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White Roofs vs. Black Roofs: Top 3 Myths Revealed

White roofs are better than black roofs. We’ve heard this a lot lately. In fact, city councils throughout the country are adopting model codes which favor white over black roof systems, touting energy efficiencies, without considering key factors that greatly contribute to the actual efficiency and life of a roof.

There are several factors that should be considered before choosing a roof system, and a few myths that you should be informed of before deciding what’s best for your building.

Myth 1: White roofs are appropriate for all locations.

False. Depending on your location and weather patterns, a white roof isn’t always the answer. The number of heating vs. cooling days you have at your facility should be taken into consideration. However, in the Northeast, building usage is typically more important than location because facility operations often dictate whether higher heating or cooling is necessary. Snow and ice also tends to last much longer on a white roof, which makes walking on the roof surface for snow removal and maintenance more dangerous.

Myth 2: White roofs will decrease global warming effects and are the answer to city “heat islands”.

False. White repels heat right? A study done by the Journal of Climate revealed that Stanford University’s Mark Jacobson and his grad student found that white roofs may be more of a detriment to global warming. Not all heat repelled off of white roofs goes back into the space, actually a good bit of it is absorbed into tiny particles floating in the atmosphere that heat up – only increasing the temperature outside. So, although your building may be cooler, it’s not doing much to decrease global warming.

Myth 3: White roofs will stay white.

False, White roofs attract and retain dirt easily which quickly diminishes some of the positive aspects of the membrane. Unless routine maintenance and power washing is completed a white roof will often dull and look dirty. This is especially true when you are removing a black roof and installing a new white roof.

On The Flip Side

Professionals who understand roofing needs will take into account several different factors before recommending a roof type and color. Here are a few:

  • Building usage
  • Occupancy
  • Location
  • Life cycle
  • Building Codes
  • Foot Traffic
  • Sustainability

GSM Roofing has over 70 years of experience and we have seen trends come and go. We know that there are other factors to consider, not just energy efficiency. Like most scenarios, just because white roofs are good for some buildings, doesn’t mean they are the solution for all buildings. You need a professional who will show you all the options, pros and cons. In addition, not every roofing company is authorized to install every type of roof, so don’t get yourself caught with one solution.

We’re Ready to Help!

Need some advice on your roofing project, or want to know what the best options are for your situation? Give us a call at 800-532-ROOF (7663), or contact us today. We’re ready to help break it down for you.

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Glad to be wrapping up this project, but most of all ..enjoyed working with you and GSM, your company is spot on and customer service is off the charts!
Thank you!

Diana Hess Project Manager June 28, 2022