Roof: Choosing Color, Authenticity, Style

By: Mark Clement , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Home Improvement Tips, House Styles, Historic Preservation

For all the roofs I’ve replaced in my remodeling career–which have been asphalt shingles–I haven’t had much influence with my customers over the color they selected, however, I think it’s an enormously important choice for what I consider to be one of–if not the–biggest style elements of your house. I guess I’m kind of surprised I didn’t get a “We chose black, what do you think?” kind of phone call.

DaVinci Roofscapes' Color Studio helps dial in the color and texture right for your old house.

DaVinci Roofscapes

Anyway, what I’ve done (like most contractors I’d assume) is provided customers with the sample board from the roofing supply house. Customers look it over for a few days and then call me with a color.

Boom, done.

Even though there are always a dozen or so color chips on the board, their color selections are always basic (black, gray). They tend to match, well anything: the sky, the siding (even if the siding changes) the shutters, etc. Once installed, they lay flat, they keep water out. And they blend in.

That’s about it.

Growing up in New England, the roofs of so many old houses and barns were my eyes’ destination. It’s what made the difference between there and THERE.

So when we remodeled our old house’s roof we wanted our roof to make a similar impression. And, it’s old so using period-appropriate roofing material became a paramount style choice, one I quickly found was over my head. I can install the roof, bend the metal, shoot down shingles, but making the color choice–you don’t want me holding all those cards.

Good thing my wife is a designer and color expert. She surveyed other roofs of a similar vintage and style and was able to “see” what she wanted in a color and texture, which is what lead us to the roof we finally selected, DaVinci Roofscapes’ European Blend polymer slate tiles. The colors are subtle and rich without overpowering the space. (And, not incidentally, this roof will last at least through our lifetimes, but that’s another story, back to the point:)

If you’re not a color expert, or if you’re working with a historical preservation society with strict guidelines, DaVinci offers a service that I think is worth it’s weight in shingles. I call it one-on-one-send-me-photos-of-your-house help for this critical design-choice, which they more delicately refer to as the DaVinci Color Studio.

Since DaVinci has 49 standard colors and almost limitless color/width/texture blends for synthetic slate or shake roofs you can get started in the Color Studio on-line. However, if you need or want it–and without Theresa I would have been in both categories–you can contact the DaVinci color expert Kate Smith and she’ll walk you through making the best choice for your house. I hasten to add Kate really is a color expert, not just a voice on the phone. Slate or shake, she’ll look at your house and the surrounding colors (hills, trees, ocean, whatever). She’ll answer questions and offer feedback so that you can make a choice you’re both happy with and that’ll keep your old house looking that way.