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"FRESH" Thinking About Selecting Your Roof Colors

by Kathy Ziprik, Staff Writer

You've made the decision to construct a new home. You've even selected a house plan you love. Now's it's time to make product and color selections.

According to national color expert Kate Smith of Sensational Color, start by thinking "from the top down" when considering what the exterior of your home will look like.

"Products and colors should be selected to create a pleasing visual appeal for the entire exterior of the home," says Smith. "This means you should think about the key visual exterior elements of your home—the roof, siding, trim, doors and windows."

To help homeowners create strong visual curb appeal for their homes, Smith recommends starting with color selections for the roof.

"Depending on the style of home you choose, the roof can capture up to 40% of your attention when looking at a home exterior," says Smith. "This makes the choice of both roofing material and color very important."

The prominent roof of this home means that its color has a huge impact on curb appeal. Single-Width Shakes in Mountain-Variblend were chosen to accent the subdued, classic exterior.

DaVinci Roofscapes Single-Width Shake

To help homeowners select the best colors for their roof, Smith has created the "FRESH" acronym, which stands for:

Fixed Features

Regional Colors

Environment and Surroundings

Style of the Home

Historic Colors

“Considering these five elements of a home can help you select the perfect roof color,” says Smith, who serves as a color consultant for DaVinci Roofscapes. “If you take the FRESH approach when looking at your home plan, and your proposed setting, you’re on the right track for selecting a roof color.”

The FRESH approach is outlined in this e-book. We've outlined the basics here, but please feel free to download it to answer all of your roof color questions. It's a wealth of information, and it's completely free!

DaVinci Roofscapes Sensational Color FRESH

The FRESH Approach

  • Fixed Features – These are the permanent design elements of the home that need to be considered a constant feature of the house, such as the foundation, partial stone or brick facades, pathways and retaining walls. Each feature may be made of a different material, but they usually will have a common color or color cast. Once you identify that common color, you can find a roof tile with a similar color or undertone that will work well for the home overall.

For a home that's going to have a slate tile walkway in shades of gray, Smith recommends the DaVinci Roofscapes Slate Castle Gray combination of three tones of gray in a polymer slate blend. A predominantly white brick house may look best with a solid slate black Bellaforté roof, or with a European-VariBlend that has grays with a tinge of purple.

  • Regional Colors – West Coast? South? Midwest? Each region of the country has prevalent colors based on the housing styles, available materials, natural surroundings and the quality of light.

Determine the colors in your area (mostly those you commonly see on other homes) to stick with regional colors. According to Smith, a southwestern style home in the desert may look best with a composite slate roof comprised of a Sonora-VariBlend of medium and dark terracotta colors gently mixed in with light and dark clay colors. West Coast homes seeking the feel of real wooden shakes, but the advantages of fire-resistant polymer shakes, can benefit from a Mountain color blend of light, medium and dark mountain tones.

  • Environment and Surroundings – Is your home going to be in a rural setting or a downtown? Are you near the waterfront, a desert or a mountain? Temper the colors to complement your surroundings and the natural colors around you. And, in your new neighborhood, look for color hints from your neighbors’ homes. The goal is to stand out while still fitting in!

Created especially for homes in wooded settings, the Tahoe blend of multi-width shake tiles from DaVinci includes three shades of rugged colors. As a contrast, homes in a coastal surrounding may work best with a Chesapeake-VariBlend mix featuring four shades of oceanfront gray.

  • Style of the Home– Remember that colors support the home’s style and architecture, not the other way around. So, determine your home’s style (are you in a ranch? Tudor? Victorian? Art Deco? Greek Revival?) and then do some research online to determine what colors are most associated with that style.

For a craftsman-style home, Smith recommends considering a natural looking shake roof in a New Cedar or Weathered Gray color blend. Other home styles that match up with these colors include bungalow and Cape Cod. And, while you can’t go wrong with an elegant solid black roof, she recommends softening its appeal by considering a combination of neutral tones, such as medium tan, dark gray and light stone to create a warmer roof appearance.

  • Historic Colors – If you will be living in a historic district, check for local guidelines and/or restrictions on adding colors to your home. More traditional colors, such as whites, browns, and shades of blue and green, work well on historical homes. Match them up with a Tahoe blend of DaVinci shake roofing tiles with five varying shades of brown and you have a stunning house décor.

For a stunning complement to a home—historic or otherwise—Smith suggests considering an Aberdeen blend of slate roof featuring dark gray, light brown, dark purple, green stone and dark stone. The colors combine to accent the historic nature of a home while playing off of painted trim work, gutters, shutters and louvers on a home’s exterior.

To download Smith's free e-book on FRESH Home Exterior Colors, click here.