Shingle All the Way

Version 2Occasionally, you stumble across a straight-faced piece of journalism that reads straight-up like something out of The Onion. For example, I just read in a remodeling publication that the 2019 Color of the Year for a particular brand of residential roofing shingle is… drumroll please…Black Sable.

The completely irony-free article explains that the “Color of the Year initiative highlights the roof as a design element expressing a homeowner’s personal style.” Furthermore, it quotes a company spokesperson who calls Black Sable “the little black dress for the roof.”

The LBD reference is an elegant metaphor that I like to think I’d have come up with, too, if I were ever spokesperson for Shingle Color of the Year.

But truth be told, if I were ever professionally engaged in the naming of roofing colorways, I’d steer clear of animals in general and sables in particular. Because a sable is a weasel, and a weasel is practically a carnivorous squirrel.

Here’s where the distinctly non-Onion article gets particularly Onion-esque: Without the slightest hint of tongue in cheek, the text concludes, “Research has shown that homeowners, especially women, embrace color and want guidance on how to use it on their homes’ exteriors.”

As delightfully gender-specific as that research may be, I suspect I speak for a lot of roof-owning women when I say that we do not want to embrace squirrels—or weasels—anywhere near our attics.

Again, if I were ever professionally engaged in the naming of roofing colorways, I’d steer toward the inanimate vocabulary of 2018 and 2017, years that celebrated shingle colors Sand Dune and Sedona Canyon, respectively. After all all, those colors express what I would consider the single most important aspect of a roof: dryness.

After two years of earth tones, it’s no surprise that Noir would ultimately get its day in the sun. What is surprising is the pivot from names that evoke arid desert landscapes to one that recalls rabid critters in the rafters.

Why wouldn’t the marketing geniuses behind the curtain at the Roof Shingle Color Committee think that homeowners, “especially women,” would embrace the impermeable weatherproofness of non-carnivorous black things, such as umbrellas, galoshes, and trash bags.

OK, fine. I can see that Hefty Bag-colored shingles would be a hard sell. I concede that naming roof colors might be harder than I first thought.

So, I tip my hat to the author of Black Sable. And I await with bated breath the year when roofing colorways lead to shingles in subtle shades of gray—be they Moth, Mouse, Pigeon, Raccoon or Squirrel.

UPDATE: Well, thanks to a conversation on Twitter related to this post, it occurs to me that the French word sable translates to sand. Black Sand would be a nice dry name for a roof. Maybe that’s what the apocryphal Roof Shingle Color Committee had in mind?

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