The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

Stay Cool: What Is The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates?


February 21, 2022

If you live in an area of the country that experiences extreme heat, you want to ensure your home stays as cool as possible.

One of the things you can do concerning your roof is choose the best type of shingles for hot climates.

Is painting your roof a light color a good idea?

Since darker colors absorb more heat from UV radiation, painting your roof a light color is a good way to reduce the heat, but not all roof materials can be painted.

Therefore, choosing the best type of roof shingles for hot climates is essential. And, once your roof is installed, you won’t have to worry about making changes to it because it will naturally prevent heat from entering your home. 

How Does The Heat Affect The Roof Of Your House? 

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

If you don’t install a roof that can tolerate the heat, it will just absorb it all and transfer it into your home. This will make your living conditions during the summer uncomfortable as well as expensive – you’ll have to run your air conditioning system much more which will increase your energy bill.

If your roofing system hasn’t been constructed properly, this can also be hazardous in hot climates. The roof will become cracked or damaged much easier, which will lead to structural problems and leaks, giving you lots of headaches!

There are a variety of specific factors that will affect your roof during the warmer months. These include:

  • UV exposure. Those harsh UV rays strike your roof for many hours per day when it’s hot, which can cause the roof to deteriorate at a faster rate. For example, a wood roof will become cracked and weakened. 
  • Heat. A roof can absorb heat that can reach very high temperatures, which will quicken the chemical processes in your roofing materials, causing them to degrade faster.
  • Thermal shock. This is something else to be aware of when thinking about how the heat can affect your roof. When your roof reaches extremely hot temperatures during the day but then it cools down quickly after sunset, this temperature fluctuation can cause your roof to expand and contract, which weakens its structure.

Therefore, it’s important to really think about the type of roof you want to install and focus on protecting it against the heat as much as possible. 

Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climate 

There are a variety of roofing materials that work well in hot climates. These include the following. Let’s take a look at them.

Clay Terra-Cotta Shingles

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

These tiles are popular in hot climates and that’s because they are resistant to high temperatures. These tiles get baked in kilns, which produces a material that’s less porous and durable. This prevents heat from being trapped inside the terra-cotta.

It’s also the tiles’ shape and how they’re designed that contribute to terra-cotta being such a great heat-resistant material. These tiles are molded in S curves, so when they’re placed on the roof they interlock to create arches.

This design promotes better water and air circulation, therefore reducing how much heat gets trapped inside the roof. 

However, two things to bear in mind with terra-cotta tiles is that they are heavy and therefore require a solid foundation to accommodate their weight, and they are expensive.

Metal Shingles

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

A good choice for your home if you live in a hot climate is a metal roof. This is durable, versatile, and you can choose roofing materials that are made out of various metals, such as steel or aluminum.

Metal takes a long time to heat up and it maintains less heat, which means it stays cooler than some other roofing materials.

When the metal roof is installed, it will commonly have a bit of space reserved between the metal panels and decking. This is a barrier that prevents heat from moving from the roof into the house. 

When installing a metal roof, bear in mind that every panel has to meet the minimum standards for wind resistance, so you want it to be installed correctly.

EPDM Shingles

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

EPDM is a type of rubber roof that’s quite popular because it’s made out of a durable thermoplastic. This is resistant to UV radiation.

You can also coat the roof in titanium dioxide that further improves its heat reduction by ensuring it reflects sunlight away from the house. What you’ll love about EPDM is that it’s flexible, easy to use, and lightweight.

That said, it can lack some durability as compared to other roofing materials. It’s susceptible to damage in the form of fallen branches so you have to be careful to trim trees that are surrounding the house. 

Concrete Tiles

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

Although they’re heavy, concrete tiles are thick so they take longer to get hot. This makes them less likely to send heat back into your living space. Note that some concrete tiles are dyed to make them look more appealing, and S-tiles are the most energy-efficient ones to buy.

They have a wave pattern that enhances air circulation between the roof surface and decking. This reduces heat transfer and helps you save money on cooling your house. 

Slate Shingles 

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

Slate is both durable and aesthetically appealing because it comes in a variety of natural colors.

If you want to install a slate roof, make sure you choose tiles that are light in color to reduce how much heat is absorbed by the roof. Slate is not just UV-resistant but also cold-resistant, which is why it can last for up to 150 years! 

Some drawbacks associated with slate tiles or shingles is that they can be expensive and they’re difficult to install because they’re quite heavy to handle. 

Living Roofs

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you might love the idea of having a living “green” roof. This isn’t a roof per se but a rooftop covering. It consists of plant life that’s suspended over a waterproof membrane which helps to decrease heat loss and heat absorption.

This makes your home more energy-efficient. As a bonus, the plants that are used release more oxygen back into the environment.  

What About Roof Color? 

It’s not just roofing materials that makes a difference in keeping your home cool and comfortable, but also its color. Light colors reflect the sun’s harsh rays, while dark colors absorb them. By installing a light-colored roof on your house, you can deflect heat away from your home. 

The roof color you choose is important as it plays a role in what’s known as the urban heat island effect. This is something that occurs in metropolitan areas which contain lots of buildings. Urban areas have higher average temperatures than the surrounding countryside, and this difference in temperature is basically known as the urban heat island effect.

Since urban development is increasing, this reduces the availability of green spaces. Hard surfaces in the city absorb heat, and this is especially the case for dark roof surfaces. This is because the dark roofs absorb heat and radiate it outwards, which makes heat islands even more intense.

Light-colored roofs are therefore associated with lowering heat, so they are beneficial for your home’s energy.

So, now you might be wondering what the best roof color is for your home to decrease the heat of your roof. One of the best colors is white, as it reflects the heat away from your roof and home. Interestingly, white-coated roofs are able to reflect between 60 and 85 percent of solar energy that strikes them and stay about nine degrees above air temperature. 

Should You Avoid Installing Solar Panels? 

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

If you want to install solar panels in your home to reduce your energy bill and make use of an eco-friendly source of energy, you might worry that they will make your home warmer.

But, solar panels actually keep your roof cooler! This is because they provide shade during the day and warmth at night by maintaining heat.

A study found that solar panels decrease the amount of heat that reaches the roof by up to 38 percent. They can keep your roof five degrees cooler than areas of your roof which are exposed to direct sunlight.

The researchers of the study also found that solar panels actually act as roof shades, thereby decreasing the temperatures experienced in rooms located underneath the roof. This can help you to decrease your air conditioner usage and costs. 

What About A “Cool Roof”?

If you’ve heard the term “cool roof,” you’ll know that it refers to a roof that’s been specially designed to reflect the heat, thereby keeping your roof system and home cooler.

This type of roof alleviates heat in two ways:

  • It reflects sunlight so that it doesn’t get converted into heat. 
  • It also encourages thermal emittance, which is when the roof releases heat from the sun back into the air instead of absorbing it. 

Therefore, a cool roof reflects the light and pushes heat away from the home. 

One option you have at your disposal if you want to install a cool roof is adding a paint-like coating that’s in a light color to it. This is applied with the use of a paint sprayer, brush, or roller. Another option if you have a roof with a mild slope is to cover it with a single-sheet membrane that has both emittance and reflective characteristics. 

There are other adjustments you can make to your existing roof to make it cooler. For example, if you’ve got a metal roof you can apply a thermal coating on its surface to increase its thermal emittance and reflectivity. This is important because while metal roofs are naturally good at reflecting sunlight they don’t offer thermal emittance. 

How Does An Attic Keep Your Roof Cool? 

The Best Type Of Shingles For Hot Climates

Keeping your roof cool also relies on the ventilation of your attic. Your attic space needs to be properly ventilated so that you keep your roof free of problems that are caused by high temperatures. If the attic becomes overheated, this can cause your roof shingles and materials to become too hot and degrade.

It also makes you have to spend more money on using your air conditioner during the summer months. A good way to ventilate your attic is to install a roof ventilator to ensure that hot air is forced out of the attic and cool air can enter.

Having your attic properly ventilated won’t just help you during the hot months. Since it prevents moisture from forming in the attic, this keeps your living space dry and prevents ice dams from forming on your roof which can damage it. 

How hot does your roof get in summer?

Your roof can absorb a lot of heat in the summer, which could cause it to get as hot as 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

What roof is best for cold weather?

A metal roof is effective in both hot and cold climates, and this is because metal produces a strong and durable roof while also providing excellent insulation. 


If you want to keep your house cool during the scorching summers, you have to pay attention to the type of roof you’re going to install.

By choosing the best heat-reflective materials, such as those we featured in our article, you can keep your roof in good condition while preventing heat from gaining access to your home and making you feel uncomfortable. 

By reducing how hot your roof becomes during the hot months, you can ensure a longer lifespan for your roof and a more comfortable living space.

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James Weldon is a professional roofing contractor with many years of experience on the job. He does not only handle large projects and provide excellent services for his company’s many clients; James Weldon also dedicates his spare time to teaching others useful tricks of the trade. Using BuildCampus as an avenue to reach many roofers and aspiring roofing contractors, James Weldon continues to provide high-quality educational posts and buying recommendations for anyone who visits the website.