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What is a Cool Roof?

Sep 6, 2012

If you’ve ever seen ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof‘ you know this play has nothing to do with a feline burning its paws on a hot summer day, but it sure does bring up a visual image of a house cooking under a blazing sun! If you do happen to live in a house with a tin roof, you probably know full well that the sunrays can turn your home into a hothouse in a very short time. If only you had a cool roof!

Most likely, you have standard shingles on your roof like everyone else – and they are probably a dark color. We’re sure you remember from your high school science class that dark colors absorb heat while light colors reflect it. A large flat dark surface facing toward the sun will absorb those summer rays and transfer that heat directly into your living space. Your heating and cooling system will kick into overdrive to cool the house down, and of course result in a higher utility bill at the end of the month.

You may be scratching your head at this point and wondering how can you stop the sun from shining and turning your house into an oven.

The answer is to install a cool roof.

A cool roof design doesn’t mean you have to run pipes or some kind of cooling system through the rafters – that would defeat the purpose of trying to be energy efficient, not to mention a lot of work and expense! It simply means installing a roof that is more efficient when it comes to reflecting light or radiating absorbed heat.

The reality is the most effective design for a light reflecting top for your abode would be to get out the whitewash and paint the whole roof white. However, unless you want your house to stand out like a giant eyesore in your neighborhood, a white roof is something you probably don’t want to do.

The good news is there are roofing shingles designed to have a higher level of solar reflectance. Reflecting those solar rays will mean less heat absorbed into your house and that translates into lower utility bills.

Light reflecting shingles may cost you a little more during installation but over time they will not only pay for themselves, they will also start putting money back into your pocket through reduced power consumption.

When it comes time to replace that old roof, contact a RESNET certified professional who has the expertise and knowledge to install a cool roof and advise you about which options are right for your home.