Pay Dirt: Roofing Color Inspiration from Soil

KANSAS CITY, KAN. - When Scarlett O'Hara grabbed a fistful of dirt and proclaimed, "As God is my witness, I will never go hungry again!" is it possible she was thinking that the red clay of Tara would make a good color for her old plantation house's roof? Hardly, but in today's society, the color of earth surrounding your home may indeed be a good indicator for what color roof to select.

"It may sound crazy, but the color of the dirt on your property is a really great way to find a roof color that will help blend your home into its natural surroundings," says Kate Smith, national color expert with DaVinci Roofscapes®. "When the horizontal plane of color that tops off your home is the same as the color surrounding your house's foundation it instantly anchors your home to the landscape."

Smith points out that this color selection tip for polymer slate or shake roofing tiles works especially well if the home is in a wooded setting. That's because, in natural areas, the roof and ground colors can "connect" the home with the geographic area. From a practical standpoint, she suggests homeowners think about the soil color as they also choose the foundation and exterior colors of the home.

"As you water your plants, or as rain splashes off the ground, the mud-tinted water drops will disappear into the foundation if the color is similar to that of the soil," says Smith. "If you choose a contrasting color, then the bottom edge around your home may have a soiled or sloppy look that is unflattering for the overall appearance of the house."

When selecting colors for the home, Smith recommends working from the top down. "Start with the roof to set the total color tone and connect with the soil," says Smith. "Begin by figuring out the overall color of your soil. Look at it from a slight distance rather than close up. This will allow your eye to visually blend the hues into a single color rather than pickup up many individual colors of the materials that make up your soil."

Some soil-to-roof color matchups recommended by Smith include:

  • Black, rich soil = Slate Black roof
  • Orangey, clay soil = Terra Cotta roof
  • Dingy, dry gray soil = Light Tan roof
  • Sandy soil = Light Weathered Gray roof
  • Silty soil = Light Chesapeake roof
  • Earthy, brown soil = Dark Mountain roof

To test your skill at matching soil color and learn more about soil color by state at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History site called "Dig It! The Secrets of Soil" at And, to find Munsell Soil Color Charts, visit
DaVinci offers a wide spectrum of 49 colors in shake and slate roofing tiles. The company also has 28 unique roofing color blends as standard options for both residential and commercial projects.

DaVinci Roofscapes has manufactured award-winning synthetic slate and shake roofing since 1999. The polymer roofing tiles are virtually maintenance free and far more cost effective than the natural product. DaVinci leads the industry in tile thickness, the tile width variety and the greatest selection of subtle earth-toned colors. Company products have a 50-year warranty and are 100 percent recyclable. DaVinci proudly makes its products in America and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders, the Cool Roof Rating Council and the U.S. Green Building Council, and a sponsor of Homes for Our Troops. For additional information call 1-800-328-4624 or visit our website.



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