roof is the economical decision.


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