Asphalt roofs come in a pretty standard color—gray—with very little room for variation. Business owners might find some blacks or browns in there, but there is really no way to add a spark of color to a business or commercial property with a standard asphalt shingle roof.
Metal roofs, on the other hand, make it easy to customize the look of a property with something that matches or complements the color scheme and aesthetics. What are the most popular colors for metal roofs and when is metal a better option than asphalt shingles?
Choosing a Metal Roof Style
Unlike asphalt shingles, which tend to be limited in their stylings and colors, metal roofs can be adapted to all sorts of different styles and applications, depending on the client’s needs and their desired aesthetics.
Standing seam roofs offer traditional metal roof stylings. The edges of the panels interlock with hidden clips, letting the metal expand and contract as the temperature changes without allowing them to fall free. These sharp lines are what most people think of when they picture a metal roof, but it isn’t the only style option available.
Slate-style roofs give business owners the look of a slate roof without the weight or expense. These are also a lot easier and faster to install than traditional slate shingles because they come in 50” x 12” panels instead of having to install individual slates one at a time.
Shake-style metal roofs are the perfect option for people who want the look of a wooden roof without the cost or the upkeep. The metal roofing is patterned to mimic the hand-split wood that makes this roof so popular.
Scalloped Victorian shingles were popular during the Victorian era and still look good today. One panel covering a 9” x 12” space looks like five shingles, making it easier and faster to install this style of roof.
Diamond shingles are a more modern style, but they can still be problematic to install one by one, even for skilled roofers. Metal plates embossed with the diamond pattern are 16” x 16”, making covering an entire roof a breeze.
Who doesn’t love the look of a clay tile roof? Traditional clay tiles can be heavy and fragile, but metal roofing panels can mimic the look of the red clay without any of the weight. They’re a bit more expensive than some of the other metal roof styles, but they come with a low-gloss polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) finish that makes them look almost identical to the real thing. These high emissivity materials help make the roofing a better option for reducing both heating and cooling costs.
It’s easy to find a style of metal roofing that will match any property’s aesthetic, but there is still one thing to consider—the color. What are the most popular colors for metal roofs?
Choosing a Color
Choosing a roof color depends on a lot of different factors, like the materials used in the building’s exterior, the requirements of the local code enforcement office, and, of course, the desires of the property owner. Metal roofing gives the business owner the option to choose nearly any color, but not all of them will match or complement the property’s aesthetic and theme. The trick is to balance the client’s desire with what will look best with their current design and aesthetic.
1. Look at the Structure’s Materials
Let’s start by looking at the structure’s materials. Brick exteriors often look best with black or dark gray roofing materials that contrast with the rusty red color of the facade. Lighter colors, like concrete gray, look best with brown, gray, or even red roofing — as long as the gray is a different color from the exterior so it doesn’t look like the building was copy/pasted out of a child’s coloring book. Wood exteriors look best with brown, black, and gray roofing.
Vinyl siding and other colorful exteriors are a bit more challenging. The roof will need to complement the siding and trim colors.
2. Consider the Building’s Color
Next, let’s look at the color of the exterior. The goal here is to complement the exterior without drawing too much attention away from the facade and the carefully designed landscaping.
White is the most common color used for building exteriors. It gets dirty easily, but it’s also incredibly versatile and it matches most roof colors. The best matches include black and red, as well as bare metal. Yellow buildings are beautiful and sunny, but the roof needs to contrast with the bright color. Muted shades are going to be the best bet here, so stick with things like black, brown, and gray. Blue is also a good option, but don’t choose bright shades.
Blue exteriors rely on cooler shades, and the roof should complement that color. Blacks and grays are the best choices. Gray exteriors work well with slate-colored roofs as well as black or blue, but again, opt for those muted and subtle shades rather than the brighter alternatives. Beige buildings don’t have to be boring. The warm shade contrasts beautifully with dark roofs, so opt for browns and blacks, as well as multi-colored blends.
3. Consider the Neighborhood
There are plenty of metal roof color options for business and property owners. Still, it’s important to keep in mind the appearance of the neighboring buildings, the look of the neighborhood, and the rules put in place by the local code enforcement office.
Installing a bright pink roof might appeal to the business owner’s inner child and may even catch the eye of potential new customers, but it could easily become an expensive problem if it violates the neighborhood rules. Contractors need to have this conversation with their clients before work begins, to ensure that any work they do isn’t going to run afoul of the local code enforcement office.
When Is Metal Better Than Asphalt?
Beyond the building’s aesthetics, do metal roofs have any benefits over choosing the more traditional asphalt shingles?
Metal roofing might be a bit more expensive than asphalt shingles, but a metal roof can last a lot longer. Asphalt shingles will usually last 20-25 years, barring serious damage. An affordable metal roof made of aluminum or steel can last upwards of 50 years, and a more expensive model made from zinc and copper can last up to a century or more. Anyone designing a business or commercial property they intend to leave for their children or future generations should opt for metal roofing over asphalt.
Contrary to popular belief, business owners can actually install solar panels on metal roofing as long as the installation is done by a qualified solar installer working in concert with a skilled roofer. It’s no different than installing solar on an asphalt roof, though it may require a bit of careful planning to ensure the panels don’t damage the metal sheeting.
Property owners might also want to opt for sheet-style solar panels. They’re easy to roll out, don’t require drilling holes in the roof, and while they don’t generate as much power as standard photovoltaic panels, they can provide an alternative.
It’s also a lot easier to acquire metal roofing in custom colors that suit any building’s aesthetic.
Choosing the Best Color for Any Property
A lot goes into choosing the best metal roofing color for any given property. There are a number of standard colors, but there is a measure of customizability that makes it an attractive choice for business owners looking for a way to put their stamp on their property. Try to dissuade them from choosing bright colors that might not match the aesthetic of their building or neighborhood.
Metal roofing is growing in popularity because it can last anywhere from two to four times as long as an asphalt shingle alternative. The industry will likely see a growing demand for these custom metal roofs, and now is the perfect time for enterprising roofers to start exploring their options.