How to select roofs, gutters and facias

It can be exciting, or daunting, some of you would say, to select the paint finishes for the exterior of your new home but the practical bits like roofs, gutters and facias are sometimes not given a lot of thought or attention.  Often clients look at me with a blank and worried stare when I mention the facia.  So this post on how to select roofs, gutters and facias may sound a little uninspiring but for those of you who are building, I hope it helps to make some sense of these very important choices.

What colour should my roof be?

Life used to be so simple when we could have either a grey shingle or a traditional terracotta roof.  Now the options are vast and there are many pros and cons for each style and colour.  I have 5 steps below to help you to make the right decision:

  1. Consider the style of your house.  Is it a traditional home in the city or in the leafy suburbs.  If this is the case then you may feel you want to opt for a classic grey shingle style roof or a traditional terracotta one.  This look is solid, timeless and suits the classic style family brick home.  However if you are building a coastal style home you will be more likely to opt for a laid back look and build with a metal Colorbond roof.  Country style homes too suit a metal roof – so typical of the classic Australian country home with its Zincalume roof.  A contemporary home with a skillion style roof also needs a metal roof.
  2. Consider whether you want to see a contrast?  Do you want to see a contrast between your roof and your house?  Would you prefer the roof to just blend in to the surroundings or do you want it to become part of the colour scheme and stand out?  A traditional terracotta roof makes a statement and there is many a gorgeous home in Sydney and the surrounds with this style of roof.  It doesn't mean that you have to continue with that colour throughout the scheme – the roof just makes the statement in its own right.  What you do see though is a very definite contrast.
  3. Consider the colour scheme. The prevalence of Colorbond roofs has meant that many of us now have to give a lot of thought to the colour of our roof as in many cases it becomes a definite part of the colour scheme.  It is very challenging just viewing the colour from a small chip and I always recommend that clients go to a roofing supplier to see large samples of the metal in the sunlight.  Remember that grey washes out of the colour in the direct sun and you will see more of the underlying colour beneath.
  4. Consider the desired temperature of your home.  Light coloured roofs will reflect the heat and dark coloured roofs will absorb it.  You generally see darker roofs in areas like Melbourne and lighter roofs up in the heat of Queensland.
  5. Will you be installing banks of solar panels?  If you are planning to invest in a large amount of solar panels then you should probably opt for a slightly darker roof so that these are disguised.  You may have a style of roof with the west or north facing side away from the street in which case you might be able to get away with solar panels and a light roof but a roof on full display from the street with solar panels can detract from the overall look of the house.

How to choose roofs, gutters and fascias

Image: Monier.com.au  

I love the house above and this is a great example of how you can have a traditional terracotta roof which makes a statement and stands out but the house doesn't have to contain that colour.  By adding a black gutter and white facia you create a good break to lead into the rest of the house which has a very contemporary colour treatment.

Choosing a Colorbond Roof

I find that many of the Colorbond roof colours look very similar in situ and it is not until you see the guttering that you can always pick which colour the roof is.  Early in the morning or late in the afternoon, can be easier to see but when the sun is high many all look the same.  Therefore you need to focus on the depth of colour that you want first and foremost.  The appeal of using Colorbond for your roofs, gutters and facias is that you do not have to worry about colour matching.

These are some of my favourite Colorbond roof colours

If clients are looking for a dark roof I often steer them towards Colorbond Monument as this is a very neutral off black with no obvious underlying colour.

Colorbond Woodland Grey is a time honoured classic which has looked good for years – in fact it replaced Colorbond Slate which was a very similar grey and I have been using both for almost 20 years.  It is one of the only Colorbond colours that has always been popular.  Woodland Grey does have a green undertone.  I find this very easy to work with and a favourite for exterior schemes.  It is certainly one of my favourite roof colours.

Colorbond Ironstone has a blue undertone.  I like it but sometimes I wish it was more of a charcoal blue – I feel it just needs to be a touch greyer as in some lights the underlying blue can really show through.

A mid tone Colorbond colour is a good idea as it gets neither too hot or too cold.  Dark enough that it won't show the dirt and leaf litter stains as much as the lighter colours but not too dark that it becomes hot in the summer.

Colorbond Basalt is a lovely neutral mid-tone grey which I like to specify.  It does have a slight blue undertone but I find that it goes with many colour schemes and gives a classic look.  Good for traditional homes where the client wants a slightly lighter colour and great for contemporary homes too.

Colorbond Wallaby is another great mid-tone colour with a gorgeous warm brown grey undertone.  In fact, just like a Wallaby!  A great choice if you prefer the warmer greys and neutrals.

Colorbond Gully is a fabulous neutral if you prefer a colour that leans more towards earthy browns and away from the greys.  Outside it can look like a nothing colour, if that makes sense.  It is simple and goes well with many neutrals.  I actually love this colour matched in a paint finish too for exteriors – not at the height of fashion but will look good for years to come.

Lighter Colorbond roofs are very popular, particularly in coastal locations as you get a light and airy look.  Excellent to use in hotter climates and very popular in Queensland as the light colours reflect the heat.  Do consider though if you have overhanging trees – particularly if they are gum trees.  Leaf litter quickly builds up and stains lighter roofs and they can be difficult to maintain.

For this reason, Colorbond Windspray is a favourite of mine as it gives you a light, silvery look but just has a bit more depth than the other lighter colours.  In some lights it appears a little blue and in others it appears green.  On the roof it looks predominantly silver grey.

Colorbond Dune is another great classic.  A warm grey, this is an excellent choice to go with a warm earthy colour palette.  It can be slightly pinkish in some lights but you don't usually see this when it is on the roof – you generally only notice this in the guttering.

Colorbond Shale Grey along with Woodland Grey is another colour that has endured.  It replaced Gull Grey and is just that classic cool neutral silver grey that has been popular in roofing for a very long time.  It can give you the look of the old Zincalume roofs and is an excellent choice for coastal and country houses.

Colorbond Surfmist is a favourite of many.  Clients love it in coastal locations and it certainly does give you a very light and reflective roof.  I have had many comments though from clients who don't like it as a guttering colour.  It does appear a little creamy.  I think in many cases it works well as the depth of colour and grey in it work well in the sunlight.  However for those people who use it for facias in Hamptons styles where they also add a lot of very crisp white trim, they feel it looks dirty in comparison.  In this case I usually specify a timber facia that can be painted.

Note that the amount of underlying colour that you see in any of these colours will depend on the time of day, the aspect and degree of the pitch of the roof and how much flashing you see.  Ensure you look at large samples of the metal and ask the supplier for examples of houses which have the colour you are interested in – this is the best way to see if the colour is right for you.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias

The house above has a Shale Grey Colorbond roof and gutters with Surfmist facia.  There is also Colorbond walling in Shale Grey with a Monument garage.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias

This house has a Colorbond Dune roof, gutter, facia and garage.  You can see how you can tell which colour the roof is from the flashing rather than the actual ribbed metal roofing.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias

This house has a Basalt roof and gutter with a Surfmist facia.  It is interesting to note how light the roof appears in relation to the guttering but in fact they are the same colour.

Choosing a concrete roof

My favourite concrete roof is the flat shingle style as this gives you a streamlined and very classic look.  The dark greys have a look of traditional slate which works well.  Note though that for most types the colour is painted on the top of the roof tile and over time this will fade and chip.  The premium concrete roof tiles have colour all they way through but are generally just in dark charcoal grey and of course will also cost more.  The image below shows Boral's premium Linea Charcoal Grey colour through roof tile.

 

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias
Image: Boral 

Choosing a Terracotta roof

A terracotta roof is the best quality and it doesn't have to be a terracotta colour!  Although I love the traditional Terracotta coloured roofs, it is actually the terracotta itself which makes the tile amongst the best and they do come in a range of colours.  With long warranties this really is a premium product and is particularly good for harsh environments.

Boral has recently used their French terracotta roof tiles on the restoration of the Norah Head Lighthouse.  A project close to my heart as this is close to where I live and an absolutely gorgeous place to visit.  It is a testament to the product that it has been installed in such harsh conditions.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias
Image: Boral French roof tiles

Choosing Gutters & Facias

There are 3 options for your gutters & facias:

  1. Gutter & Facia the same colour to match the roof
  2. Gutter to match the roof and facia different (often to match the windows or other colours on house)
  3. Gutter and facia the same colour but as a contrast to the roof.

Option 1 will give you a seamless look and is often considered the most contemporary of choices.  This brings the colour of the roof down into the scheme.  The image below shows a house with Colorbond Evening Haze roof, gutter and facia.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias

Option 2 makes the gutters disappear into the roof and the facia stands out more.  This can be very effective if you have a white facia and lessens the impact of the roof and gutter.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias
Image: Bristile Roofing

Option 3 gives you a very dominant trim colour.  For example if the roof is a darker colour but you didn't want to make this a feature of the house you could add a lighter gutter and facia which becomes a wide band of trim around the top of the house.  The image below demonstrates this but if you go back up to the Norah Head homestead restoration project above you will see a good example of this there too.

How to choose roofs, gutters & facias
Image: Bristile roofing

The roof in the image below is surprisingly Colorbond Woodland Grey and this demonstrates how light roofing can appear at different points of the day.  A contrasting Deep Ocean gutter and facia has made a definite colour statement on the trim of the house.

How to choose roofs, gutters and fascias

The options are vast for your choice of roofing and the way that you treat your gutters and facia will have an impact on the overall look of the house.  So when selecting roofs, gutters and facias bear in mind your location, including the year round temperature, the style of your house, the colour scheme and whether or not you want the roof and trim to stand out or to blend into the house.

If you are building or renovating I have a handy comprehensive exterior checklist which you can use to ensure you have everything covered.  You can download it free from my Resource Library. This will get you started with choosing roofs, gutters & facias and the many other products, finishes and colours that you need to select.  Sign up free for it here.

Related: My Guide to painting eaves

21 thoughts on “How to select roofs, gutters and facias

  1. Avatar
    Bron says:

    We have chosen wallaby for a our roof. We have a mid tone greyish cemintel under the gable with cape Jaffa concrete block columns which are a creamy yellow… I am looking at Dulux winter fog render .. can you recommend any other Nuetral grey or Greige colours please?

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Bron You need to find something that works with the Cemintel grey which I understand to be quite cool and the limestone yellow of the blocks. Dulux Winter Fog is a good option or try a little darker with Whakarewarewa Half to balance the columns – both great with Wallaby. Perhaps look at samples of both with the 2 finishes to see which you prefer. Good luck Samantha

    • Avatar
      Jane says:

      Hi Samantha. We have recently painted the tiled roof of our home Wallaby. As we are having a black aluminium fence with Red Robin hedges I was going to incorporate Monument into the guttering or fascia to tie the fence in. WOuld this work? What colours do you recommend for rendered walls and soffit. THe home also has 3 columns on patio and we are having a Dutch gable stand alone carport installed with matching columns. COuld these be a different colour? If so, what colour or would they stay the same colour as walls

      • Samantha Bacon
        Samantha Bacon says:

        Hi Jane there are too many areas to address here but I would say that you can certainly introduce some Monument into your trim rather than adding more Wallaby to the scheme and then look for a range of neutrals to use in different strengths that are warm grey browns to choose from. Perhaps a Monument front door could also tie this in and give you some contrast. Good luck Samantha

  2. Avatar
    Tina Baulch says:

    Thanks Samantha for the great advice on choosing. A professional helped me to choose Woodland Grey gutters and fascia with a Dune roof. I am now looking to render my walls and am lost as I dont like the colours together. We live in Brisbane so needed a light roof – this is almost silver (I was after an earthy tone). Not sure what to do now. Any advice appreciated (looking at Surfmist for a render colour).

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Tina That’s a shame that you’re not happy with your roof but I am sure it will do the trick in Queensland by reflecting the heat. Woodland Grey is quite a contrast so by going light on your walls you need to consider that there will be a dark band around the top of your house. Colorbond Surfmist is a popular render colour as it is a white with enough grey to stand up to the bright sunlight. It can appear slightly creamy/yellow in some instances? For a touch more depth to balance the Woodland Grey you could look at Dulux Lyttelton. This is a nice neutral grey/white – still very light and with a slight green undertone which could work with the trim and silvery roof. Perhaps try a sample board of this to see what you think? Good luck Samantha

  3. Avatar
    Russell Broadrick says:

    Hi Samantha,
    We are considering a Windspray Roof because its not to dark and not too light , but we find it too dark for the fascia and gutters. Do you think Shale Grey would would work well for gutters and fascia?
    We are considering Oyster Linen for the weatherboards.
    Thanks for your advice.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Russell depending on the slant, time of day and aspect of your roof it should just mainly look a silvery colour and you shouldn’t see too much of the undertone. I can often only tell the colour of a metal roof by looking at the gutters and fascia which is where you see the underlying colour. I think you should be able to get away with Shale Grey for your trim. Hope this helps Samantha

  4. Avatar
    Kylie Neville says:

    Hi Samantha,
    We have a 30yo brick home, split level. Have just had our tile roof repainted in Basalt. Very happy! Now we are looking to replace our old metal gutters, down pipes, and fascia. They are currently federation colours (green, red, cream). Feeling a bit lost with colour combinations. Our new window trims are all Surfmist. We are considering Basalt gutters and Surfmist fascia, or should we be looking for more contrast with gutter colour? Also worried about downpipe colour standing out on out brick exterior. Grateful for your advice.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Kylie If you are happy with the Basalt roof then I would also use this on the gutters too and the fascia to tie in with your windows makes sense. Generally downpipes in a dark grey are less noticeable on bricks but it will depend on the brick colour – sometimes you can get quite a good match but if your brick is darker I would definitely go dark grey. Good luck Samantha

  5. Avatar
    Tim W says:

    Hi Samantha,
    We have a brick house that we are spraying in white. The house is very skinny and long, facing the main street and the roof is very visible from the street. the tiles are concrete and we don’t have any sarking under it on the older part of the house (bedrooms). The house is on the Gold Coast and gets a lot of sun! We have black aluminium windows and a timber front door. I usually like monument or woodland grey for the roof but everyone is scaring me as it could get very hot. Now stuck between basalt and shale grey??? Please help, very confused!!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Tim I think the advice you are getting for the Queensland sun is absolutely right. Your roofing contractor may have houses to show you where they have painted concrete roofs. These can be problematic because colours you love in Colorbond metal roofing will look very different on a tiled surface. Not to say that they won’t work but they do obviously look different so perhaps seeing examples may help you to decide. If you naturally prefer the darker colours, Basalt may be a good compromise but it is a little blue and in a painted surface and depending on the aspect of the roof, you may see more of this. Hope this helps Samantha

  6. Avatar
    Susan says:

    Hi Samantha
    Would appreciate your opinion on colours for a new build.
    We are considering using recycled red bricks with not too much white on the facade & part sides of house, remainder brick will be Austral Industrial in Iron – warm grey. Colorbond roof, gutters & facia in shale grey. Eaves in surfmist. Fill below roof & garage doors in basalt. Windows in monument. The design has a skillion roof with 10% pitch. Front of house faces north, side is north west for solar panels. Climate long cold winter, summer extreme heat often 40+ degree.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Susan your Shale Grey roof is certainly a good choice for reflecting heat in the extreme summer heat and works well with an industrial style look with Monument windows. It’s difficult to say entirely if the scheme is right but from what you have described it sounds as though you are on the right track. I hope you love your new home Samantha

  7. Avatar
    Marlena Primeau says:

    We have a cottage by the lake with dark brown mainly/black shingle roof. Our window trim and patio doors (6) on the deck have white brick mold. We are going 30″ up from ground before applying Maebec siding. I would like the siding a shade of blue/gray not to light or dark. Banging my head to decide on fascia soffit and gutters. My husband feels white gets dirty too fast. What colour can I consider dark brown/black???

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Marlena My advice is to link the gutters to the roof so they disappear – probably just a smart black and then when you select your blue/gray for the walls I would suggest a slightly lighter version of this colour for the soffits/eaves. Ask the local paint shop what the colour would be if the wall choice got a little lighter. I like to relate the soffits to the walls where possible. Hopefully this should just be a soft grey with a touch of blue which will hide dirt better than white but will also give the cottage a lift. I hope this makes sense! Good luck Samantha

  8. Avatar
    Sarah Burton says:

    Hi Samantha, I wish I’d come across your website sooner! We live in a heritage area in a 2 storey (100 yrs old but fusion of styles) white rendered dutch barn looking house ( originally the house was pink!) with terracotta tiles. We are building a small studio in the back garden with weathertex vertical 150 ” boards and are trying to tie both buildings the old (main house) and the new (studio with a soon to install colour bond roof.)
    The outside patio/decking comprises olive (silver) white limestone pavers with spotted gum decking at the back. We also have old sandstone pavers we’ve recycled for the driveway and pathway to the house.
    We had a colour consultant come to the house who suggested:
    1. we change the roof colour to monument grey but we can’t it has to stay as terracotta tiles.
    2. the studio roof be Colorbond Surfmist and weatherboard cladding be Dulux Black Caviar or Western Myal.
    3.the main house be natural white and Colorbond Monument for guttering.

    Subsequent to reading your article I was wondering if:
    1. the Studio roof and guttering be Monument Grey ( although this may be hot for Sydney if we use solar panels it will blend in and also from the street you will notice the greenery more than the roof?; and
    2.the weatherboard be Western Myall or Tranquil Retreat (are these warm dark greys?)
    3. the main house guttering and downpipes be Woodland grey? It would match the olive the white pavers on the patio and wooden deck? And the warmth of the terracotta tiles – or should I go Monument grey or Western Myall?
    Also should we match the window joinery timber work with the gutters colour – such as Woodlawn grey /Western Myall/Monument Grey?
    Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks Samantha.

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Sarah this sounds an interesting project for you. My feeling is to definitely do the studio roof in a dark colour and Monument makes sense to hide the solar panels. However there could be other mid-tone options but it all depends on what you use for the walls, the main house etc. Dulux Western Myall is a very dark grey while Dulux Tranquil Retreat is a very light one so you are looking at a very wide range in tone. I really couldn’t say for sure as there are a lot of things to consider. I do offer e-consultations if that helps but I can at least definitely say that a dark roof in amongst your garden would be far preferable. Hope this helps! Samantha

  9. Avatar
    Rebecca Young says:

    Hi Samantha! Thank you so much for this fabulous blog! We’re renovating a simple single story 1980s house with mission brown bricks and a cottage green roof. We live in a rural setting (Margaret River) with a mediterranean climate. Do you have any external colours tips for renovating this era? I’m currently thinking to paint the roof tiles/gutters windspray, then do shale grey walls and white trims. Do you think there will be enough contrast and it will for this era? We will also be building a patio with natural jarrah posts. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Samantha Bacon
      Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Rebecca you don’t see a lot of difference between Shale Grey and Windspray and remember that roof tiles in Windspray will not look like Colorbond steel in the same colour as the metal glimmers and reflects light whereas the underlying green/blue of the Windspray will really show through in the painted version on roof tiles so I would recommend asking your painter for examples of other roofs that they have painted. The natural Jarrah will be beautiful and it would be nice to bring this into the house too – perhaps the front door? White trims will look good with the Shale Grey – ensure you see a good contrast outside to get the effect – good luck Samantha

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