Choosing the color for a beach house roof is a big decision. Color is subjective, especially when it comes to a person’s home. Coastal properties need to deal with additional stresses that urban houses don’t. The variable coastal weather is the most crucial aspect to consider when choosing a roof color.
Beach houses must cope with significant variations in temperature throughout the year, so to help combat the summer heat, a white roof will reflect up to 85% of the sun’s rays back and keep your home passively cool. Weatherproof white coatings are available for new tiles and existing roofs.
Although white might not be everyone’s first choice of roof color, it has the most noticeable cooling effect compared to other colors. Lighter shades like light grays, beiges, tans, light yellows, and oranges can reflect some of the sunshine too. Existing tiles can be coated with modern coatings and sealants that increase reflectivity.
What Roof Color Should You Choose For Your Beach House?
Choosing a color for a beach house roof isn’t as straight forward as picking a nice color and slapping it on. Coastal homes will generally have a local aesthetic – such as terracotta tiles – or maybe even housing association restrictions on certain color palettes.
Temperature and exposure to direct sun are the largest factors affecting any coastal property and choosing the correct roof color is key to maintaining comfortable interior temperatures during the sweltering summer heat.
A white or light-colored roof has a few benefits over traditional roof colors for coastal properties. White is the most reflective color and helps maintain a cool temperature indoors and helps increase the Earth’s overall albedo, a measure of how much sun is reflected into space.
White roofs, also called cool roofs, can re-emit up to 90% of the heat they absorb from the sun, which keeps the tile’s surface much cooler than darker colors. The attic space of the house stays cooler and, therefore, the rest of the home too.
Cool roofs have been shown to have a 35% reduced surface temperature over dark roof tiles and can reduce a home’s internal temperature by at least 40 degrees. This type of passive cooling makes a difference in the hot summers of coastal areas and can help reduce the amount of energy a household uses by 20%.
Beach houses are generally situated in areas that get large amounts of sun throughout the year and summer is when they are used most. A light-colored roof in these areas will mean the home stays passively cool, even on the hottest days.
An air conditioner unit costs over $3 a day to run – over $100 every four weeks. A reduction of 20% is a substantial monetary saving over a year while also reducing carbon emissions. Air conditioning alone is responsible for 10% of global energy consumption, and that number is rapidly rising.
Countries with warmer climates, such as island nations in the Caribbean, have been coloring their roofs white to relieve stress on their electrical grids and remove some of the reliance on centralized power. With energy prices rising higher each year, passive cooling has become a significant consideration for people living in coastal areas.
Coastal properties must be able to deal with more than just the sun’s rays. The roofing needs to withstand high winds, high humidity, and salt corrosion damage coming from the sea. Pre-existing roof tiles can be coated with weatherproof elastomeric coatings that boost reflectivity and enhance longevity.
Certain roofing materials can work well in coastal areas as they are resistant to the elements and can be made more reflective and durable with further treatments. Avoid asphalt roofing or urban shingles as they won’t hold up over time.
- Synthetic Tiles – Modern synthetic roof tiles are made from composites that can be molded to any shape, design, and color. These roof tiles can resemble their natural counterparts, such as wood or stone. The composite material has high reflectivity and is very durable.
- Slate Tiles – Slate is heavy but hardy. It handles strong wind and salt corrosion very well and comes in various natural shades. Its reflectivity is lacking, even with a lighter-hued slate.
- Ceramic Tiles – Although limited by color options, clay, terracotta, or other heavy ceramic tiles work well in coastal areas. The firing process used to bake these tiles helps seal them against moisture and moss growth. Ceramic tiles are easy to further weatherproof with protective coatings.
- Steel Roofing – Steel might seem like a strange choice as it is known to rust badly when near the ocean. However, roofing steel is galvanized to prevent corrosion and is usually treated with extra sealants, weatherproofing, and color to finish.
- Concrete Tiles – Concrete tiles have the same benefits as ceramic ones but can be heavier overall. These tiles are easily tinted in any color and work well with additional weatherproof coatings. They are cheap and long-lasting, a good choice for a beachside property.
For coastal properties, concrete and steel have become the materials of choice. Steel is cheap, quickly molded to shape, and easy to transport. Galvanized steel also takes treatments like reflective coatings very well and is simple to maintain over time. Concrete tiles are also cheap, come in standard sizes are easily treated with weatherproofing. They are heavy, making them harder to transport but also more durable and hassle-free in the long term.
Modern Materials Have Made Roof Maintenance Easy
Coastal homes are particularly affected by high humidity, leading to unsightly streaks and moss growth. This build-up of dirt can reduce a roof’s reflectivity, reducing the cooling effect of lighter colors. Traditional roofing finishes like paint aren’t designed to repel dirt and moisture in the same way modern materials can.
Some synthetic tiles are designed to completely lock out moisture and repel dirt, making for an easy cleaning experience. Roof coatings act the same way and can be applied to existing tiles. The elastomeric polymers in these coatings allow dirt and water to wash off easily.
Standard roof paint is designed to add color to a roof and offers little to no protection from the weather. Modern roof coatings are designed to increase the longevity of your roof by providing a weatherproof seal, reflecting harmful UV rays away, and reducing the amount of maintenance needed over the roof’s lifespan.
The reflective pigments inside these roof coatings ensure that almost none of the sun’s heat is absorbed and shields the roof from UV damage. The constant exposure to this type of harmful radiation degrades a roof over time, making it brittle and porous. White roof coatings can therefore add years to a roof’s longevity.
When it comes to choosing between roof paint or roof coatings, the best option is to weatherproof and color the roof at the same time. The extra reflectivity paired with the sealant properties that coatings provide will give you over a decade of protection before it needs to be re-applied. Standard roof paint just isn’t up to the task.
Choosing the best roof color for a beach house is a difficult decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. White comes out on top as it has benefits that darker colors lack. The ability to radiate the sun’s energy away from the roof keeps the whole house cool and shields it from the harshest coastal weather. White can be a polarizing color choice for a roof, but the upsides are hard to ignore.