How Your Roof Affects Your Home’s Heat Absorption


Home's Heat Absorption“Whoa! Is it hot in here?”

As we enter the hottest part of summer, people want to know how they can keep their home cool without spending (or sweating off) an arm and a leg. You may be shocked to know that your roof can have a massive effect on your home’s heat absorption.  While choosing the right roofing material for your home can be challenging, a number of different roofing components can change the internal temperature of your home. With so many products on the market knowing which components could end up saving you money with your investment is key to keeping your home cool.


Darker colors absorb more light, trapping the heat in the roof, and allowing it to flow into your attic and/or top of your home. Lighter colors are reflective and cause the heat from light rays to bounce off it’s surface. This means that lighter color roofs hold much less heat than darker color roofs. A United States Department of Agriculture study has shown that the plywood boards found under dark colored roofs in direct sunlight is consistently ten to fifteen degrees hotter than plywood boards found under light colored roofs. Chances are if you currently have a darker colored roof heat could be seeping into your home. This means that your cooling system is operating harder, using more energy, and raising your energy bills.

Home's Heat AbsorpionAs we live in Michigan, it’s crucial to recognize these factors don’t change during the four seasons. Roofs that absorb more heat in the summer also absorb more heat in the winter. This is why your neighbors may have a darker colored roof. While it may be beneficial to have a darker roof when it comes to keeping your home warm in the winter and melting off snow, it really depends on how much daylight and snow we get during the week. As the daylight hours become less that means fewer sun beams beating down on the roof and less time for the roof to absorb the heat. If we happen to have a blizzard with twelve inches of snow, (not trying to jinx us) a darker colored roof now turns white. This means that the roof now reflects away most of the sunlight, so the darker colored roof underneath cannot absorb heat and melt the snow. Now when it comes to a light snow dusting, darker colored roofs do have a small snow melt effect.

While the color of your roof does affect into the amount of your home’s heat absorption, there are other elements that can adjust your home’s internal temperature that should not shy you away from a darker roof color if that is your preference.


Arguably the biggest impact factor when it comes to your home’s heat absorption. According to The Untied States Department of Energy, the temperature in your attic in the height of summer can vary by up to fifty degrees based on what material you choose for your roof. Below are popular roofing materials and how they affect your home’s heat absorption.

  1. Home's Heat AbsorptionAsphalt Shingles, the most popular roofing material used in The United States, has relatively low reflective properties. This is regardless of what color you choose. This is primary because the asphalt granules diffuse the light in multiple directions. It is estimated that about 30 percent of the light hitting asphalt roofs is reflected away from the home on even the lightest colored roofs. This means that your home’s heat absorption is higher than you think and is less energy efficient than other materials. This material is often the less expensive than other roofing options with a variety of colors can match numerous homes and fewer maintenance issues.
  2. Metal, has highly reflective. Metal roofs act like a radiant barrier when it comes to your home’s heat absorption. This means that regardless of the season we experience, your home’s internal temperature will be more even. While this material may be a bigger investment than an asphalt roof, the energy savings (10% to 15%) in your home combined with potential for higher resale value can make it a worth investment fr new construction or roof replacement.
  3. Synthetic, which includes rubber, plastic, and polymer flat roofing materials, have high reflective properties. Color choice can greatly affect your home’s heat absorption when it comes to selection. These products are designed to mimic the look of tile, slate, and asphalt shingles, as well as be easy to maintain. While they are relatively inexpensive compared to their originally designed after counterpart they are relatively new. This means that they are not as time-tested as traditional materials and quality can vary.

While these are the three most common types of roofing materials in Michigan, every option, from tile roofs to concrete flat roofs, offer a different rate of heat absorption. If you have a favorite material, but are worried about its energy efficiency, rest assured most materials do have a cool roof option.


As housing needs continue to evolve, roofing component options progress. Many of these new technologies include improving your home’s heat absorption. You may have heard the term “Cool Roofs” mentioned if you stay up with the new developments. Cool roof materials are specially designed to help reflect the sun’s heat. Simply put, repeal the heat, keep your home cool. A highly reflective type of paint,  sheet covering, or highly reflective tiles and/or shingles option is available. These material advancements can save you money in several ways, including energy savings, rebates from homeowners insurance and energy companies, and could even extended your roofs lifetime. One way to estimate how much energy you can save by installing a cool roof is by using the Cool Roof Calculator. We currently offer cool roof options in all three of the common types of roofing materials.


Regardless of what type of roofing color and material you have or choose, any quality roof contractor will tell you that proper roof ventilation is the best way to ensure that your home’s heat absorption stays low in the summer. If your home is well built and your attic has the right amount of insulation and ventilation heat will be able to escape. This will result in the exterior temperature having less of an impact on the internal temperature of your home. Proper ventilation should provide cooling properties for your roof’s shingles. Insulation will keep any excess heat from reaching past your attic.

Home's Heat AbsorptionAs we live in Michigan, it’s crucial to recognize that when the outside temperatures drops, we add heat and add moisture to our homes. Sometimes the problem of adding moisture is apparent – it takes the form of condensation on our windows. Proper insulation and ventilation are used to maintain a cold roof temperature to control ice dams created by melting snow, and to vent moisture. Are you allowing your attic to breathe with the right combination of ridge. soffit, and/or gable vents for your home?

You maybe asking yourself:

“Which roof is the best for my home’s heat absorption?” 

As you may have guessed, there is no straightforward answer to which is better. Ultimately, the best roof is the one you like best and works for your home! While roofing color, material, technology, and construction all have an impact on your home’s heat absorption, a true roofing expert should be able to enhance your energy efficiency and ensure that you have proper attic insulation and roof ventilation.

Avalon is a four-time GAF President’s Club Award winner, WOOD TV 8’s Roofing Expert, a Mastic Preferred Contractor, Roofing Contractor for Grand Rapids, and a member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids. Avalon Building Concepts also gets recognized for customer service as an Elite Service Professional on Home Advisor, the Best of Houzz 2017, boasts an A rating with the Better Business Bureau, and A rating with Angie’s List to go along with Super Service Awards in 2015, 2016, and 2017.

With more than 30 years of experience, fair pricing, job – site professionalism, and on-time appointments, Avalon continues to satisfy homeowners in the Grand Rapids and surrounding areas. Avalon provides homeowners with high-quality services using top-notch materials to create dependable home improvements and live up to its motto “Trusted, Together, Today.”

Siding, roofing, insulation and window replacement are just a few of the ways that Avalon Building Concepts adds value, beauty and comfort to customers homes. Call 616-871-2507 or click here to schedule a free in-home estimate for your next home improvement.

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