Neutral colors are frequently chosen for exterior buildings, as they are clean, versatile, and virtually never go out of style. One of these color options is white.
It makes sense why our coil colors Regal White, Stone White, and Solar White — all of which are varying shades of white — remain high on our most purchased/popular color list.
So why should you choose a white metal roof or wall system? What makes one of these colors good for your project?
Sheffield Metals always monitors color trends and tracks which metal sheet and coil colors are most frequently purchased and gaining popularity. Plus, with a full-time Architectural Department composed of individuals with extensive backgrounds in the architectural metals industry, we often provide design assistance for roof and wall projects.
Here are some options, advantages, disadvantages, and project examples for white metal roofing.
White Color Options Available From Sheffield Metals
Before we get into the benefits and drawbacks of choosing white for your metal roof or wall system, let’s take a look at the variety of white color options available at Sheffield Metals.
Currently, we offer three different white shades:
- Regal White
- Regal White is the most true white shade that we carry and is the most popular.
- Stone White
- Stone White is more of a cooler white that has a grayish-white finish.
- Solar White
- Solar White is a warmer white color option.
Benefits of Choosing a White Metal Roof or Wall
Versatile Color For Many Building Styles & Applications
White is one of the most versatile colors you can use, and conforms to several architectural styles in residential and commercial applications.
The modern farmhouse style still dominates the residential design and construction market in 2023. This decor style has become more mainstream and is heavily featured on home renovation TV because it offers a natural, clean, and comforting aesthetic and blends well with many other elements. Most modern farmhouse exteriors feature white walls/siding and a black roof. So, instead of a white metal roof, these projects will utilize white sheet metal to create the wall system (Sheffield Metals offers wall panel profiles).
Besides the modern farmhouse, white can be incorporated as a good roofing and wall color option for several other architectural building styles, including:
- Cape Cod
Additionally, choosing a color like white allows for a longer design lifecycle, which is essential because metal roofs are engineered to last for four or more decades. The timelessness and versatility of a white roof/wall give you flexibility if you decide to update or change your exterior style in the future.
Simple, Crisp, & Clean Aesthetic
There are many different schools of thought about the psychology of using white in architectural projects. However, it boils down to the fact that white is simple and helps to create a crisp and clean look in a design.
According to InsideHook.com, “Clean and sharp are two design tenets in Modernism, and there’s no better way to uphold them than by avoiding color. It can take any gargantuan structure and make it seem manageable, approachable….”
In other words, white allows a design to breathe. Sometimes, adding too many colors or design elements can be distracting and complicated. Instead, white gives a visual break that makes a structure stand out subtly.
Plus, white allows the other exterior building elements to shine without paying too much attention to the color, leading us to the next benefit of a white metal roof or wall.
Complementary to Other Exterior Colors
White complements almost all commonly used exterior building colors, including grays, browns, blacks, greens, and even vibrant colors. Again, this means you can pair your white metal roof or wall system with almost any other building or outdoor element, such as:
- Adjoining siding, walls, or roof systems
- Gutters and downspouts
- Doors and door frames
- Windows and window frames
- Fascia board
- Railings, stairs, etc.
- Landscaping features
Higher Solar Reflective Index
A significant advantage of choosing a white metal roof is that many color options have high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) numbers, which affects how much heat the roofing system will absorb and emit. For reference, Sheffield Metals has three white color choices from Sherwin-Williams with different SRI values:
- Regal White: SRI of 81
- Solar White: SRI of 82
- Stone White: SRI of 71
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 whiter surface.
Our three white color options have the top positions for best SRI value, which means they will reflect sunlight and emit any heat at a more rapid level than a Matte Black or darker color option with a low SRI. This makes it a good option for areas with higher temperatures and significant sun exposure.
Better Chalking & Fading Expectations
Another benefit of choosing a white metal roof is that you don’t have to worry as much about color chalking or fading.
- Fading on painted metal roofs occurs when substances like water, pollution, and chemicals in the atmosphere and specific environments react with the pigment of the paint. In other words, the pigment begins to break down, which causes the color change. This change usually lightens the color.
- Chalking is the whitish residue that can become visible on a painted or coated metal surface over time. The resin breaks down and degrades when a panel is exposed to sunlight. Once the resin starts to break down and the exposure continues, it loses its adhesion to the surface, and those degraded particles begin to turn white. These white chalking particles will become more apparent over time.
Where brighter or more vivid colors lose their original color over time and develop the whitish chalking residue, white metal roofs will have more subtle color changes and most chalking on it won’t be visible to the naked eye. Plus, your roof or wall will come with a paint warranty from Sheffield Metals, which covers the system if the chalking or fading goes beyond the warranty parameters.
Keep in mind that chalking and fading do not affect the roof’s overall performance. It’s important to expect chalking and fading to some degree, and to know that these phenomena are inevitable with outdoor exposure.
Drawbacks of Choosing a White Metal Roof or Wall
Can Require More Frequent Cleaning
White is one of the most difficult colors to keep clean, as nearly all imperfections set against white will stand out.
If your roof is nearby or beneath one or more trees, it’s common for sticks, branches, and leaves to get stuck on the roof surface, especially if you have a low-slope roofing system. This debris, as well as any airborne dirt and pollen, can make a white roofing system look extremely dirty and unsightly relatively quickly.
So, you might have to keep a closer eye on your white roof so you can clean or at least rinse it with water when any dirt or debris are visible. To help you out, we have an entire article dedicated to how to clean your roof and why it’s important to keep up with.
Little Visual Interest
Sometimes, white is considered the “absence of color” and therefore thought to be a little boring. While you likely don’t want your roof or wall to stand out completely against the other homes or properties in your neighborhood, you probably still want it to be eye-catching and noticeable.
This drawback is more of a consideration and something to weigh according to your design interests and what you envision for your property. Luckily, if you’re worried about your white metal roof or wall blending in too much or being too “boring,” you can use other exterior elements — like doors, columns, or landscaping — to create more visual interest with different colors, textures, etc.
White Metal Roof & Wall Examples
Residential Home | Dallas, Georgia | As seen on HGTV’s Rock the Block
Pass Key Clubhouse | Sarasota, Florida
Residential Home | Rockport, Texas | Photo & installation courtesy of South Texas Metal Roofing, Inc.
Wall Project | Condominiums | Beachwood, Ohio
Final Thoughts on White Metal Roofing
So, is Regal White, Solar White, or Stone White the best color for your metal roofing project? It depends on various elements, including your building design, style, likes and dislikes, location, SRI requirements, and more.
If you’re on the fence about whether you want to choose white or another color option, here are some helpful methods to narrow down your choices:
- Explore exterior color palettes, photo galleries, and examples of homes or buildings similar to yours.
- Look at specific manufacturers’ color cards and compare/contrast with your expectations.
- Use a Color Visualizer 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.
Sheffield Metals is proud to be a leading supplier of metal sheet and coil products (including white) in the architectural metal roof and wall panel industry.
Are you weighing your color choices or feeling stuck? Our dedicated Architectural Team can provide you with the design assistance you need; contact us today!