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The high view – the world of roof colours

Choose the roof colour before wall colours are chosen to have the widest choice ofcolours
Recently I had the opportunity of seeing the world from a high vantage point because I was in a cherry picker. In that position - high above the trees like a bird - the world of roof tops was spread out before me - the good, the bad, the new, the old and the many coloured variations available.

A question often asked is 'What colour should I paint my roof?' and mostly it is asked after all other colour decisions have been made for the exterior of the house. Whether it is a re-paint of an existing roof, a decision being made in regard a new type of roof – i.e. powder coated roof, a textured or flat finished metal tile or a terracotta or concrete traditional tile – at the end of the day it comes back to colour.

What colour should the roof be?

If one starts with a powder coated roof it does pay to know that there are a limited amount of colours and choosing from this selection, ideally, should be made prior to any other house colour decisions. This way you have freedom of choice. The roof, the guttering and sometimes the joinery and garage door may sometimes need to be sorted at the same time. This - from any manufacturer's range - is a very narrow selection of colours.

Resene Gauntlet

Resene Coast

Resene Steel Grey

See the colour for real

With powder coat colours (COLORSTEEL®, COLORBOND®, ColorCote® etc) it is essential to see larger metal samples to get the best possible idea of what the colours truly look like. Brochures are helpful but may not be a true representation so reality is best. After checking out what appeals to you it can be even more helpful to see houses that have those particular colours on their roofs - or garage doors or joinery. Roofing people and builders are good – they can tell you what new subdivision they have used certain colours on and you can do a drive by to check it out.

It is amazing how your ideas can change when you see good examples of the colour and style that are available. Often the comment is made 'I didn't know the colour was that blue/brown/red/green etc' because of the lack of opportunity to view the reality of the colour.

Original roof colour
Original roof
Resene New Denim Blue roof
Resene New Denim Blue
Resene Karaka roof
Resene Karaka

What about the guttering?

From a purely practical point of view the guttering (if it is to be metal) is usually the same colour as the roof. Sometimes the garage door is as well and when options are limited it pays to consider how these elements harmonise and tie everything together. Joinery can match the roof but sometimes lighter more neutral colours are chosen in order to co-ordinate with both the exterior and interior paint colours. Prior to choosing house colours you have the option to consider the roof (guttering, garage door, joinery etc) colour.

If by chance the roof decision is made last of all the narrow band of colour options may be reduced to only one or possibly two colours – and sometimes neither of them are what you like – because of the colours on the house. So you may feel compromised – or disappointed – if what you want to have is not possible. All the more reason to forward plan and check what is available.

Working with an existing roof

Sometimes we inherit a coloured (paint, powder coat or tile) roof when we buy a house. If it is in mint condition it may be unlikely that it will be replaced or re-coloured in the foreseeable future. Sometimes it is a great colour that allows you to change other parts of the house and its colours without a problem occurring. Sometimes it is so distinctive (this is a euphemism for 'ugly' or 'discordant') that every time you look at it your heart sinks through your boots. About this time you start to think 'what were they thinking of?' in regards to the previous owner's choices. Or it may be you are reflecting on a choice you have made previously and hoping someone isn't passing judgement on you.

Where does total freedom of colour choices for a roof come from? - Paint.

A corrugated iron roof in need of a repaint offers multiple colour options. Apart from the standard selection of colours as seen on a Resene Roof Colour System chart there may be even more colours that are appropriate. Checking out the availability – some are 4 litre only colours and you may want 10 litre pails – and suitability of the colour – some may not be recommended for the roof - you are left with the feeling that if you desired to paint the roof in stripes, like Joseph's coat of many colours, you probably could.

Paint offers the biggest choice of roof colours

Resene Roof colour systems

Paint offers multiple colour options

So in regards to roofs:

Article thanks to Carolyn Atkinson, Resene Colour Expert


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.