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Cool Roofing Benefits and Costs

cool roofing benefits and costs

In the summer, is your home increasingly uncomfortable due to the heat outside? Or if you have an air conditioner, do your energy bills start to spike to account for the increase in heat? This is most likely due to your home being built without any type of cool roofing technology.

In this article, we are going to go over the different aspects of cool roofing products and materials, and why they can help you save money and reduce air pollution.

Black or dark coloured roofing materials are responsible for heating up homes substantially in the summer months, causing discomfort and raising energy bills.

Now, we will go over the benefits of utilizing cool roof technology on your next roof replacement.

Increases Indoor Comfort and Reduces Energy Costs

One of the more direct benefits of cool roofing materials is the reduced amount of heat that gets trapped inside of your home. This will increase your home’s comfort levels and allow you to sleep better and overall just be more comfortable during the summer and spring months.

The thing is, black and dark coloured roofs can reach temperatures much higher than the temperature outside. This is because they are absorbing the sun’s light. Nearly 90% of solar energy that hits our rooftops is absorbed and is then converted to heat that gets trapped within our homes.

To put this in perspective, if the current temperature is 32 degrees Celcius, your roof can hit temperatures between 60 and 90 degrees throughout the day. All of this heat is being absorbed and trapped within your home.

When this happens, we tend to crank up our air conditioning systems and hope the heat dies down a bit. As much as this works to lower the temperature in our homes, we are now using a ton of extra power to keep our homes cool.

Your electricity bill can skyrocket in the summer due to this. Costing you and other homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars per year in electricity bills.

Delivers Higher Solar Reflectance

Cool roofing technologies such as coatings or low-sloped roofs with single-ply membranes are extremely good at reflecting visible, infrared, and ultraviolet wavelengths from the sun compared to traditional forms of roofing materials.

The most common form of cool roof tech is single-ply plastic membranes that cover most flat commercial rooftops. They are typically painted white as this colour is the best for reflecting solar rays.

However, there are many new cool roofing materials out there today that are darker in colour and can be used on typical single-family home rooftops.

Cool Asphalt Shingles

cool asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material across North America. They are used on a vast majority of homes in Canada and the United States when the home is originally built. They are cheap, look great, and the process of installing them is relatively simple.

However, asphalt shingles are terrible at reflecting solar rays and tend to be the biggest culprits for trapping heat within a home.

Luckily, new asphalt shingles have been created that are coated with special granules to improve solar reflectance and meet cool roofing standards. Normally, you are not able to coat normal asphalt shingles after they are manufactured as this is not approved or recommended by their manufacturers.

These special shingles are a huge improvement compared to their counterparts. If your home heats up substantially in the summer, this material should definitely be on your list for your next round of improvements to your home.

Cool Tiles Roofing Materials

Tiles roofs are made from slate, concrete, or clay and are a very popular choice for roofing materials in some parts of the US and Mexico. They are typically glazed with a coating that waterproofs the tiles and provides custom colours for your rooftop.

In order to create a cool roof using tile materials, they need to have the correct surface treatments to make the tile have solar reflecting properties. Depending on the colour and other properties of the tile, they may be good enough to achieve cool roof standards, so make sure to take this into account.

Cool Metal Roofing Materials

Metal roofing materials are another common roofing material for commercial, industrial, and agricultural buildings. Some homes have metal material installed on them as well.

They are available in many different finishes and coatings such as natural metallic finishes, granular coated surfaces, and oven-baked paint finishes.

This can give metal roofs a distinctive appearance and unique design elements. Unpainted metals are much better at reflecting solar rays but are poor thermal emitters. This means that they are still unable to meet cool roofing standards.

In order to have a metal roof that is able to keep your building cool, you need to paint the material in a light colour that is good at reflecting solar rays and improving thermal emittance. Additionally, you can coat the material with specialty reflective coatings to improve this even further.

Green Roofs

Green roofs are becoming increasingly popular on large buildings with flat or low-sloping roofs, as it would be pretty difficult to plant a garden on a high-sloped roof.

As you can guess by the name, a green roof utilizes gardens to make roofs more attractive with the natural beauty of plants, flowers, and trees. 

One of the other main benefits is their ability to provide additional insulation and lower the need for heating and cooling in the building. This has an effect on the urban heat island effect in densely populated urban centres reducing energy costs, air pollution levels, and heat related illnesses from occurring.

Should I Install a Cool Roof on my Home?

The most important factor you should consider when deciding to put a cool roof on your home is whether the cost will justify the energy savings.

Alberta experiences some pretty hot summers, but sometimes our winter seasons can drag on into April and even May.

Depending on where you live and the climate of the region is how you should determine if you need a cool roof.

Additionally, you can look at how well your current roof is insulated, the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, and the type of roof that your home has.

However, If your home is in need of a new roof anyway, cool roofing asphalt shingles cost around the same as their traditional counterparts. This will only increase your savings in the long run and can eventually pay for itself, especially on those extremely hot summer days.

If you are building a new home, it could be especially useful to install one as the costs will remain around the same price based on the materials that you choose.

How Much Does a Cool Roof Cost?

How Much Do Cool Asphalt Shingles Cost?

Cool roofing asphalt shingles average around $6.00-$8.50 per square foot in costs. This is around the same price for traditional asphalt shingles. Making them a wonderful choice for creating a cool roof.

How Much Do Cool Roofing Tiles Cost?

Tiles are typically more expensive than asphalt shingles and become brittle in extremely cold temperatures, making them not ideal for Canadian winters. This means that if you want a tile roof in Canada, you need to order specialty reinforced custom-made tiles which drive up costs. Costs end up around $6.00-$25.00 per square foot for cool roofing tiles.

On top of this, make sure that you ask your roofing contractor if they have any specially coated tiles that can meet cool roofing standards.

Cool Roofing Metal Material Costs

Cool roofing materials start at around $5.00-$60.00 per square foot and can be quite expensive when compared to asphalt or tile materials. The cost of metal roofing materials depends on the type of material you choose. There are many different aluminum, steel, and exotic metals to choose from that come in a wide variety of costs and price ranges. 

Talk to your local roofing contractor about your options and see if they have any materials with proper reflective coatings to meet cool roofing standards.


Cool roofing materials can help you reduce the heat the enters your home during hot summer days drastically. This will help improve your electricity bills as your air conditioning will be taking up much less power. This helps reduce our impact on the environment, increases comfort in our homes (who likes sleeping in a hot room at night anyway?), and increases the lifespan of your roof.

Some cool roofing materials we mentioned in this article include specialty asphalt shingles with coated granules to improve reflectiveness, coated tiles, and painted/coated metal materials. Their costs are all similar to their counterparts and will not cost you an arm and leg to install on your roof.

If you are thinking about purchasing a cool roof for your home or building, contact us today to go over your options and how we can help. We have many different options for you to choose from here at Fortress. We look forward to hearing from you!

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