Roof Colors of Early Houses

Green-stained wood shingle roof on a brown-shingled house. Extra color accents are added by the attractive green striped awning, and the climbing vines.

Roofs of early twentieth century houses were frequently made of wood shingles, when they were not made of more durable slate or other materials.

Everyone’s’ interpretation of roof colours today come down to the manufacturers of today selling “weathered cedar” or “driftwood grey” as colors for asphalt shingles, in order “to simulate the original roof colours of yesterday’s roofs”.

Nothing could be further from the truth! “Yesterday’s roofs” were actually an array of bright colours, ranging from red to green to gold and black. From Victorian times, with their multi-coloured bands of wooden shingles imitating slate roofs; to the brightly hued wood shingle roofs of the Arts & Crafts period; the fashion for coloured shingle roofs carried on into the Georgian and Tudor-revival styles of the 1920’s.

A green roof on a red-brown Craftsman style house

Whether you make the effort of having your shingle roof stained to match the original color of your roof, or you carefully look to find substitute asphalt roofing shingles to simulate original colours and shingle sizes, make sure that the roof color that you choose harmonizes with the overall color scheme of your house. A roof can have a 25 or even 40-year warranty, so make sure that this big and expensive choice is one that enhances the value of your older house.

A red roof on a pale sage green house with olive trim and off-white sash

A green roof on a sunshine yellow house with off-white trim works well in a wooded setting.

A red roof picks up the color of a brick foundation and chimney on this house with warm grey siding, pale trim and dark green window sash.

A green roof on a yellow house with off-white trim softens an exposed location. Dark green sash add a rich accent color to the windows.