Versatile and neutral colors are frequently chosen for exterior building materials, as they blend well in environments and never go out of style. Two of these colors are beige and tan.
While this color family is not among the top-selling color options, beige and tan are still prominent in several project applications — including residential, commercial, architectural, structural, and beyond.
So why choose tan or beige? What might make one of these colors good for your project?
Sheffield Metals continuously monitors color trends and tracks how different metal sheet and coil colors are used in projects. Plus, with a full-time Architectural Department composed of individuals with extensive backgrounds in the architectural metals industry, we frequently provide architects, contractors, and home/property owners with design assistance.
Let’s review some of the beige/tan color options, benefits, drawbacks, and project examples.
Beige & Tan Color Options Available From Sheffield Metals
Before we examine the pros and cons of choosing a beige or tan metal roof or wall system, let’s look at the different color options offered by Sheffield Metals.
As of 2023, we offer three different shades of beige or tan on our standard 24-gauge color card:
- Surrey Beige
- Sierra Tan
We’ll get into the differences between each beige swatch in the next section of this article.
Advantages of Choosing a Beige or Tan Metal Roof or Wall System
Several Beige & Tan Color Options
There are a variety of beige color options on our color card, which allows home and property owners to choose the best fit for their project(s).
Let’s go into some of the nuances of our beiges and tans:
- Sandstone is the lightest and coolest beige color that Sheffield Metals offers. Of the three beiges, Sandstone is the most popular.
- Surrey Beige
- Surrey Beige is a medium-dark beige color option that has a cooler hue.
- Sierra Tan
- Sierra Tan is the darkest beige/tan color and is the warmest of the three.
If you want a beige or tan metal roof or wall for your project, we offer more than just one or two options, giving you more choice variety.
Neutral & Natural Color That Allows For Design Flexibility
When you think of a neutral color, beige is often one of the first colors that come to mind.
For reference, according to Decorating Den Interiors:
A neutral color palette is any group of colors that have been muted or desaturated. Quite the opposite of being bold, they’re neutral because they don’t have an intense hue. Instead, they’re typically combined to create a color combination that looks cohesive with a variety of patterns and textures.
Due to its warm and cool shades (much like gray), you can pair beige with nearly any other color, which makes it truly neutral. Plus, you commonly find beiges and tans in exterior color palettes, as this family of colors resembles similar tones found in nature (think sand, dirt, stones, clay, etc.).
You can do much more with your exterior elements if you have neutral colors as the key building pieces — including your roof and siding. For example, suppose you have a tan metal roof with white siding or a beige metal wall with a dark brown roof. In both cases, you can easily style your property’s exterior by applying various textures and colors to your trim, doors, gutters, signs, landscaping, accents, etc.
Additionally, the timelessness and versatility of neutrals like tan and beige give you a lot of future design flexibility, especially if you decide to update or change your exterior style down the line. This is essential, as metal roofs are engineered to last for four or more decades.
Suitable for Numerous Architectural Styles
Neutrals like beige and tan are some of the most versatile colors in architectural metal roof and wall projects. Plus, beiges conform to several building styles in residential and commercial spaces, including:
- Spanish (as a wall system)
- Cape Cod
Also, beige and tan are excellent color choices in specific regions, as they match the natural aesthetic of the environment. This includes, but is not limited to, desert, mountain, and forested environments.
Mid-range SRI (Solar Reflective Index) Options
As you read on, you’ll notice that there are benefits and drawbacks relating to SRI because our beige/tan shades are different and therefore have differing SRI values.
A couple of the beiges available have mid-range SRI values:
- Sandstone has an SRI of 63
- Surrey Beige has an SRI of 46
For a bit of background, cool metal roofing is painted or coated metal products that reflect the sun’s energy to dissipate heat. Cool roofs help reduce the heat transferred into the building, resulting in total cooling cost energy savings ranging from 7% to 15%, according to the Green Building Alliance.
One of the primary measures of cool metal roofing is the Solar Reflective Index, a surface’s ability to reflect the sun’s solar energy (solar reflectance) and emit heat (emissivity). SRI is measured on a scale from 0 to 100. An SRI value closer to 0 indicates a darker or black surface, and a value closer to 100 indicates a brighter or white surface.
Sandstone and Surrey Beige have mid-range SRI values, likely resulting in medium energy savings.
Good for Minimizing the Appearance of Oil Canning
Roof and wall systems in darker colors with glossy finishes make it easier to see visual imperfections in the panel, such as oil canning. Oil canning is the perceived waviness of a metal panel and is an inherent characteristic of light-gauge, cold-rolled flat metal products. In other words, it makes metal panels look wavy or somewhat distorted, especially in the broad, flat areas of a metal roof or wall system.
Oil canning is normal and expected to some degree; however, you can make it more challenging to see if you choose a lighter color, such as a beige, in a 24-gauge (or thicker) material. Additionally, we always recommend adding structure to panels in the form of striations or rib rollers.
Disadvantages of Choosing a Beige or Tan Metal Roof or Wall System
Blends In and/or Little Visual Interest
Beige and tan are lighter shades of brown — all of which are colors heavily used in exterior building materials.
Sometimes, using beiges and tans can make a building look slightly dull and “boring.” While you likely don’t want your roof or wall to stand out completely against the other homes or buildings in your neighborhood, you probably still want it to be eye-catching/noticeable and not blend in too much with the environment.
This drawback is more of a consideration and something to weigh against your design interests and what you envision. If you’re worried about a beige or tan metal roof or wall blending in too much or being too “boring,” you can use other exterior elements to create more visual interest with different colors, textures, etc.
Low SRI Option
As we discussed before, Sandstone and Surrey Beige have relatively good SRIs, but the other color option has a lower value:
- Sierra Tan has an SRI of 37
This lower SRI value will translate to lesser energy savings in the long run than colors with higher SRI values. However, metal itself is one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly roofing materials (especially when compared to asphalt shingles), so despite the slightly lower SRI value, you’re still using a smarter building material.
Beige or Tan Metal Roofing Project Examples
Terrace at Oak Springs | Austin, Texas | Color: Sandstone
Stow–Munroe Falls High School | Stow, Ohio | Color: Sierra Tan
Final Thoughts on Beige or Tan Metal Roofs & Walls
So, is Sandstone, Surrey Beige, or Sierra Tan the right color for your metal roofing project? It depends on several variables — including your likes and dislikes, building design, architectural style, environment, SRI requirements, etc.
If you’re on the fence about whether you want to choose beige, tan, or another color option, here are some helpful methods to narrow down your choices:
- Explore color palettes, photo galleries, and examples of properties similar to yours.
- Look at manufacturers’ color cards and compare/contrast with your expectations.
- Use a Color Visualizer tool to upload a photo of your actual structure and explore how different colors look.
- Request physical metal color chips from manufacturers.
- Discuss the options with your architect and/or contractor and ask for their professional opinion.
For over 25 years, Sheffield Metals has been a leading supplier of painted and non-painted metal sheet and coil products in the architectural metal roof and wall panel industry. And we know that beige and tan will always have their place as an exterior building or home color.
So, are you weighing your color choices or feeling overwhelmed? Our dedicated Architectural Team can provide you with any design assistance you need; contact us today!